Dawn raid for old man—snapper

Beastie Boy

It’s not often my dad comes to town, so it posed a bit of a dilemma when he organised a family barbecue at my house for the one day of the week with almost primo conditions. What to do? I gave my eldest daughter a call and asked her to show up a couple of hours early to cover me, ‘just in case’ I was still on the water. Of course, everyone assumed I would turn up a couple of hours after the fun had started… I thought it quite likely myself.

So off I crept at 3.30 am to be at Cable Bay before 4.00am, to load up and launch with that all too familiar view of predawn launches. It was lovely and calm for a minute or ten—and then, yep, the wind came up as we paddled up out of the bay. I had a look around and could see the lights of those who had tucked in beside Pepin Island for shelter, so decided to stay out on my own.

For a while there I second guessed myself with not so much as a nibble. Probably quite awhile actually; on the water time doesn’t mean much to me, just ask anyone who has been out there when I say, “Five more minutes and we’ll call it!”

Eventually I felt a familiar nudge. I say felt because it still wasn’t light yet. I turned the light to my rod to see a massive bend and the tell-tale jerks of a snapper’s nod, so proceeded to wrestle the rod out of its holder. Of course, it had to be my wee Shimano Genpu, which hadn’t been pressure tested since I hooked up on a bronzie that had dragged me out wide so, best I play this one out a bit carefully.

After a fair while of losing line and gaining it back, and the odd occasion of thumbing the spool, I got it off the bottom and was able to bring it up. I could see it was a good size but really couldn’t see the size of it.

It wasn’t about to give in however. I had just about got it to the surface and it gapped it, then when I finally got it right up, it decided it would at least make sure I got plenty wet. We don’t mention the part where I underestimated its size and nearly pulled myself into the water instead of pulling my fish out—it weighed 19.70lb bled, not bad.

No mucking around; it was bled and into the back of the ‘yak. First fish before sun up and it was a cracker. We mulled around for a couple of hours after that to give my yak fishing buddy a chance to land a good one himself— he landed three nice gurnard and a kahawai and I added a gurnard to my bag for Dad, but there was no more snapper to be had.

So, home in plenty of time to unload my catch, or as Dad called it , my “Man’s fish” and get myself in the shower before playing host.

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