Diary of a surfcaster

A fat kahawai for Paul Dennis

Day one: My first day of the ten-day Mokihinui Fishing Competition was to be a day of reconnaissance. With high tide at 4.07am, I didn’t venture out before daylight as I wanted to scope out my chosen spot safely in daylight. Hence I arrived at the spot on Gentle Annie beach at 1.00pm and fished through to 4.00pm. It was a sunglasses, sunhat and sunscreen day, with placid sea conditions. A prawn caught me a rig and a change to squid bait at high tide snared a small snapper. A good start to the competition. Ron and Helen Bennet and family on duty at the weigh-ins and doing a marvellous job twice a day.

Day two: Up at 5.00am and away fishing. Conditions ideal and gurnard caught on kahawai bait. A rare catch at Mokihinui. Overcast with showers threatening. Fished again on afternoon high tide. Northerly winds pushed emerald green water in close to shore. Nothing caught despite the ideal conditions.

Lindsay and Jim Stuart with a rig each

Day three: Pouring with rain at 5.00am so flagged the morning tide fishing session. This gave me plenty of time to set up a rod for my sonin-law Paul, who was joining me from Nelson. I also put thought into strategies for the afternoon fish, with high tide at 6.30pm. Strategies included choice of baits and rigs. I settled on prawn baits for the pulley rig and squid for the one hook clipped down rig, targeting snapper. Paul arrived safely and we left for the beach at 4.00pm. Conditions were not great, with a powerful surge and drift and no one else fishing. We gave it a crack, lost a bit of gear and Paul opened his account with a fat kahawai.

Day four: Weather clear at 5.00am so we headed for the beach. Conditions still rough, lost more gear and no fish about. Out again at 5.00pm to improving conditions but no fish.

Day five: Early start again. Paul caught red cod and sharks. Sea quite docile and pleasant to fish. Evening fishing again in ideal conditions. Paul caught solid rig. Good snapper pulled in next to us. Plenty of rig about.

Ron’s day one rig

Day six. Away at daylight and fished until 10.00am. Plagued by red cod and carpet sharks.

Day seven: Started fishing at first light again. Sea very calm but discoloured. One red cod only fish caught.

Day eight. Sunny with light winds. Lindsay and Jim Stuart joined me for the morning’s fishing. Jim top scored with a sizeable rig.

Day nine: Another perfect day for surfcasting. Lindsay and Jim returned. Lindsay landed two rig and Jim one. I settled for a small snapper.

Day ten: Didn’t fish as I had cottage to clean. Attended prize-giving at 1.00pm. Prize-giving superbly run by Bruce Stringer and the Murphy brothers. Followed by a tasty barbecue using the Pub n Grub’s excellent facilities.

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