Kaikoura New Year’s mayhem

A mixed bag for Sam and Dan

Thoughts of a week in Kaikoura with a boat loaded with dive gear and rods was more than enough to get the excitement levels up as we made our way along the east coast. With the pāua fishery once again opened, these black sea slugs were high on the target list and with the huge abundance that resides along the coastline, it didn’t even call for the use of a wetsuit, as we quickly had gathered enough for dinner without even getting wet.

The next day dawned crisp and clear, which made for a pleasant drive out to fishing grounds. However, the overloaded boat made for slow going and if it hadn’t been for the dolphins, seals and albatross that kept us entertained, we may well have become bored.

Reaching our chosen spot in over 100 metres, we all dropped our lines, desperately hoping for the elusive Kaikoura hāpuku.

Sam’s big blue cod

Whilst the hāpuku never graced us with its presence, the quality of fishing was nothing less than exceptional. Each drop produced some of the largest cod we had ever seen, along with the usual bycatch of sea perch. Dan even enticed a good size tarakihi into the chilly bin as well as a rather angry school shark, which was hastily unhooked by the side of the boat. With a good mix of fish in the chilly bin, including an absolute monster of a gurnard, it was time to escape the heat of the day and jump in for a dive.

Pulling up to a likely spot, I quickly got onto some crayfish, filling my catch bag with practical ease whilst Dan and Dad set about shooting some excessively well-conditioned butterfish and moki. The day couldn’t get any better and the bountiful sea life that Kaikoura possesses fulfilled all our hopes and expectations.

To finish off the day, a couple of beers in the pub was called for, however, there was still an itch I had been trying to scratch for quite some time—the Lyell creek trout! The creek that runs through Kaikoura township is full of trout that nonchalantly go about their day whilst completely ignoring almost every lure I flick at them. Whilst I have still been eluded of a trout here, Dan took no time at all to bank a scrappy little brown.

As is expected; each night a banquet of seafood was cooked and quickly engulfed to finish off the day.

Kaikoura you beauty.

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