Out of the blue

Dylan’s bluenose a big bonus

It wouldn’t stop raining. The back field was turning into a formidable torrent. Everyone had to get home to stay safe and dry; believe me, online learning isn’t that great. Nelson was in a state of emergency. Other schools were open, but the roads and traffic issues kept me stuck home, alone and bored. The days dragged slowly—no school for the week.

Late Wednesday Dad mentioned that the weather was looking good for Greymouth—dare I believe that? Having always dreamed of fishing the mighty Coast, I hoped a crew could be sorted in time. There was a flurry of messages and phone calls, but it didn’t look promising, with other commitments and the major clean-up around the region. Then, early Thursday morning, it was confirmed. Yes, we had a crew! Yes, the weather window was holding and it was all go. I could hardly believe my luck. Off to fish the Hokitika Trench, which I had only seen on TV and read about in fishing magazines.

Just on daybreak we were safely across the bar, my excitement not diminished, cruising out to the trench over impressive dark swells. As we reached the mark on the nav, the call was given to drop our bait; 340 metres— the longest drop I’d ever done.

Now we waited. It didn’t take long before the rod started to nod and I was hooked up. It took at least five minutes for the electric reel to haul up my first bluenose; about 10kg, I was chuffed.

A few more successful drops and then Dad hooked into something big. It took 160 metres of line before it burnt out the reel—smoke isn’t great with electric gear. This was now a big manual fight. After an eternity, we convinced ourselves it was a broadbill swordfish. Pete started chatting on the radio, asking if anyone nearby had a suitable gaff, as we didn’t have anything to handle a billfish. The minutes wore on before a giant tail appeared. The tail was wrapped in the line, but we couldn’t identify the monster. It looked like a broady but was it? After several moments we figured out it was a giant Porbeagle shark. After clearing its tail and getting some footage on the GoPro, the line was cut to release it. I was shaking from so much adrenaline; this thrilling experience was so out of the blue!

Determined to make the most of this day, we fished longer than anticipated. The tally for the day was one feisty, enormous shark and seven bluenose; my personal best weighed 15kg.

Darkness was creeping in around us as we hurried to cross the bar before nightfall. Mum was relieved to receive our call confirming we were safely on the dry. KFC was such a treat before we hit the long road back to Nelson. After putting the boat away, we got home at midnight; I was knackered. This epic trip was such a great reward for being stuck at home— imagine if it had been a regular day of school.

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