Windy gurnard mission

I don’t know what it is about gurnard that keeps bringing me back for more, maybe it’s their incredible colouration or how sweet fresh gurnard is to eat the day you’ve caught it. But one thing I know for sure is, it’s a heap of fun to go out and target these tasty fish on light tackle.

After a long time off the kayak, I decided I better get back on the horse as spring had fully burst through, ridding us of the dreaded morning frosts. All the usual suspects like snapper, gurnard and trevally were likely to be hanging about so I decided to fish a new location, based on how nice the swell had been.

Normally, a northern Hawkes Bay beach like Waipatiki has quite a shore break, but on this day there was a big channel running up the middle of the beach creating the simplest of launches. The forecast was for some blustery wind to be around but it was nothing I couldn’t handle, especially with high cliffs helping to block some of the gusts.

I hammered my way out to 23 metres and set up my trail of chunks and popped a small berley in the water. Thirty minutes later… nothing. I didn’t let this discourage me. Some boaties may have upped the anchor and left, but I am more than aware it can take a bit of time for the gurnard to follow the scent to me.

After 40 minutes, I had the first bite and then the second simultaneously, both rods were bent over and looked like they had angry gurnard beating away their tails. Fish one was a fat female over a kilo and the second was a smaller fish but still over 40 cm.

The baits were quickly reset and one rod only had just made it to the bottom before it was getting pounced on by a double hookup of grunters. It had now been four fish in five minutes and the action didn’t stop. I added another two fish after 10 minutes before the fishing quietened down. Can’t complain with half a dozen in 20 minutes.

The current and wind swirled around causing my anchor to struggle to hold and I had to reset it a couple of times, eating into important fishing time. Once I was on the mark again, I had more gurnard march onto my baits where they were quickly snaffled.

With plenty of gurnard in the back, sure to last me a few weeks of top-quality eating, I pulled the anchor and headed off to look for some different species. Not bad for the first time out in six months!

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