Tackle and Tactics
Mike Ladle

Information Page.

So near and yet!!!.

My pal Alan now posts many of his fishing anecdotes on the internet himself but some of them are too good for me to let slip. His latest details a fish that they didn't catch but it made my mouth water. If anything would make me spend a year livebaiting this would be it. Anyway - here's Alan's tale only slightly altered (by me) -

Last Sunday I struck it lucky and got to fish from the 42' motor launch 'Intrigue' with my boss, a work colleague and an important overseas visitor from the UK. The first challenge was getting down to Orakei marina at 11.30 am as the road crews were still tidying up the mountains of paper cups that blanketed the road after the annual Round the Bays run.

The conditions were marginal for fishing. Although it was fine and sunny, rain clouds were massing all around and the westerly wind was whistling merrily between the guide wires on the masts of the moored yachts. The forecast said wind gusts up to 15 knots but the forecaster was obviously dyslexic and had mistaken the 1 for a 2 or 3. In fact, the gusts were so strong that if the wind was a woman then she would have been flat chested.

We left the marina around two hours after high tide and headed out through the Motuihe channel to try and find shelter in the lee of Motutapu Island. As we motored away the showers hit central Auckland in a perfect pincer movement from North and South.

When we approached the Rakino channel it was obvious that there were a lot of fish around as the sounder started to show massive solid peaks and the number of gannets and fairy terns diving and swooping increased exponentially. In the end the mass of sounder sign convinced us to kill the throttles, anchor and try our luck.

I opted to use a Berkley Ripple shad on a 3/8oz jig head, one of the party selected a hard bodied lure while the other two threaded on cut bait of squid, pilchard or tuna belly flap. Despite the endless tap-tapping of small fish, fishing was unexpectedly slow with undersized snapper making up the bulk of the catch landed and returned. In the 45 minutes we fished at the first spot I managed to land an anchovy, two small snapper around 27cm and a slimy mackerel (which went into the live bait tank). The anchovy was almost identical to the lure I had selected and had somehow managed to impale itself on the hook up through the top jaw. I'm still trying to figure out whether the anchovy was nailed making an amorous advance or just was in the wrong place at the right time.

Next we opted to head closer into the lee of Motutapu and fish in amongst the diving gannets. I decided to switch to a Z-Man 3" paddled tailed Smoke shad en route to the second spot, as I'd lost a few Ripple shad bodies at this point to smaller fish that neatly nipped off the paddle tail.

As we got close and the skipper cut back the throttles I lobbed the jig head into the wash and within 20' the lure got absolutely slaughtered. Line poured off the spool as the fish headed deep. Every surge saw more line fizz and crackle off the whirring spool due to the fairly heavy drag setting. Once I was sure that the fish was well hooked I passed the rod to the UK visitor and allowed him to fight it. He'd gain line pumping and winding only to lose it all with interest as the fish regularly headed back to the bottom. This to-ing and fro-ing continued for five minutes with neither combatant giving any quarter. Eventually though the big kahawai tired and reluctantly allowed itself to be drawn to the surface.

What happened next is one of those fishing events that end up being laser etched into your memory. Out of nowhere a huge kingfish, estimated at 50 - 60 lb, appeared and swung in behind the thrashing kahawai. The kahawai was around 6 lb yet the kingfish made it look tiny. For about 10 seconds, while pandemonium erupted on the boat, 'His Majesty' hung suspended, its nose almost touching the kahawai's tail, eyes wide open and salivating. Bodies sprinted for tackle boxes and heavy rods were pulled from hidden recesses. Then with a flick of its massive tail it disappeared. Originally we thought it may be going forward to swing and attack the kahawai head on so we let the fish hang for a moment but the big kingfish never returned. As you have probably guessed, everyone was fired up now as we had a fish in the bin, had seen a leviathan and the gannets were regularly thudding into the sea around us. For me the next twenty minutes were like fishing in the highlights. I hooked another three kahawai in four casts and let the guest land all of them. Two fought long and hard as per the first fish but the last decided to fight on the surface and jumped 8 times in succession before throwing in the towel. Nobody else could buy a fish though. For some reason, they only wanted to nail wiggling elastane.

Eventually the action slowed so we decided to take a break and have lunch. I lobbed out the slimy mackerel live bait as we adjourned into the saloon for a sit down meal of rotisserie chicken, thickly sliced ham, bread rolls and all of the accoutrements. We even had small pottle of curried eggs to appease our guest. Halfway through lunch, while swigging on a ice cold Ginger beer, I saw the rod tip lurch down and immediately sprinted out of the cabin to set the hook. Again I got the guest to fight the fish which turned out to be another stonking (~ 6 lb.) kahawai.

After lunch we changed spots, as by now the birds had long gone, but we drew a blank. Then it was time to set course back into port against a head wind, our collective fishing urge satiated for another week. What a great way to introduce a visitor to fishing in NZ. He's still fizzing today!

Why didn't you arrange that to happen when I was over there Bulmer? Anyway, it sounds fantastic. Soft plastics were clearly the thing on the day and the kingfish is still there for when I manage another visit. Wonderful stuff!

If you have any comments or questions about fish, methods, tactics or 'what have you.'get in touch with me by sending an E-MAIL to - docladle@hotmail.com


That's more like the stuff I expect my mate to catch.'

He's in!

One of the guests plays a good fish - possibly the potential kingfish meal?'

Nice kahawai.

They really are wonderful fish aren't they?'

One for Bulmer.

Another beauty - smile for the camera.'