Hapuku and Schooling Snapper
recently spent a long tiring day off the Mangonui Bluff chasing hapuku with
dropper rigs. On the very last lift, we landed our one and only small but very
delicious sucker. So even out west, there are times when the fish say at
Several days later, Rex Honeyfield of Freedom Charters invited me
to chase hapuku. Of course I said yes!
Retired Taranaki dairy farmers,
Rex and Janine Honeyfield have made a home in Opito Bay. With several years
fishing and diving in the Bay under his belt, Rex recently embarked on a fishing
his 7.2m Maitland Cat powered by a very smooth 200hp Volvo Diesel through a
duo-prop stern-leg cruising at a comfortable 20knots, it takes 15 minutes to get
to the Ninepin. Being close to the action is definitely one of the advantages of
in depths between 80 and 170m, were our target. Despite a grumpy sea, the
amazing stability of the cat and the enormous cockpit area meant that fishing
conditions remained comfortable.
with braid, the quality of the fishing gear was the very best. It made me
realize what an absolute waste of time it is trying to fish these depths with
mono. I also found that my major concern with braid: tangles; didn’t seem to be
much of a hassle. The choice of braid was stiff and waxen and quite easily
must when using braid in deep water: a sensitive rod. The supplied purpose built
Pen rods and reels loaded with 25kg braid provided as much feel as if fishing
with mono in 40m.
fishing was non-stop. We caught tarakihi, snakes, eels, spiky dogfish, school
and carpet sharks, sea-perch, granddaddy hapuku and even a snapper or two, but
no hapuku. But the ham sandwiches, hot coffee and hospitality were great. You
can check out Rex and Janine on 025 277 2510.
to the first snapper fishing question of the day: has the Bay been fished out?
Experienced fishos with no commercial axe to grind suggest that most resident
snapper get cleaned out these days by the end of autumn. Stocks are replenished
each year by the spring influx of schooling snapper. Apart from this visit, we
get a seasonal visit from the tarakihi and the occasional storm or inexplicable
migratory movement that brings snapper into parts of the Bay for a brief
on to the second snapper fishing question of the day: have the schoolies arrived
in the Bay yet? Personal experience Sunday evening enables the author to confirm
it. Exactly when the moon was directly above, one prime 8kg hen and one lumpy
9kg jack took a fancy to large slabs of koheru. The rest is
fishing companion had been advising me, in the interests of conservation, to
release the keenly anticipated guests. But he got too excited and I had the
gaff! Then we went home. Work on Monday.