In this on-going series, NZ Fishing News talks to prominent Kiwi anglers and others involved in the recreational fishing scene about what matters most to them as anglers, asking them to nominate their five favourite things.
Richard Bathurst has had a long association with the magazine and recreational fishing in general. Like many readers, he was introduced to the ‘brotherhood of the angler’ as a youngster by his dad. He is now introducing his grandchildren to the sport.
While he has targeted gamefish species both here and abroad, it is snapper that has been his main target over the years. Richard has been part of the successful NZ Fishing News teams contesting the likes of the Lion Red Furuno and Beach and Boat Snapper World Cup events, the Maverix 6KG Challenge and the Gulf Harbour One Base, to name the key ones.
Like many of us, Richard was a confirmed bait and berley man, recording some significant catches while straylining for snapper. In more recent times he has come over to the dark side, fishing a range of metal lures and soft-baits with good results.
For many years, Richard contributed the outer Hauraki Gulf area report until these were discontinued and was an esteemed member of the Fat Boys Fishing Club, an ‘exclusive three-member organisation’ that undertook writing the Charter Connections for many years. The other two members were Richard’s brother Bill and the writer, the joke being that the membership was restricted to three as that was all that could fish across the back of the company’s project boat!
Richard has been a strong supporter of the charter industry, from Three Kings trips aboard the Bruce Smith skippered Striker through to the Hauraki Gulf snapper trips with Rex Smith and Kiwi Angler.
In more recent times he has been involved in a privately organised shared boat arrangement. This enables him to fish the Hauraki Gulf and while spending time at the family caravan at Camp Waipu Cove over many years, he has got to know the greater Bream Bay area well fishing with his mates on their boats.
So, without further ado, here are his favourite ‘fishing things’ he can’t do without (in his own words).
For me, fishing is not a solo sport. It is something to be enjoyed with good mates and family. I love to teach newbies to fish, especially if they are prepared to listen and I don’t have to babysit them for long. One of the biggest kicks is taking the family, especially the grandkids, out on the boat for a fish.
It is also great to fish with others who are competent anglers and can look after themselves on board. The banter is always great and sharing a few coldies is all part of the enjoyment.
People have told me that I am ‘anal’ about ice and they would be right.
If you are going to go to all the trouble to catch a decent bin of fish, you owe it to them to show some respect and look after them. The results are evident when it comes time to fillet and cook the catch.
My basic rule of thumb is a 5kg bag of salt ice per angler on board plus one for the boat. The first couple of bags are used to make a thick ice slurry mixed with seawater. Each fish is ikied then pushed down into the slurry to bring the temperature down as quickly as possible. As more fish come in, more ice is added. It’s basically the same process commercial fishers use. If I can fillet the fish without a glove, then it is not cold enough. I see too many people with big hauls of fish and little or no ice – a few frozen water bottles won’t cut it.
My preferred bin is the 56 litre Icey-Tek as I can lift these on my own, and I usually take two of them. Another bin I often use is the 90 litre Icey-Tek with the double lid. The beauty of this is that you just need to open one side to push the fish into the slurry.
Quite often I will fillet the fish the next day, draining off the water from the slurry and leaving them packed in the remaining ice (the fish should be stacked vertically rather than flat on top of each other).
The writer is "pedantic" about salt ice and doesn't leave shore without it.
I have used many different brands over the years and have in recent times settled with the larger Shimano tackle bag.
What I like about these is that they are sturdy, and the internal boxes can be interchanged to suit the style of fishing I intend on doing. I like to be well organised and the Shimano bags allows me to cover my fishing bases. Back at my workshop, I will have various pre-sorted boxes loaded with all the necessities to fish a certain way. Before heading out I take the boxes I will need for the trip and put them in the tackle bag.
The failure point on many bags are the zips, but by spraying them regularly with a suitable lubricant you will increase the bag’s life considerably.
Having a descent tackle bag allows Richard to be well-organised and prepared for any day on the water
For many years I did little else other than strayline for snapper. My favourite kit for this was a Maverix Hi-Roller eight-kilo rod matched to a Shimano Talica LD8 spooled with 6kg Momoi line. This was a great combo and the Maverix rod has stood the test of time – it is a shame they are not available any longer.
Today I have joined the lure fishing revolution and am currently fishing a Shimano Game Engetsu 7’ ZOM-S rod with a Shimano Ocea 1000HG reel loaded with 16lb rainbow braid. Slow pitch jigging is now one of my favourite ways to target snapper while on the drift. My best fish to date using this gear was a 9.22kg snapper caught just before Christmas aboard Fishing News. Looking at it, you would wonder how such a fast-action blank would handle a decent fish, but I have been pleasantly surprised.
I also enjoy soft-baiting and while I have yet to find the perfect rod, a Shimano Stradic C14 4000 FA is my go-to reel. I have changed the drag washers out and put in Silk Drags – it has made all the difference to the reel’s performance, taking it up a notch or two from what was already a good drag when it came out of the box.
Several years ago, I brought a one-tenth share in a private syndicate that was running a Rayglass 2800 Elite and I have been delighted with how this has worked out. It is run as a democracy, any decisions requiring a six-vote majority to be passed.
We are a bunch of like-minded people when it comes to running and caring for a boat. Being self-employed and with a great boss, I like to fish mid-week and that works well. We have our own booking website which makes organising the boat roster simple.
The vessel is kept in the Orams dry stack and it is just a phone call away to have them launch it.
At the end of the day, it is refuelled and several of us get a cleaner in to tidy up and wash the boat (others choose to clean it themselves). It is a step on-fish-step off scenario and I like that. Because it is so easy, I use the boat more than if it was on a trailer.
Our syndicate recently updated the vessel to one of the recently released Tristram 821’s, and we are all enjoying that.
A shared ownership of this Tristram 821 sees Richard get plenty of time chasing the Hauraki Gulf snapper schools out wide.
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