The National Torpedo competition, held in the Far North in July, is so popular it sells out it’s 65 coveted tickets in less than an hour.
This unique way of fishing and the chance to compete against others who favour the method, draws anglers in from as far away as the bottom of the North Island up to the beaches of the Far North.
Contrary to usual torpedo fishing rules, in this competition, fishers are only allowed to set 15 hooks per line (legally you can set 25). The competition is fished across four beaches (90-Mile Beach, Puheke Beach, Tokerau Beach and East Beach), and across three days from Thursday to Saturday. Each day features it’s own prizegiving, with prizes from various torpedo manufacturers awarded on each night. In addition to standard fishing prizes, five anglers are drawn each night, with 15 anglers on the final day guaranteed to walk away with a major prize. This year the most sought-after prizes were the four torpedos, courtesy of Kentiki, Seahorse, Conrad Myers Fish Harvester and Bullet Fishing Kontiki’s. Mike Conley of Mikes Salted Baits shares his account of the weekend...
My team arrived in the Far North on the Monday afternoon, travelling all the way from the mighty Manawatu to allow us time to check out the beaches. On the Wednesday prior to the comp, I went along to the Bullet Fishing Demo day where Graeme put his new 54lb thrust Kontiki out to have a play. I was very impressed with this and even got to show the crowd how I like to bait my hooks.
DAY 1 – “SEAHORSE DAY”
The first day's fishing was Thursday and we chose to fish 90-Mile Beach and caught loads of good size snapper, with one of them weighing in at 7.9kg and getting us third prize at prizegiving that night. I saw a lot of snapper, kahawai and gurnard being weighed in when we were there – it was great to see other teams doing well. At prizegiving Mike’s Salted Bait’s was lucky enough to have their team marble drawn out, as well as the third heaviest snapper of the day so all in all it ended up being an amazing first day!!
DAY 2 – “KENTIKI DAY”
On the second day we decided to stay where we were on the 90, only the sea wasn’t as calm as the previous day. We had the famous man himself, Cabbage from Kentiki as our neighbour, who rode down quite often on his beach scooter to see how we were getting on. We managed to catch our three snapper for weigh in with no trouble, with our heaviest weighing in at 6.8kgs for the day. We also managed to catch my biggest carrot to date. To end the day, we also weighed in a gurnard. Prizegiving was, once again, an awesome night with great atmosphere all round and another five marbles were drawn, giving another five teams a guaranteed major prize.
DAY 3 – “FISH HARVESTER DAY”
On the final day we stayed in an area we knew at the 90. With what the forecast said, it was going to be rough but turned out it wasn’t too bad, just a big surf. On this day we had Phil from Seahorse as our neighbour, so the pressure was on to get good sets. We tried our best to catch a donk of a snapper but unfortunately, it wasn’t meant to be with our heaviest being around 5.5kgs. We did, however, catch three kahawai to weigh in as well as 16-18 large gurnard. That meant on the final day we had our three of each species to weigh in which turned out to be an awesome day! To top the day off we ended up with first and second heaviest gurnard for the day.
FINAL PRIZE GIVING
The final prize giving was amazing with loads of funny stories being told. One of the more notable “catches” was a starfish, which won Cabbage from Kentiki a prize in the ‘other species’ section. With the leaderboard prizes all drawn, it was time for the major prizes won by marble draw, and as said earlier Mike’s Salted Bait’s was one of the lucky 15 teams. Allen from my team went up on stage with the other 14 lucky teams. Eleven prizes down and he was still standing there which meant we were guaranteed to win one of the four Kontiki’s up for grabs. These prizes range from $1000 and above. Mike’s Salted Bait’s was lucky enough to win the complete Conrad Myers fish harvester set up! Three other lucky teams won a Bullet fishing Kontiki, a Seahorse Kontiki and a Kentiki Kontiki.
It was an amazing week full of laughs, good company and awesome fishing. There were five kingfish caught across the three fishing days, understood to be a new record for the competition. Thanks to my teammates Bruce and Allen for an awesome week, as well as the Bait Lady, for holding the fort at home. My biggest thanks has to go to Mark and Anita Dancaster for all the hard work they put in to make this competition possible. Also, to Seahorse Kontiki’s, Kentiki Fishing Machines, Bullet Fishing and to Fish Harvester for your amazing sponsorship. And we can’t forget all the other sponsors who contributed, you are all amazing and without your support this competition wouldn’t have been possible, so thanks!
Mikes Salted Bait’s
07 August 2019