There are those days when despite your better judgment, you do head out in the boat for an overnight, for. Let's call it 'market research'.
Dropping the lines on the marina I got the forecast on the way out which was for 15 knots northeast - not bad, but just looking at the sky it was showing the first signs of that ugly "they got it wrong " winter weather.
West Bay at Rakino is an excellent place to spend the night in a north-easterly wind but bugger me, by the time I got to the Motuihe Channel it was bloody ugly to the point I had to drop the speed down and use my yachting skills and tack, going somewhat abeam of the waves to get through. Even then, there was a big ugly ground swell pumping up the Rakino Channel - enough to roll the rum out of the coke!
Forced to roll along at low speed all one had to do to keep oneself amused was to watch the sounder. As we rolled along, dusk settled in - it is incredible to see what effect the change of light has on fish. Running up the eastern side of Motutapu in around 14-16 meters there were numerous smallish schools of snapper showing with a truckload of bait fish mid-water. Working out into slightly deeper water (18-22 meters) towards Rakino there were some large schools of snapper hard on the bottom feeding but with massive schools of baitfish plus a number of good kingfish all the way through the water column, bit of a shame it was just too rough to be able to have a fish.
Now to be fair, I was now reasonably grumpy having being beaten up and bashed to the point that I spilt the entire contents of rum-based medicine, and it was still too damn rough to stop for a fish! Running right up in West Bay I dropped the anchor in three meters of water around 20 meters off the rocks on the northern side of the bay. I rebuilt my rum and tossed a couple of unweighted baits in towards the rocks. Now I should know better, having spent a lifetime fishing that when the anchors down, all's safe with the world and you have a rum in one hand, that you should only fish with one rod. Sure as God made little green apples, both rods took off at the same time I was imbibing in a big slurp. The question is, do you drop the rum or risk losing a couple of rods? It was a hard call, but for the second time that day, my rum took a tumble - oh, and I dropped both fish. Now down to one rod I did a number of test casts from the rocks to abeam of the bay, every single bait got nailed by mostly small fish, but there were also some reasonable-size pannies amongst them. Now I could head off to the bunk happy.
Unfortunately, the lousy 15 knots varied all night from 20kts to 30kts, twanging the chain and lurching me around, so by dawn I was not pleased with the Met office and grumpy to boot.
However, it was a new day and was time to rock and roll. I surfaced only to find the groundswell had only increased by another fifty percent, so the thoughts and plans of nailing some fat Rakino channel snapper went out the window. The lee of Billy Goat point looked very fishable till the boat took up on the anchor and laced sideways to the ground-swell that was wrapping around the headland. Despite the fish being soft on the bite as it was the end of the tide, I did nail a couple around the 3-4 kg mark.
Given the state of the weather and the change in tide to an incoming, I pointed the bow towards the Rangitoto light, my Furuno TZ Touch showing plenty of sign as I hurried along. Unfortunately, upon arriving at a patch of reef that I thought would be sheltered, I found myself wrong again.
Not happy but now out of options I fired out a couple of baits to be rewarded with a couple of good pannies, but even I had had enough and took the long way home just to have a bit of a check on the fish life in the Rangitoto channel area. There is plenty of sign showing on the lava flows on the south-east corner and out on the flat sand we call 'the barges' so it still is looking good. But as sure as God made those little green apples, winter has given me the first kick in the rump, reminding me to listen to the weather forecast and go with my gut.