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Kawau gives up another softbait PB

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    Posted: 19 May 2019 at 8:01pm
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What is it that keeps us rolling out of bed in what seems like the middle of the night after a fitful sleep, hooking up the trailer with bleary eyes, and heading along near-deserted roads with mainly security guards, taxi drivers and long-distance truckers for company?

For me, it's become a quest for that big one that hits my soft bait like a runaway train and heads for the horizon. It's only happened to me a handful of times so far in my soft bait career, so Saturday's weather window was a good chance to learn more about the Kawau North Channel fishery, and try to tangle with a big fish.

A beach launch into surprisingly warm water had me out in the target zone not too long after dawn, but the 18-20m areas of North Channel seemed devoid of fish sign. I gave it a crack for quite a while, but only tentative nibbles followed.

Plan B was to head for shallower areas of the nearby coast, but I rued not having tried those first. I felt like I'd done things the wrong way around.
After numerous casts and drifts I finally had a hit in about 17m over some reefy bottom. After a scorching run the hook pulled for some reason [curse word].

A big kahawai and a nice-sized trevally provided some welcome excitement and hit the chilly bin. Both had grabbed the 5" Z man Midnight Oil curly tail hard. 

But two lost rigs on hard snags - even with only 3/8oz jighead - saw me take an enforced break to re-tie my FGs and traces. The anchored bait fishos I drifted past didn't look to be doing much good either, moving spots and no bent rods visible. It just seemed one of those days where conditions appeared ideal - with light winds and partially overcast skies - but the fish had their own ideas.

As low tide approached, I thought I'd done my dash. But I kept at it, and just after noon a smashing take and searing run on the drop woke me up. This one stuck, and it had the unmistakable power and head shakes of a decent snapper. A few nasty twangs on the line gave me some stressful moments as the fish twisted and turned.
But eventually i saw colour in the crystal water and it was a beaut. 

Safely on board, it measured 69cm - a new softbait PB by 1cm. It was a thick fish with the bronze colour of a reef dweller.
It had inhaled the curly tail and I think that without the Mustad Fastach clip it might have bitten through the leader.

I lent over the side and supported it while it regained strength. Watching its big tail beats as it swim down to its home was a great feeling.

It was home time and Kawau Bay had turned mirror calm. As on my previous trip, Iris Shoal was the scene of a persistent kahawai work up so I throttled back to enjoy a few minutes' excellent fun with decent-sized kahawai on a little Z Man 3.75" anchovy colour Streakz. That area seems to be a death trap for anchovies - maybe the shoal's shallow flat zone makes it easy for the kahawai to trap bait fish and keep herding them?

During the trip it had been wonderful to see a number of pairs of korora (little blue penguins) bobbing and calling, and also be able to hear the native bird song amid bush on the Tawharanui Peninsula while drifting in North Channel.

The trev and kahawai provided delicious fresh sashimi and kokoda (ceviche) for dinner.

What a great part of the world we live in.



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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Muppet Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 May 2019 at 8:10pm
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Very nice Lester
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote cirrus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 May 2019 at 9:35pm
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Always great to do a new thing. New waters ,new horizons,new fish,new images and a new perspective.
And what a great snapper. And Kahawai and trevelly. Who could not be happy with that.
So much to see ,hear and experience out there. Its not our world, never will be, but one we can visit and enjoy for a brief time,but then must always leave, and return again at some future time .
The sight of blue penguins,the chimes of bird song echoing across still waters ,all part of a great day fishing.

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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Snappa Geoff Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 May 2019 at 9:55pm
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Great Softbaiting Lester! Congrats on PB. Thumbs Up
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote MightyBoosh Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 May 2019 at 10:50pm
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Another good effort and trip report.


World's most boring jetski "pilot".
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Far Quirk Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 May 2019 at 5:06pm
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Congrats Lester,  nice fish, and well done for letting it go.  My "policy" is to release anything over 65cms, but it's a long time since I've had to carry that policy out :(  Still, I release a lot of fish tho.
Far Quirk - I'm goin' fishn!
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote FISHBYFLY Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 May 2019 at 5:40pm
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Beautiful fish
well done Lester!
Killing it with persistence!
 
love those windless autumn days
By Fly, Nothing Else,Just Fly
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Lowbox Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 May 2019 at 6:05pm
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Nice work - perseverance pays off!
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote 700 LTR Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 May 2019 at 7:26pm
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Yet another awesome report Lester!
What’s that rod you’re using?
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote The Tamure Kid Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 May 2019 at 9:14pm
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Originally posted by Far Quirk Far Quirk wrote:

Congrats Lester,  nice fish, and well done for letting it go.  My "policy" is to release anything over 65cms, but it's a long time since I've had to carry that policy out :(  Still, I release a lot of fish tho.

Ha, Geoff. I haven't caught enough of that size to develop a policy! Doesn't policy these days require a highly paid working group, followed by a select committee? Big smile
But seriously, I kept a big bait caught snapper years ago - what seemed like a behemoth at 8+kg - because it was bleeding from the gills after a bruising battle off the rocks. Now I'm thinking I'll let the high 60s ones go so that I can maybe hook them when they are high 70s...
I did think 'Wow, wait until the boys see this!' [imagining the boys seeing the tail poking out of the chilly bin, cue immediate hero worship] for a few seconds, but in reality the little fellas are just as excited with smaller fish to touch, pick up and "help" me fillet.
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote The Tamure Kid Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 May 2019 at 9:15pm
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Thanks everyone for the positive comments. I enjoy doing up the reports and get a lot out of your own posts.
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote The Tamure Kid Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 May 2019 at 9:34pm
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Originally posted by 700 LTR 700 LTR wrote:

Yet another awesome report Lester!
What’s that rod you’re using?

Thanks mate. That rod is a Daiwa TD Black Slugger. Someone recommended its predecessor (Generation Black Slugger) in that thread a while ago in the softbait forum about rods. Really nice rod at the heavier end of the softbait spectrum.  I got mine off an Australian site for nearly half what they go for here.
It's 8', Fuji K guides, casts a mile - particularly 1/2oz+, but fine with 3/8oz - and I really like the handle/grips and the long butt section. Surprisingly light, but plenty of power for bigger trevs, snaps, etc.

Like when I was regularly fly fishing, I prefer a longer, stiffer rod than some others do for softbaiting. Just seems to suit my height, and it's ideal in areas where i'm hoping for a bigger fish.
I pair it with a Stradic 4000FK. Nothing fancy, but a really nice combo. 
I always take two rods so that if something goes wrong with one, I bust off, or I want to have two quite different softbait styles on, I can grab the other and keep fishing immediately. I had my old OA Microwave (version 1) with me too, rigged with a 5" Atomic Sunrise. But the Curly Tailz out-fished it. 

When out in the Tamaki Strait fishing for pannies I use my Daiwa Gen Black Supercasta, which is a little bit shorter and lighter.
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