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PB Crayfish and first Marlin

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Post Options Post Options   Likes (9) Likes(9)   Quote Johnny Watson Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: PB Crayfish and first Marlin
    Posted: 10 Jan 2021 at 1:51pm
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A trip report for the start of 2021. Drove down to Kuaotunu last minute to hang out with some good mates for new years eve. Had a good night and got pretty smashed ... Drove back to Auckland the next day after a much needed swim at the stunning Opito Bay. I got home early arvo and checked the weather forecasts, seeing a big high sitting over the top of the north island. It didn't take long to amp myself up for another trip to the top of the island, and I was soon packing a ****load of gear into the car and boat!!!

I left Auckland at midnight and made it to Houhora before 5am, quickly organizing and launching the boat in glamorous conditions.

I steamed on up to North Cape and had a quick stickbait around some structure on arrival. I had a few follows and had one solid Kingfish get airborne over my lure, but nothing was landed here. I headed out and soon put the lures in the water around the 300 meter mark. Never seen so many Sunfish before as I made my way to the 1000 meter mark and back, seeing at least 60 of these strange creatures on the surface. Was slow going out there all in all, and I pulled the pin to go for a freedive around lunchtime.

Suited up and jumped in at a new area i hadn't swam last time. I soon chanced across a massive Packhorse Crayfish, being well out of its hole and feeding on a piece of fish. I swam down and nailed it, and after a epic battle and crushed hands I had it secured. What a whopper!! I went back down to look at what it had been eating, and it actually looked like the pectoral fin of a large Shark and had been shredded..... I tried not to think too hard about the why and what if's lol!

Didn't see too much more there so did a small move. I soon came across another solid Packhorse Crayfish at the new spot, securing that too. Again there were not alot around here, so moved to the area I had freedived the trip prior. I managed two good eating sized Packhorse Crayfish here, before hopping out and gearing up for a Snapper fish.

It wasn't long before big baits were getting smashed and reels were screaming, and I managed plenty of Snapper around the 4-5 kg mark, releasing the biggest going 77 cm. The fish were still eating well into the dark, so I fished till about 10 pm.... I laid down to sleep under the stars around midnight, this time treated to the luxury of a makeshift tarpaulin cover.

I woke at 4:45 am the next morning and made my way out to try for livebaits. That was hard work and I couldn't snag any... I tried stickbaiting around the huge schools of Koheru that were present, only having a single follow that didn't bite. I felt the urge to get back in the water, so suited up and jumped in at another new spot. I stumbled across a nice 5 kg Snapper sleeping in a large shaded gut, and that was soon hanging off my floatline. Didn't see any Crayfish here.

I moved spot to yet another location, and the terrain looked more suitable straight away. I managed another whopper of a Packhorse Crayfish here, and another solid one that was not far away. I had 6 Crayfish by now and it was time to make the journey back to Houhora before the afternoon sea breeze arrived.

I unpacked the boat into the car and checked the forecast for the Tutukaka area. It looked mint out there the next day, so I was soon making my way there! I arrived in the evening, and watched Mullet jumping in the bay as the sun went down and as I reflected over a few cold ones. I actually managed a few hours of kip in the car.

I woke at 3:45 am and set out 50 km offshore to where I had caught the Yellowfin Tuna a couple weeks back. The gear was deployed early, but it was quiet out here today, and everywhere else I went out wide. I started trolling back towards land into shallower water, getting back into 165 meters, telling myself I was ready to pull the gear in and call it a day at the approaching 150 meter mark. I had conceded that today was not my day. I was startled by the sound of one of my reels losing a bit of line, but turned to see nothing had changed in the spread. Skipjack Tuna I thought? About 10 seconds later the tell tale dorsal fin of a Marlin appeared, darting frantically behind one of my smaller lures on the short corner, which was only set 10-15 meters behind the boat. It had a crack at the lure and pulled a meter or so of line from the reel before dropping it and slipping out of sight.... Another 10 seconds later it was back behind the lure and having another crack at it, pulling a few meters of line off before letting go again.... I figured that it must have felt the hook this time and I had missed my shot. Luckily another 10 or 20 seconds later it came up again, and this time it ate the lure good and proper. I was on!!! I set about clearing the gear in a calm manner as the fish got airborne out the back of the boat, but that soon turned to chaos as my reel began to spew line out at a rate I had never witnessed! I didn't even have time to get another lure out the water before I had almost lost my whole spool of line, and I had to sunset the drag and clamp my thumb on the spool to stop the last 10 or 20 meters of line from being taken.... The boat was still travelling forward and the rod in the baitboard with the Shotgun lure was now right in the way, with my line "bent" around that rod and that rod was leashed in. I somehow held onto the fish and the last small amount of line without breaking the line or rod, and managed to angle the boat towards the fish and start getting some much needed line back on the reel! The fish was well behaved for most of the fight, and I had it at the boat in about 20 minutes. I leadered the fish and soon had its bill in my hand, taking in all of its beauty. What a stunning creature with unreal big blue eyes!! It wasn't a monster but was in great condition, estimated at 80 kg or so. I swam her next to the boat for a minute or two, before letting her go, watching as her balance came back straight away and she glided into the depths of the blue water. I had done it! What a feeling, what a buzz! Super stoked and so rewarding doing it solo on my own little tinny.

So there you have it, another massive trip done and dusted, with new personal best Crayfish caught, and my first Marlin caught and released. The biggest Crayfish went 8 pound 4 ounces, followed by 8 pound 2 ounces. Another couple were around the 7 pound mark.

Pretty good start to the year πŸ˜€
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Grunta Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Jan 2021 at 2:15pm
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Great report - congrats on your marlin, awesome pics and thanks for sharing!
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote churbay Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Jan 2021 at 3:49pm
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Epic!!
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Snappa Geoff Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Jan 2021 at 4:14pm
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Another great Read Johnny! You sound just like me LOL real passionate about Fishing. Congrats on the PB's.Beer
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote shaneg Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Jan 2021 at 5:58pm
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Congrats on first marlin Jonny.
What size reel did it almost spool you on?
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote smudge Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Jan 2021 at 7:25pm
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That is a very cool report JW! Well done
Best gurnard fisherman in my street
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote yknot Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Jan 2021 at 8:36pm
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Great read, out there doing it.
Those that say it can't be done are being overtaken by those doing it.
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Steps Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Jan 2021 at 7:53am
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Great report,Thumbs Up great trip Thumbs Up
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote pjc Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Jan 2021 at 8:27am
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Top marks again.Thumbs Up
Sex at 58.Lucky I live at 56
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Fishb8 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Jan 2021 at 1:28pm
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Great trip and great report as well as great catching πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (1) Likes(1)   Quote Sufishent Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Jan 2021 at 3:02pm
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What an absolutely fantastic read - almost too good to be true but the pics add the icing to an extremely fantastic report.
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Transformations Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Jan 2021 at 4:54pm
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Adventure, dedication, getting it done, then sharing your story.... modern day Zane Grey. Thanks for including us JWπŸ‘πŸ‘

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Post Options Post Options   Likes (1) Likes(1)   Quote Johnny Watson Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Jan 2021 at 6:20pm
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Thanks guys the positive feedback is much appreciated. Have followed this site for years and I guess we all need to chip in to keep it active.

Was a TLD 50 loaded with 37 kg Shane. Of course it didn't take the new Talica 50 setups lol. Will back it with braid after this season.

Tight lines fellas πŸ€™
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote krow Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Jan 2021 at 8:34pm
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Yet another top effort and even better results. Congrats. Going to be hard to beat those last couple of trips. Very well done and if you're anything like me your feet won't touch the ground for as couple of days after that first Marlin. Do you have a tag pole? 
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Fish Addict Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Jan 2021 at 10:49pm
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Top stuff.  As others have said great effort, write up and pics.  Thumbs Up
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote shaneg Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Jan 2021 at 8:29pm
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Originally posted by Johnny Watson Johnny Watson wrote:

Thanks guys the positive feedback is much appreciated. Have followed this site for years and I guess we all need to chip in to keep it active.

Was a TLD 50 loaded with 37 kg Shane. Of course it didn't take the new Talica 50 setups lol. Will back it with braid after this season.

Tight lines fellas πŸ€™
Good thinking, soon you will be on a bigger stripey or blue. Reel is capable but will probably need more capacity. Suggest Pe 6-8 braid and an fg knot to some of that 37 kg nylon or if feeling sporting/ lucky some  24 kg. Recommendation probably 37kg.  Personally top it with 37 kg if want to catch more fish and release quick, and easier wear if using riggers with 37kg with bands. Go at least 550m of braid.
Like your style but don’t lose a big fish through under preparation. Great fishing so far fella.
Having said above we’ve caught a few striped marlin on straight 24kg on tld 50s. But been spooled on a blue that took one, got to wonder. And few of those stripees took load of line.
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Johnny Watson Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Jan 2021 at 9:30pm
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Cheers Fish Addict, appreciate the feedback πŸ‘Œ
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Johnny Watson Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Jan 2021 at 9:34pm
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Good call Shane.

Just brought the last two 600 meter spools of Tasline 80 pound braid from Marine deals today πŸ˜‚

Will load the TLD 50's with that and a 100-200 meter topshot of 37 kg Momoi I already have.

The Talica 50's have 600 meters of 100 pound braid and topshots.

Will hopefully be able to clear gear and chase the fish down if I'm fortunate enough to hook another bigger one.

Cheers
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Far Quirk Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Jan 2021 at 9:19am
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Awesome report.  Your stamina and ability to function without sleep are legend.  Did I mention balls of steel?
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Johnny Watson Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Jan 2021 at 1:22pm
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Originally posted by Far Quirk Far Quirk wrote:

Awesome report.Β  Your stamina and ability to function without sleep are legend.Β  Did I mention balls of steel?


I must admit my fishing and diving stamina is on point as of late, not so much at work right now....

That trip is honestly quite straight forward mate, almost no guts at all required. Just a bit of planning, mint weather, and just commit to the trip and you are good to go. Too easy to talk yourself out of a trip like that when you think about all the reasons you shouldn't do it.

Might be going there again this weekend but on a mates hardtop. Will try different areas and techniques and probably won't have time to dive unfortunately. Will be another few sleep deprived days if we make it!

Cheers
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