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A few more boxes ticked in the far north

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    Posted: 24 Jan 2021 at 5:43pm
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Another sick mission to the Far North the weekend gone, this time on my mate Craig's good ship Duel Choice!

After the long haul north and absence of sleep we launched at Houhora around 4 am. We spent about an hour in the harbour netting Piper and talking about the game plan. Eventually we steamed out with the aim of jigging a pin we had been told of at first light.

We wasted a bit of time looking for a pin that didn't exist unfortunately.... We did stumble across Skipjack Tuna and birds working in closer to shore however, and Craig managed to nail a 17 pound Snapper on a Kingy jig, and a then a big Skippy on the light gear.

We eventually carried on and dropped the pick at a Kingfish spot mid morning which I've always dreamed of fishing. We caught a tank full of primo sized Kahawai easily, and soon had them putting out those good vibes.

My bait soon had white water frothing around it, but the Kingfish managed to pinch the bait without even popping the balloon off...

Craig was next to get another epic surface bite, striking hard and loading up big time! It was a good tug of war in the shallow water, with both Craig and the Kingfish giving 110%. Craig won the battle and a 20 kg Kingfish graced the deck. The Kingfish had swallowed the hook so was dispatched into the icey coffin. Good start!

My bait began getting hammered by another Kingfish soon after, another angry surface bite. I let the fish eat the bait then struck hard, coming up solid and the reel began losing line. I went hard on the fish and after a epic scrap a solid Kingfish came into sight. We slid the fish into the boat and got some pics and a length. It was likely a new PB off my own/mates boats, estimated at 24 kg and going 1190 mm. The fish was hooked in the corner of the mouth so was released in good nick. Stoked!

We soaked livebaits for a few more hours, but despite the good tidal flow and masses of Kahawai around the boat we didn't get anymore hits. Luckily we had caught the end of the bite time and got a nice one each...

We were feeling pretty worse for wear by now, so we hatched a plan to go for a lazy softbait. We figured deeper water would be the go in the bright conditions, so we cruised back along the coast in search of somewhere fishy. It didn't take long to stumble across a few birds working the surface, with random fish splashes in amongst them. We placed a few casts here and the fish were present, getting a few taps on our baits initially. I had a good look in my tackle box and decided I would lob out a pink softbait for a change. First cast of this bait was made and the bait just touched down. A slight twitch was made and something showed interest. The interest soon turned into line screaming off the little reel and heaps of big tail beats and weight. After a drawn out scrap on the 10 pound braid a big red shape slowly appeared from the depths. We landed the fish which was an extremely chunky but short model. The fish was lifeless unfortunately so was dispatched, measured and weighed. The fish actually ended up being 20.2 pounds and was only 76 cm long! Bloody stoked as this was my first 20 pounder using softbait and always a bit of a goal!

We continued lobbing softbaits around and managed a few more nice fish, including me nabbing another very scrappy 12 pounder. The bite seemed to die off once again, so the call was made to head around to our anchorage area to clean the boat up, have a feed, have a swim, and prep for the arvo strayline session.

We arrived at the spot and dropped the pick, setting about our duties of cleaning and cooking, then having a much needed swim!

We almost felt Human again, and just as we started prepping for our next fishing session I looked up to see a Shark cruising out the back of the boat. It looked like a half decent sized Bronze Whaler. The Shark came in for a closer look and to our surprise it was actually a Great White! How bloody cool, but a little unsettling that we were swimming there less than an hour before... The Shark was friendly as and came in for another few looks, eventually snatching the Kahawai off the rope that Craig had fed to it. We were buzzing! Of all the places we have been we had both never seen a Great White till now. It was probably only around 2.5 - 3 meters long but the thing was solid as!

After all the excitement we eventually went about lobbing big baits out the back of the boat. The next couple hours were carnage! We caught heaps of real nice Snapper in the shallow water, with Craig nailing the best one at 15 pound, and he got another 5 around the 10 pound mark. Baits were only lasting seconds at times.... I landed a half headed Snapper and a Unicorn Snapper in amongst the action as you can see in the pics 😂 We fished right through till dark before eventually calling it a day. A long day at that!

We treated ourselves to a sleep in till 7 the next morning, well needed and deserved!

We trolled lures back to Houhora along the 80 - 120 meter contours in hope of a gamefish, but was quiet on that front today.

So that sums up another massive mission to the far north. Was a productive and exciting trip, leaving so much unfinished business to address next time! We will be searching for that trophy Kingfish and packing the dive gear next trip.

It also sums up an epic month for me, landing my first gamefish, being two Yellowfin Tuna solo and off my own boat, landing my first Marlin and off my own boat, catching my biggest Crayfish, landing my biggest Kingfish (not including charter boats), and nailing my first 20 pound Snapper using softbait.

Cheers
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Keith C Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Jan 2021 at 7:39pm
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Great read once again thank you.

Your month has been epic and very good to follow from afar. Well done!
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Transformations Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Jan 2021 at 8:19pm
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Great pics there Johnny, well done on your PB and once again sharing.

We don't know what we don't need till we've got it
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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: 24 Jan 2021 at 8:44pm
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As the old saying goes, you don't need to be the fastest swimmer, just faster than your mate!
That great white would have been exhilarating to see (from a boat 
- not so much next time when you're down getting a feed with your spear!).

Another awesome trip, great report and pics. My mission is to get a softbait 20, congrats to nailing it. I've heard that Far North reds are very chunky for their length, so I'll be weighing anything over 75cm just in case!
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Grunta Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Jan 2021 at 9:01pm
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Another cracking report and many thanks for sharing Johnny - a big 'like' from me!
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Snappa Geoff Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Jan 2021 at 6:47am
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Another great read Johnny! Top fish'n & photo'sBeer
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Johnny Watson Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Jan 2021 at 1:34pm
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Thanks guys. Didn't manage to get out this weekend and the coming weekend looks busy and windy too... Already hanging out for the next adventure!
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Ecko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Jan 2021 at 2:11pm
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Great write up and fishing
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Fishb8 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Jan 2021 at 5:01pm
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Originally posted by Grunta Grunta wrote:

Another cracking report and many thanks for sharing Johnny - a big 'like' from me!
x 2👍
Be yourself; everyone else is already taken
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote krow Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Jan 2021 at 8:47pm
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Epic again cheers for sharing now we're all jealous. Smile (Liked but looks like I was the first to do that though) 
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Johnny Watson Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Jan 2021 at 9:04pm
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Cheers guys. People talking about another lockdown is getting me a tad nervous... Trying not to think about it in depth as it's early days. Would be some very sad fishermen around given the opportunities we have at present!
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