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Far North mission - the 20lb club, at last...

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    Posted: 29 Jul 2021 at 9:19pm
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Titanium
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[This is a belated trip report from my early winter mission to the Far North. As a courtesy to Grant and the team, I waited until my full 'Readers story' submission ran in August's NZ Fishing News, which is out now]

I stood shaking with adrenaline as my first '20 pounder' emerged from the clear blue depths off the remote Far North coast after a hell of a fight featuring searing runs and vicious head shakes - a big garish Z Man Doormatadorz grub in its jaw hinge. I might have said something like "Holy sh*t!".

My mate Chris and I were astounded by the big fish's size, as we cautiously netted it, measured it (81cm, 21lb for the record) and I held it up for some photos. After years and years of trying, I'd finally secured my membership to what's recognised by most snapper fishos as the big snapper club! 

For plenty of Forum members, tamure that size are relatively common, so they will wonder what the fuss is about. Others say an obsession with big fish means you're still an immature angler. But I would rather experience the buzz of a tough battle with one donkey, and release it, than hook lots of pannies that don't trouble the drag. In any case I think most would admit it's easier to take a moral position on hunting large specimens once you've actually landed a few! For a variety of reasons, I'd never been blessed with a monster snapper, and sometimes wondered if I ever would.
So with that achieved at long last, I plonked down in the skipper's seat of my little FC465 runabout to sip on some hot tea and reflect on achieving a dream. 

We had one '5 knot variables' window during a week-long trip that we could safely do the long journey up the isolated coast north of Houhora in my little tinny to the home of the giants. The rest of the trip was blustery early winter weather, including two days too stormy to launch. 

Making the most of the glass out conditions, we had a superb day of fishing, landing six stunning fish over 65cm on soft baits - all but one released (barotrauma, I think). The Doormatadorz in Atomic Sunrise and Nuked Chicken, and a 7" Coconut Ice did the damage for me, while Chris - who is in his first season fishing soft baits - showed his burgeoning skills by nailing two PBs in a row on Z Man 7" Nuked Pilchards.

As usual, on the stronger wind days the harbour and Rangaunu Bay produced great fishing. Even in gusting 20+kts, the narrow parts of the harbour are safe if you're sensible in a small boat. I found the Gulp Squid Vicious a weapon over the sand, along with my favourite 5" Z Man Midnight Oil grub. We landed some lovely trevally which are a signature catch in the area, and hard fighting snapper to 60cm in 9-15m. Over reefy ground up the coast I also landed two new soft bait species for me - grand-daddy hapuku, and pig fish. The windy harbour conditions made any top water effort for kingies very tricky, so no luck there.

As on my past two trips, we had an unforgettable encounter with dolphins, which carved in our (slow) bow wave, and saw plenty of korora (little blue penguins). We also saw a lone majestic albatross sweeping over the oceanic swells, and a free-jumping albacore.

As we packed up to drive home, a monster easterly swell arrived to pummel the coast, so we were thankful the weather gods had blessed us with one pearler of a day. Tangaroa had also rewarded our efforts with fishing of a lifetime to look back on. 

It's such an addictive place, and I'll look forward to my next chance to tangle with the giants of the Far North.








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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote shaneg Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Jul 2021 at 9:49pm
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Congrats fella, fine fish, and a very epic trip.
Boat looks great as well.
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Telecaster Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Jul 2021 at 9:57pm
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Well done mate, sounds like a great trip.
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Muppet Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Jul 2021 at 9:59pm
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Well done Lester 👍
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Reel Deal Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Jul 2021 at 10:14pm
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Great report and photos. The boat looks handy indeed and measured up well with a good plan for a PB., awesome !!!

Impressive on the softbait, must be the best way to land such a fish. Top shelf bruv!
The gods do not subtract from the allotted span of men's lives the hours spent on fishing - Assyrian Proverb
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote lingee Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Jul 2021 at 7:08am
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nice one well done.Smile
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote kaveman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Jul 2021 at 7:24am
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Great TR Lester, a magical place to fish. will be back up there for sure very soon and congrats joining the "club"
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote kitno Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Jul 2021 at 7:26am
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Well done Lester, far north magic right there. Congrats on making the club

Top 10 finish
2022 Grunter Hunter.
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Sufishent Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Jul 2021 at 8:01am
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Well done Lester - great achievement and great report
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote MB Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Jul 2021 at 10:29am
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Congratulations! 
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (2) Likes(2)   Quote Snappa Geoff Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Jul 2021 at 2:03pm
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If anyone deserves there first 20lb da, its you Lester! Congrats. Years of regular softbaiting catch reports no matter how big the fish are, honing your skills have finally paid off.ClapBeer
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Far Quirk Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 Jul 2021 at 12:07pm
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Congratulations Lester.  I know that adrenaline feeling, but not the 20lb magic mark.  Great trip report and photos, and admire your writing skill.
Far Quirk - I'm goin' fishn!
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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: 01 Aug 2021 at 8:35am
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Originally posted by Snappa Geoff Snappa Geoff wrote:

If anyone deserves there first 20lb da, its you Lester! Congrats. Years of regular softbaiting catch reports no matter how big the fish are, honing your skills have finally paid off.ClapBeer

Well, coming from Mr Monster Snapper himself, that mean's a lot Geoff! I appreciate your kind comment, and those from all the others who took the time to post a reply.

It's not easy to match Catch of the Day with 'likes' without a pic of a bikini-clad mermaid in sight! LOL

I enjoy being an active part of the Forum, and appreciate the efforts of all other members who post reports to keep it going.
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