Snap happy - a big Auckland softbait red

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    Posted: 01 Nov 2021 at 12:43pm
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Amid the disruption and uncertainty affecting our lives, it was uplifting for my soul to watch the sun rise over the craggy Motuketekete island group as I rolled my little runabout off its trailer and into the flat sea. If you have fishing in your blood, these are the moments that help you achieve a sense of perspective in a world gone mad.

After a fitful night in which I finally gave up on sleep at an ungodly hour well before my alarm was due to go off, the drive north along near-deserted roads had given way to a beautiful dawn full of promise. And the day wouldn’t disappoint.

A quartet of keen kayakers – pretty sure it was Muppet and his merry band – was already prospecting near a rocky outcrop as I gave them a suitably wide berth and headed further east. There was plenty of very promising sign on the sounder as I cruised around the channel.

But after 30 minutes doing two long drifts in the light westerly, my softbait had only attracted nips and tugs from presumably small tail-pulling fish. There’s nothing more frustrating after having had such high hopes when the first cast hit the water.

I started to tick off the struggling lure fisho’s mental checklist. Was the 7” softbait  too big? Was Bruised Banana the wrong colour? Was 1/2oz too light to get down to the right zone in 20-23m?

I even wondered if I should make a move to join the ever-growing cluster of boats I could make out through the low sun’s glare at the 30m line south of Kawau Point. Were they making hay amid a frenzy of dive bombing gannets that I couldn’t quite see? Realising later you missed a good work-up within small runabout range is always a bummer.

But when a couple of the kayakers paddled over to my side of the channel it gave me the impetus to stick with the game plan and stay positive.

I was very glad I did when a little while later I saw a couple of tentative tugs on the drop, tightened quickly with a couple of fast winds, and came up solid. The fish shook its head, then took off on a blistering run that peeled a heap of line. I only managed to get in a couple of winds before the reel started screaming again. This was a serious fish, and I was pretty sure it was a snapper. I felt a burst of adrenaline hit my veins.

What followed was the most protracted battle I’ve had with a snapper. It just would not let me control it – and kept up the long powerful runs. When it did pause, I could feel every big tail beat and nasty head shake. The drift direction started to help me recover line, but also had me nervously looking sideways at an anchored boat not far away, and the rocky point behind.

Thankfully I eventually managed to get over the top of the fish, and I felt another surge of excitement as big colour finally came into view below. There was one final heart-stopping moment as the fish somehow popped up under my boat hull with a bump, and I could feel the 25lb leader scraping the FC465's chine. But mercifully, disaster was averted, I was able to ease the fish out and soon had a superb red-bronze snapper in the net.

What a fish. A big humpy foreheaded male, thick shouldered, and just longer than my 75cm Fish City measure sticker. Unfortunately, it had barotrauma and wouldn’t go back after the exhausting fight. Later it pushed the scales over 17lb – my second best snapper, and biggest from the Auckland region.

The whole fish was honoured – head and wings to a delighted Niuean friend; two huge fillets hot smoked and the sweet, succulent flesh savoured still warm, simply with fresh bread.

That one catch had made the day, but after a cuppa and bacon and egg bap over the typical low tide slowdown, I checked out several other zones nearby and picked up some smaller fish up to 55cm (on a very promising Bait Junkie ‘White Magic’ 7” softie – which looks incredible in the water).

As I cruised back to the beach, where families were playing on the sand and justifiably enjoying some normality in these crazy times, I was grateful to have had another fishing experience that will live long in the memory.

(Some photos from the day)


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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote smudge Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Nov 2021 at 12:47pm
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Nice workTTK that's a great fish & a great report.
Best gurnard fisherman in my street
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Muppet Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Nov 2021 at 2:21pm
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Very nice Lester. Was probably me you saw.
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote MB Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Nov 2021 at 2:38pm
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Excellent, well done!
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote tjm Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Nov 2021 at 2:41pm
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Nice fish and good report
Cant beat hunting and Fishing in N.Z
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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 Nov 2021 at 7:29pm
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Originally posted by Muppet Muppet wrote:

Very nice Lester. Was probably me you saw.

Yeah, over on the eastern side of the channel I could hear your accent occasionally during the banter with your mate. Didn't want to stuff up your fishing by driving over with a motor going just to say 'g'day'. Glad you had a good morning too.
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Snappa Geoff Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Nov 2021 at 7:54pm
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Nice Lester! Wish I had your writing SkillsWink Great report and photo's! liked...
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote brmbrm Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Nov 2021 at 8:19pm
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Nice one Lester
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (1) Likes(1)   Quote shaneg Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Nov 2021 at 9:37pm
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Great effort Lester, and well done on a very big fish.
Motuketekete is good place them, in 1991 I took nz record snap on under 8kg line there.
Last weekend couldn’t buy a decent bite on softbait up on north side kawau. Full marks to you.
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Telecaster Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 Nov 2021 at 8:18am
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Nice one!
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote MrWildabeast Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 Nov 2021 at 10:05am
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Awesome report fella, it is hard when you have massive hopes and expectations when you get on the water..when the conditions are mint and you're pumped, only to struggle initially. Well done for sticking with it and beautiful fish caught  👍
Here fishy..fishy....
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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: 02 Nov 2021 at 10:44am
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Originally posted by Snappa Geoff Snappa Geoff wrote:

Nice Lester! Wish I had your writing SkillsWink Great report and photo's! liked...

Thanks for the kind words, Geoff. I'd happily trade half of my story writing skill for a tenth of your ability as a huge snapper whisperer!!

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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Mr Moritz Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 Nov 2021 at 2:28pm
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Good fish Thumbs Up
If you always do, what you've always done. You will always get, what you have always got
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (1) Likes(1)   Quote Grunta Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 Nov 2021 at 2:28pm
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Cracking report Lester - thanks for sharing!
Never, never ever give up!
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (1) Likes(1)   Quote Redfinger Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 Nov 2021 at 3:04pm
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you are the man Lester - top effort

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Post Options Post Options   Likes (1) Likes(1)   Quote FISHBYFLY Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 Nov 2021 at 3:25pm
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That was just the best trip reportThumbs Up ,
Well Done,
and thanks for sharing!
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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: 03 Nov 2021 at 11:57am
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Thanks FBF (look forward to seeing you up there again one day!), and to everyone else for the encouraging comments. I really appreciate you taking the time to 'like' or post a reply.  

I get a lot of enjoyment from the Forum, and from contributing to it.
And I print my trip reports as something I can look back on fondly in the years to come.
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote dock Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Nov 2021 at 1:24am
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nice catching and writing .
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Zambezi Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Nov 2021 at 9:59am
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That's an awesome report, well done on the catch!
A man’s comfort in life can be measured by the quality of the toilet paper he uses to wipe his arse.
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