check out the great video report for this session at the end of the review
In this session I am up in the Northland region on a sales trip for Barracuda kayaks, with my evenings free I stop in to see good friend and owner of Kayak Pro, Shamus…as always his store was a buzz with activity even after hours and good timing saw me drop in at a time when he was hatching a fishing trip plan for the morning with a couple of his customer and friends. A luck would also have I brought all my fishing gear along just in case such an opportunity arose…well actually I was going fishing on my own but could not pass up the chance to fish with these guys and share in the local knowledge (Shamus and his crew are out more often than not so really have the finger on the action in the region, and when Shamus has to man the shop his “mates” are happy to go out and report back after a successful trip ;-)..note : this session was in November 2011 its just taken me this long to report on it..
Trip plan : 4.30am meet at Kayak Pro shop, then drive 40mins south to Waipu Cove, set off from the estuary out through the bar and be on the snapper grounds at bite time (sun up) … a flat calm day meant no hassles through the bar but the fast outgoing tide meant we would be fishing the bottom of the tide, not the most productive, plus the water really empties out of this estuary and I could see a long walk through shallow water for the trip back to the cars.
My objective on this trip was to start my first of many trial s using the Z-Man scented jerk shad lures side by side with some bait (on this occasion mullet fillets) ..as a primarily bait fisherman I am just now going through the motions of testing this “plastic is better” minds set that so many of my friends have adopted ( with good reason from some of their reports) …to date I have not really had the right set up to trial soft plastics with efficiency, but after some great advise from Top Catch expert Joe Dennehy (and a few $$) later I am set up with a good soft plastic rod and reel combo, combined with some Zman lures and TT Jigs heads…no excuses now.
After getting to the snapper grounds, I shadowed Shamus for a bit while he located the fish on his fish finder (my new Garmin 300 was still in its box back in Auckland) …we fished a few schools with not much luck until after an hour or so I found some action using the mullet…mostly small fish hooked up or took my bait. Around the same spot I flicked out the Z-man lures trialling a few different colours until finally a hook up…the only keeper of the day and guess what. The other rod with bait was down at the time and a fish just hooked up! I was using a target hook from Pauls Fishing kits for this rig so could leave it while I sorted the fish on the plastics rod safe in the knowledge it was not getting off. That fish was not a keeper in the end anyway
After that the action pretty much died except for a large squid that took a fancy to my mullet bait, after a couple of unsuccessful attempts to net it close the kayak, it was not hooked just holding my bait but did not go far from view after dropping the bait at the side of the kayak so I was able to drop the bait back down where it grabbed it again for the 3rd time and this time close enough for me to net it… this was my first ever squid caught on a rod (well using a rod anyway) and I was looking forward to getting it home and into the frying pan… the guys tell me this spot usually fires, should have been here yesterday!, I say next time we try for an incoming tide…that said one of them caught a good fish judging by all the whooping I heard while heading back, never did find out though
With work to do that was it for me and also Shamus who needed to get back to the shop so we left the others to it and headed back, sure enough tide was all but gone which left just enough water to float the kayaks back up the estuary…my Hydraulics Ocean Pro PFD is fitted with a tow system which made this long walk a lot more enjoyable. One good thing from the low tide was the exposed mussels on the rock wall at the entrance to the mouth, to add to my feast of fresh snapper & Squid, I collected a dozen fresh mussels… not bad for a morning paddle before work !.
My score for the baits vs. Z-Man on this session
Bait = 1 x Squid & 3 times snapper (all too small to keep)
Z-Man = 1 x snapper
IF you are ever in the Northland region looking for some advice on where to fish I recommend stopping in to see Shamus at Kayak Pro, if he does not know what’s firing at the time he will make a call to someone who does. And may even shut the shop to join you. Contact details here
26 Port Road, Whangarei, Phone Shamus 027 287 7477 anytime, Open 7 Days, Ph (09) 974 8708
Check out the great video from this session