Kayak Fishing trip report Stanmore Bay 27 Jan
Thanks to the grandparents looking after the kids I had a rare opportunity to get out on the water at dawn to fish a local reef that usually produces well at change of light on dusk. I rigged up the Viking Profish Reload the night before leaving it sitting on the C-Tug trolley ready & waiting for a short walk to the beach at 6am. Such a great time to be on the water, little to no wind, no noise but for the sound of the paddle in the water and the best way to see a sunrise! As usual I trolled a hard body lure (lively lure blue pillie) over the shallows on the way to one of my spots, no takers this time but started to see some good sign on the Lowrance Elite 5HDI.
Find the birds, Find the fish
After pulling in the lure and setting my drift over the reef I had just got my first bait in the water when over my shoulder about 1km away a work up had started. What to do, stay with the known reef or take off after the birds?The voice in my head saying “Find the birds find the fish” won out so I headed off after them, as they were out to sea and moving further away with the offshore wind picking up I probably would not have considered chasing them if I was in the Profish 400 but as the Reload is significantly quicker I never gave it a 2nd thought.
Once among the birds the sounder came alive with action and fish right through the water column, using mullet I was getting a fish on every bait but all were small. The birds stopped diving and the action shut down so I headed off out deeper to see if I could locate the schools on my sounder and pick up a bigger fish among them. At the 10 meter mark I found a small amount of sign so set my drift again and sure enough first bait down and off into the distance about 2kms away the birds were going nuts and looked to be circulating one spot….you got it, off we go again!
This time the bird were thick and seemed to be staying in the same spot, once I got among the work up I could see the Kahawai breaking the surface and some of good size. The Lowrance was alive with action and it was not long before I had a couple of snapper and a Kahawai in the Chill pod… all the while the birds were still working in the area, as I was baiting up for another drift (the offshore had increased to 15knts so each drift was fast ) a large shape swam right up to my sea anchor then circle me, it was a Bronze whaler about 3.5m, and it was not alone! I saw at least 4 of them all hanging out among the work up and checking me out from time to time.
The fishing was too good to be too worried about them other than to be aware (and keep all limbs firmly inside the kayak!), so I headed back the center of the work up and dropped another bait, off it went at a hell of a rate.. You got it Shark on! My braid a screaming off the Okuma Citrix, the shark appear to have taken just a small piece of mullet on a 4/0 PFK Target hook, 30lb mono trace tied to 20lb braid on my Abu rod (6yrs old) with Okuma Citrix reel.
Mike from Top Catch Whangarei set me up with the Okuma telling me it was a very good reel and matched it with the 20lb braid, this combo has landed him a 20lb snapper or 2. Up till now I have not tested it on anything more than panny snapper so had no idea what to expect and as my braid peeled off I though no chance! So I wound the drag up a far as I could half expecting it to bust off..but it held and I was off on a slay ride! This went on for about 40 mins and every now and then another shark of about 3.5m would surface, take a look at me then swim off.
With forearms burning and the shark appearing to be exhausted too I saw my trace for the first time then a flash of a big fish under the kayak, est it to have been 3.5m as it was more than 2/3 the length of the Profish reload which is 4.5m…at this point I was satisfied not to have lost all my braid so after a couple of pics and a random attempt at some video (see below, was not entirely comfortable putting my hand in the water to film it) ,,I prepared to cut the line…then I noticed the hook was actually caught on its side fin..that would explain why it did not just bite though my leader…then with one swift wave its tail the line peeled off again but this time snapped where it joined the braid (my arms were pleased!).
The good news was that the birds were still working and very close, I had a little more bait and the sounder was still alive with action on the edges of the work up.. so as every good hunter gatherer does I set a couple of drifts and landed 2 more snapper, thankfully the sharks left them alone as I hauled them out faster than you can blink. The sharks were still about, occasionally coming to the surface for a look at me, the wind had increased and I was now closer to Hatfield’s beach than were I launched at Stanmore bay so it was time to slog it out into the head wind home which took me a little more than 1hr but felt like 5hrs!
Learnings from this session –
- Okuma is everything Mike said it would be
- be prepared to change tactics to suit the environment ,
- the Profish Reload stability was without question through-out thseveraluns from this shark