Just so we're up front about things, this is Chad - Hi! I do write once and a while, but leave the majority of it up to my lovely wife and her creative talents. However, this particular occasion did not involve Charity, so it's up to me to keep you in the loop....
One of the great Kiwi pasttimes would have to be fishing. Some Kiwis fish for trout in fresh-water, but largely fishing to Kiwis would be salt water - either from the beach or from a boat. I grew up fishing, both from shore and from a boat, but in pretty calm waters and relatively small fish (if any at all ;-) Since coming here I've always wanted to tackle the high seas... I just needed a boat, a rod, a reel, some bait, and even a vague idea of what to do on the open ocean!!! Enter Schneider Electric - our company buys quite a bit of gear from Schneider, so now and again they pass on a choice opportunity to a few guys from Concord (my company). In this case, Schneider hired a charter fishing boat out of Raglan to take about 10 guys out snapper fishing for the day and invited 2 lucky Concord employees to join in the fun - me and Sean. =) So Sean was able to provide the general expertise, including what bait to purchase and from where, as well as provide me with a spare rod and reel. ....NOW we're getting somewhere!
We met down at the wharf at 6:30am to get loaded up and were headed out to sea by about 7:00am.
So with a dose of SeaLegs, some lunch for later and the buzz of excitement on the boat we headed out!
Turns out that the weather so far was looking pretty good considering we kinda expected to be standing in the drizzly rain all day. There was a peek of blue sky and the wind was reasonably calm as we left the sheltered waters of Raglan harbor. We all stood and talked as we trudged on further out to sea - all of us gauging our stomachs for any signs of un-ease in the rolling swell. So far so good for me!
Our parking spot for the day was about 12 miles from shore and at a depth of approx 56m.... not quite the fishing experience I am used to! You could still see land, but if it had been a drizzly day I'm sure you wouldn't be able to see anything but water! To start the day the swell was "only" about 2m. Which basically means that there were times between big waves where you couldn't see the horizon because it was blocked by the crest of a wave. Yeah, neat. With the anchor down we were particularly prone to pitching with the waves, I'm guessing the deck was pitching from about +40 degrees to -40 degrees constantly all day. Sure makes walking around the deck a blast... and don't even get me started on trying to go to the bathroom! In the end I survived the whole day without getting seasick, which was a HUGE blessing, and there were only two guys who did have trouble finding their feet - but they still managed to pull in a few fish which was fully admirable. Here's a few shots of life on the boat:
My workmate Sean who was STOKED to come on the trip and only happy to help me out with gear and advice as the trip progressed.
Aaron, the boat's skipper, carving up a shark that was caught early on. He filleted a few of them for eating, but most of them he just cut to bits and threw them back - nuisance fish I guess....?
One of my catches of the day - Barracuda! They aren't good for anything, but they're GREAT fun to catch!!! ....and they have massive teeth!
I wish I had a better picture of one of these, but this is the best I managed - this is a Gurnard. I think this particular one is the biggest of the day. I caught 3 and two were keepers, and there were another 6-7 caught by others on the boat. They are quite prized for eating and have BEAUTIFUL fins in addition to being bright orange.
....and these guys were the target of the trip - Red Snapper! (the ones on the left....that are kinda bloody) I realized once I got back that I didn't really get a good pic of a live one, so here's a shot of the ice bin where we were loading them all in. The green/white fish on the right is a Kahawai - we kept a few (obviously) but threw back just as many or more. They are decent eating, but basically just get in the way when we're trying to catch snapper!
So here we are back at the wharf with our haul. I'm not sure what the total was, but we just took all the fish that were caught and divided them equally among the guys who came on the trip. I came home with 6 snapper and a gurnard.... which, come to find out, I had to clean myself... always an adventure. =) but I did it and it went pretty well!
The weather did start to pick up later in the day and the ride back towards the harbor was spent riding out 3+meter swells..... yeah.... fun.... =) We also got a glimpse of the maui dolphins that used to frequent the west coast of NZ, but aren't seen as often anymore. They swam right alongside the boat for a mile or so just leading us in to home.
All in all it was a GREAT day - lots of fish, not much rain, and a reasonably settled tummy!
1 year ago