By all accounts February has been a pretty good month within New Zealand game fishing circles with several mind blowing captures around the country in particular. The fishing has not been the only thing of steady improvement during February, the weather also was more than acceptable with long periods of variable winds which were a stark improvement from the blustery conditions we encountered during January.
We’ve had ‘Arenui’ located in Whangaroa Marina since early Feb and we’ve focussed just about all our energies fishing the Three Kings Islands with some good results overall. Probably our highlight of the past month has been releasing an estimated 800lb Blue Marlin for American angler Neil Peterson on just 50lb stand-up tackle. The fish would have well and truly given the New Zealand record a good nudge, but to Neil’s credit he had decided quite early in the fight that he preferred to let it go to fight another day. With the fish doing head high jumps on the leader after 4 hours there certainly wasn’t an issue regarding its health upon letting her go either… all good fun and a great fish.
The NZ ‘Nationals’ were a little mixed for us, we certainly had more than our fair share of shots during the week long tournament but generally failed to capitalise. We jumped off more than I can remember including a mid range Black Marlin that added salt to the wound and we had more Stripes do figure “8’s” around our live baits and buggar off than ever before. A little frustrating to say the least but I guess everyone has those weeks from time to time.
It seemed that the King Bank and Ahipara/Hokianga were the places to be with vessels ‘Headquarters’, ‘Moet’, ‘Saltshaker’ and ‘Reel Passion’ amongst the high scoring teams. The lads on Saltshaker had a day to remember nailing a rare Grand Slam in NZ waters, catching a Sword, Stripe and Black marlin in a 24 hour period. Not to finish there, they also landed a nice size Yellowfin late in the day to finish off.
Without doubt the two most notable captures during the past month were the two ‘lifetime’ fish from private boat ‘Western Break’. Just prior to the National’s the guys landed a 334kg Northern Pacific Bluefin Tuna while fishing on the shallow patch near Cape Karikari. Apparently the guy’s were live baiting skipjacks in an attempt to catch a Black Marlin and had the behemoth tuna climb on. Not stopping there, a couple of days later they were trolling lures on the west coast and nailed a 358kg Black Marlin… go figure! An unbelievably awesome effort all round. I think if that was me I’d sell the boat and all the tackle, buy myself a good recliner sit at home and just give myself high-fives for a year or two.
During our last trip we had husband and wife team, Tim and Leanne Tasman-Jones on board for their annual fly and light tackle fishing excursion. Tim managed to hook a 500lb Blue Marlin on 10kg fly tippet for a short while, while Leanne caught an 81.4kg Stripe on 8kg conventional tackle. Certainly not a huge fish by any means, but being a 10:1 capture and a Tutukaka ladies club record it was a more than notable capture. Leanne’s fish was actually tail wrapped and proved to be one of the harder fish we’ve ever caught on lighter tackle and was finally subdued after a tough 2 hour battle… great effort Leanne and look forward to upping the stakes next year!
As mentioned the King Bank has proven to be the most consistent spot for us so far, with further patches of fish showing up of Wekaroa, Cape Karikari and North Cape on a less consistent basis. We have some busy times ahead with back to back bookings through the remainder March and into early April, so we certainly look forward to bringing you good news in our next report.
Since our last report we’ve had a cancellation in mid April that we’d dearly love to fill, the dates coincide with the new moon in April so should fish really well. If anyone’s interested please don’t hesitate to drop us a line and bear in mind that we have the ability to place individuals if need be.
Good luck out there…until next time!