The 2012 game fishing season has taken a little bit of persuasion to kick into gear with a more sedate beginning than we’re probably use to. There has certainly been some good fishing to be had off the usual ‘early season ports’ of Whitianga and Tutukaka, but these good days have been offset by a mix of bad weather, complete changes in current and the presence of the commercial purse seining fleet.
We witnessed the effects of seiners first hand fishing behind the Poor Knights Islands just last week. Fishing was pretty good with big schools of Saury, Skipjacks and I even spotted a handful Yellowfin busting the surface from Arenui’s tower. Many boats saw action from billfish throughout the day including a handful of doubles amongst the fleet, unfortunately the recreational fleet weren’t the only ones making the most of the good conditions as we all had to weave our way around a couple of seiners operating with the aid of spotter planes. The following day the landscape had changed substantially… No bait, no birds, no dolphins despite current, water clarity and temperature breaks all remaining the same. We still managed a Striped Marlin that day for first time angler Mike Saunders but it really was needle in a haystack stuff. With reports of seiners currently operating from Cape Brett and into the BOP it certainly reopens concerns on where exactly our open ocean fishery is heading.
We only need to view this well documented clip http://www.greenpeace.org.nz/tunavideo to get an appreciation on the extent of damage that’s occurring.
Anyway that’s enough of a whinge and back onto more positive things. Without doubt the highlight so far of the New Zealand game fishing season has been the 375kg Black Marlin caught at Mayor Is in early January from the boat Jan’s Decision. In rough conditions the guys managed a fish of a lifetime in New Zealand waters and surely an experience that they’ll never forget. Blue Marlin have been generally few and far between with only a handful caught so far along New Zealand’s east coast. The most notable Blue Marlin capture so far has been the 260kg disqualified capture by a father and son team during the Bay of Islands Swordfish Club Junior Tournament. Being only early February, I’m more than confident we have some good fishing ahead of us for these great fish.
As usual we’ve based ourselves in Tutukaka for the early season bite, we’ve generally managed between 1-3 bites a day with switching still our technique of choice. With the added mix of jigging on North Reef and the odd Shortbill Spearfish, we’ve found more than enough to keep us occupied. From early February, Arenui will be relocated to Whangaroa Marina and we’ll be situated there through to June for the duration of our busy charter schedule.
One thing that has proved really popular this year has been the “Marlin University” concept that’s been run in conjunction with the NZ Fishing News Magazine. These “MU” trips give individuals who can’t necessarily gather a full group, the opportunity to join others on a 5 day trip to the Three Kings Islands. The aim of these trips is to teach guests as much as we can about switch baiting, bait rigging, boat handling, tackle prep, game fishing in general and how we go about things on board Arenui. Initially we advertised just one trip, but due to popularity this has extended to three 5 dayers. Currently we have just two spots available for the trip dated 8th – 12th March with all “MU” guests receiving an ‘Angler’s Pack’ including products from Maui Jim Sunglasses, Team Arenui and NZFN Magazine. If anybody would like to join us and take the final seats feel free to touch base on (+64) 272 392 744 or email Geoff(Replace this parenthesis with the @ sign)nzgamefishing.com in regard to costings and availability.
Arenui is probably in as good nick as it’s ever been since we’ve owned her, so we’re certainly looking forward to having everyone on board and getting stuck in as the season progresses. James Brown and Shaun Thomsen are back on board with us this season so I’m sure all returning guests will be happy about that to… good luck out there.
Until next time!