Big Reds (A couple of 30 lbers #1)


The year 1995, Easter.

During this time I was employed as a lineman for Waitemata Electricity, there were a number of us that were keen fisho's. One of the lads had arranged for the local Lions club at Oakura to supply us with their premises during the Easter break. This place was something else, 3 very large bunkrooms that could sleep up to 10+ people each, a large kitchen and dinning area and a large covered area where we could set-up the multitude of BBQ's.

As we loaded the cars, Utes and trucks in Auckland anybody would think that we were going away for some months, as the amount of alcohol being loaded was enough to make a liquor shop jealous. Once everything was loaded and accounted for we headed of to the far north in convoy.

The first days fishing wasn't anything spectacular, a number of average size Snappers and a few good kahawai. Just enough to wet the appetite come dinnertime.

Day two dawned with very blustery and wet conditions Those nursing the mother of all hangovers decided that it was best to stay indoors, play cards and consumer some more of the amber nectar.

Myself, Willie and Terry headed to the closest likely ledge, no more than five minutes walk around the rocks.

After berleying all day for absolutely nothing we elected to try one last bait and then head home. Not a bad idea considering we had been standing in the rain for about 7 hours.

I tied on the biggest most juiciest piece of bonito that you'd ever seen and hurled it out into the swells, only to have 90% of it fall off. Oh well never mind! I reeled in the remnants and flicked this out - a cast of about fifteen feet.

Bending over to place the rod in the rocks the tip of the rod bent over and the Alvey started to scream. Hell we're on to something big here!

Standing up I positioned myself to strike the fish, giving it plenty of time to swallow the bait. Locking the reel and striking I set the hook, this had the desired affect as whatever was on the other end picked up the pace and headed for the nearest piece of foul.

With the light now fading and nylon still being whistled of I managed to stop the first run and turn the head of the creature, initial thoughts were stingray! These soon changed as I felt that all familiar thump thump of a good-sized Snapper.

A tug of war commenced and for the 20 minutes the Snapper and I battled over territory.

Buy now I had the attention of the lads, Willie was shining his flashlight intently on the water looking for the first sign of colour. The Snapper eventually surfaced ten feet out saw the light and went ballistic. That was enough for us to realize that this was a monster Snapper, also not a good idea to shine the light directly at it.

It took another ten minutes to subdue the Snapper before we could bring it to the gaff. Willie whom had never gaffed a fish before had handed his light to Terry and was quick to volunteer his duties. Giving Willie a quick run down on his heritage and explaining in no uncertain terms the repercussions of missing this and losing the Snapper he duly set the gaff home. Well done son!

This fish was massive, over a meter long and very very fat.

We quickly packed up and headed for the hills.

Arriving back at base camp the party was already well underway, the lads that stayed behind giving us absolute curry for being mad enough to stay out there all day. When asked how we'd faired I gave the standard answer, Oh we did all right. The boys whom I fished with regularly knew something was up as this was the GJ answer for when I'd done more than allright.

Come on cough up Gee, with that I pulled out the Snapper. What a party stopper!

Weighing the fish it went 30lb on certified scales, A New Zealand line class record. This Snapper was also the heaviest Snapper caught off the rocks in New Zealand at the time.

Needless to say we partied all night.

Amazing how a big fish has an affect on everyone. On our journey back to Auckland I was pulled over by a cop for speeding, only just over the limit. After the usual questions he asked what was in the back of the Ute, a 30lb Snapper was my reply. Get outa here say's the cop; I'm not kidding officer you can have a look if you like. With that I unloaded half the Ute and opened up the icebox and extracted the fish.

The cop was so awestruck he let me of the speeding ticket.

The Snapper was mounted and resided in the local tackle shop for a number of years, it is now however mounted on the garage wall, much to my disgust. I still think the lounge is a better place - still working on that one with the wife.