Kayak fishing is a unique way of catching a feed.
You paddle out under your own power, skipper the vessel and are responsible for landing all the fish you hook. Paddling back can be tough with a bin full of fish!
My adventure started in 2013 where I began to land small fish from my home port in Napier. Fast forward 6 years and I am paddling kilometres off the coast in search of Big Kingfish, Tuna and Big Snapper. With the distance I cover the weather is always a risk so having a locater beacon, VHF Radio and phone is hugely important for safety when out off-shore. Getting the weather right is another thing entirely. Mornings launching at 5am before the wind picks up is essential to getting good conditions out on the water.
My motivation when it comes to fishing is goal setting. Throughout the years I have strived to catch many different types of fish. The time spent achieving the goals pays off hugely when you get that hook up. Snapper were a long-time goal for me when I was younger, I was desperate to catch a legal one of 27cm. This was a relatively straight forward goal, but it took me 2 years of trying different things to finally complete. Much of this time was spent watching others catch them metres away while I caught none. With the first under my belt I improved my gear and techniques. The next summer I was landing lots of snapper and had landed many around the 45cm mark.
In the following years my attention shifted to Kingfish. These guys grow very big and require some proper preparation. Having landed smaller fish off a trailer boat, I knew a large one on a kayak would be an entirely different story. With the research done I tried a few different spots for not much result. In January of 2018 I made a breakthrough. While fishing for Snapper and Gurnard on a spot north of Napier I had a huge pack of Kingfish turn up and attack my Kahawai I was winding in. I landed my first pair of Kings from the school and made my plan to target a big one for the next weekend.
I geared up with a strong rod and reel and paddled out to find some baitfish; the reason why the kingfish were in the area. Once I had a mackerel, I hooked one onto the end of my line and lowered it down into the strike zone. My gear was set up to handle a really big one with 80 lb breaking strain leader along with a big 8/0 circle hook.
It wasn’t long before my reel was screaming under the pressure of a large Kingfish which had taken a liking to my live-bait. I spent the next 40 minutes being towed over 2 kilometres by this beast, struggling the whole way but not giving up hope. My muscles gained new energy when I saw the fish was close below the kayak. It would take a further 3 attempts to secure the fish by the tail and bring it on board. I let out a yell of relief as I got the 15kg Kingie under control. This elation is why I fish from a kayak, the intensity of the fight and the achievement from a small platform just makes these fish feel even better.