Four days on the deep blue

Recently I had the opportunity to go on a trip of a lifetime with long-time friend and mad fisherman Shay ’salty’ Ward. 

Plans were made weeks in advance for the trip including where we were going, gear and provisions we would need for the four day trip.  

Mayor Island on the horizon is an exciting sight.

The plan was to chase everything from snapper to marlin on Shay’s 730 Rayglass Legend - leaving Tauranga on Boxing Day and returning to Whitianga on the 29 December, stopping by numerous islands and spots along the way. 

Boxing Day finally arrived and excitement set in. The forecast couldn’t of looked better with a slight sea and variable 10 knot winds coming by the afternoon. 

We loaded all the gear into the boat - including 14 fishing rods and headed to Sulphur Point in Tauranga to start the journey.  

I had only fished Mayor Island once before in my life, so heading out on a four day trip seemed like a dream come true. 

The 3.7litre turbo diesel inboard roared into life and we powered out past Mount Maunganui, immediately coming across work-ups of kahawai on the surface. We picked up a few for the live-bait tank and carried on our 22 mile trip to Mayor Island. 

By this stage the Mount was getting smaller and Mayor Island was getting bigger - tackle bags came out and a discussion of what we were going to target took place. 

Snapper was the first target - we anchored at Tuhua reef trying our luck for the big reds known to lurk around the structure.  

No snapper were brought to the surface but the presence of a small kingfish in the burley trail kept us entertained as Shay made his ’now famous’ 1/0 kingfish rig.  

The kingfish was more than happy picking at the burley trail.

After failed attempts with bigger hooks and bigger trace, Shay ran the 1/0 hook onto 30 pound fluorocarbon trace and set out a tiny piece of squid into the burley trail, drifting with the current.

His plan worked and after a hard battle on light gear he landed the ’rat kingy’, releasing it for another day. 

The reef also produced some interesting looking fish, including a colourful sandaggers wrasse. 

The sandaggers wrasse is a tropical looking fish.

The reef didn’t produce what we had hoped for so we anchored north of South-east Bay for the night - with a line in the water of course. A few ’good eating’ snapper were caught, the biggest around the 3-4 pound.  

A tussle with a sting-ray proved to be the last decent fight of the night before hitting the hay.  

The first day was not the most exciting but with three more days left, we had plenty to look forward to.


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