Simple: If you don't try, you don't get

Last updated 09:16 30/11/2012

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Well, I cannot get much more current than this. The time is 8.20pm on Wednesday evening and I am writing this while waiting for a snapper to come along and eat my bait.

You may be wondering why, so I will tell you.

I had just cooked some lamb leg chops and served them with a fresh garden salad and washed baby potatoes when the comment was made that on such a beautiful evening I should be out fishing.

While I was enjoying my dinner, the thought of a quick snapper mission grew more and more palatable so within 15 minutes I had finished eating, hooked the boat on and was on the road to Havelock. This is written in real time, so follow along and see what I actually do when fishing.

The wind is blowing harder than I would like and in the wrong direction for the incoming tide but hey, I could be at home grumbling about the choice of viewing options on TV, so will put up with the conditions.

Of interest to those who go out from Havelock, I notice that there a number of new channel markers, so if you are venturing out in the dark just be aware what you are used to seeing in the dark has changed and could be confusing for the first time.

My first spot was in the Mahau Sound, but the wind has got stronger and is blowing the boat around in circles.

This is never fun, so time for a move. Next I'm in the Kenepuru Sound and the moon is just starting to rise, wind is also rising so not what I would call the most pleasant fishing conditions, but I have faith so will stick with the plan.

I have gone into the Kenepuru because the wind is now blowing NW and the tide is coming in, so by anchoring into the wind the boat is now lying so the stern is facing the same way as the wind is blowing.

This at least means everything is going the same way, including the berley.

I have just missed a snapper run because I am writing this and by the time I put everything down, the fish had gone. They seem very cagey, might be something to do with the full moon? I noticed on the way out the door tonight that the bite time was at 5pm, so it will be interesting to see if the fish come on the bite tonight.

I took the time to look around before the sun went down to see that the manuka is not flowering yet; this is a good indicator as to when the snapper show up in numbers.

I have been hearing reports of a few fish being caught, but nothing consistent yet. The water temperature is just over 16deg, so not far before the snapper get into spawning mode. This is usually once the water temperature reaches 18.5deg.

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I can see a mussel harvester working in the bay. I didn't know they worked at night. You learn something every day.

Talking about learning, I had a lady try to convince me the other night at a work function that pukekos kill and eat baby ducklings. If anyone can shed some light on that I am keen to hear whether this is valid. .

I have just checked my bait after the missed run only to find that the hook has been chewed off, possibly a shark or maybe a decent snapper, as they do have very powerful jaws and sharp teeth.

There are two schools of thought around leader thickness, some use light line as it will slip between the snapper's teeth while others use heavy line to withstand the crashing effect. Try them both and see which you prefer.

Bother, I just lost a nice snapper just below the boat, the hook pulled out of its mouth. There was still half a pilchard left as well, which shows they are feeding very tentatively. The fish must be just mouthing the bait and not swallowing them whole as they normally would.

The wind has got up quite strong now so it might be time to call it a night. The time is now 9.59pm and should be about high tide, so hopefully the tide will have turned by the time I get closer to Havelock and the sea will be going out with the wind. Maybe I won't get as wet as I'm anticipating from the spray being blown into the boat. Ah well, at least I have my wet weather gear with me just in case; might be time to put it on in readiness.

As you would have guessed, by now I made it back safe and well, albeit a bit wet and I think one kidney may have been dislodged from bouncing off a couple of waves.

Would I have gone had I known the weather conditions from home?

Probably not, but then again, if you don't try, you don't get.

- The Marlborough Express

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