Less than ideal day on the water

19:39, Sep 06 2012

For anyone who thinks we have a great day every time we go fishing, let me share how that is not accurate.

Last weekend was a good example of how things don't always work out how we had in mind.

I had originally planned doing a solo expedition around the inner Sounds to see if there were any snapper starting to show themselves. Instead, I got a call from one of my fishing partners asking if I was keen on a scallop dive and a spot of groper and kingie fishing. It was a hard choice. But in the end I decided a mixed menu sounded far better, so a plan was hatched.

There would be four of us going, with two of us diving. The forecast wasn't brilliant, but did say only light winds in the morning with a gentle swell.

Once again we learned the forecast is not always 100 per cent correct, as we encountered a reasonable swell not far down the Sound. We pushed on and the swell in open water had increased even more, so the plan was to try a couple of groper spots and then chase the kingies on the building tide.

This is where the day began it's downward spiral. We had found some good signs on the sounder around a pinnacle, so we dropped a couple of slow jigs down to investigate. We got bites straight away, but when the fish appeared they were just sea perch. They taste fine, but were not our target species.


It was soon after this that one of the crew decided he wasn't going to retain his breakfast and discarded it over the side. I have been on boats where this has happened in the past and unfortunately the general consensus seems to be that we have travelled a long way, so we're going to stay at least to catch some fish.

Sounds unfair and cruel, and it probably is, but fish on we did while our comrade helped by contributing the berley.

Having never been seasick, I don't know what people go through. But it doesn't look a pleasant experience. It would be my preference to never experience this, just rely on others' accounts and simply believe them.

Anyway, I was there to fish and fish I did, although not very successfully. Sure we were catching some good cod and decent-sized perch, but it's a long way to go for a feed.

As well as the swell, the wind had built up and it wasn't a nice place to fish - not dangerous, just not nice. We did many different drifts and position changes but never really got on to any fish of substance, even after being able to see what we believed to be our target species on the sounder.

The wind and tide were just too strong to get a decent and repeatable drift.

Having watched our mate suffer for a few hours, we finally gave in and returned closer to land and the sanctuary of the headlands, stopping briefly to catch a couple more cod before we entered the Sounds again. It was here that we had another small hiccup.

One of the lines got stuck on the bottom and, being high-strength braid and leader, we couldn't dislodge or break it free. Normally this wouldn't be so bad. However, with the current dragging us into the passage where the two currents meet this wasn't ideal.

To give you an idea of how hard it was to free, we locked up as tight as we could on the rod and drove the boat in the opposite direction and it took a full five minutes before something gave. In the end the rig came free, which was proof of the strength of well-tied knots and good-quality line.

We did move and have another go, which is where the day finally packed in.

After catching a fish, one of the guys had left his rod resting on the lip of the chilly bin and, without realising, he dropped the lid only to find he had broken the tip of his favorite rod.

Not to be outdone, I had just caught the last cod of the trip and in my haste to get it into the boat without it falling off the hook, I didn't give it any slack line as I hoisted it onboard.

It gave a flick of its tail and the weight of the fish coupled with the tight line broke the tip off my rod.


The plan was to go for a scallop dive, but I hadn't slept well and had a heavy head cold so decided not to go down and my dive partner was not feeling too good. As such, there would be no scallops for dinner, no groper, no kingfish and two broken rods.

Next time you have a bad day on the water, remember we all have them - it's just part of fishing.

The Marlborough Express