Five species on one lure

Nice fish: One of the gurnard caught on a jig. Their wings are spectacular when opened out.
Nice fish: One of the gurnard caught on a jig. Their wings are spectacular when opened out.

It's been a while since my wife and I have had a holiday break away together and when friends Ursh and Mike said their holiday home in the Sounds was available for the week, we jumped at the opportunity.

One of the exciting things for us was that, although we had been in this part of the Sounds before and I have used it as a means to get to further afield places, I had never actually fished in the bay itself.

To me this opens up many new opportunities and is especially a challenge to put into practice a lot of the things I tell others, such as using your sounder more and trying different techniques if you are having no success.

We arrived in the evening and by the time we had unpacked and made ourselves familiar with everything it wasn't high on my priority list to go fishing, especially with a howling wind, although with the launching ramp less than 100m away it wouldn't have been difficult.

The first night was relaxing and we enjoyed just chilling out. We kind of had to as there is no cellphone or internet coverage, so surfing the net or connecting on social media was not an option. Even with me being quite reliant on mobile technology and the web it was surprisingly easy to adjust to.

I woke the first morning at a leisurely time of about 7.30am and since the wind wasn't blowing I decided a quick fishing excursion was in order. Within 15 minutes the boat and fishing gear was loaded and launched and I was heading off into new territory.

First stop was to a mussel farm around the corner to see if there were any signs of fish around. The water was quite dirty and the bay had obviously had a fair bit of rain during the previous few days so things weren't looking like perfect conditions.

Anyway, I tied up and gave it around half an hour before getting bored and deciding to change tactics. I had started with bait and burley but now felt that a lure would be more interesting and also get me a bit more involved.

I started by casting soft plastics into and around the rocky shoreline and was rewarded with a decent blue cod. That was breakfast sorted.

I did this for a further half hour or so and then decided to head for different waters. I headed west into the bay and used my sounder to look for signs of fish. It wasn't long before I started to see reasonable sign so I used a small jig this time to do a bit of prospecting.

This paid off and I hooked a nice gurnard, which was pretty neat as they are a very nice eating fish and peculiar in many ways. For one, when you first get them in the boat they start grunting. Secondly their wings are spectacular when opened out.

I have seen them on the bottom when I've been diving for scallops but never with their wings open, I am guessing because I make so much noise with scuba gear that they are likely to be in hiding mode whenever I see them.

Anyway I continued on with this same tactic as it seemed to be working and after a short period I had another two good gurnard on board, so it was back to the bach for a cook-up of fresh fish.

I had also hooked and landed an octopus, a kahawai and a scorpion fish, which made it five species all on the same lure, so for the non-believers, there's not many species in our waters that won't take a well-presented lure.

It seemed the adventure wasn't over. After I washed down my gear my wife said it was time I taught her to fillet the fish. Yes, you read it correctly, my wife wanted to learn how to fillet the catch.

This could be very handy for me in the future, so who was I to turn down an opportunity to help her out.

For her first attempt, she did very well, so I figure for her to get better at it I will let her fillet my catches for the next few trips as that should cement in the proper technique.

To top it all off she also cooked it for me. This will be a holiday to remember, as I still have five days to go.

It has been a pretty busy year for us both and I must have been quite tired as I had a morning and an afternoon snooze today as well as the fishing trip, a game of pool and have started reading the book about Willie Apiata.

Just the sort of things holidays are all about.

The Marlborough Express