Snapper bite in the night

01:02, Feb 08 2013

It's amazing what you can fit in a short time if you put your mind to it.

I have been keen on getting out for a snapper fish for a few weeks but always seem to have something on or the weather is just not right so last weekend I took the plunge and decided it was time, whatever the outcome.

I had made up my mind after work on Friday and after looking at the tides I decided a night fish was in order. I told my son my plans and he showed an interest, even after I told him what time we were going. I went to bed about 10pm and set my alarm for 12.45am.

We both got up and I had sorted the gear the previous evening so it was a quick drink and off to the marina. Surprisingly it was quite windy for that time of night, which didn't thrill me but I wasn't stopping now.

We headed to one of the places that has produced for me in the past and I made getting the berley in the water the first priority, as this makes a big difference in this particular spot.

Once that was done I baited up, cast out my line and put the rod in a holder while I set up the other rod. All of a sudden the rod sprang into action and was bent over with the line screaming off the reel.


I was in the middle of tying a knot and didn't want to start again so I hurriedly finished while the fish, a good-sized snapper, kept going.

Once I grabbed the rod and started winding, the fish headed towards the boat and I thought it must have got off because of my slow response, but I soon realised it was still on.

This is where it all came undone as it came to the boat then took off at warp speed in the opposite direction and caught me unawares, and by the time I reacted it had broken me off.

I knew straight away why - I was using my softbait rod, which has very light braid on it instead of monofilament.

I really don't like using braid for straylining as you have no stretch like mono and therefore no tolerance for sudden changes, as happened here. Everything happens very quickly and at that time of the night my reactions were just too slow and I paid the price. Back to mono for me from now on.

We continued fishing and it wasn't long before I got another strike. I landed a nice eating-sized snapper and all was well with the world again.

Chris followed with a similar sized snapper but it all went quiet soon after and we had no more runs. It didn't matter, as we had sorted the next day's lunch so we packed up and went home.

After a few hours' sleep we were up and readying the boat for a spot of wakeskating. Chris is very talented at this and I was keen to get a few photos.

It was also an opportunity for his mother to learn how to drive the boat while towing someone. If you remember the trailer backing lessons, you will have an idea how this went.

Evidently when I say "gun it", that means just go slowly forward and when I say "he's down" or "down", that means go flat out.

It took a while for us to work out that men and women see and say things differently. What I now say is "off" and "fast"; they seem to work.

Also we have a different perspective on what is meant by "turn tightly around him so he can grab the rope". This seems to also mean go really slow in a very wide arc miles away from the person in the water.

To her credit, she soon translated my poor communication and was driving well for her first time.

We got home just before lunch and then I was off down the coast with friends for a dive off the beach for some paua.

The weather was great and the water slightly cloudy but we managed a good feed of paua and a couple of nice crays.

Once home I had an hour to clean the catch and make and cook some paua patties, as we were invited to share with a group of friends at a barbecue. I also needed to have a shower and clean up.

We spent a fantastic evening eating fresh seafood and a host of fine meats, including a young wild pig on the barbie. The highlight, of course, was the company.

All in all a full-on day but also one of the best in a while. I slept well that night.

The Marlborough Express