Big bait catches huge snapper

Geoff Preston with his 14.3-kilogram (31.5lb) snapper
Geoff Preston with his 14.3-kilogram (31.5lb) snapper

Geoff Preston reckons the secret to catching huge snapper is using big fresh baits and straylining - and he's a man who would know.

The Mokau man yesterday landed a 14.3-kilogram snapper (31.5lb) in his favourite spot, six kilometres offshore and in 20 metres of water.

It's the third big fish he's caught in recent years and he says he's now eyeing up the New Zealand record of 17.3kg. "That's my dream."

He headed out about 6.30am in his 3.6m dinghy and it was all quiet until about 9.30am.

"After two or three fish around 10 pound my strayline went screaming off with the big fish towing it," Mr Preston said.

"Once the hook was set, and a see-saw battle of 10 minutes or more I had the fish in a landing net. It's a beautiful fish."

Straylining involves using minimum weight on the line to let the bait sink naturally.

Mr Preston caught a similar sized snapper, 14.04kg, in the same spot in November 2010 and a 15.7kg snapper while kite fishing about six years ago.

He said all of the locals know of the spot but he puts his success down to using fresh bait and straylining.

"The bigger boats, I've only got a little wee boat, they seem to go right out and think that the bigger fish are out there but they're not."

Mr Preston said he thought about releasing the monster but the hooks were in its gill plate and stomach and it would not have survived. He weighed his catch using calibrated scales at the Awakino Hotel and plans to have a mate smoke it.

Mr Preston said he entered the fish in a national competition which it was currently winning.

The farm-hand said he had to take the afternoon off work to celebrate the catch in style. "I've already cracked a few."

Taranaki Daily News