With the long weekend looming and unfinished business in the far north, it was time for a road trip up to a place that is fast becoming one of my favourite fishing grounds in the North Island, Matai Bay.
I also had a couple of mates come up for the trip, this definitely made up for some good times on and off the water. One of the biggest laughs we had over the weekend was our mate Damien getting stalked by an angry looking Albatross, let me tell you these birds are massive! This massive bird was sitting metres away from him just staring him down, I really wish I had caught this moment on camera, it was priceless.
The first day on the water we paddled out for an early afternoon fish, the wind was not in our favour so we only ventured a couple of km from shore. Target for that afternoon was snapper, so all the softbaiting gear was loaded up and all the jigging gear stayed back at camp. Well the snapper were very tentative on the bite but there was KINGFISH SIGN EVERYWHERE, another bad case of Murphy’s Law! Surely enough on the first drop of the Catch Beta Bug full speed retrieve up and I was hooked up instantly. Luckily enough for me I was in 30 metres of water with no sign of reef or structure underneath me, my 8lb braid and 20lb fluorocarbon trace would have been no match for the reef. After a 20 minute fight I landed this little critter, he was soon returned to the water to fight another day. (The lure used is a Catch Beta Bug pink 80gm)
It’s quite amazing the variety of fish we encountered on this trip, some of the species caught were: Kingfish, Snapper, John Dory, Golden Snapper, Clown Fish, Leather Jackets, Blue Maumau and Pigfish. Golden Snapper and Blue Maumau pictured below.
Sunday was the day for us, the weather was looking very favourable with little to no wind, so with that in mind we had an early night and prepared for an early rise. The jigging rods were definitely locked and loaded for this trip. We arrived at Matai Bay around 5am and started paddling out to the Kingfish pins that we were lucky enough to be shown by one of the local kayak fishing legends the day before. Upon arrival we found some very good sign, from what we could see on the sounder the fish were moving very fast and were quite high in the water column meaning they were feeding. First drop of the jig I managed to hook a rat Kingfish, a few drops later a mate of mine, Dylan, yelled out “I’m hooked up!” The fish looked like it was pulling a bit of string. Dylan landed a nice Kingfish of around 9kg. Nice fish Dyls.
At this stage we thought it was all on, however, with the sun rising the bite time quickly was over. We jigged for another couple of hours with little success before going off on our own missions.
My mission started with chasing a school of fish on the surface which I believed to be Trevally, after 30 minutes of desperately trying to foul hook one of these fish with my softbait, it turned out I was chasing a school of blue Maumau. There was definitely some world class foul hooking skills that went into landing one of these little buggers.
After multiple catches of some strange looking fish I finally found a reef that was holding some good Snapper. The first three casts I got smoked into the reef by what I believed to be some big Snapper. The frustrating thing was I had two heavy duty jigging rods and only one softbaiting rod, meaning every time I got busted off I had to re-tie my rig. Finally after three times of re- tying knots, I managed to pull a nice Snapper from the unforgiving reef.
With summer just around the corner I can’t wait to get back up to these awesome fishing grounds. Until next time.
Check out the video action from our trip
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