Mussel Farms - Lots to learn

Go on then, tell us your stories...
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Quiltro
Posts: 7
Joined: Thu Mar 04, 2021 4:25 pm
Kayak Make: Old Town
Kayak Model: Bigwater 132
Location: Auckland

Sunday morning, packed wife's kayak and mine and drove a good hour until we got past orere point to meet a work colleague of mine (also starting out with kayak fishing), and head over to the mussel farms. This was our first mission outside our area (Orakei) since we got our new yaks a month ago.

Little info i had about this place, other than is ideal for kayak fishing, so why not. Stunning morning, a soft breeze, conditions were amazing... from a distance I could see the farms packed with boats after boats after boats... and kayaks! which made me a bit skeptical (dont like crowded spots, personally).

Wife and friend launched their yaks while im still on shore trying to turn on my FF which simply wont power up. Checked connections, battery fully charged from night before, etc. It just wont. Im getting frustrated, and its already 8.30am, so I thought, I've fished all my life without one so... F* it... off I went.

As we got into the mussel farms I decided to trawl a softbait, a minute went by after I dropped it and my reel already started screaming!... I got snagged! onto the ropes holding those corner buoys at the bottom.:@ Lost it. Nevermind... picked our lanes and decided to hook ourselves to the buoys, I hooked to a slightly submerged one and the swell was throwing me over the ropes and buoys (I was conscious about this and quite weary) until one of which 'bounced' back and almost capsized. argh!... Managed to anchor myself 'ok' and an hour goes by and the three of us were only hearing the sound of 'woohoos' all around the farms from other boats except our reels. Then my friend finally hooks up. After that we decided to change spots. I cant unhook myself now! - the hook grabbed not just the rope but a knot on the rope... not having the best of times at this point. :sweat:

Head out of my lane, and noticed that now the wife is snagged onto her rope and cant get out as well! anyhow, after we freed ourselves we decided to try other parts of the farms... thats when I crossed paths and got talking to a fellow kayaker that noticed my pedal kayak pointing out 'its great and easy to go around the farms with pedals isnt?' (I wasnt sure at that point). He was from the East Bays Kayak Club - cant remember his name, he had a red Hobie yak with 'Yak Bro' stickers, invited me to the club. :y:

A few hours went by, and nothing, I tried the entire rainbow of colors and shapes of Zmans... nothing. Just bites. My friend already had 3 on the back and a broken rod by 2pm, which is when he told us to go back in. I said, gimme 30 mins... so we picked a random lane with not many boaties around and hooked ourselves (this time not to a submerged buoy! much easier :D ) decided to re up my game and went back to basics, colours I knew and ways i know, so switch softies to 'nuked chicken'. 1st cast... bites, 2nd cast.... FISH ON!... finally! :rofl: I was so happy. Got it in - I guess between frustrations and how hard the day had been to that point, I decided to keep it (I usually throw back the first one back to Tangaroa). A min later, wife hooks up and while she's reeling in, my friend with the broken rod rod bends down bad... at one stage he thought he got snagged, because it felt like dead weight... but it was a monster snapper (15lb -ish), he didnt had a gaff or a net, I was away and my wife was pulling in a 40cm Gurnard!, he decides to pull it up, and off it goes... his knot came completely undone!, and the fish went away with a bruised banana on its mouth. Wife on the other hand wasnt sure if she wanted to keep the huge gurnie, she thought it wasnt too big but it was her first fish, so off it went back to live another day. :y:

My friend left in frustration (despite catching 3 decent pannies), and we decided to stick around since things were finally picking up for us and the weather was still spectacular. Boaties started to leave, and all of a sudden only yaks were around ourselves. Wind changed directions so I decided to hook on the following lane... 2nd cast and again... fish on! :inlove: this time I decided to return this pannie back. Shortly after my reel goes mental... big fish on! 3 minutes later, after some good fight and is off :@

At this stage is 3/3.30pm and we had pretty much the farms for ourselves and I knew we had to go back in... wife was getting tired, but I wanted to stay just for 'one more cast' she agreed, so I did... cast... got some soft nibbles... I prepare myself, a few soft twitches and we are on! ... this time I wanted to make sure it was coming home... at first it felt like an 'ok panny'.... yet when it got closer to the yak it decided to fight and bent the rod heavily... until it came up... a nice 12lb! was sitting next to my boat floating on its side... im so stoked!!, but I had no gaff or net as I gave my gaff to the wife when she could get herself out from the rope, so I made sure he was tired enough also realised he was well hooked so... 1, 2, 3.... lift it up.... and a second later, there it is next to me inside the kayak... I think i kinda screamed... :D
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Now, we decided to head back in... not until we notice one last boatie at a distance having troubles - threw a grapnel anchor down and got snagged with the mussel buoy - so the wife decided to go offer a hand just to be met with some nice macho-arrogance 'all is fine and a mate is coming to help... nice kayak tho'. So she turned around and left...that is when we headed out from the lanes to the main 'corridor' heading back to shore when I decided to trawl one last time on my way out... I cast out and now my lure got snagged at the tip of my rod with the knot that ties my braid to the leader so I pull the tip of the rod back to check it out and I noticed that my alberto knot was completely undone, so as soon as I touched it with my finger, my leader came out! so that was it... enough for today. Too much to learn, but with a decent catch, and an even better and delicious lunch the next day.
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34cm and a 55cm (5.2kg)
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Panko fried snapper and fresh salad :inlove:
Casualtyward
Posts: 469
Joined: Wed Nov 06, 2013 10:05 pm
Kayak Make: Ocean
Kayak Model: Prowler 4.3 Ultra
VHF Call Sign: ZMU7778
Location: Auckland

Great report! Good to hear you had some success and that things didn't go too wrong :lol:

The man in the red kayak sounds like Arama from the East Auckland Kayak Fishing Club.
Kotare II
Ocean Prowler 4.3 Ultra

Callsign: ZMU7778
Quiltro
Posts: 7
Joined: Thu Mar 04, 2021 4:25 pm
Kayak Make: Old Town
Kayak Model: Bigwater 132
Location: Auckland

Casualtyward wrote: Wed Apr 07, 2021 2:45 pm Great report! Good to hear you had some success and that things didn't go too wrong :lol:

The man in the red kayak sounds like Arama from the East Auckland Kayak Fishing Club.
I guess it's just part of the journey of learning something 'new', right? But yes, happy with the experience despite the hardships haha :lol:

Yes! Arama was his name! very nice guy
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