Taranaki Kayak Classic 2019

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Epicskwid
Posts: 826
Joined: Fri Sep 26, 2014 8:20 pm
Kayak Make: Viking
Kayak Model: ProFish 400 Lite
Location: Napier

Wed Mar 27, 2019 10:09 am

The time has come for my annual big competition. The Taranaki Kayak Classic, hosted by the TKFC, this is the largest kayak competition in the country. Basically, the NZ Kayak Fishing National Championship. 200 kayak anglers from across the country came to compete in the hunt for 8 species.

The trip started with a 5 1/2-hour drive from Hawkes Bay across the North island to New Plymouth where we based ourselves near the Port in a local campsite.
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We got the gear unloaded from the car and had a bit of a break. We then headed over to Oakura at Butlers Reef. This is where the competition is hosted every year. I got into sign up and said hello to the Taranaki Kayak club members who were running behind the scenes. Signed my life away and got outside to meet some good kayak mates. It was a nice relaxed evening talking about past fishing stories and frothing at the mouth because of the near perfect weather forecast. 3 knot winds until 12:00pm and not going any higher than 6 knots in the afternoon. The swell had been under a metre all week opening up many areas of the coast to easy launches. My plan was to target two top eating species: Gurnard and John Dory. The larger species such as Snapper and Kingfish are hotly contested sections with monster fish required to place. My idea was to target these lesser species which I have a ton more experience catching, especially the gurnard. After signing up, everyone retreated to their camps and got set up.

DAY 1
The alarm was set for 5am and I woke up, got some breakfast into me and we were off down to the harbour in pitch black. Eventually my team mate Hamish and the Wanganui boys turned up and we got onto the water about 6.30.
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Conditions were wonderful and we were all keen to get out to the 30m mark and drop anchor. With the sun rising I hooked my first fish; a small gurnard which was quickly returned. The gurnard bite was slow and steady with a few eaters coming aboard around the 35cm mark. I binned 3 of these and caught 3 more legal fish but let them go as they were simply not what I was looking for.
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Conditions had become glass,
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so hearing on the radio a big skipjack had been landed within sight, I upped the anchor and put out my Trolling lures and started the long paddle out wide,
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Jason who was fishing near me joined me on the adventure. We quickly caught up to another angler who was now playing a nice Kingfish caught on the troll. We continued out with magic minnows in tow hoping for a tuna to jump on. I saw evidence of some fish feeding on the surface but couldn’t make out what these were. I was keeping a good eye on the sounder and we were going over a good amount of bait. There were definitely some tuna marks on occasion too. Me and Jason made it to 57 metres which is a substantial distance from shore. (Around 8km from the ramp) We decided to stay at the same depth and paddle along the depth for 45 minutes then play it safe and troll back into the sugarloaf islands, in 46 metres I found a big ball of saury schooling on the surface, they quickly dived as I neared the school. I made sure to do a few trolling runs past the mark since there might have been a few Tuna hanging around the bait. No hits unfortunately, we gave it our best shot for our first time in the blue water.
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The next few hours were spent looking for sign over a few pins around the islands, but none had any kingfish holding over them. Eventually we dropped the anchor over some reef on the shore side of the saddleback island. There was lots of midwater sign and plenty of small reef fish on the bottom. I got some berley going and had some fish coming up to eat. These were both Kahawai and Blue Mackerel but were not committing to taking the baits. A Kingfish rolled through the middle of these a couple times and I put a jig down but didn’t get a hit. After being unable to catch a live bait I moved on; in closer and back onto the sand.
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Fishing was stupidly slow once again; a lone trevally was landed then released and I moved on. I eventually made it back to the rest of the group who had landed a few good fish; mainly Kahawai, Blue Mackerel and small Snapper. Toby at the last moment before pulling anchor had reeled in an awesome gurnard over 40 cms which had some real weight to it. We all headed to the beach in the harbour and got off the kayaks for a break around 2.30pm.
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We all decided to order dinner to have on the beach so we could head straight back out for the evening. We heard about some big fish being caught up and down the coast, the standout was a Kingfish of 17kg landed by Zack Mockett up north.
After dinner we got back onto the water and set up inside the harbour for John Dory. All of us quickly caught mackerel live baits and put them down on a range of different rigs.
After a short while Hamish could be heard from across the harbour squealing his head off. Yip he had a JD and a nice one too. Later on, Toby pulled one in too!
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I had my own shot during the evening and thought I had got the hook in well but as I got the fish close the hook pulled a few metres under the kayak. I was a bit bummed since I had lost so many the previous years, but it wasn’t a worry seeing two good mates land their first Johnnies. We packed up the gear just on dark and headed back for a well-deserved sleep. Looking at my track I paddled 22km over the course of the first day. Insane !
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Last edited by Epicskwid on Wed Mar 27, 2019 11:36 am, edited 1 time in total.
Viking ProFish 400 Lite
Kayak PB's
15.10kg Kingfish - Tangoio Beach
10.20kg Snapper - Tangoio Beach
3.20kg Kahawai - Napier Port
2.20kg Blue Cod- Tata Beach Golden Bay
2.15kg Trevally - Taylors Bay Mahia
2.10kg John Dory Taranaki Port
1.40kg Tarakihi - Whangawehi Mahia
1.21kg Gurnard - Tangoio Beach
20kg Thresher Shark- Urenui Beach

User avatar
Epicskwid
Posts: 826
Joined: Fri Sep 26, 2014 8:20 pm
Kayak Make: Viking
Kayak Model: ProFish 400 Lite
Location: Napier

Wed Mar 27, 2019 10:10 am

DAY 2

After being shattered from the first day a later start was required since the body did not want to get up so early. I was determined to land a few fish to weigh since the first day hadn’t gone my way. 7.45 am was the time as I started the paddle out to the gurnard grounds.
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Once again, the fish were not cooperating with literally nothing on the sounder everywhere I went. The sandflats usually hold good numbers of Gurnard, Kahawai and Snapper. But this weekend was proving incredibly difficult. I landed a single small legal Gurnard which I put back and continued the search for fish. One reason that may have caused the bad fishing was the full moon and also a huge dredge had been working the shipping channel for the past 5 days, creating dirty water, an immense amount of noise, probably sending the bottom fish running for the horizon. This being said there were still tons of mackerel in the centre of the shipping channel, along with Kahawai and Dory chasing them. With the morning coming to a close I decided I should give the dory one last crack for at least 2 – 3 hours.
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On the paddle in a huge pod of common dolphins turned up to brighten me and Jason’s spirits.
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About 50 came roaring over to meet us. A few split from the pod to follow me and ride my bow wake. After some time following us the rest of the pod turned around to find where some of their members had gone. I had 7 or 8 Dolphins taking turns riding my bow wave.
An epic experience which made me feel a ton better and got me to remember why I love to be out on the water.

Dodging the dredge, I made my way the few kilometres back into the harbour and found huge mackerel schools in the channel. It was easy, just letting the wind take me along for the ride and dropping the sabiki into the schools to load up on live baits; sometimes 3 at a time.
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I quickly got onto my spot and had two tasty mackerel down swimming. I waited for a good hour before I got my first bite.
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The clicker went off and slowly the line peeled off, then got faster and faster. I’m wondering if this is a kahawai since the line had angled out. I stayed composed and treated it like a John Dory. I put the drag up just enough to stop the clicker going and gave the fish a wind. Yep were tight!
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I got the drag set to where the fish could take what it liked, and I could just barely gain line. After it turned dead weight, I got the net into the water waiting. Target species. A big shape came into view and gave a quick burst of energy seeing the kayak. My heart was racing. Stay composed Blair. Into the net big girl.
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Total relief as I pulled a solid sized dory onboard.
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A bit of whooping and yahooing and she went onto ice. At this point I didn’t think twice about the size of the fish, I was just glad I had a good fish to weigh now. Only 10 minutes passed, and I had another bite and converted it too. This time a slightly smaller dory but a great eater all the same.
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Your coming home with me mate. A third bite pulled a short amount of line and killed the mackerel. No matter I’ll put another down. Bang hit 4 and the fish stayed hooked and I brought in dory number 3. Onto ice it goes. I had almost run out of live baits. I had a 5th and final bite which dropped the bait fairly quickly. What a hectic few final hours to the competition! Coming in a little early I managed to even have a shower and wind down from the day.
Last edited by Epicskwid on Wed Mar 27, 2019 10:35 am, edited 2 times in total.
Viking ProFish 400 Lite
Kayak PB's
15.10kg Kingfish - Tangoio Beach
10.20kg Snapper - Tangoio Beach
3.20kg Kahawai - Napier Port
2.20kg Blue Cod- Tata Beach Golden Bay
2.15kg Trevally - Taylors Bay Mahia
2.10kg John Dory Taranaki Port
1.40kg Tarakihi - Whangawehi Mahia
1.21kg Gurnard - Tangoio Beach
20kg Thresher Shark- Urenui Beach

User avatar
Epicskwid
Posts: 826
Joined: Fri Sep 26, 2014 8:20 pm
Kayak Make: Viking
Kayak Model: ProFish 400 Lite
Location: Napier

Wed Mar 27, 2019 10:11 am

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The big girl pinned right where i wanted her. Corner of the Mouth with a DX Point 4/0 Hook
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The Full Line up
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Dory Revenge
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Couldn't wipe the grin off my face
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Top Eating and three of the blinking things!
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Hamish's first dory and a great one too
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Another Smaller Gurnard
Attachments
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Last edited by Epicskwid on Wed Mar 27, 2019 10:48 am, edited 2 times in total.
Viking ProFish 400 Lite
Kayak PB's
15.10kg Kingfish - Tangoio Beach
10.20kg Snapper - Tangoio Beach
3.20kg Kahawai - Napier Port
2.20kg Blue Cod- Tata Beach Golden Bay
2.15kg Trevally - Taylors Bay Mahia
2.10kg John Dory Taranaki Port
1.40kg Tarakihi - Whangawehi Mahia
1.21kg Gurnard - Tangoio Beach
20kg Thresher Shark- Urenui Beach

User avatar
Epicskwid
Posts: 826
Joined: Fri Sep 26, 2014 8:20 pm
Kayak Make: Viking
Kayak Model: ProFish 400 Lite
Location: Napier

Wed Mar 27, 2019 10:36 am

WEIGH IN
Getting on the road to Oakura at 3 we got to see most of the fish weighed. I arrived and looked at the board, Yip Hamish had taken over first place John Dory with his fish of 1.955 kg, but there were lots of people still to come. I met up with some mates along the way and chatted about how the fishing had been. Toby had weighed his gurnard and gone into second position with 0.910kg fish awesome!
Eventually my turn came to put my dory onto the scales, I was feeling pretty good. Sure, enough the scales read 2.100kg putting me into first place.
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Not long after I weighed my fish, my good mates Laurie and Shane turned up, as usual the fish bag had a couple horses.
A 9.7kg snapper
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and 15.7kg kingfish!
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excellent job guys.
Hamish had come over after getting his fish filleted and checked the board. All he could do was laugh, I had passed him right near the end with my Dory.
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The highlight of weigh in was Paul Rountree’s 2 big Hapuka. One weighed over 20kg and the other in the mid-teens. We all gave him a standing ovation for his incredible achievement.
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Many more fish rolled onto the weigh station,
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with Hamish gritting his teeth as we waited for the rest of the fish to be weighed. I stood there giggling with Hamish buzzing out next to me. It was over. My JD Had topped the list and my team-mate Hamish had taken out second place. Even Toby snuck onto the podium with his Gurnard. And then took out a mystery weight prize too, well deserved mate!
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A hard weekends fishing overall for a lot of people. But the weather really turned it on and let us get out off the coast and give it our best go. With prizegiving done I shook everyone’s hand on the way out the gate.

Special Thanks:
No 1 Sponsor Dad (Nigel) He’s the absolute legend who enables me to do these things, don’t know what I’d do without you mate.
Black Magic Tackle
Viking Kayaks
Last Cast Bait and Berley
Taranaki Kayak Fishing Club

And that’s it for my fourth Taranaki Kayak Classic,
Hope you enjoyed the read,
Blair /Epicskwid
Viking ProFish 400 Lite
Kayak PB's
15.10kg Kingfish - Tangoio Beach
10.20kg Snapper - Tangoio Beach
3.20kg Kahawai - Napier Port
2.20kg Blue Cod- Tata Beach Golden Bay
2.15kg Trevally - Taylors Bay Mahia
2.10kg John Dory Taranaki Port
1.40kg Tarakihi - Whangawehi Mahia
1.21kg Gurnard - Tangoio Beach
20kg Thresher Shark- Urenui Beach

Ferret
Posts: 21
Joined: Mon Dec 10, 2018 1:58 pm
Kayak Make: Container Door Special!
Kayak Model: Two person tank
VHF Call Sign: Nil

Wed Mar 27, 2019 12:02 pm

Great post Epic, well done on the first place!! Thanks for the photos and info, looks like a bucket list type event for kayak fishers!

User avatar
Blazer60
Posts: 1078
Joined: Sat Feb 09, 2013 3:51 pm
VHF Call Sign: ZMW5911 - Blazer60
Location: Whitby, Wellington

Wed Mar 27, 2019 12:57 pm

Awesome mate, great read.
Blazer60
Stealth Fisha 500 ZMW5911

Casualtyward
Posts: 402
Joined: Wed Nov 06, 2013 10:05 pm
Kayak Make: Ocean
Kayak Model: Prowler 4.3 Ultra
VHF Call Sign: ZMU7778
Location: Auckland

Wed Mar 27, 2019 2:51 pm

Great job, Blair. I've been waiting all week for your report.

Well done and catching some JD's and winning a prize for it.
Kotare II
Ocean Prowler 4.3 Ultra

Callsign: ZMU7778

Rabbit
Posts: 28
Joined: Tue Apr 22, 2014 10:41 pm
Kayak Make: Stealth
Kayak Model: Fisha 555
Location: Auckland

Thu Mar 28, 2019 8:47 am

Smart tactics Blair. Well done mate!

User avatar
Schecter
Posts: 738
Joined: Tue Jan 07, 2014 8:37 pm
Kayak Make: Viking
Kayak Model: Profish EVO IV
VHF Call Sign: ZMW8098
Location: Auckland

Thu Mar 28, 2019 6:50 pm

Nice going champ. Looks like a great weekend.
Viking Tempo
Viking Profish 440

PB: Snapper=79cm. Rogers Road, 26/10/14

PB: Gurnard=34cm. Orere Point, 17/06/15

PB: Kingfish=75cm. Omaio, 13/02/16


Manurewa Marlins RLFC. The Home of Joe Galuvao, Henry Fa'afili, Greg Eastwood, Daniel O'Regan, Jesse Bromwich,
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