Taranaki Kayak Classic 2020

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Epicskwid
Posts: 834
Joined: Fri Sep 26, 2014 8:20 pm
Kayak Make: Viking
Kayak Model: ProFish 400 Lite
Location: Napier

Wed Mar 11, 2020 12:56 am

Once again, the Taranaki Classic rolls around for another year. This event is a must-do for all levels of kayak fishers. This would be my 5th year competing in the contest.
With the weather looking good for the weekend me and dad got the gear together and set off on the 6 hour drive to New Plymouth.

As usual we got the gear dropped off and headed over to sign up. It always awesome to see some good mates from around the country all come together for a single event. After a big yarn we headed back to camp. I like to get my gear set for the next morning the night before, so I was busy rigging a few rods with leader, packing my pod and getting my camera gear ready.

The next morning, we awoke to the alarm at 4.30 am. We had an hour’s drive to the chosen spot: White Cliffs. This area has produced some monster snapper over the years, and with the swell at 0.4 m it was going to be a good one. Me and dad arrived in the dark and met the flotilla already getting set up at the ramp.
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This year we had brought along the generator to power a flood light. It worked great for a pitch black set up. Eventually every kayaker was down on the beach ready to go. All of us waited till the light got to the point where we could see the waves. They were tiny! I had buddied up with some of the Taranaki club members, so I headed off with them down the coast, the sun came up and we were onto our spot.

I got my strayline out quickly with a big bait, a huge whole pilchard. My second rod went down with a ledger attached, to cover the other species on offer. I got the salmon burley into the water and the fish were on the bite big time. I brought in a kahawai on the first drop which went in the back for my first species. Just one more drop was required to secure an excellent 4.2 kg snapper which put up a determined battle.
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With hopes of a horse snapper, I continued resetting my big stray-lining baits with freshly caught kahawai. As the sun broke over the cliffs the snapper stopped biting. I had caught and released around 10 nice snapper at this point.

Our group decided to move out a bit deeper to see if the larger fish were out a bit further. On the next spot I began to get some real runs on my giant slabs of kahawai. I caught a few nice 2 – 3kg snapper between the many 25 – 35cm ‘piranhas’. Then finally a big run. It screamed out a heap of line out of nowhere. I clicked the reel into gear and the fish kept on going, eventually chewing through my 60lb leader. Who knows what it could have been? I kept on catching snapper and kahawai, doing my best to set big baits in my burley along with chunking the whole time. I eventually caught some gurnard on the ledger and a few more stunning snapper to 3kg on the big baits. It was roughing up a bit so we headed back to shore. Garry had landed a horse snap over 10kg, everyone was stoked for him. Most of us caught decent fish but Garry had the only contender.
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It was straight to weigh in for me to put my 3 species onto the leader board. I knew both of them wouldn’t last long. No time to waste. Let’s get down to the port for a JD.
As expected, a heap of guys turned up to fish the evening here to cover more species. The bait was insane. I picked up 10 yellow tail in mere seconds. Now it was time to wait.
Bite time typically has been towards 5pm and this time was no exception. A few others had joined me at this point. They hooked up before I did!
I kept patient, knowing my spot had worked many times in the past. Sure enough the switch flicked once again and I began to hook John Dory. Over the past 3 years I’ve really improved at catching them, so I didn’t even drop one this competition. Unlike in February I could not find any sizeable JD’s around the 2kg mark. I put 1 in the bin at 1.4 kg and released another 3 all around the same size.
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Unfortunately, 2 others had to be kept due to a gut hook and the other fighting very hard. This made 6 Dory, my best ever session. The fish were just on fire and have been for the last month. Just plagues of John Dory. I am very glad they have such a high growth rate.

As we came in for the evening, I talked to the other kayakers who were coming in from their fishing. Lots of guys had caught Dory many their first. I love to see people over the moon with their first fish. I had one thing on my mind for Sunday: Tuna. After a chat with a few guys who had been out wide I got the information and made the plan to go and hunt one. They were around 5 km out well within my range. Since a lot of the other guys were going out there too it would be awesome in a big group.

Sunday’s alarm was set for 5.30 am. I was fizzing. Get me onto the water already!
We were first to the beach and got set up; in the dark once again. Me and dad looked into the sky and both saw a shooting star. We looked at each other and said the same thing: I wish for a tuna. Around 7 guys were preparing to go out and hunt for a tuna. I was first out by about 30 minutes. I wanted to give myself the best shot at a tuna and gaining more species. At 7 am I was almost to the islands. and by 7.30 am I had passed the saddleback and chucked the lures in. Wind was offshore around 7 knots and was meant to swing to the north later on. The depth kept climbing from 35 to 40 and so on. The blue water started at 30 m which was quite incredible, at any moment I could have a hit. But they didn’t come. As I hit the 50m mark I turned and began to head north. I paused for a drink and that’s when the first scream of the reel came. I knew what this was immediately. That isn’t no kahawai. The quick tail beats meant tuna. after a short fight with me being quite patient, I had him in the net. A respectable Albacore of around 3.5 kg.

I turned around to head back to the school and hooked up again, landed that fish and then decided I better go look for a kingfish since I was on 5 species. With the lures still in the water I hit a double of tuna landing one of the two. 3 in the bin and I was on my way back to the islands. In 43 m I had yet another hit, this one was different... much bigger. I could barely move the fish at first. Then it quickly dived down to 30 m where it sat for the next 15 minutes. During this period, I’d gain and lose line over and over. Finally, I got a glimpse of the beast. At this point I knew what to do, hang on for dear life and be patient even when the fish was on the wind-on. Albacore do not come to the net easily; I had learnt that on the last few fish. I finally got it to surface and got a good look at the hook set. The front treble was sunk deeply into the corner of its mouth. After another 5 circles I got my first shot with the net. Still too deep. Once again, I circled the fish around again, and his nose touched the net and he stopped swimming. I reached forward and got his whole head in. An explosion of water erupted as the big tuna rocketed downwards into the net.
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I dropped the rod and grabbed the opposite side of the net to secure the fish. This one was big, and I had landed it at the critical moment.
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After yet another tuna (this time around 5 kg) I decided to make the long trek back to the port since the wind was picking up. I Jigged a few pins on the way in but didn’t see any sign of kingfish. The paddle was tough with a headwind the entire way.

We got on cleaned up and on the road to the weigh in. I ended up weighing 5 species:
Snapper Gurnard Kahawai John Dory and Albacore Tuna. The tuna weighed in at 7.445 kg taking out first place.
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This was a dream come true for me. The event was amazing as usual and I will never be able to write able every single thing that happened over the weekend but I hope this gave you an insight to what went on.

Special Thanks:
Nigel Whiting – Legendary dad
Taranaki Kayak Club
Garry Harrison
Paul Rountree
Herb Spannagl
All of the other friends who made the event so good
Viking Kayaks
Black Magic Tackle
IMG_2091.jpg
Viking ProFish 400 Lite
Kayak PB's
15.10kg Kingfish - Tangoio Beach
10.25kg Snapper - Tangoio Beach
7.44kg Albacore Tuna - Port Taranaki
3.20kg Kahawai - Port Napier
2.70kg Rainbow Trout - Lake Taupo
2.20kg Blue Cod- Tata Beach Golden Bay
2.15kg Trevally - Taylors Bay Mahia
2.10kg John Dory Port Taranaki
1.40kg Tarakihi - Whangawehi Mahia
1.21kg Gurnard - Tangoio Beach

User avatar
AndrewRawlingson
Posts: 2595
Joined: Thu Apr 05, 2012 10:03 pm
Location: Northland

Wed Mar 11, 2020 9:22 am

Awesome :clap:

Casualtyward
Posts: 420
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 11, 2020 1:58 pm

Good job, Blair. Great report.

Once again you're doing the mahi and getting the treats
Kotare II
Ocean Prowler 4.3 Ultra

Callsign: ZMU7778

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shad
Posts: 300
Joined: Sun Dec 13, 2009 1:03 pm
Kayak Make: ocean kayak
Kayak Model: prowler 4.3
VHF Call Sign: ZMW 3124
Location: New Plymouth

Wed Mar 11, 2020 5:06 pm

Well done Blair 👍love the sound of those screaming reels 👍
Prowler 4.3

User avatar
Epicskwid
Posts: 834
Joined: Fri Sep 26, 2014 8:20 pm
Kayak Make: Viking
Kayak Model: ProFish 400 Lite
Location: Napier

Wed Mar 11, 2020 5:43 pm

shad wrote:
Wed Mar 11, 2020 5:06 pm
Well done Blair 👍love the sound of those screaming reels 👍
Wish i could have stayed out all day ! :D Will be back again in the near future. For now the next two fish on the list are Blue Moki and Hapuka. Both a big challenge especially puka.
Viking ProFish 400 Lite
Kayak PB's
15.10kg Kingfish - Tangoio Beach
10.25kg Snapper - Tangoio Beach
7.44kg Albacore Tuna - Port Taranaki
3.20kg Kahawai - Port Napier
2.70kg Rainbow Trout - Lake Taupo
2.20kg Blue Cod- Tata Beach Golden Bay
2.15kg Trevally - Taylors Bay Mahia
2.10kg John Dory Port Taranaki
1.40kg Tarakihi - Whangawehi Mahia
1.21kg Gurnard - Tangoio Beach

User avatar
Schecter
Posts: 754
Joined: Tue Jan 07, 2014 8:37 pm
Kayak Make: Viking
Kayak Model: Profish EVO IV
VHF Call Sign: ZMW8098
Location: Auckland

Wed Mar 11, 2020 6:25 pm

Well done champ :y: . I hope to be there next year.
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,
Kenny Bromwich, Peter Hiku, Ligi Sao, Siliva Havili.

User avatar
Marc N
Posts: 376
Joined: Sun Oct 29, 2017 9:06 am
Kayak Make: FishMaster
Kayak Model: Angler 14
VHF Call Sign: none
Location: Birkenhead Auckland NZ

Thu Mar 12, 2020 8:12 am

Fantastic, Intrepid fishing, what a load of great fish :) :y:
Yu Co
Fishmaster Angler 14 'yak
Fishing for every thing from Trout to Kingfish
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stinkyprawn
Posts: 6
Joined: Mon Mar 09, 2020 8:35 am
Kayak Make: Viking
Kayak Model: Reload
Location: manawatu

Thu Mar 12, 2020 9:15 am

Awesome read, thanks for taking the time to write it up!

Sounds like you can't beat a day out on the water off the naki coast on a kayak in such superb conditions.

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

Thu Mar 12, 2020 4:21 pm

Nice report Blair. A fun filled weekend

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