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New Zealand Snapper Trip 2011 report & photos

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After a hectic marlin season myself, Damo and a couple of our mates Steve & Bear headed over to New Zealand for some soft plastic fishing for snapper. Damo had done 3 of these trips in the past but for myself it was to be my first trip over the ditch and it certainly lived up to his previous accounts of events.

The destination was Great Barrier island approximately 90 km east off the coast from Auckland. Our skipper Brett drove his boat over from the mainland to meet us where we were staying and we checked the next few days forecast to plan on the map where we would fish each day.

With the weather looking good for day 1 we decided to head north to the Mokohinau Islands and do some wash fishing. It was to say the least it was mind blowing… Armed with our 12lb outfits it was one fish after another with regular fish of 7-9 kg coming aboard. The highlight of the day was Brett’s 14.5kg or 32lb snapper on 8lb braid.

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We also stopped and caught a heap of kings on a pinnacle on the way home.

Day 2 saw us head to the south to Cuvier island and again fished the washes for some more amazing fish. The highlight of the day was watching Damo hooked up to a 70cm king and as he got it up onto the surface it was chased and then eaten by an estimated 40kg monster king. The snapper of the day was Stevo’s 11kg snapper.

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Day 3 we fished the eastern side of the island. This time we were in some really shallow water with me getting my first big fish. I was retrieving my soft plastic and when it was about 5 metres from the boat Damo said to free spool it as a fish had followed it up. Within 2 seconds we watched the big girl engulf it and after a 5 minute battle I had my biggest snapper to date tipping the scales at 9kg. Damo managed to get smoked by some absolute monsters and the boys got some more great fish including Bears 9.2kg snapper. We headed out into 50 meters of water to a pinnacle where we dropped some plastics on 1oz heads and scored some nice Nannigai, Damo got a good Harpuka and Brett got a big John Dory.

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Day 4 saw us fish the western side of the island around the washes as the forecast 35 knot winds were starting to pick up. We fished the gannet colony and again we got into more great fish with regular 4 way hook ups on school fish of around 5kg.

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All I can say is what a great time we all had and that the fishery over there is amazing. All fish were caught on plastics and all our big fish were released with some smaller ones kept for dinner on the bbq and a few of the locals.

Cheers Mike

Edited by Reef Magic Charters
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Thats crazy stuff!

32lb on 8! wow I wouldn't even think of throwing 8lb here let along where there are 30lb'ers!

Oh yeah i agree, but I know the fishing over in NZ its amazing 90% of the time. Might as well flick around with plastics, more fun and you dont smell like stinky bait lol :P

Well done guys looks like you had the time of you life

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The highlight of the day was Brett’s 14.5kg or 32lb snapper on 8lb braid.

Insane! :1yikes:

Damo hooked up to a 70cm king and as he got it up onto the surface it was chased and then eaten by an estimated 40kg monster king.

Mind blowing! :wacko:



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Awesome trip with even more awesome results!! Glad the weather was OK for you too - it can be a hairy trip to Great Barrier on a bad day! :wacko:

Initially, the Kiwis were a bit slow to 'take to' the soft plastics for snapper, but in the last 5-8 years, they've embraced it totally, with excellent results!! Sure beats smelly pillies!

I remember seeing an underwater video put out by 'the gannet man' of a massive snapper taking a fairly large live kawhai/Aussie Salmon - which then proceeded to totally brick him in the kelp!

Big Baits ..... big fish, especially over there. :1yikes:


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Yes what a great time we all had on the trip Mike. This being my 4th trip to NZ chasing snapper on SP's and my second time to Great Barrier in 6 years I was a little worried at how hard the fishery had been targeted since we were first there. To my amazement it just seems to get better. I have never had so much trouble trying to get some big snapper to the boat and being bust off on numerous occasions. It was great to see Mike get his first big fish as I was worried he was going into depression as everyone else was into them!

This trip will be one that I will remember for a long time with some great memories of the fishing as well as the laughing and catching up with Brett again. He will be doing an article for a NZ magazine about the trip and is hoping to score a cover shot as well.

Cheers Damo

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