After having an amazing time at White Island (see Diverse Life part 1) and ticking off just about everything we tried for, we still had quite a bit of time left on the trip so decided on a change of scenery. Cleaning up and shipping out on the same day as our return from White Island.... Coromandel bound.
Our spur of the moment decision to head north resulted in a late night arrival to our destination and another sleepover on board. We were up at first light organising the boat and packing for another adventure.
First stop was to load up with scallops, a delicacy I rarely enjoy down south. I have never dived for scallops and the truth is I had no idea what I was looking for. On my first visit to the bottom I realised this wouldn’t be hard at all claiming half my quota for the day in one breath. All three of us had our fill of fresh scallops’ from the shell and the rest were bagged and tagged to take home.
Motoring on to the next spot we ran into a large work up of kahawai and presuming kingfish to be lurking below, Matt Barr was up. We dropped him in a position to intercept the school and proceeded to work the kahawai with a light bait rod from the side. Unfortunately, Matt was unable to get onto a decent fish but Brad hooked a small king that put up a good fight on the light line.
The visibility was average and stalking the weed lines for a john dory or boar fish proved hopeless. We tried a few different locations all with marginal vis only managing to land a couple of crays. Brad and Matt opted for calling it a day relaxing on the boat while I scouted out a decent spot to ambush a snapper.
Deciding on a good spot where two large boulders come together dropping off into a gutter I set to work piling up the kinas just like Brad showed me. After bashing the kinas up, I retreated out of sight and waited patiently for the burley to lure in the fish. I let a few minutes’ tick over before I made my first approach. hugging the weed bed and pausing before the lip I stealthily peered over the edge. There were only a bunch of neighbour fish hoovering up the remains of my burley so I set about replenishing the pile. On my second dive down to add to the pile I spooked a large snapper that had moved in while I wasn’t ready, bugger!
I worked the burley pile trusting Brads advice and hoping for the fishes return. The next time I made my move to the lip I lay in the kelp out of sight keeping an eye on the pile. The wait was worth it as the snapper appeared from behind the rock to my left presenting a perfect broad side shot. I sent the spear straight through him engaging the flopper on the other side. He fought hard but the shot was well placed and the spear was never coming out. Hunting snapper is a challenge much like stalking a deer with the nervous anticipation of pulling the trigger.
The day was dragging on so we found a sheltered cove to anchor up in for the night. The following morning, we collected some fresh scallops for breakfast and bagged up the remainder of our quota. With the forecast taking a turn for the worst we decided to have a quick scout along the shallows for a stingray before heading home.
It didn’t take long to find a nice ray lying flat in only a few feet of water. I took my time rigging up my fishing bow correctly before positioning myself on the bow of the boat. Once everything was set Brad nosed the boat in towards the ray and I pulled off a good shot from above. For a moment all hell broke loose as the ray headed for deeper water dragging the float line with it. We followed the float patiently waiting for it to slow up before hauling it back to the boat. Another first for me and a perfect way to end the trip of a life time.
I would like to make special mention of and thank Peter Hamer for kindly allowing us to use his boat “UN-REEL” and for being an all-round good bugger helping us out wherever possible; Matt Barr for crewing up with us for the week; Murray and Josh Lang for their support and most of all Bradley Lang for taking me on some amazing adventures making memories I will never forget I hope one day I can repay the kindness.