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Very Hot Topic (More than 100 Replies) Re: Whangarei Heads (Read 295708 times)
davflaws
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Re: Whangarei Heads
Reply #1005 - Dec 19th, 2020 at 12:24pm
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We don't seem to be able to catch a legal snapper at the moment. A couple of trips during the heat of the day produced nothing until we trolled for Kahawai, and I took 60 scallops from Taurikura yesterday and saw no fish on the beds.

And soon the water will be full of reindeer shit and any fish in the inner channel will piss off somewhere quieter.

Kahawai 35, 33.
  
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davflaws
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Re: Whangarei Heads
Reply #1006 - Dec 22nd, 2020 at 5:26am
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Can't even catch a Kahawai now.

Got a bit freaked out in the weekend by the number of boats and divers on the Scallop beds, so did some "'back of the envelope" calculations of population size and fishing pressure. When I eventually got my calculations sorted and making sense, I came up with 250,000 legal or near legal scallops in the harbour entrance, so relaxed a bit.

Took another 60 today, and was stopped by a fisheries patrol. The guy reckoned the fishing pressure amounted to about 50,000 per year, so we are in the same ball park at least.

I felt a bit sad, remembering an old mate Mike Bull, who did the original research on NZ Scallops back in the 70s but who died pretty young. Lovely man!
  
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Re: Whangarei Heads
Reply #1007 - Dec 26th, 2020 at 4:07pm
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Enjoy reading your reports  Smiley
  
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davflaws
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Re: Whangarei Heads
Reply #1008 - Jan 21st, 2021 at 11:03am
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Busy as the last month. Family and friends visit in the Summer Holidays (and who can blame them!) and the house has been full for weeks.
"Fishing" has in practice mainly been scalloping, with a couple of hundred fat ones taken on SCUBA (me) and free diving (the young ones - not me!).
Three or four serious trips have resulted in perhaps 15 snapper between 30 and 33cm, and shitloads of fish from 25cm - 30 cm going back.

Did a "serious" trip from Urquharts to Bream Tail and back (about 40nm) on 15 litres of gas. Didn't catch any fish.

The 20hp 4 stroke seems the ideal match for the dory - making 15 kts with a bit more than 1m of sea fine on the bow, and 19kts surfing down the faces when we turned for home. I haven't had so much fun in a boat since I was 25 and testosterone poisoned! Broached once when I came off one, and as I said to my (somewhat disconcerted) crew "In a 16ft Frypan - we'd be swimming"- but the dory stands on it's ear without taking water into the cockpit, and if I get the throttle and course angle in relation to wind and sea right, I get performance that I would expect from a rig costing three or four times as much.
  
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Re: Whangarei Heads
Reply #1009 - Feb 18th, 2021 at 5:55pm
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Love your reports Dav.  Smiley
  

“We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same.”
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davflaws
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Re: Whangarei Heads
Reply #1010 - Mar 21st, 2021 at 8:46pm
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Its a relief to have something to report. I haven't been to sea in ages - for a whole variety of reasons. My Daughter and Grandkids came for the weekend and the only practical time to go fishing  (as distinct from killing fish) yesterday was early afternoon for the second hour of the ebb. My grandson is nineteen and now noticeably fitter and stronger than me (surprise surprise), so preparing the boat, hitching up and the launch and retrieval were a doddle.

But fishing the shallow Inner Channel in 5m in the middle of the day? - Nah!

The berley bag was almost down to minced frames, so I mashed up some very soft and mushy pilchards and tossed the rather revolting result far and wide. Salted bonito baits on medium gear at first (while the squid was thawing) produced a few nibbles, and my Granddaughter (10 months), proved totally uninterested in fishing and produced a few grizzles.

And so it continued. For nearly an hour. One undersized snapper put back. The salted bonito smelled much better after a good wash on a 7/0 Mutsu, but it wasn't as popular as the newly thawed squid.

We had all had enough. Particularly my Granddaughter. And just as we were about to pull the anchor, I got a real hit and boated a nice fat very bronze pannie. It elicited no interest from her whatsoever! Delicious ceviche!

Snapper 37 male small gonad.       
  
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davflaws
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Re: Whangarei Heads
Reply #1011 - Mar 28th, 2021 at 3:17pm
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A couple of scallop dives - the first a drift along McDonald Bank, with the flood in 5-8m. 5 large scallops on 130 bar. no others seen (any size)

Today we went out to set a longline between the edge of the shipping channel and Mair Bank. A clusterf**k with lotsa tide and my mates gear which was less than well organised and easy to shoot away. Nah - lucky to come away without serious injury, but took a #18 longline hook almost past the barb.  Much embarrassment!

Then while the longline was soaking, went in to Taurikura for a scallop drift in the inner channel. Took 21 on 50 bar. Like a bloody ploughed field in there!

I suspect that scallops have some sort of social mechanism so that when the population gets down too far, they all piss off and congregate somewhere else. Three months ago, 100mm scallops were certainly being thinned out, but there were stack at 70mm that have now departed.

Picking up the longline was a second clusterf**k. There is a reason for using two buoys on each end. No fish.

Scallops were typical mixed bag for end of season. Soime fat as and dribbling ripe, some spent and thin as.

  
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davflaws
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Re: Whangarei Heads
Reply #1012 - Apr 1st, 2021 at 3:58am
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Final scallop dive of the season off Urquharts. 35 on 110 bar. Thinner than the ones from Taurikura. But shitloads of Snapper followed me round. Most just legal, but some looked over 40 cm. My mate was doing boatman, but couldnt get a hit on either softbaits or smellies.

There is no doubt about it - SCUBA - even in less than 10m - gives me a hit, both physically (I feel like a 50 year old) and emotionally (Ellen says I come home high as a kite). But I come down after a couple of hours and return to being 75. Bummer aye!
  
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Re: Whangarei Heads
Reply #1013 - Apr 1st, 2021 at 10:27am
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75 is okay, I'm quite enjoying it  Smiley

Old age comes calling whether you want him or not - just do as Clint Eastwood does, and don't invite the 'old man' in.

You sound like you don't .........
  
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davflaws
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Re: Whangarei Heads
Reply #1014 - Apr 2nd, 2021 at 6:27pm
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Try hard not to. Talking to my Osteopath recently, I became aware that I have always tended to push myself to the edge of my physical limits at any given time. Of course that means I can do less as I age, but it probsbly also means I am doing my best to age as slowly as I can. My knee still huurts and I'd much rather it didn't.
  
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