As usual, the minute Dad’s Army set off on their annual fishing trip to the King Bank, the weather turned to custard. Our crew had just finished up the New Zealand Nationals, placing 3rd in the Striped Marlin category. During the previous week, we had enjoyed lovely sun-filled and clear days, with calm winds and little swell. Then “30-Knot Tony” and his gang of anglers stepped aboard. Tony had earned his nickname legitimately over many years of angling aboard November Rain, and this week was to be the usual modus operandi. The forecast for the entire week was shit.
High winds, big swells are not to be taken lightly for the King Bank, Zealand. You are in open ocean, with absolutely no shelter, 50 miles off the top of NZ. Because of the forecast, we were limited to fishing the lee side of the North Island for Marlin , supplementing the roughest weather with snapper fishing in Tom Bowling Bay.
Garry dropped out the burly bag filled with bloody, stinky fish frames while the boys baited their hooks and dropped their lines, and within minutes, the bite was on. We got into the bigger sized snapper right away. Hook up after hook up, of table sized snapper, a John Dorry and a couple of seriously delicious blue cod.
It’s our policy to only keep what we can eat, and to release the bigger breeding fish unharmed. Mike’s released a large snapper, which unfortunately, did not survive the rapid assent from the deep, bloated up, it floated around the stern of the boat, futility attempting to to swim back to the bottom . The distressed fish soon attracted an opportunistic seabirds, which Mike somehow mangled to entangle with his next cast. Mike reeled in the squawking and flapping bird, while I untangled the mess, assaulted and pecked at by the unappreciative captive. I carefully released the bird, which promptly fell into the ocean upside down. He stayed that way, head under water, feet pointing to the sky for a good 30 seconds, scaring me into believing it was a goner. Two casualties in as many minutes by Mike! The dazed bird soon came right, right side up and flew off to join his flock of bait thiefs. And that is how Mike earned his moniker as “the Murderer”.It was only on the last day of the trip, that it was finally calm enough to troll in open water. Appetites was finally quenched in the last 20 minutes of the trip. We were live baiting, and about to give it up and turn home, when BANG!, “Raunchy” Red got hit. Mike, the Murderer’s reel went off a minute later. Doubles on Live Baits!!!! While Red’s fish fell off after a few minutes of fight, Mike managed to boat the 101 Kg Stripey without too much more trouble. A decision was made to weigh the fish, sending it to the smoker to be made into delicious appetizer