Mokehinau Islands mid-Jan 2014

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Mokehinau Islands mid-Jan 2014

Postby Phantom Menace » Thu Jan 30, 2014 6:01 pm

After a bit of discussion about dates 3 of us landed on a day that suited us all for a trip out spearfishing. The preferred option was to take a 6m hardtop tinny from Omaha out to the Mokes but that was very weather dependent.
5:15am Sunday morning saw us loading the boat with gear and doing the drive to Omaha. We did a speed launch and were motoring out within 8 minutes of arriving at the ramp (parking is easy when you are early). After a little over an hour travelling around 20 – 25 knots we arrived at the Mokes, finished gearing up and the first person was in the water before 8:15am. The visibility at Maori Rocks was the best I had experienced for a while at a clear 15m in places. We spotted some pink maomao down deeper but I decided to leave them alone for a bit and swim into the current on the other side of the rocks. There were quite a few jack macs and koheru around as well as the obligatory schools of blue maomao along with a big school of kahawai that looked like they had had a hard night as quite a few of them were showing signs of being hassled by something bigger – many of them had exposed flesh and obviously roughed up parts. I saw quite a few big butterfish but was hanging out for kingfish to show up – sadly the only kingfish I saw at this spot was a close to 30kg model attached to my mates float as he swam past me back to the boat.

After circling the rock and diving on the schools of kahawai and other fish I decided to head back to where we had seen the pink maomao. Once there I shot a couple – having to work a little hard and shoot them at 18m. Shortly after this we found a few in shallower (less than 10m).

For a while there I kept running into rays – long and short tail. It was quite interesting seeing the differences in behaviour between them. Once back on the boat we all commented on the scenic dive we had just had.

Next stop was a spot where there was a shallowish weedline. One of us went off to snoop snapper while the other two of us worked the weedline together. A couple of kingfish turned up to check us out so I shot one. My mate did the decent thing and helped me secure it by placing a second shot in the fish. He was having problems getting his spear out of the fish as the flopper kept engaging so he detached the shooting line from the gun planning on passing it through forwards. Meanwhile I managed to spin the shaft and get it out as we normally do then gutted and gilled the kingie on the spot to see what else came in. Then left my mate for a few minutes while I swam the kingie back to the boat.

Next part of the plan was for the two of us to split up and snoop snapper by ourselves. I came to a gut with the sun over my shoulder and some nice shadow on one side of it so I swam quietly in the shadow and watched as the gut dropped away deeper as I swam along. Then I spied the dark shape of a large moocher of a snapper below me. It was too close for me to be able to duck dive without it hearing and too deep for me to take a shot so I waited – hoping it would drift up within range. Slowly it waved its pectoral fins and drifted closer to the point that I thought it was in range. I slowly extended the gun and took the shot only to see the tip of the spear just penetrate the solid flesh behind the head but not pass through for the flopper to engage! The snapper pretty much looked at me and then swam off with a small piece of body modification to show its mates. I hadn’t dived in visibility as good as this for quite a while so had misjudged the distance!!! (and size).

Gutted I continued my swim and then met up with my mate. He was heading back to the boat as he had just lost his spear. He hadn’t reattached the shooting line to the gun after the kingfish episode earlier and had taken a shot at a fish only to see his shaft and shooting line fire off into the distance (an expensive mistake). After a bit more snooping we swam back to the boat and went to pick up number 3 – who had a reasonable snapper and kingfish on his float.

Final spot for the day was an area that none of us had dived before so we went our separate ways exploring. I managed to snoop a snapper – not a biggie at around 35cm or maybe a little bigger.

At this stage it was about 2:30pm and the wind was coming up a little so we decided to head home – which was a good decision as the wind was stronger than forecast with a good period of 15 knots with gusts heading to 20 at times onto the nose of the boat (the forecast had been for 10knots gusting 15 and a tail wind for our trip home). It was a bit of a bash and crash trip home. We moved the full fishbin forward to adjust the weight and had to hold on for a little over a 2 hr trip. Nothing too eventful happened on the way back in apart from seeing what I think was a Bryde's whale breach just off our port bow as we passed Little Barrier.

It was a great day with some beautiful dives and time with mates. The end fish tally was 4 kingfish, 2 snapper and a few pink maomao (between 3 of us). One of the kingfish was for a friend of mine who had been trying to catch a kingies most of the summer on a fishing line but he had been slowed down by a minor heart attack so I had said I would get one for him.
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Phantom Menace
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