In the Surf

Wednesday 27th July.

The sea looked very calm and despite the fact that I didnt get away till quite late I decided to try fishing around Kohi point. I launched the W500 at the West End of Ohope beach at about 2.30 in the afternoon and headed  around the point past Otarawairere Bay and out to the point. Full tide was around 3.50pm so I decided that I would paddle until 3.00 and then fish.

I unleashed the Emmrods – put a 2 oz. sinker on one line and got it to the bottom fairly quickly – a 1/2 oz. clip on sinker and a large pilchard on the other with plenty of line out so it would drift around. I let the wind and the very large swell (around 5ft) push me back to Ohope.

First fish was a small snapper (about 30cm) on the stray-line, second was a bigger snapper (about 38 cm) on the other line, and third was a decent kahawai on the stray-line again. The wind got quite strong (and very cold) and around 5.00pm I decided that if the surf was likely to get up I should tackle it with some light left.

I am not quite fit enough to paddle fast enough in the surf (yet). I did OK for a while, but ended up very sideways on to the breaking waves. I was pretty certain that I would end up in the water and had dressed for it, but threw my weight on the “uphill” side of the W500 and in spite of the fact that I got way past 45 degrees, the kayak recovered its composure and eventually so did the paddler, and both of us (padler and kayak) beached without further incident and proceded home to fillet the fish.

Why Wavewalk

I have been keen on fishing most of my life – must have caught the disease from my father I think.

I moved to the Bay of Plenty from Hamilton in 2008, and was able to indulge my passion almost daily if I wanted. I don’t own a boat; I fished off the shore and initially caught very little.

I tried kite fishing, but the fickle winds limited the occasions when that was possible. Eventually some better surf casting gear and some pointers from friends from the local surfcasting club led to us eatimg fish a couple of times each week, but I wanted a bit more from my fishing.

Fishing magazines were full of information about kayak fishing, but friends told me I would be disappointed. They said that stability was a problem, comfort was a problem, the kayaks were a problem. I didnt listen!

I bought a new Sit On Top kayak and set it up with all the gear. I had fish finders and new rods and  – – –  and they were right. I hated the lack of stability, couldn’t launch in the surf, couldn’t handle the kayak easily on my own. I couldn’t reach anything unless it was close to me, and much of the time it was behind me and I needed to be able to do Yoga to get at it. I was very disillusioned in spite of the fact that I had spent lots of money on a top of the range kayak. I went out in it about 6 times in 18 months.

There were some things I liked, and eventually I decided that even if much of the fault lay with me there had to be a way. I imported a pair of adjustable outriggers from the USA, but while searching for a good set I kept landing on the Wavewalk.com website and eventually I decided to buy one. I never fitted the outriggers – still have them at home in the garage.

The WavewalkW500  kayak does everything I wanted it to do. Stability – never think about it. Launching in the surf – I do it every week. I load the kayak on and off my vehicle by myself, launch it most of the time without getting my sneakers wet, paddle through surf and swells and boat wakes without a thought, paddle in strong wind with much less trouble than with the SOT in spite of the higher freeboard, catch my fish and get the kayak back home all on my own. I love it. Everything is so easy. Back on shore again, I can load the kayak back on my vehicle on my own and off again when I get home.

I dont have to construct elaborate means to tie everything in either. I have a bag with by anchor in in one “point” another with my fishing gear (bait, knife, traces, etc etc) in another. At the other end I have a chilly bag for the fish and a bag with snacks, drinks, lights for fishing after dark and whatever else I might need. When coming back therough the surf I zip up the bags and shove them into the points, and they dont move. The only thing I restrain is my paddle.

I can stand up and paddle, stand up and cast, stand up and stretch. I can paddle further because it is easier. I can play in the surf. I reaaly love the W500, and have been out fishing or just playing in it at least twice every week since I received it. And while I am not keen to admit it – I am over 60 and I do not have a physique that was developed in the gym. I am just a little guy.

As you can tell, I am very, very happy with my decsion to purchase a W500 and I would love to show it to you.

Stingray

I had an experience on Wednesday 6th July that is worth relating.

I have had to fish in the Ohiwa harbour almost exclusively for the last couple of months due to on-going bad weather leaving the sea very rough. 

There are a lot of sting rays in the Ohiwa harbour at times. I have caught  are 2 varieties, Short tail and Eagle rays. Eagle rays are more numerous and can be spectacular to catch. They will leap from the water – and they put up a massive fight. Short tails just tend to stick to the bottom and can be almost impossible to move.

I was fishing at night – about 8pm – and all of a sudden my reel started to scream, and there was no prize for guessing that I had hooked an Eagle ray. It took about 300 metres of line – I wound in most of that in and off it went again – and this was repeated over and over.

Kayak fishers I have met tell me that they will cut the line quickly with these beasts because they pull so hard you either loose a reel full of line  – or if you can apply enough drag to stop these things you can capsize your kayak easily.

I wanted to get this fish to the W500 –initially because I didn’t want to lose all my line. and later because I just wanted to see how big it was.

It took me about 1-1/2 hours to get it to the kayak. I had my cell phone with me and tried to get some photos, but because it was so dark, and I was holding the line with one hand to hold the rays head at the surface of the water, it was very difficult. I only really got head shots of the thing.
This fish was much more than a metre across and this link will give you an idea of what these things can weigh
http://www.fishingmag.co.nz/surfcasting-raglan-ray-kingfish.htm
http://www.fishingmag.co.nz/surfcasting-nelson-eagle-ray.htm

I would guess that the one I caught was well over 50kgs, and I didn’t give the stability of the W500 a thought even when I had it alongside and was holding its head up so I could get a photo.

As a matter of interest, I was using and Emmrod Kayak King rod with a 6 coil tip.

Dennis,
Whakatane, New Zealand

big eagle ray brought to kayak - night fishing, New Zealandeagle ray caught by New Zealand kayak angler at night