I'd fished the past couple of comps with Tim who has now moved south, so when the guys announced that the comp would be in November rather than Feb this year, Tony and I talked about entering. A couple of weeks back it looked like I'd have a clash but that got cleared so we got down to planning. This time of year is much better in the Hauraki Gulf to snare a decent snapper than the February date where heaps of small snaps abound. We decided to tip berley in the water first thing and see what we could bring in on bait, and then afterwards go and look for work ups in the afternoon. Weather allowing.
We launched at 6am to avoid the ramp chaos that is just going to get worse as Xmas looms and headed off on flat seas. Our first spot had good structure and decent sign and we fished to the top of the incoming tide without much to show. After we lost the current we moved a couple of kms across to Tiritiri Matangi Island and immediately found great looking water, an ugly reef and masses of current. Perfect. We nosed in on a rock that we sounded and got set up, straight away we started getting hits. Over the next couple of hours we put some pretty decent fish in the bin, although I had trouble getting good hook-sets for a while and dropped a nice fish that felt pretty decent.
At 12.30 I got a strong hit and played a fish that felt solid enough, and landed the largest for the day.
All the while the wind rose so our visions of searching wide for work-ups evaporated; we were sitting exposed to the wind and were comfortable enough but across the channel back to mainland behind us white caps were rolling. By mid afternoon having been torn a new one by an eagle ray, it was time to up and seek shelter or action so we moved behind Tiri for a rest from the wind, but even that was a tad fruitless. We spent some time exploring around Shag Rock with soft baits and jigs before deciding to bite the bullet and head back into the teeth of what felt like 30kts on the nose. The 3.5km trip across Whangaparaoa Passage [Tiri Channel as its more commonly known] doing sub 5 kts to stop waves spilling over us will not be forgotten in a hurry. Tony may have immortalised it with this little clip.
We arrived back soaked, to find the majority of the guys in. A bit of a clean up of gear and getting the boat ready for the road and then it was time to catch up with the crew.
At the weigh-in I was pretty stoked to take out the competition with my 9lb'er.
Great comp, good guys and thanks to Tony for crewing on the wettest boat in the comp!