With all this good weather we have been having the spearos have been out and about. This is clearly evident by the number of fish being registered in the competition results. There are even two contestants in the ladies event, only the juniors are conspicuous by their absence.
I have been out a couple of times myself but had a particularly good day on one trip. I did not think it was going to be up to much as the surf had been up during the week and the Maori calendar was so bad it did not even rate a mention for the day, but hey it summer and a day on the water is always a bit of fun.
We started off on the north end of Motiti and it was quiet. It took me 45 minutes just to find a couple of butterfish for my mum. Then I noticed a few small snapper following me around. As I was warmed up by now I took a dive and just sat on the bottom having a look around, and yes there they were, skulking around just on the verge of vision. A school of nice pannies with a couple of larger outriders. I was in a large area that was surrounded by higher reefs, so it was like a large bowl and the school was just mooching around. I drifted about trying to figure out how I could get closer as the bowl did not provide much cover.
Finally I found a rock that protruded up from the bottom and I thought I’d hide behind to take a shot. I swam back to a shallower spot and grabbed a few kina, this bought a couple of snapper in so I knew they weren’t spooked. I ignored them and quietly went about collecting kina, smashing them up and dropping them in front of my rock. By now the snapper could hardly contain themselves and were just about grabbing the kina from right under me. I went back, way behind the rock, loitered around for a bit then dropped down to the bottom and crawled along to my rock. A peer through the weed showed a bit of a frenzy going on. I lined up a nice snapper and got myself dinner, about 1.5 kilos.
We left the spot and moved onto an area with a bit more current in the hope of getting some kingfish. The current proved much stronger than originally anticipated and I hugged the leading edge of the rocks. There were no kingies but much to my surprise I spotted a nice big John Dory hunting smaller fish in the current. I dived down and he saw me coming so started to high tail it. He went edge on hoping I would miss him, but not today. In the time it took me to remove him from my spear and put him in the float/boat I had drifted 200 metres in the current. There was no swimming back so I cut across it towards the boat. The others were back too so we moved onto another spot.
Anchoring in about 14 metres of water I was last out of the boat. I had a look around and way down I thought I saw a gurnard. “Yehaa I fancy one of these”, I thought. Duck diving down I was halfway down when I realised all I had seen was a bit of weed drifting over an oval rocks which I had mistaken for the gurnards wings. Looking around I spotted another John Dory trying to play Mr Invisible in the kelp stalks. Two Johnnies in one day, man that is a personal best for me and I was just under the boat.
I hunted around for another hour or so without seeing anything of interest and was just thinking the calendar was pretty right when noticed a small snapper swimming around in front of me. It was well undersized and as I was bored I thought I would just sneak up on it and give it a fright. I dropped down and hugged the weed and as I got closer I saw a big grey shadow with its back to me. Blue Moki or Porae I thought, then I saw those tell-tale pectoral fins balancing the fish in the wash. I could not believe my luck, but would it hold. I edged quietly closer to get in range and then just as it became aware something was there and started to turn for a look I let fly. I had him. I charged forward and grabbed the thrashing fish with both hands, got a good grip on him with one hand, extracted my knife and dealt the finishing blow. Now it was time to go up for air. I was elated, two snapper and two Jonnies. The last snapper came in at 3.19 kilos. My best for quite a while and very tasty too.