Mokau Fishing by Paul Barnes
Geoff and Heidi Preston reported catching an 11.2kg snapper a couple of weeks ago so Rob Nelson and I went down to Mokau this week to see how they do it.
Photo Below: Heidi Preston with their latest 20lb plus snapper
We arrived at Mokau on Wednesday evening and had a great dinner at Geoff and Heidi's before settling in to the Mokau Motel.
It took around two minutes to get to Mokau Beach from the Motel and we arrived right on daybreak, the surf was low and a bitterly cold fog streamed out from the Mokau and Awakino River valleys.
Just above the fog a snow capped Mount Egmont dominated the horizon. We set up a 65kg Dropper Rig around 300 metres north of the Mokau river mouth.
It was so cold my freezing fingers had difficulty with the kite clip and Robs were so numb he stuck a hook into his finger while baiting up without even feeling it!
We quickly determined that the marginally light offshore easterly wind flow had a ceiling of around 50 feet - above that a southerly would blow the kite back onshore.
We decided to attach the dropline on the dropper rig to the loop on the bottom of the skyhook shock cord, this gave us a kiteline length of about 6 metres. We also cut the length of the drop-line down to 10 metres. This resulted in the kite being flown
at 10 to 15 metres above sea level.
We were in an awkward spot with a headland behind us and the 6 to 10 knot wind was deflecting up the beach because of this. Our Mega Mouth kite pulled well in the gusts but stalled in the turbulence caused by the wind shadow of the headland.
We decided a running shot to the north might get the gear out, but were defeated by the fact that the further away we got from the river the weaker the wind became. Finally, with the gear between 300 and 400 metres out we left it to fish.
The nearshore water was still very muddy so we weren't surprised that we caught nothing on the set.
Just as we had finished hauling, Geoff Preston arrived an said they had just got two longlines out 700 and 800 metres offshore, both rigs were powered by Mega Mouth Kites and were flying at 12 meters above sea level.
He suggested we head back to his place and have a coffee and fresh baked muffins while the rigs fished for a couple of hours. After breakfast we all headed back to the beach to haul the two rigs in.
Geoff Preston Went North
Geoff Preston, Jeff Litton and Steve McEwen fished north of the Awakino River. This requires crossing the river and Jeff had a jet boat on hand for this purpose.
The advantage of this spot is the Awakino River is wider at the mouth and runs parallel to the beach for some distance before discharging into the sea.
The resulting spit, which is only 100 meters or so wide and 10 metres high, has a gap in it about a mile north of the Awakino Heads. This topography results in the best wind in the Mokau - Awakino area, the wide valley discharges three or four knots
more wind than where we were, and there are no obstructions behind you to interfere with the wind flow.
Two very quick trips in the jet boat later and we were all at the gap on the spit
Photo Below: Standing in the gap on the spit looking east up the Awakino valley
We had left it a bit too long, the wind had dropped to nothing 10 minutes before we got back to the rigs so both kites were in the water.
This happens frequently at Mokau because everyone goes home for breakfast once their kite rigs are set out and fishing, they simply bury the reel spike deep in the sand and leave the gear unattended. The downed kites were recovered easily despite the
fact that neither had a float or safety trace connected, (not recommenced).
Neither rig had cleared the muddy zone so no snapper were caught, but they still managed to catch a feed of gurnard and red cod. The skate in the pic below is an unusual catch for this area.
Above : Jeff Litton, Heidi Preston, Steve McEwen and Jeff Preston with lunch.
Below: It may be small but could it go! Jeff's jet boat saved the day by getting us to the gap from Awakino. The little boat ferried the six people and a considerable amount of gear in only two trips
Rob and I were going to stay an extra night on the off chance the weather would bring fresher winds today but decided against it. We checked all the weather sites on Heidi's computer and although Buoyweather forecast 11 to 15 knot easterlies for Friday,
we thought it would be the same difficult conditions. We thought this because it appeared the high pressure system was stationary on every other forecast we checked.
Once again Buoyweather got it right and a gleeful Geoff Preston rang this morning to report he had just caught two snapper of 3.1 and 2.1kg while another kitefisher Mark Ashcroft had caught two snapper of 6.2 and 5.3kg. The winds were stronger and both
Geoff and Mark managed sets of around 2000 metres offshore. Still that's fishing!
Bay of Plenty from Denley Tarplett
When arrived at Otaramarakau on the 18/06/06 there was not enough wind to fly the kites so we used the rods, the baits got crabbed, so we had some lunch.
Just as we were about to pack the gear up the wind swung around and freshened. We quickly got the kite flying and the 20 hooks on the kite longline rig baited up with mostly mullet. When the gear got out to 500 metres the kite went into a dive and took
We left the set for about 40 minutes and landed two nice gurnard and three kahawai for our efforts. Kite fishing in a similar area a couple weeks earlier we landed six snapper to 4kg and six kahawai on fresh kahawai and mullet baits.