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Taranaki Classic report from NZBlokesFishTales
10:20PM 10th Apr 14

Sponsored angler Taranaki Kayak Fishing Classic trip report -  NZBlokesFishTales Andrew Fletcher & Brad Harris 

Though it was the second of five competitions for the 2013/14 series, the Taranaki Kayak Fishing Classic was the first for 2014, and could not have come soon enough. It had been a couple of months since our last big trip, and with a fairly slow start to the year fish-wise we were really keen to get out amongst some decent fish – even if it meant taking our chances with some potentially damaging surf.
Friday morning was spent packing the car and as always checking we had enough of all the necessary tackle, rods, baits, and most importantly enough cold drinks to last the trip. Once loaded we set off with hopes of finding better fish than last years results, which left a little to be desired.

Day One

Day one saw us launching at 5am into complete darkness, with our Railblaza Nav Lights to show the way. This would normally be plenty for us as we usually fish fairly sheltered waters, however when launching into the unknown I think maybe we should have waited for a little more light for safety and sanity’s sake. I have never been faced with a situation like that morning, where approx 10 minutes after launching I found myself staring into the darkness wondering “what’s that shimmering?” That was the crest of what I soon found out to be the first in a set of 4 rather large breaking waves. After somehow staying upright I decided the best choice was to put the hammer down and stop paddling once I knew I was well beyond the breakers. The next hour or so was spent paddling toward our chosen spot in the dark, unsure of wether or not we were even heading in the right direction as the backlight on our sounders even when set low, was very bright and made focusing on anything else very difficult.

Unfortunately that was about as exciting as the day got other than a few kahawai each, one snapper to Andrew and a couple of sharks for myself, the first of which I was happy to bring aboard and unhook, the second I was keeping at a safe distance.
Off to weigh-in we went to see how others had got on and the general consensus was it had been a hard days fishing for most, with only a handful of good fish coming in and over half the competitors chhosing not to weigh-in. Once back at the house we set into some gear maintenance and a few quiet drinks, and made a new plan to try a different area for day two.

Day Two

Day two started early with a long drive to our launch spot, with just enough time to set up before launching right on sunrise. While paddling down the river towards the surf, Andrew decided to go for it while I had a thought to strap some gear down to avoid the damage I suffered last year at this competition. I had just stepped onto the beach when I turned to see the set end and Andrew cruise through with barely and swell to deal with, so decided to wait for a similar drop in sets and go for it.

Although I thought my chance had arrived I was caught out by one unexpected wave which broke right as I reached it, breaking over my head and not only taking my hat and sunglasses with it, but hitting my sounder so hard it pulled all four screws from the mount leaving the sounder hanging on only by the cables. After clearing the surf zone and using my small gimbal belt to strap the sounder to the Railblaza rod holders on the Tackle Pod, I was ready for action. A fairly slow start again had both of us wondering if we had made the right choice in heading to an unknown area, or the comp in general.

(Brad & Andrew unsure who has enough room left in their Chill Pods for these beaut snapper! tough problem to have lads ) 

Thankfully these fears were soon put at ease when we stumbled across some good looking fish sign, set our drift and sent the softbaits to work. What happened next is a bit of a blur with solid double figure fish on almost every drop for the next 2 hours. Most hitting on the drop in 10 through to 17m of water. Even a couple of stinky baits getting hit on the drop, resulting in multiple double hook-ups! We couldn’t have asked for much more. Once the action died down and we had a chance to finally take a breath, we realized this had to have been one of the best days either of us had ever seen on the water and one that will not be forgotten. Though still quite early in the day, we decided to head in and use the available time to organize our gear, clean out the car (which unfortunately suffered from a bit of leaked juice from an overfilled Chill Pod and had started to smell a little ripe), and clean ourselves up ready for a big night.

Weigh-in was a lot busier day two with a lot of very nice fish being weighed, many far surpassing ours and leaving us well outside the prizes however we were still buzzing from such an awesome day that nothing was going to bring down the mood. A great evening with an awesome group of anglers who all had a story or two to share, and our team (for this event being Andrew, Shane and Bam aka The Viking Maniyaks, and myself) coming in a close second in total team weight to the Viking Warhammers really topped off what was once again an awesome comp.
A huge thanks to the team from the Oakura Surfcasting and Kayak Fishing Club, who put in so much time throughout the year to make it all happen, and of course to all our team sponsors who have supported us, Viking Kayaks, Lowrance, K-Labs, Railblaza and Yak clothing. We really appreciate your support and hope we can continue this season the way we started and do you all proud.

Cheers, Brad & Andrew
The Viking NZBlokes