D’Urville Island Fishing Trip – Greville Harbour, Marlborough Sounds

Russell and Mike McEIhinney with their snapper catch 17 and 15Ibs. D'Urville Island fishing trip.
Russell and Mike McEIhinney with their snapper catch 17 and 15Ibs. D'Urville Island fishing trip.

D’Urville Island Fishing Trip – Blue Cod, Snapper, Parrot Fish, Tarakihi, Barracouta, Maori Chief and an Octopus

With Russell Watson

Members of the Bulwer Fishing Club undertook a biannual Fishing Trip to D‘Urville Island. Our group which consisted of members from Nelson and Christchurch congregated at the Pelorus Tavern in Havelock and after compulsory medication and lunch, we met up with our skipper – Bill Ford, from Bulwer and M.V. Elusive, our 47′ charter boat.

Bill Ford with a groper caught near D'Urville Island.
Bill Ford with a groper caught near D’Urville Island.

We headed for Greville Harbour, on the outside of D’Urville Island, which was to be our home for the next three days.

After a very pleasant three and a half hour cruise, we arrived at Greville to be met by our host Guy King, who recently featured on a “Heartland” programme with Gary McCormick. The tricky manoeuvre of ferrying all of our crew, luggage and stores ashore in an aluminium dingy was completed without incident.

The forecast for the Friday was marginal, but the day dawned not too bad and we headed off to Port Hardy and fished around Nelson’s Monument, there were a few fish but nothing of any consequence, then took off to Stephens Passage to catch the top of the tide.

This interesting piece of water between Cape Stephens at the Northern tip of D’Urville and Stephens Islands, can be quite tricky with turbulent tidal movement and chop from all directions. We fished around Tower Rocks and started catching some really good size blue cod and then we struck paydirt. Our team leader caught a beautiful 17 lb snapper and then other guys got a 14 lb and 15 lb then to top them all the oldest member of our team hauled in a 20 pounder!

The boys were feeling pretty pleased with themselves as we headed back to Port Hardy to try our grouper spot. We had no luck in that regard but pulled in a few more good cod plus another small snapper.

It was then back to Greville, content with our catch which included blue cod, snapper, parrot fish, tarakihi, barracouta, Maori chief and an Octopus, which the snapper really enjoyed as bait.

We had another night of revelry with our steward being kept very busy.

A nice snapper caught aboard M.V. Elusive near D'Urville Island.
A nice snapper caught aboard M.V. Elusive near D’Urville Island.

The predicted southerly came through on Friday night and was puffing pretty strongly on Saturday morning. We had three defectors who were suffering from some mysterious illness. They stayed ashore and looked after the cottage and prepared dinner. The main team took off in Elusive and cruised through the narrow entrance up to the head of Greville Harbour. The wind started to ease and we cruised out to try our luck over Black Reef.

Having decided to spend the day between here and Bottle Point in the shelter of the hills. Given the weather conditions, the fishing was quite satisfactory with plenty of variety but nothing outstanding.

It was time now to head back to base for dinner, official presentations and the initiation of two new members.
Sunday morning the weather was such that we decided to head for Havelock at 9.00am and go back through French Pass. This is quite a spooky channel with whirlpools and different water levels generated by the large volume of water and speed of the tide.
Around the point and it was piping out of Admiralty Bay. Real green water country but Elusive and the 626 hp Scania handled it beautifully. Once inside Pelorus Sound, the sea settled down and it was quite pleasant.

We can recommend this type of fishing adventure to any group of 10-14, there are several accommodation options available including staying at Bulwer Lodge with Bill and Audrey Ford who offer accommodation and full catering facilities.

As for Elusive, it’s a great boat for fishing having been custom built with all the bells and whistles and made like a brick outhouse to withstand the elements, in what can be, pretty rugged conditions.

More French Pass memories with Roy Jones.

Since this piece was written Bill and Audrey Ford have sold up and moved to the outskirts of Blenheim.

Members of the Canterbury Sport Fishing Club tied up at Waitata Bay.
Members of the Canterbury Sport Fishing Club tied up at Waitata Bay.

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