Havelock Snapper Ecstasy – fishing charter run by a snapper guru

Havelock Snapper.

Havelock Snapper Ecstasy – A fishing charter run by a snapper guru 

Havelock Snapper.
Havelock Snapper.

The aim of the holiday was to catch the big ones, snapper and kingfish. We went around beforehand and spent heaps on all sorts of little gadgets supposedly perfect for targeting the prize of the average saltwater fisherman. As we arrived at Titirangi and set out on our quest it did not take long for us to come to grips with the facts.

(1) We were really only over-prepared to catch cod and kahawai.

(2) There wasn’t really many of these prize fish swimming around our area.

We had a great time anyway. Running into large schools of kahawai and getting three or four fish on at a time. Racing with the clock to return undersized cod before they died, struggling to remove the hooks that had lodged themselves way down in what must have been the fish’s large intestines.

Eventually, through bad weather and dying enthusiasm, we admitted defeat and left Titirangi. We had decided to spend the last days of our holiday in comfort in the Garden Motels in Havelock.

Then it happened, we ran into an interesting prospect. A fishing charter run by a snapper guru. Our dreams had come true. We booked ourselves in and waited with anticipation.

The morning arrived. Butterflies were going berserk in our stomachs. Kim O’Donnell was the man to fulfil our fantasies. The water was rough but exhilarating as we set off. We started by catching our baitfish – a pleasure in itself. We hit upon a school of kahawai and there was no turning back. They were virtually throwing themselves at the boat. As the fish got close to the boat they seemed to be taking flying leaps, trying to elude the hook, in a lot of cases however it just helped and sent them screaming into the boat.

We were content with our day by the time we had enough of these kamikaze fish to start the real fishing.

We re-tackled our lines and began. It was not an immediate assault into snapper territory.

I have a theory that fish catch themselves. Kim explained clearly, this is not the case. A strong direct strike is in order to keep these enormously shy fish on the line. I did not totally understand this principle and had the first two takes and the first two losses.

Through the day we moved from spot to spot. Finally, we got the spot. It took us at least one hour but the line was off. Kim struck it and passed it to my man. Never seen anything like it. The line was off the reel. Excitement filled the air. It was a struggle of wills. Eventually, we conquered and hauled the 8lb snapper aboard. The most beautiful sight in the world.

Then it was my turn. Again I did not strike but I was very lucky. It was the strongest fish. I did not give in. It came within sight of the boat and it was off. It was one of the happiest of times when my 10lb beauty was gaffed and brought to my hand. More fish were caught. Even some of the smaller fish were coming in for a look. We hooked a blue cod, a couple of large spotties and a mackerel. The mackerel turned out to be a blessing in disguise, apparently the best snapper bait around.

The day ended with five whopping beauties, the biggest and best one 14lb (WOW), two 10lb (A LITTLE SMALLER WOW), one 8lb (NOT BAD AT ALL), one 6lb (ENOUGH FOR A MEAL). All in all an enormous stock of the most expensive fish in the world.

It had outdone all our dreams. We were ecstatic. Smiles all over the place. We just could not help it. All thanks to Kim O’Donnell. Bill Hohepa used to be our guru but Kim has more than taken his place. The great thing is he also knows where the kingfish are. Just imagine what we will be doing for our next holiday.

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