Fiordland Sea Fishing
There is a spot just past Oke Island where the bottom slopes down to over 200 metres. Stoney started us at the 60m crest and then we would drift back down the slope letting outline as we went. A 35 lb groper had been pulled from these depths a few weeks ago and all the fishos with lines over the side had visions of another beaut of at least this size being wound to the surface.
This wasn¹t a deep sea fish out in the open ocean. In fact, I could have cast my line to shore from where we were. Stranger still were the mountains rising all around me, their peaks barely viewable without causing neck strain such was the vertical lift. The faint warble of a bellbird drifted across the mirror calm water as Stoney cut the engines for the drift. From his wheelhouse, he leaned into his binoculars and scanned the clearings opposite. Deer we more his thing and he never missed an opportunity. Abo the decky waddled around the bow handing out succulent crayfish bites.
If you haven’t guessed the location by now then it might be that you have never even heard about one of the most amazing places on the planet. Fiordland is the Las Vegas of the sporting world. It offers plenty and delivers more.
It is not unusual to find depths of 100 metres or more only a few metres from the shore. It is not unusual to fish beneath a waterfall of the same height. In Fiordland, it is not unusual to do the unusual!
We didn’t land any big groper this day although Ron did hook into two schoolies at once. These are smaller versions of the big boys and are generally more easily found in the deep south. Surprisingly, Ron¹s two were the only groper landed. I have seen schoolies caught in 5 metres of water. In fact, it was my 65-year-old mother who did it! A lazy fish out of the back of the boat on a mooring in Cormorant Cove saw one pulled on board and a friend once caught one off the mooring in Supper Cove waiting for the chopper.
“Righto,” announced Stoney, “let’s go catch some cod.”
If it¹s a bit quiet blue cod are guaranteed to liven up the day. Fiordland blues are legendary. The equal of Stewart Island and almost as good as the Chathams. 6 – 8lb is normal and sometimes, using anglers generous estimates, double figures are declared.
Say what you like, but I believe blue cod to be the king of the table fish. My North Island mates will rubbish this of course, for everyone in the far north knows snapper to be the supreme champion. Another mighty good eater from Fiordland is the trumpeter, frequently caught there as well. Also sharing the top of the table is tarakihi, which occasionally jumps on Fiordland hooks. In January 2005 I even witnessed a gurnard make its way on board. There are over 60 species of fish in Fiordland waters so while Jock Stewarts (sea perch) may frustrate the be-jesus out of you robbing your bait and jagging your fingers, there actually is quite a variety of fish that you could be catching.