2020 trip reports

  • Fishing around the NZ coast (Phillip Sweetman)
  • Lake Heron - April 2020 (Jason Francis)
  • French Pass - July 2020 (Murray Doig)
  • Moeraki fishing competition - October 2020 (Murray Doig)
  • ​​​​​​​Lake Coleridge Opening - November 2020 (Devin Francis)

Fishing around the NZ coast

Phillip Sweetman with a bit of a run down on some fishing he does in his downtime while at work.

I am the Chief Officer (2IC) on NZ's largest ship, the KOKAKO, transporting refined petroleum products around the New Zealand coast, as well as the wider Asia/ Pacific Region. I work onboard ship for 6 weeks at a time, an  in my downtime, I do a bit of fishing either off the back of the ship, or from the wharf. 

My setup is nothing special, a 75m hand-line, bolt from the engine room as a sinker, and for bait, I just see what's available from the galley. So far, I have had great success using pepperoni salami and teriyaki chicken. Interestingly enough, snapper don't appear to like chorizo.

I so far this swing (I've been onboard for 4 weeks) my best catches so far have been:

  • 4.5kg Snapper in Bream Bay, Marsden Point. (Pepperoni Salami)
  • 2.1kg Blue Cod in Foveaux Strait (Beef Cheeks) 
  • A crayfish (it took bait and got caught up on the hook), Bluff Main Wharf  (Pepperoni Salami)
  • 1.71m / 9.4kg Kingfish, Marsden Point Oil Refinery Wharf (Teriyaki Chicken)
  • 6.1kg Trevally, Bream Bay, Marsden Point (Squid)
  • 9.1kg/ 1.32m Barracuda, East Cape (trolling behind the ship) (Whole Kawhai)

All the fish I catch, I give to the cook to prepare for the whole crew, which go down really well.

I look forward to being able to come to the next club meeting, and as we approach the summer months, get out and do some more fishing with the club.

Thank you & kind regards,

Capt. Phillip Sweetman
Chief Officer
Silver Fern Shipping Ltd

Lake Heron – 29th April 2020

Jason Francis

The second day after lockdown restrictions were eased down to level three and two days before the end of the fishing season, Devin and I were desperate to get to lake Heron for one last fish before it closed.  We both took a “stress day” off work and headed out to lake Heron on Wednesday the 29th of April.

It was a stunning day and the lake was like a sheet of glass with no wind at all.  Unfortunately, it was obvious we were going to have share the lake because when we got there, there was another car there as well and as it turned out, the lake was crowded with a total of seven people fishing on it including us.

Anyone that knows lake Heron will tell you that fishing it when its still and calm is hard work because the water is so clear the fish can see you a mile away.  We rowed our dingy for two hours changing lures and casting everywhere, letting them sink and retrieving slowly and casting along the surface and retrieving them quickly, nothing was working.  We spooked fish the whole way, which was frustrating to say the least.

Eventually Devin said we need to get something heavy on and cast as far away from the dingy as we can, so I tied on a dirty old Tasmanian devil and flung it out, first cast with the devil and fist fish a great little brown that fought like a beast.  After that we were sorted, we caught around eight browns and rainbows before the wind started to pick up.

Wind is great for fishing but not for rowing, by the time the wind had picked up we had rowed around 5 kilometres and been on the water for six hours, but this was when the fishing started to kick into gear. By the end of the day we had a combined catch of twenty-three fish which included a few small salmon, browns from 4lbs through to 8lbs and rainbows from 5lbs through to 10.5lbs (my best fresh water fish for the year outside of the canals). Devin’s biggest was a mere 10lbs Rainbow which if was a competition would have come in second, but it obviously wasn’t a competition.  We had rowed over ten kilometres by the end of the day and been on the water for nine hours.  No one can say that putting in the time isn’t worth it

The sunset was as good as the sunrise.

We also have some photos from Jason's Lake Heron trip in our photo gallery

French Pass Trip — July 2020

Murray Doig

In the weeks building up to the annual French pass trip the weather was studied, reviewed and some praying was undertaken.

But all the gods finally aligned and fine weather and flat seas held out for the duration of the trip, which varied from 4 fishing days to 9 fishing days as some boats stayed longer than others (excluding travel to and from French Pass)

After a 7.5hr road trip from ChCh we arrived at French Pass in time for Jason and his crew to catch the barge to the Island and the rest of the team to move into their respective batches in French pass and time for a quiet beer and plan the first day of fishing.

We had a great turnout with 6 boats attending the trip, 2 staying on D’Urville Island, 3 staying in French Pass and Andrew & Wendy Rennie staying on Dawn Breaker.

Each day the sea and weather played the game for us and we spend all day and every day on the water (a bit tiring for some).

For those who have not been to French pass/D’Urville Island it is a beautiful place with spectacular scenery.

This trip has been going for a few years and each year we learn more about the fishing times, techniques and areas, this year we managed to catch some excellent Snapper with several over the magic 20lb mark.

All boats caught a good range of fish including Kingfish, Snapper, Trevally, Tarakihi, Blue Cod and Gurnard.

Some anglers recorded personal bests during this trip with Devin landing a magnificent 38lb Kingi on 20lb line and light rod & reel.

This is a great opportunity to experience some different fishing from Big kingi’s in strong currents, Snapper in 100 meters to Gurnard in 3 meters of water and is highly recommended.

There is now a well-stocked shop open in French Pass with some fuel available as well.

Really looking forward to next year already (dates 8th to 14th July 2020).

We also have some photos from this trip in our photo gallery

Moeraki fishing competition – October 2020

Murray Doig

The annual Moeraki trip was held on the weekend of 9th & 10th October.

An excellent turnout of 10 boats and 34 fisher persons, some crews arrived on the Thursday night to get an early start on Friday (practice day) with the plan to hold the competition on the Saturday.

The weather forecast was for northeast winds on both days with the Saturday being the worst of the 2 days.

During the Friday it was decided to bring the prize giving forward to the Friday nigh and use the fish already caught on the Friday as competition fish.

By the time most boats had headed to the ramp the weather was getting pretty uncomfortable.

The prize giving was held with everyone receiving a number of prizes both for weighed fish and spot prizes.

Top boat flag went to Jason Francis and his crew aboard PENGA.

Some boats venture out on the Saturday and caught a few more fish, the weather was not as bad as predicted but still windy and sloppy.

Once again, a really good turnout of boats and members with 5 new members being recruited.

Tight Lines

We also have some photos from this competition in our photo gallery

Lake Coleridge Opening — November 2020
Devin Francis

The day started out a bit rough with winds starting to cause white caps, after being kicked out of the “big boat” these conditions were extremely tough with water instantly lapping over the nose of the inflatable.

The plan was to specifically try target all 3 species Brown and Rainbow trout followed by the elusive Salmon. Starting with the Brown trout we began casting soft plastic lures towards points and overhangs along the shore. After a short amount of time the tactic worked! we immediately hooked a small Rainbow trout… after releasing the wrong species we started again and within a few more casts a lovely 1.7kg brown hit the deck. 

We quickly moved to drop shot fishing drop offs in hope for a Rainbow Trout. Again within a few drifts we managed to hook onto another good fish! after a few minutes of fighting with light gear we brought in another Brown around the 1.5kg mark. After a not so successful attempt at “targeting” species a familiar boat decided to join us over the drop off. A few Rainbows later, nothing substantial we decided it was time to try some other drop offs in hope for something bigger to no avail.

With time running short there was no time to look for schools of salmon,  It was time to see how other boats had done, after a warm welcome of “that’s a nice rainbow, needed to be bigger tho” we stood nervously as all the fish were weighed in, unfortunately other clubs had done better than the old ferrymead club taking out most of the trophies. After seeing a lovely 1.8kg Rainbow weighed in all hope was lost for the all-important top boat flag. Whilst walking away I could hear my name being yelled. It had worked! The plan had worked! We won the top boat flag! If only it wasn’t sitting on the bottom of the lake….