Kings on Amokura

We headed for the Three Kings recently just after the massive floods that “drowned” Northland. Amokura sailed from Opua in the Bay of Islands and the ocean looked like milky coffee. Trees still floated here and there and debris was heaped on the beaches. I wondered what effect this deluge and all of the sediment would have on the shellfish beds in “The Bay”. There must be a great deal of sludge left behind and only time will tell of any longterm effects.

The forecast for our Kings trip was good. This was our fourth attempt to get there.
Three times we had tried on Primetime and each time the weather or an injury to one of our team members had caused a delay. It was frustrating but finally we got away on Amokura.
Finally a chance to return to one of my favourite places and the scene of many a tussle with a huge variety of ocean dwelling denizens.

It took us over thirteen hours to reach our anchorage in NW Bay. Thirteen hours on an ocean that held much promise but delivered no fish. I was reclined in a position on the aft deck that afforded a great view of the lures. I was there all day and as late afternoon settled in to dusk I realised that I had made a grave mistake.
Slowly, sedately, off to the east a beautiful full moon lifted from the ocean and spread a silver path across the sea. “Bugger!” How could I have failed to take account of the moon phase? When booking a game fishing trip, in particular one that includes marlin, I avoid the full moon like the plague.
Marlin become very lethargic over the moon. They are still there of course but their interest in food and level of aggression sinks through the floor. And so it proved to be on this trip. We made up for it in other areas and even got a few half hearted marlin bites but it was hard work.

A lot of people think that any time is a good time and there’s always that very appropriate cliché, “the worst days fishing is better than the best day at work”.
One thing that I thought I had learnt over the years is that all fishing days are not created equal and to a large extent you can positively influence luck.
Travelling around the country I meet some fantastic anglers who specialise in their region and area of expertise. In some situations a big moon can be great, ask some of the whitebaiters, but in situations such as our Kings trip it is a pain in the butt.

If you intend reducing your trip frequency over the winter try replacing time on the water by studying moon, tides, feed, breeding cycles, tackle, rigs and baits. It is also a good idea to talk to “the experts” and ask for help if you are finding results hard to come by.

I always look forward to winter fishing in the top half of the North Island because it means big snapper and bigger kingfish. Land based fishing can be fantastic and while school snapper ease out in to the depths big old moochers are knocking on the door.

I have never claimed to be the world's greatest angler but I am enthusiastic and do catch my share. I also avidly scan the fishing magazines in my spare time in the hope of picking up some little morsel, a helpful little titbit. The magazines are a mine of information as too are websites like the very good

How I could have failed to notice that we were sailing on a full moon is beyond me. However, a few flat calm days around the Three Kings is pretty hard to beat and I learnt a few things from the Amokura crew. We also, in spite of the absence of marlin, filmed some amazing footage with our new underwater camera. I put the trip down to experience and am well reminded that in all things fishing it does not pay to get complacent.