Howler ‘hoo from kayak!

AS many Fisho regulars would know, it’s been a fantastic season for mackerel and other inshore game fish on the NSW Mid-North Coast. At the end of last year I made a conscious decision to put my efforts for the season ahead into offshore kayaking, rather than my usual focus on the North Coast LBG rock ledges I’ve spent my life fishing.

Through a combination of good preparation and the fact that this season has turned out to be the best mackerel season in northern NSW for decades, I have enjoyed kayak fishing far beyond my expectations.

In only a few trips fishing from my Hobie Pro Angler 12 kayak I’ve so far managed to land or release Spanish mackerel, spotted mackerel, jewfish, tuna and sharks. However, last Thursday, was a truly special day for me that vindicated my decision to forsake my beloved rock ledges for offshore kayaking and saw me land one of the best fish of my life…

I was fishing at South West Rocks with well-known offshore kayak fisho Grant Ashwell, a superb angler who has gone out of his way to help me and many other inexperienced offshore kayak fishos to safely make the transition to this specialised style of fishing. We’d been trolling live slimy mackerel baits all morning when I saw a patch of bait on the bottom on my Lowrance fish finder and decided to try and jig up some fresh live baits. Two good sized slimy mackerel were cranked up from the depths and I decided to change the bait on my threadline outfit for one of these fresh baits. It turned out to be a wise decision.

Within 10 minutes my fresh slimy bait on the surface was taken in a screaming run. I managed to clear the other outfit and wrestle the Samaki Vanquish SVQ-631SM jig rod from the rod holder. The Daiwa Saltist 6500 spin reel was losing 50lb braid at an alarming rate. First thoughts were that it must be a decent Spaniard, judging by the initial screaming run.

Eventually the fight settled into a dogged battle deep under the Hobie. As I slowly dragged the fish towards the surface, I found the kayak being continually spun in a clockwise spiral by the powerful fish. A long silver bar finally materialised from the depths and it wasn’t until I actually had the big fish on the surface that I realised it was a bloody good wahoo!

The adrenalin must have been pumping as when I gaffed the big fish I just dragged it straight up onto the kayak and deposited it with those dangerous jaws as far from me as possible.

A couple of hours later after the long trip back to shore and associated gear clean up the big wahoo was weighed at the South West Rocks tackle shop. It pulled the scales down to 26kg and was 1.585 metres long.

I wouldn’t have landed this fish of a lifetime without the support of good friends such as fellow kayakers Eugene Partridge and Grant Ashwell.

Stay tuned for an in-depth feature on offshore kayak fishing techniques in an upcoming edition of Fisho.

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Back at the South West Rocks tackle shop, Mark’s wahoo pulled the scales down to 26kgs .

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