I was in Whangaruru for a family holiday mid January. After a morning of wakeboading, knee boarding and skiing we shot out to Danger Rock for a spear and line fish. My son and I went out to meet friends who had gone ahead. Jumped in the water and my son was feeling a bit queasy. The water round the rocks was very green - particularly on the current facing side (but it was fishy). My son moved from being queasy to throwing up while in the water so we jumped back in the boat, chatted briefly to the others, and then I dropped him back at the bach before flying back out to the rock (doesn't take long at 45 knots ...). Once I got back out there my friends who were line fishing pointed out the schools of fish moving through so I quickly tied a line to the back of their boat and jumped in (saved me anchoring in 45m of water ... ). Turns out the schools were mostly kahawai. The top 10m of water wasn't too bad on the vis front but it was pretty bad below and you couldn't see much past the end of the gun at 20m. I dived the kahawai schools for a bit but didn't see anything below them so swam over to the rocks. The fish were holding where the current was running onto the rocks - this was also where the vis was worst as the green bloom was being pushed up there. Spotted a few trevally in the baitfish schools but they were cagey and hard to line up in the gloom below 10m. I was about to pull the pin and swim back to the boat but decided to give my self three more dives. On the first of these I dropped down the face of the rock to what felt like about 15m (but checking my watch later it was only 12m - the bad vis was playing havoc with my estimations). As I dropped one of the trevs started to come in and I watched it - waiting for it to drift in for a clear shot. Close to the end of my breath hold 6 or 8 good size kingfish swam in. I figured they wouldn't hang round so I took a shot at the closest and headed for the surface running my hand up the floatline as I did so. I put a bit of pressure on the fish at the same time as I wanted to get it away from the rocks (I had been diving down the face with less than a metre between me and the rocks when I took the shot). The bruiser of a fish had other ideas and headed deeper and towards the rocks. My 30m floatline has a bit of stretch in it (plastic tube with dyneema in the middle to max out the stretch at round 20%) and I hoped my shot placement wasn't too bad. As I tried to play the fish it didn't do the usual "swim in circles" thing and stayed in one place. I took up the slack and started to put more pressure on it but it still wasn't moving - and it had been a while - so I figured the fish had reefed me. I didn't want to put too much pressure on it and lose the fish so I got over the top of it with the float line tight and looked back at my float to estimate the depth the fish was reefed at. I figured it was at 20m or so. Next was the "swim down the line free immersion style" (i.e. pull on the line a little and swim down). I got to the gun at 19m and put one hand on the shooting line when the fish saw me and took off away from the rocks and the crack it had been in. That was what I wanted so I headed back up while also putting pressure on the fish to swim it away from the rocks. The kingie didn't want to leave the safety of the rocks but I managed to get it to deeper water (40m+) where I knew I could let it tow me round for a bit and wear itself out. As it did this I gradually eased it to the surface and the last part of the fight was pretty easy - a quick bear hug and iki then swim back to my mates boat for a chat before heading in. The fish wasn't too long at around 1.2m but was reasonably fat and well north of 20kg. - Phantom Menace


Nice Phantom. Put you down for 20kg on the club 2018 comp. Dono - Snoop