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North Island, New Zealand
10th Dec 2003
Gerard Theseira

Three days after our wedding, Sandra and I left for our 10-day honeymoon to New Zealand's North Island. We landed at Auckland International Airport and made arrangements to rent a Suzuki 1 litre Escudo 4x4 Jeep. This was incidentally our first road trip holiday anywhere. Our first night in the land of the All Blacks was spent at Chris and Melinda's. We are grateful for their hospitality and help in planning our driving route. We planned to make a loop around the North Island, visiting the following states: Tauranga, Rotorua, Lake Taupo, Waitomo and Auckland. Along the way we planned to take at least 2 fishing trips.

Tauranga - Bay of Plenty

Our first NZ fishing trip was in the Bay of Plenty. We made our last minute charter arrangements at the "i-site" located in the small town centre of Tauranga. We were fortunate to get room on a relatively inexpensive full-day fishing charter leaving from a jetty at Pilot Bay, which was situated at the base of Mount Maunganui.
The mountain of Mount Maunganui, also known to the local Maori people as Mauao, is shrouded in legend and history. It is the dominant geological feature of the Tauranga District, with its conical rocky outline rising 232 metres above sea level. It has been of great importance to local Maori for more than six centuries as a place of occupation and later as a refuge for defence. Evidence of this is still visible today.
We began our day at 0730H with breakfast at a small coffeehouse at the base of Mount Maunganui. The weather was chilly and we noticed that the sea was flat but foggy. At 0830H, we parked our Escudo next to the jetty and waited impatiently in the cold for the 50ft open deck fishing boat to pick us up.

All in all there were about 9 other people on the boat with us. All anglers had to pay for a day fishing licence. The fishing gear provided was relatively oversized, but of good quality. The bait provided was fresh octopus tentacles. Fortunately, we brought a rag wipe up after we handled the smelly bait.

The fishing was quite fun and productive. Fortunately, the weather warmed up a little and we could fish without our jackets on. Most of the fish we caught were Tarakki, a bony white fish with a black spot at the front of its dorsal fin. Sandra was lucky to catch a Mao Mao, a grey bony fish with relatively small scales, and a Snapper. We were also greeted by a small shark that loitered around the boat to snap at fish being hauled in by the anglers onboard. What I enjoyed seeing was the conservative efforts practised by the anglers to throw all fish were undersized back into the sea.

We had a simple lunch onboard, which was prepared by the deck hand. At about 1500H, the fishing guide said that it was time to go back to shore at we made our way back to Pilot Bay. On the way back, we spent sometime chatting with the others onboard at gave our catch to someone who was going to cook them.

Lake Taupo

The Lake Taupo region in New Zealand's volcanic heartland is rich in Maori tradition. It also has some of the country's finest untouched, uncrowded and unique landscapes. The lake itself was the result of the most violent volcanic eruption the world has seen in the past 5000 years - the ash affected the sunsets as far away as Europe and China.
In Taupo, we stayed at a comfortable bed and breakfast with a view of the lake. The owners of the lodge, helped book for us a fishing charter on the lake the following afternoon with a fishing guide that they knew. We spent the day before the fishing trip resting and enjoying the beautiful scenery from the cabin.

After we had our lunch on the trip day, we set off for the 2 hours of fishing on the lake. Personally, the fishing experience was quite expensive, but the guide was quite friendly and provided us with quite a bit of information on fly fishing in New Zealand. The tackle set up for fishing that day was a down rigger and relatively light tackle with artifical bait lures. Down rigging was necessary as the fish would normally be at the deeper parts of the lake in the afternoon. From the fish finder, I noticed that we were trolling at about 18m of water.

Our first fish was a rainbow trout. Unfortunately, the fat fish was ½ inch shorter than what could be kept. About 30 mins later, we hooked up another fish and from the leaps it too out of the water, it was obvious that this fish was a keeper. Sandra played the fish in and it weighed about 4 ½ pounds. As we had reached the end of our 2 hour trip, we headed back to the marina.

Excited with our expensive catch, we took our license and made our way to JJ's café to get the fish cooked. In Taupo, it is illegal to serve trout in restaurants, unless the person who caught the fish with a valid fishing license request for it to be cooked. We were very proud to be the only people in the restaurant having trout that evening, especially when we noticed many of the tourists asking the waiter if they could order what we were having.

We thought both the salt water and fresh water fishing in New Zealand during our honeymoon was fruitful. We intend to come back some day to fish the Bay of Islands.




NZ Video One - Bay of Plenty (mov)

NZ Video Two - Bay of Plenty (mov)

NZ Video Three - Bay of Plenty (mov)

NZ Video Four - Lake Taupo (mov)