Muriwai by Paul & Peggy Barnes
On April 14 we decided to head out and do some kitefishing at Muriwai Beach. It was 10.30am, high tide had been at around 9:00am. If we left immediately we could be on the beach by around noon. It would be perfect for driving up the beach.
Incredibly we couldn't find a flexiwing kite or skyhook at home and we didn't have time to pick one up from the shop.
Paul found a couple of early prototypes of the flexiwing that had been rejected for one reason or another and we decided to take a chance that we could get one or both flying.
The winds were south easterly and, due to the fantastic reports we had from Robbie about the Kaipara, we were going to head straight up to near the top end of the beach.
Being a Monday, and with the winds almost blowing straight up the beach, there were very few kitefishers on the beach.
By the time we got to around 5 kilometers past the Rimmer Road access, just before the cliffs, we decided to stop and give it a go.
Both the kites we had were early flexiwings and neither was very stable in the 35-45 knots of wind we had on the day.
The kites had different spar positions and keel and eyelet positions and one of them also had bigger spars than our production kites.
One of the kites flew OK downwind when a shopping bag was connected to the bridle but because of less than optimum geometry was unstable when tacked. We did not have a skyhook.
We used this kite on Paul's 9/0 Penn reel spooled with 50lb dacron and opted to do a running shot with no tack.
We loaded up the rig with the full compliment of 12 traces, a combination of normal Target Hook traces and several double floating bead traces.
With the kite launched, a 2 litre bottle half full of sand in place on the dropper line, one 8oz weight on the front of the hook section and a few smaller weights distributed among the hook section plus 12 traces with large baits we proceeded to set
The gear hit the water at a good setting speed but with the winds blowing a mere 10 degrees offshore at best and a fierce rip and ugly dumping surf running in the same direction, it wasn't going to be easy.
With no one else in sight on the beach it was an ideal situation for a running shot. We got back in the 4WD wagon, stuck the rod out the window and drove slowly up the beach.
In an effort to negate the rip, we kept abreast of the setting kite as we let the line run out. Usually this works great for unloading the strain from the kite and allowing it to gain more angle off the beach and in turn set the gear further offshore
in tricky conditions.
For some reason this set was the exception to this rule, it stopped dead at 400 metres out.
After a short time we decided to pull the gear back in, reduce the number of hooks we were setting, and have another go.
The reason for the gear not heading out was soon discovered. A large bronze whaler shark, obviously caught very early in the piece, had made up it's mind it wasn't about to be dragged back out to sea. Close behind the shark were two snapper of 1 and
With only 5 hooks on the next set we tried again. This time Paul walked the gear up the beach for the running shot and while we did manage to get the full line off the reel, the gear was set at only around 45 degrees off the beach.
The tide was about to turn, time was running short and with no stationary fishing time at all we hauled the gear back in with no fish.
As we drove off back down the beach feeling pretty dejected we stopped to chat with a few other kitefishers to find out how they got on. We wound up feeling much better with ourselves and our catch as apparently we were the only ones to manage to get
the gear out and catch any fish.
Even without a skyhook, by taking a little extra time setting the kite up for the conditions and doing the running shot, it paid off.
PS: We are both sure that if we had had any of our production kites like a Super Kite, a Nighthawk or Flexiwing that could be tacked, instead of the rejected designs we took, and had taken a skyhook, we could have set out dead square from the beach
on any dropper rig and caught plenty.
The fish were in really close, 300 to 400 metres out, just beyond the break.