The southern section of beach is flanked by low sand dunes and a pine plantation with the river behind. The beach is a fine sand that streams offshore across the surface in the predominant westerlies with a trench and bar just offshore.
This beach has a strong south to north drift.
Thursday- was basically a day of reconnaissance and with only one kite fisher on the beach. The Beach Road Holiday Park has a sign in the cookhouse
"DANGER - THIS BEACH EATS VEHICLES - THINK - IS YOUR VEHICLE EQUIPT (sic) FOR DRIVING ON THE BEACH ......etc"
We were unsuccessful in finding the access to the northern beach area although we did see a shut gate with a "closed" sign on it which seemed self evident.
Porangahau Beach Marine is a motel managed by John Pothan who will be familiar to readers of this newsletter as a regular contributor. He confirmed that the north beach access was now closed by the landowner due to abuse of the environment
and beach resources. John's shop has an extensive range of Pauls Fishing Kites inventory and is well worth a visit for a chat and tips about the beach.
Friday- was a washout fishing wise - the forecast winds westerly 60 km/h gusting 120km/h. Conditions on the beach were extreme!
Saturday- the forecast was westerlies 40km/h gusting 90 km/hour. The beach up to the river mouth was a line of kontiki and kite fishers by mid-day on a falling tide. We fished with a Superkite dropper rig with 10 hooks using
squid and pilchard baits. Wind gusts were sufficient to snap the kite safety trace if holding the kite stationary. I caught 3 kahawai the smallest of which went back out as bait.
The spiny dogfish loved it ! - a 100 % strike on 10 hooks including one freshwater eel that had been consumed by crabs or lice. Finished the day with the superkites trailing wing corners shredded by the wind.
Sunday- we hit the beach early, positioning ourselves in front of a gap in the pine plantation with little wind but anticipating it would increase. With the superkite damaged I flew my Nighthawk on the light wind connection to get
We were the first kite into the air and were in time to cause a southwards flying low aircraft to hedge hop away inland over the pine plantation. As the wind increased we were overpowered and my 28lb kite safety trace broke.
We retrieved the gear - 2 resonable kahawai and another fresh water eel (now in the smoker). Re-rigged with a 40lb safety trace and high wind connection but only caught another 2 small kahawai.
The beach was once again a line of kontiki and kite fishers who gradually packed up from early afternoon as the wind dropped away and became flukey picking up again late afternoon but very changeable.
As we were chatting to the adjoining kitefisher who had come up the beach to us when there was a crash from my reel as it was wrenched from the beach in a strong gust and was cart-wheeling down the beach with three of us in hot pursuit.
It only slowed slightly as it hit the water and it was caught by Roger the local who ploughed into the sea in his shoes and trousers. It was only my gumboots and not my age that slowed me down - thanks Roger.
A line of 5 land yachts were a picturesque sight during the morning as they weaved their way northwards up the beach through the kontiki and kite fishers. I finished the day by purchasing a new Superkite from John.
Apparently several people had caught 1-2 gurnard - kahawai were common - no snapper were reported and surprisingly few spiny dogs were caught.
As visitors we were impressed by the friendliness of the locals and the chats we had with fisher people.
ED: The old adage "a stitch in time saves nine" is dead right when it comes to kites. New or near new kites, when flown in gale force winds, can suffer a broken stitch or fraying on the trailing edge due to the crispness
of the material. Kites that have a few hours on them before flying in extreme conditions usually handle the gales mush better.
We advise re-sewing the back hem as soon as fraying is detected.
Never use heavier cloth or tape on the back hem as the extra weight will cause the patch to rip completely off in strong winds and will make the kite unstable.
If serious fraying has occurred, and it is beyond sewing, the best repairs are effected by cutting off the damaged area equally on both sides of the kite to maintain the balance of the kite.
Dow Corning Silicone rubber sealer is then spread LIGHTLY on one side of the hem from the edge of the cut cloth to 10mm inside the cloth edge. Then take a flat item like a ruler and press the rubber compound through the cloth while scraping
the excess off.
Use plenty of pressure and remove as much of the silicone as you can. This repair rubberises the cloth edge and will prevent further fraying.
Silicone is very heavy and I stress that when finished the coating should be so thin as to be nearly undetectable. You do not need to re-hem the treated section, but should run the sewing machine backwards and forwards over the remaining
end of the hem above where the damaged section was cut off.
In a worst case scenario you can buy a new kite skin only and use your existing spars to save the expense of buying a complete new kite.