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Geoff Stone.
P O Box 163 ~ Russell ~ Bay of Islands ~ New Zealand
Phone 0274 377 844 ~ Home Phone/Fax 09 403 8553
Big Game ~ Sportfishing Safaris ~ Saltwater Light Tackle ~ Saltwater Fly ~ Cruising

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Geoffs Fishing Report 17/12/01

The game season has well and truly begun in the Bay of Islands, with the first marlin, and  some big yellowfin, now added to the catch list of albacore and mahimahi for the season. The marlin was tagged and released in 200M of water east of Cape Brett. Blue water, of 20C, seems to be making its way up the coast on a reverse current, coming up from outside the Poor Knights. Early season colours seem once again to be green and gold, or Pacific Fruit Salad, though smaller Zuker black and purple have been accounting for most of our albacore, especially in the darker overcast weather that still dominates, on wet and too often windy days. With better weather to come, we should all be in for a bumper game season this year.

Plenty of good snapper are still being caught, though results are a little more erratic over the last couple of weeks. Our own best results have come from just outside the islands  on the smaller patches of foul off  Hope Reef, with some extra large terakihi, adding to the bag.

Kingfish remain plentiful around  Bird Rock, with some good fishing also available at Rocky Point for those willing to persist with a barracoutta by-catch.

Our two latest hapuka trips have been successful, out around the 200M line, though the fish are scatterred, and require some patience, which is often hard to muster now that the water is blue enough for game fishing in the same area.

Bookings are pretty solid for the coming season, but a new feature of our website at http://www.majortom.co.nn/rates.htm  is an availability calendar for those planning trips over the next few months. Meanwhile continue to send your queries to MAJOR.TOM@xtra.co.nz and I will attempt to respond to your enquiries as time ashore allows.

Geoffs Fishing Report 15/11/01

When the fishing's this good , it's great to be a charter skipper!!!!

Snapper, kingis, a few hapuka, and the first of the albacore have all kept us busy over the last couple of weeks.

Most notable has been the snapper action, with big snapper popping up all over the place. 

This week has seen the 'Blu-Heelers ' competition. The top snapper weighed in at 14.175Kg (31lb), and was taken out at Cape Brett. Plenty of 10kg fish were also weighed in, and 6kg fish were
pretty run of the mill. 

Our own fishing was focused around Onslow Rock, live and split  jack mackerel doing most of the damage, and large chunks of barracoutta doing the rest.

Kingis have been pretty consistent, with good schools of fish around 7kg to 10kg at Bird Rock, 71M Reef, and up at Rocky Point. We also took one 14kg kingi on a snapper ledger rig while fishing at Onslow and free divers working along the Dog out at Cape Brett won the Blu-Heelers
competition with a succession of fish over 20kg. 

Let's hope the current fishing represents a kingi revival, and anglers continue to tag and/or
release most of their fish.

Our one excursion out wide yielded some spectacular albacore action. Quintuple and quadruple hookups certainly prepared my voice for the upcoming game fishing season. At around 8kg, the fish were not huge on the 15kg and 24kg we were using, but our primary target was yellowfin which the commercial boats are catching quite consistently now. This years yellowfin season could be quite spectacular. 2 years ago we had a plague of small yellowfin, around 12kg. last year our smallest was 24kg, but this year the commercial boys are catching fish over 50kg. It seems we are probably being visited by the same year class, which are getting bigger each season, so we're a bit reluctant to run light tackle while looking to repeat last years effort of catching the first yellowfin of the season.

The only disappointing results have been from our hapuka trip last Saturday. Heavy commercial activity off the Bay may be partly the cause, or perhaps we just had a bad day, but the fish seemed quite scattered and we had to work very hard to catch 4 fish, in just under 3 hours.

We're booked for another shot at hapuka this weekend, so hopefully the results will be a bit more encouraging.

As always if you have any queries drop me an email at

Geoff Stone

Geoffs Fishing Report 30/10/01

After 3 months up on the hard, Major Tom II is finally back in action, and just in time to take part in some pretty spectacular snapper action. Plenty of good fish, many over 20lb, have been taken from Tapeka Point, right out past Roberton, and onto Mita's foul. We have also caught some exceptional snapper, one  wieghing in at 25lb, at Bird rock, which rapidly changed one of our Kingi trips into a great snapper trip. All fish are in roe, so let's hope sport remains the main objective, and plenty of  fish are returned to lay the foundation for the next generation.

Our trips to the Bird have resulted in plenty of action from a large pack of rat kingfish . Bigger specimens are available at 71M Reef, but this weeks high winds have made life a bit unnpleasant. Word has also come in of a good school of kingis between 10 and 15kg, at Rocky Point, though we have not had a chance to explore that area since returning to the water.

 Commercial fishermen are reporting plenty of hapuka out at 200M, which we hope will form the basis for a trip as soon as the wind dies out, and tuna longliners have caught the odd marlin and quite a few yellowfin up north, with water temperature consistently over 18C.

Reports should become more frequent now that we are back fishing, but
please continue to send any queries you have to MAJOR.TOM@xtra.co.nz and
I'll try to answer as time allows.

Geoffs Fishing Report 17/9/01

Sincere condolences to all of you in USA, and also to others who may have been directly affected by the sad events of the last week.

With winter over, and "Major Tom II" only a couple of weeks away from relaunching after extensive winter maintenance, the time has come to start planning for the coming season. Bookings have started to roll in, and with settled equinoxial weather, the outlook is for another successful season.

Water temperatures are already up to 18.5C, out at the Poor Knights Rise, and the commercial boats are reporting good schools of skipjack already. Thanks to a month in Hawaii, where we were generously hosted by Allan Perry Jnr, we are armed with some new tricks that will hopefully expand our recent broadbill successes to taking on some big-eye, and perhaps blue fin at the same time.

Commercial longliners have proved the presence of these major tuna off our coast, but there has been little recreational effort or success up until now. Lets hope we can change that in the coming season.

Saturday 15th of September brought round the annual Bay of Islands Swordfish Club  prizegiving so it is time to give thanks and credit to those of anglers who contributed to our most successful season ever.

1stmarlin.jpg (21714 bytes)John Latta took the award for the first marlin of season, and also for the heaviest striped marlin at 156.4kg. Johns fish on Boxing day also gave him the award for the first weighed marlin of the season for the whole NZ Fishery.

Daniel Stevens, who transferred from his baytours.jpg (23469 bytes) own "Fyran 540" to "Major Tom II" secured the award for the heaviest black marlin at 303.6kg. This was a truly remarkable fishing effort, taking some 9 hours to land, after the fish had died in 350 meters of water, shortly after Daniel transferred to our boat. On a short stand up rod, despite being exhausted and suffering from sickness, Daniel gritted in and inched the fish to the surface at around 4am, after hookinng up at 5pm the previous evening.restrose.jpg (20963 bytes)

Basil, who deckhanded for me for most of last season, took the prize for the largest yellowfin at 43.4kg, and Gerry Garrett took the award for largest Mako Shark at 213.2kg.

Gerry also took the award for the Champion Angler with most accumulated points hughescossar.jpg (22932 bytes) for the season, which came from 5 marlin, 3 broadbill, 12 makos and 1 blue shark. Gerry was also champion angler of tagged fish, with all but 3 of the sharks and 2 of the broadbill, released to fight another day.

My own mother(who is 87 years young),  won the Blue Heelers Tournament with an 11.2kg snapper, and the Rawhiti Juniors repeated last years triumph in the International Yellowtail Tournament, while Dennis Knight held the pin throughout the season with Sea Bass of 38.8kg.

All these anglers, plus the rest of you who managed to fish with us contributed to my own success at winning the Brownson Shield for Launch with Most Gamefish,  the award for Champion Skipper of Tagged Fish and the Syd Irving Trophy for Launch First Marlin.

Let's hope you are all able to find your way to the Bay of Islands next year, and help us repeat some of these successes in the coming season.

Regards and tight lines to you all

Geoff Stone.



Geoffs Bay of Islands Fishing Report - 4/7/01

Most of our time over the last couple of weeks has been spent chasing broadbill with Gerry Garrett.  We've ended up catching 3 (and pulling the hooks or otherwise losing plenty of others), so gerry's had a great month, but most important is the time we've had to experiment with different methods.

We've caught and landed fish with both lures and baits at nightime, and with baits down deep in daytime, and Gerry is presently compiling statistics on all three options, that we should have ready in a month or so. Our last catch was 173kg, landed after more than 5 hours, and this was hooked up on a lure, just after we'd pulled the hooks at the boat on a real monster that gerry had played for nearly 6 hours.All this early in the morning of June 30th. After having fought broadbill for 11 of the previous 14 hours, we decided it was time to head back for Russell, weigh the fish in, call the season quits, and put the boat up on the hard for a long overdue couple of months of winter maintenance. 

The boat should come back in action refreshed on September the 1st, and so should I, having accepted an invite to explore fishing in Hawaii for the next month, so this will be the last report for a

Snapper fishing has been steady in the deeper water, and the occasional good catch is coming on board from the shallows between the Poro Poros and Paramena Reef, and if fishinng does get a little slow, try moving to smaller hooks as plenty of good conditioned Terakihi are making their annual move in closer.

Hapuka are steady from the waters out at 200m, but Kingies are a bit difficult at the moment, with barracouta grabbing all but the largest baits.

For a bit of real action try the  kahawai around Bird Rock, or the Sisters. Kahawai may not be everyone's taste for the table, but they are great smoked, and pound for pound, still leave most other gamefish for dead on light tackle.

Tight lines, will send another report in a month or so. Send an email to MAJOR.TOM@xtra.co.nz if you like, as I will try to check messages from a terminal somewhere in Hawaii.


Geoffs Bay of Islands and Northland Report 8/6/01

Fishing over the last week or so has been severely limited by the weather but the few reports available indicate little has changed, with plenty of good fishing for those brave enough to tackle the elements. 

The few boats left cruising the coast are still catching the odd marlin, with plenty of skippies in close, and good looking blue water out beyond the 200M line. Excellent snapper fishing results are reported right through from Cape Brett to North Cape, though our own trips have been restricted to the Bay, where clients have been catching some good feeds around the 50m mark. 

Rock Hoppers have been catching good snapper along the Eastern side of the Russell peninsula, and the more adventurous souls fishing around the Lion Rock area, north of the Nine Pin, report some good Kingie action as well. 

Hopefully the weather will clear quickly after the current Sou'wester, and the next report will contain a bit more information. 

As always, drop me an email at MAJOR.TOM@xtra.co.nz 

Geoffs Bay of Islands Fishing Report  11th May, 2001

Bad weather with strong winds, have seriously curtailed action over the last week or so, but the short fine spell from Sunday to Tuesday proved there are still some good striped marlin cruising the Coast between the Cavallis and North Cape. Our own action came from two pack attacks, which resulted in three marlin tagged and released last Tuesday while returning from a broadbill trip to the Garden Patch off Cape Karikari. We can only hope the fish are still there once the present storm clears.

Broadbill were taken during this period from the banks North of the Middlesex, but those of us fishing the Garden Patch had no luck, though Te Ariki Nui, towing baited lures reported two strikes. Our own drift resulted in 4 makos, from 70kg, up to 130kg, and one lost monster that made short work of the 500lb fluro-carbon leader.

Snapper fishing seems to have been a bit patchy back in the Bay, but most encouraging are reports of good catches right in on Russell Point, and some consistent results for the charter boats fishing Mita's Foul, and other areas in the middle of the Bay.

Little change to the kingfish scene, with some good fish hanging around Cape Brett. The focus is likely to change towards kingies over the next couple of months, as marlin move off the coast, and locals get ready for the International Yellowtail Tournament based in Russell from the 10th to 16th of June.

Major Tom Charters
Geoff Stone P O Box 163 ~ Russell ~ Bay of Islands ~ New Zealand
Phone 0274 377 844 ~ Home Phone/Fax 09 403 8553 ~ E-mail....geoff@majortom.co.nz

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