Species: Yelloweye Mullet (Aldrichetta forsteri) Location: Kuaotunu River, Kuaotunu, Coromandel, New Zealand Date: February 25, 2014
I’ve already told the story of this day in elaborate detail, so I won’t talk too much about this fish.
I’ve since caught a lot of mullet (three species in three countries outside the United States), and one thing mullet typically have in common is how difficult they are to catch. Since they feed on a variety of baits, the Internet will tell you there are a lot of ways to catch them, but most of mine came on breadballs and snag hooks.
So, when I ended up catching this Yelloweye Mullet in New Zealand’s Coromandel using a beef scrap, I was very surprised. Since then, I’ve caught exactly zero mullet on meat or fish baits, so I now realize just how lucky I was.
I told you this story wasn’t long or exciting. I simply caught a mullet fishing a beef scrap in a river. I kept it for bait and proceeded to catch nothing on the cubes of bloody meat that were supposed to make great bait.
Further, even identification was easy. It was a mullet with a yellow eye, so the first Google search turned up my answer.
Species: Blue Cod (Parapercis colias) Location: Kuaotunu Coastline, Coromandel, New Zealand Date: February 24, 2014
Sometimes you luck into a wide variety of species early and catch lucky breaks with every cast. This is not one such tale.
David Clarke and I had been plying the coastal waters of New Zealand for weeks before the species variety started up in force. After catching almost nothing but Australasian Snapper in the salt, I finally got lucky when we drifted away from the structure I was so used to fishing in Oregon waters and drifted over a sloping, sandy bottom.
Shrimp was expensive — even cocktail shrimp — so we’d taken to trying other baits. Cicadas we caught on a small island quickly became a favorite.
Though finding live ones was difficult, the kicking insects attracted fish within 30 seconds of every drop. It worked like a charm.
Dead ones produced, albeit more slowly, so as I impaled the final, writhing bug on my hook, I sent a silent prayer.
God was listening.
I felt a tap, then fought up a light weight. I was shocked to realize it was an entirely different fish: Blue Cod.
We’d heard great things about the second-place Kiwi marine fish, but it was too small too keep, so I snapped a quick pic and sent it back to the depths.