Fish­er­man's par­adise

A day on the wa­ter beats any day in the of­fice, writes Carl Muir.

Go Travel New Zealand - - Coromandel -

Any­one close to me will know there is one way to my heart: Take me out on the ocean, put a fish­ing rod in my hand and feed me fresh seafood. Noth­ing comes close to recharg­ing the bat­ter­ies than a good day out on the wa­ter. So check­ing out and writ­ing about The Coro­man­del’s new­est lux­ury char­ter op­er­a­tion Next Level Ad­ven­tures was my kind of as­sign­ment. With two very high spec’d sport­fish­ing boats, top of the line fish­ing gear and a full time chef this op­er­a­tion is set to turn some heads. Next Level Ad­ven­tures is based in the new ma­rina in Tairua Har­bour. With a sleek look­ing 50ft launch for lux­ury live-aboard fish­ing hol­i­days and big game fish­ing, and a fast 9m pon­toon ves­sel for day trips to the famed Al­der­men Is­lands, they’ve got all bases cov­ered. A pro­fes­sional look­ing of­fice at the en­trance to the ma­rina says it all: These guys mean busi­ness! Ar­riv­ing at the Next Level base, skip­per Nick fired up the cap­puc­cino ma­chine and we talked about the day ahead. We stud­ied the marine charts for the en­vi­able play­ground that lies due east of Tairua’s pris­tine har­bour. New Zealand’s hard fight­ing yel­low­tail king­fish were on the agenda. We’d be fish­ing for them pri­mar­ily with lures around the con­ti­nen­tal shelf wide of the Al­der­men Is­lands. It is well known for pro­duc­ing some of New Zealand’s big­gest king­fish. It sounded per­fect. We blasted out at a good rate of knots Sky­line, the smaller of the two boats on

of­fer, but at a gen­er­ous 9m in length and with twin 225HP out­boards on the back, it was per­fectly set up for sport fish­ing in com­fort. Skip­per Nick kept an ea­gle eye on the elec­tron­ics on board and called out “King­fish at 40m”. The multi-coloured braided line, with dif­fer­ent colours ev­ery 10 me­tres, made putting my lure in the zone ef­fort­less. Pretty soon I was hooked up on a freight train of a king­fish. King­fish can be caught year round in New Zealand and grow to world-record size. This one did ev­ery­thing pos­si­ble to pull my arms off and earn his free­dom but five min­utes later, we had him boat side. Hav­ing al­ready re­leased a few smaller fish, this one was care­fully dis­patched on salt ice for Next Level’s chef Nathaniel aka ‘Nadz’ to turn into sashimi back at base. Next on the agenda was some scuba div­ing. The Coro­man­del coast is well known as hav­ing some of New Zealand’s best scuba div­ing. The Al­der­men Is­lands ri­val the Poor Knights in both ter­rain and marine life. To­day, we weren’t just look­ing, we were gath­er­ing a feast for ‘Nadz’ to cook up for us back in Tairua. Pretty soon I no­ticed the tell tale feel­ers of a cray­fish (NZ's spiny red lob­ster) pok­ing out from un­der­neath a rock. I charged in after it and se­cured a tasty feed of cray­fish for what was be­com­ing a bit of a feast. Next on the agenda was scal­lops and this time skip­per Nick dropped us in at the beau­ti­ful Opito Bay. A very cruisy dive along a sandy bot­tom and we both had our quota of 20 scal­lops each, plus a share for our friendly crew on top. There is noth­ing sweeter in life than open­ing a scal­lop fresh out of the ocean while you are still in your dive gear and eat­ing it au nat­u­rale! Blast­ing back along the coast­line, we spot­ted all the likely spots the rest of the tourists come for: Hot Wa­ter Beach, Orua Cave and Cathe­dral Cove. We got to see

all of these from an­other per­spec­tive, smart­ing that we were en­joy­ing a day that the crowds could never imag­ine! Back at base, chef Nadz was prepped and rar­ing to go. Our catch was bro­ken down and fil­leted be­fore our eyes. A four course king­fish feast awaited: King­fish sashimi, Ca­jun king­fish ke­babs, king­fish ika mata and smoked king­fish wings. Macadamia-crumbed scal­lops and freshly steamed cray­fish topped off the per­fect feast. “I love fresh in­gre­di­ents,” says Nadz. Yes, and they don’t come much fresher than this! If you’re want­ing a truly spe­cial on the wa­ter Coro­man­del ex­pe­ri­ence, where you get to sam­ple your catch of the day then you can’t go past Next Level Ad­ven­tures

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