If you’re lo­cal to Auck­land and look­ing for a con­ve­nient fish­ing es­cape off the beaten track, you'll strug­gle to do bet­ter than Man­gawhai

New Zealand Fishing World - - Contents - MATT JONES

Matt Jones’ guide to Man­gawhai and Hen and Chicken Is­lands

Less than an hour and a half’s drive from the big smoke of Auck­land, set against a back­drop of cap­ti­vat­ing sand dunes and the deep blue yon­der lies a mag­i­cal slice of white­sand coastal par­adise.

But enough about the scenery; the real rea­son to hook up a boat and head to Man­gawhai is, of course, the fish­ing. Its handy lo­ca­tion puts epic fish­ing des­ti­na­tions like the Moko­hinau’s, the Hen and Chicks and Sail Rock all within reach of the mid­sized trailer boat fleet. Who needs steak when you can dine on snap­per, cray­fish, king­fish, ka­hawai, trevally and gurnard to name a few.

As I’ve been lucky enough to have fam­ily with hol­i­day homes in this magic spot so I’ve been able to enjoy more than my fair share of good times and good fish­ing over the last few decades. When I was handed the keys to a brand new Mazda BT-50 GLX dou­ble cab and asked to tow a boat some­where fishy, only one des­ti­na­tion came to mind.

A great day for it

Hav­ing heard my cousin Mike “Sk­itzo” Kit­son was head­ing out fish­ing from Man­gawhai that week­end I un­abashedly in­vited my­self along. Be­ing a good sort, this wasn’t a prob­lem for Sk­itzo and less than two hours later I found my­self load­ing my abun­dance of fish­ing gear into his welle­quipped Sur­tees 610 Game­fisher.

When com­bined with Sk­itzo’s im­pres­sive arse­nal we had enough gear on board to sink a lesser ves­sel. Feel­ing suit­ably pre­pared for any­thing, the Sur­tees was hooked up to the trusty Mazda BT-50’S tow ball and we headed for Man­gawhai Heads at the leisurely hour of 11am – to co­in­cide with the tides of course.

But, we couldn’t head out with­out first pick­ing up the bloke who’d in­tro­duced us to Man­gawhai’s mag­i­cal charms in the first place - Sk­itzo’s fa­ther, “Fos­syl”. Thank­fully Fos­syl only bought one rod.

We made our way to the shel­tered es­tu­ary where the three-lane, all-tide con­crete ramp and com­pli­men­tary float­ing pon­toon made for a laid-back launch with am­ple park­ing for the truck and trailer.

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