It was all smiles at the scales at the weigh-in after pulling in a 59kg bass by Matt Haliday and friend, Dave Skipper, on a winter’s day in July.
Aboard Omega 3 on an absolutely stunning, calm, milky winter’s day, the duo headed out to Great Barrier at a depth of 360 metres to see what they could find.
With a couple of smaller bass and hapuka on ice already, it was not long before a big bass ate a tiny kahawai hard on the bottom.
“We were lucky to get the jump on him for the first five metres which, at this point, was when we realised it was hooked and started maxing out the reel’s drag. With some manual assistance and the drag dialled to the top, the fish was persuaded up, pulling the line and taking short power-runs for the first half of the fight,” said Matt.
As he pulled in the fish with a Daiwa Tanacom Bull Matt, he was hoping the hook wouldn’t pull since the drag was set very heavy with a long way to pull up.
The duo estimated the fish to weigh roughly 20-30kg before they saw it burst onto the surface with much excitement, 15 minutes later.
“The fish’s bladder was inflated but still had plenty of power to thrash its head alongside the boat and slam the Aluminium deck with its tail once it was brought on board.
“With the previous few bass and puka being of a smaller size and already on ice, we knew we now had more than enough fresh meat to enjoy and share with friends and family, so we made the call and headed home to weigh the bass, as we were unsure of its true size.”
Originally, the pair estimated the monster to weigh a conservative 40-45kg, so they were pleasantly surprised to see it weigh in at 59kg.
Matt said this was definitely his most memorable bottom-fishing moment and has lots of respect for their age.
“The fish was filleted and shared among family friends and locals. The head frames and wings were put on ice and collected the next day via “Free Fish Heads” which worked well for us and was easy to use.
“Remember if you have a good day on a bottom-fishing spot, do the right thing and give another spot a try next as you are out to ease pressure on such slow-growing fish. If we don’t regulate ourselves on our puka and bottom-fishing spots, we risk losing them forever.”