MARCH 22-APRIL 1
Fresh back from 23 days filming abroad, we are road weary, heavily bearded and tired, but the adventure was nothing short of epic. First stop of the trip, Middle Earth; New Zealand.
We arrived to a punishing wind storm and our hearts immediately fell. This place has always delivered incredible fishing, but wind and kayaking the open ocean don’t pair well and we feared our objective was impossible. The storm packed 40 mph winds that shut down half of Auckland.
The Maori gods must have decided we were ok lads; the winds died and we were given a seven-day window of perfect conditions.
We hooked up with local Jackson Kayak pro staffer, Brent Klink, who perfectly nailed the logistics and planning for the trip. Throughout the shoot, we paddled Jackson Kayak Kraken—straight up, the best boats for these waters. I had an opportunity to meet with distributors to get them excited about selling the boats, and had a very well received demo night with the local club.
New Zealand is a great market for the Kraken. We were told that a huge number of the population are anglers, and a growing number of those fish from kayaks (we were given an unofficial number of 40%), this place is a hot spot. Locally made boats ring supreme here, but that is countered with an overall dismay at the lack of popular design features that come standard on boats coming out of North America.
We set our goals for the trip—trout, kingfish, snapper—and set out for the local trout fishery, where we met up with local angling celebrity Shamus. Shamus fishes almost exclusively for trout on his SuperFishal. He would be an ideal contact to talk about the huge and growing SUP fishing market ready to hit on the North Island. Our first day on the water was spent here where I managed to limit-out by mid-afternoon.
The following two days, we targeted kings and were royally pleased to hook about one hundred or so big kingfish.
With successes coming easily, we upped our third goal from merely catching snapper to catching 20-pounders. Amongst the boiler rocks along New Zealand’s stunning coast, these goldenred beauties were hale, hearty and abundant.
Six years ago our first adventure in New Zealand with big sharks lead to our introduction to Shark Shield, this time we returned with the Shark Shield in hand. Everyone wanted to know if I still keep my feet in the water given the experiences last time in NZ and we loved telling them that now that we have a Shark Shield…we do it even more.
With the landscape, the locals and the unending fish, it is no surprise that the footage from this trip is amazing. We are incredibly happy to report, with full smiles, that this has been one of the best shoots of our eight years of filming.