Winner: Captain Chad Kockott – 34 kg Maori Wrasse
The fish in the photograph is a 34 kg Maori Wrasse and it is the biggest fish of this species that I have ever caught. I have caught larger fish such as a 96 kg yellowfin tuna off Hout Bay as I am in the professional sportfishing game. Don’t be fooled by the docile look of the Maui Wrasse, this fish can certainly put up a very good fight and it was one of the toughest fighting fish I have ever caught in this size category. The lures I used were made up of a 125 Cubera popper, two Bkk’s and a Jobu on the tail. While working the popper over the reef edge, we saw two Wrasse coming up to have a look.
The smaller one had a swipe and missed … then the carnage began. It was like an exploding hang grenade on the surface. Boom! Once these fish hit, they try and head straight for the reef and into their holes to try and rub you off. We got the skipper to back away from the reef to get the fish into deeper water, and then the waiting game followed. But, I couldn’t take too long to land the fish as there are sharks and dogtooth tuna waiting to take a bite. The fight lasted about 25 minutes, with 18 kg drag on my Stella, one hundred pound jerry brown braid line and a 200 pound leader.
Needless to say, when we got the Wrasse to the boat, it was all about high fives and cheers, a couple of quick photos and a good release. What a wonderful sight to see this awesome fish swim off into the blue depths. We were fishing from a 23 ft Contender with a tower and a 300 HP Suzuki on the back. What a great fishing trip it was and the cherry on the cake is winning the Leisure Boating prize by simply sending in my photographs. Can you see how chuffed I am in the photograph of me holding the Wrasse?