Every year the school holidays wrap up and I think geez, I should really have spent some more quality time with the kids, so this year I decided to make sure the last week of the holidays were spent doing some cool stuff with the kids and showing them more of what the NZ summer is all about. Decision time was where to go….there was one place that went to the top of the list. Opito has always been one of my fav spots in New Zealand, most of my visits have been fleeting ones, getting a feed of scallies, or hiding out of the wind catching snappers or kingis, but every time I'm there I think geez, I could spend a lot more time there (in fact if I could convince the mrs to live there I would be there in a flash…). Just love how everything is so close, great fishing at each end of the bay, Mercs straight out in front, so many close options, and it just has the amazing feel to it. I managed to score my mate Dion's fathers bach at Optio for four nights, and invited a good mate Ryan to come along with his whanau. Grew up doing a lot of fishing with Ryan but over the last eight years off running a business and being out most weekends this was the first time I'd managed to get him out for a fish since I started chartering
Packed the boat and wagon up with plenty of the essentials, my fav two cook books - Al Browns Go Fish and Stoked, some pre made sauces from them, fishing gear, dive gear, kids snorkelling gear, and called in to get tanks filled and the low down on the diving from the good crew at Dive Zone whiti and we were off, Oscar pretty impressed with the view on the Black Jack4
Pretty draw dropping walking into the pad for the first time
What a spot
Mike's pad is a pretty sweet joint, boat launching and good swimming for the kids right in front, and the neighbours had been walking down and catching 45cm snapper straight of the beach in front of us, what a spot to kick back with a few drinks and good seafood
After kicking back in the water on our first avo, Ryan and I went for a bit of a reccie in the bay the next morning, suss out where we were going to take the kids that afternoon, 2 litres of gas and we found a little weed line holding some small maccies and we put them in the live tank, first one down in about 7m of water, 3 seconds from being wet and line started racing off the Stella 10k before it go to the bottom, reel in gear and the Stella howled, Ryan got pinned in the shallows by a feisty little king, we had the first king of the trip, sweet, we know where to bring the kids this avo…..
Time to get some scallies for dinner
Time to go pick up the afternoon shift
Got back to the little maccie haven and first of all got the kids to pull some fresh maccies in, and the first one down got hoovered, and Tim got put to task on his first ever kingi, the kids were yelling and screaming as in crystal clear 7m water we had another four kingfish tailing Tims fish, Tim did real well, and got his king to the boat. Classic pic - every time we went to take a photo from then on in, the other rod would bend over and reel would start screaming!
Oscar had a hell of a tussle with this next one!! Nice work boy!
And Bella was up next
What an afternoon! The kids had a ball, it was time to wrap up the dinner menu with a few crays. Before I left for Opito I called up Rob Fort as I knew he does a fair bit of free diving up there and go the low down on where the bugs were likely to be and the word was reasonably shallow at either end of the bay. Ran into him while we were picking up the kids and he gave us the good oil and pointed out a likely possie….cheers Rob!
some kingi capparchio , crays split open on BBQ with lime caper butter, then the main event care of Al brown go fish cookbook, Kingi with salsa verde, and scallies with Al brown tartare sauce, and his mean potato salad recipe
Rest of time was spent gathering a feed here and there, a shore dive for scallies was my fav dive of the trip and another in the boat with 0.5 litres of gas, nice surprise was finding a few flounder on the scallie beds, one of which managed to swim in my catch bag
He got hoovered
NIce bug from behind rabbit
Very nice surprise finding some tuatua in front of us on the beach too
Fair few scoffed straight after steaming
Rest into some fritters
They didn't last long
Wouldn't get sick of scoffing seafood with this outlook
Plenty more epic feeds, scotch topped with scallops and tartare, one of my favs of the trip, or this one another from al browns book, scallies on creamed corn and a ratatouille on top, yum
And of course plenty of beach time with the kids
All in all a great time away with family, mates, good food and good times at one of NZ's best spots.
Wrapped up a great few days away with a feed at Lukes Kitchen at Kuaotunu on the way home, what a spot, how have I not been here for a feed yet, wicked setting, good vibe, nice staff and mean pizzas!!