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I grew up watching Geoff Thomas and his videos Kingfish Secrets and Snapper Secrets. Those videos were some of the earliest inspiration for me totally getting in to fishing.
So it was a great honour to be able to take out the man himself out in my back yard on Provider as part of the Rheem Big6.
Every year Geoff films the Rheem Big 6, with one of Rheem’s lucky customers getting to chase a kingfish, snapper, deer, goat and two trout, all in 48 hours. To date the most anyone had ticked off was five.
Here’s Geoffs write up from the trip:
When Whangaparaoa plumber Glenn Keating heard he had won the draw to take on the Rheem Big Six Challenge he thought he had a good chance of being the first to crack all six. For Glenn has a long history of lucky wins – from overseas trips to other big prizes. This was year eight and the previous highest score was in 2016 when Wellington’s Tony Cain managed to bag five. “That is why it’s called the Challenge,” said host Geoff Thomas. “You are always up against the vagaries of the weather in the outdoors, and fish can be fickle. Then you have the game animals which are usually out feeding at dawn and dusk so you have to plan around that.” Glenn started fishing out of Tairua and over drinks with local fishermen at the Tairua Sports Fishing Club the night before Geoff introduced him to local legend Carl Muir who seemed confident he would have his two fish pretty quickly. “We caught live baits at Slipper Island then headed for the Aldermen group of islands half an hour offshore. Well, as we got further out the sea got bigger and the wind was honking,” said Geoff. “Carl stopped on his “G Spot” out in the middle of nowhere and held the boat stern-on to the wind and sea as Glenn and his wing man, Sholfo, dropped live yellowtails. It took several attempts but he finally hooked and boated a nice kingfish. Then we stopped inside the Aldermen, put out some berley and soon had two snapper and two kahawai.” The Score: Two fish (we counted the kahawai and the kingfish). A three-hour dash saw the team sneaking through the bush south of Rotorua and although he had never fired a big rifle, after instructions from guide Dave, Glenn lined up a 12-point red stag which was feeding on the edge of a clearing. Thirty minutes later he added a billy goat to the tally. The Score : Four points. “We have struggled with the hunting over the years, but everything came together beautifully this time” said Geoff. “It must be Glenn’s lucky streak.” Only two trout were needed and it was still Day One. The clock started ticking at 8.45am when Glenn hooked his kingfish. The trout followed the following morning at Lake Tarawera on Geoff’s boat and Glenn had the first Rheem Big Six Challenge in the bag. It took 26 hours and 10 minutes, which will be the bench mark for future challengers to aim at. Final Score : Six points (kingfish, kahawai, stag, billy goat, two trout).
Geoff extended an offer for us to visit and stay with him at his lodge at Tarawera and do some trout fishing a few weeks later. He was the consumate host and Oscar got to catch his first trout! Awesome times with GT!
After catching some more and checking out Hot Water Beach at Tarawera, Geoff smoked up our trout the next morning and we brought home an epic feed of beautiful trout back to Tairua. Thanks for the experience Geoff!
Good friends of ours Meg and G, owners of Tairua restaurant Tairua Beach Club, recently got married, so we gave them an overnight getaway experience on Slipper Island for their wedding present. This is a trip we can put together for anyone wanting a really nice island experience, epic scenery, and and bit of fishing, eating seafood.
We left midday and settled in to our cabins on Slipper Island. Only 15 minutes from Tairua, yet it feels a whole world away, like you’ve arrived somewhere like Fiji!
We packed a few drinks and nibbles on Provider and shot out to the Aldies to grab some dinner! We snuck a few livies down and Meg and G soon had their first ever kingfish! They were stoked!
Time to get a few paua!
We dined well back at Slipper Island base that night on fresh paua (abalone), kingfish sashimi, and kingi and paua fish cakes! Yum!
The next morning we explored the island. The lighthouse walk at Slipper is one of the best short walks I’ve done in New Zealand, with epic views over Crater Bay out to the Aldermen Islands, 360 degree views back to the coast to Tairua, Whangamata, up to the Mercs and out to Mayor island. This is a truly special part of New Zealand every one should check out. Let us know if you are keen to come and take part in a Slipper Island adventure with us soon.
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