A lapsed fisherman who had not cast his line into the sea for about 20 years returned to the beach with a vengeance on Monday, landing a magnificent 10kg snapper at Lake Ferry.
Chris Hansen accompanied his mate Dave (Tubs) Wright, Campbell Wright and Alex Cox on the fishing trip after a last minute shop for gear and having borrowed a rod.
The confirmed trout fisherman had not been surf casting for decades but all that was about to change when the party arrived at the Ferry on a brilliantly fine day and set about the serious business of taking home a fish meal.
Setting up about 300m along the beach from the end car park towards Whangaimoana, Mr Hansen attached a bit of bait "from a bloody old fish left over in our freezer" and cast out.
"The sea was flat and we watched a guy pulling in a net from a kite that had about 25 fish in it, around five species.
"There was a torpedo on the other side of us and every hook appeared to have a fish on it.
"We were setting up a long line and while doing this my rod was doing a couple of funny things.
"I felt the line but there didn't seem to be much going on so after a while I decided to bring it in and check the bait," Mr Hansen said.
Checking the bait turned into the challenging task of landing the giant snapper which when it reached the surf resulted in a team effort, with his companions getting in behind the snapper to make sure it didn't get off the hook and flap back into the water.
As first catch of the day the snapper rather overshadowed the five kahawai the party caught but all the catches were grist to the mill and went towards the celebration of a great day, with a fish meal and a few ales later at the Hansen home in Masterton.
The big snapper was the second "biggie" known to have been caught at Lake Ferry in the last few months with Greytown fisherman Raymond Forrester having hooked an 11.3kg snapper there in late November.
Snapper catches in Palliser Bay were once reasonably common but have been a rare event in recent years.
Mr Hansen's daughter Melissa, known for her prowess as a cricketer, got the job of filleting the snapper and has, according to her father, put her hand up to join the fishermen on the next trip to the coast.