Blue Cod & Good Times – Waipara River / Motunau

“A Mish a Day” #225 (Part 3) Waipara River Mouth/Motunau. Hurunui Region. 29.11.2020. The 5 horsepower outboard motor was no use in ankle deep water, and now Adam was walking the boat in the mud to the surf at the Motunau River Mouth. It is important to point out here that we would later read about the difficulties faced when exiting the river and going through the surf into the ocean at Motunau sandbar. The surf has wrecked a few boats over the years, and we were lucky to not become another victim.

After a few nervous moments we splashed our way through the last of the breakers, and were in the Pacific Ocean. We now had the tabletop Motunau Island in front of us, and beyond that the vast expanse of the biggest ocean on earth. We headed to a point near the north end of the island, and dropped one of our two crayfish pots, and as we prepared the next we had a close encounter with one of the many local Kekeno/New Zealand Fur Seals. Any signs of the rain from the day before had disappeared, apart from the mud that coated a large amount of our fishing gear to serve as a reminder of our battle at the Waipara River Mouth the night before. With the sun shining in the sky we dropped our second Crayfish Pot, and then began fishing. We were lucky to get a heads up from some other fisherman about a good fishing spot, and after travelling to the spot we started to catch blue cod. In a matter of an hour or so we had four large fish in the chilly bin, and it was time to relocate to another spot at the southern end of the island. Motunau Island’s southern end sits above a sea shelf with a very big drop into the deep blue sea, and this can cause strong currents, making the area dangerous for divers. The large swells were a sign we were now on the open ocean, and also a sign of the change in the weather. The wind had switched from a light southery to building north west gusts, and this made the water choppy. We decided it was time to head in, and as we made our way to the crayfish pots it began to get really rough. In white caps we headed for the Motunau River Mouth, and the nerves from the morning returned as we approached the surf. Our skillful skipper guided the little boat through the waves, and in no time we were on the calm waters of the Motunau River. Once back on dry land we fired up the charcoal cooker, and began to feast. The taste of victory was blue cod, and victory never tasted so good!

Early-ish the next day we packed down the tent city, and began the drive back to Christchurch. The mission was a real eye opener to the dangers of mud, and from now on we will always be more cautious when approaching boggy areas. We also learnt the adventure potential with the boat, and know that we will one day return to Motunau on a quest to finally bag some tasty crayfish …

Motunau and Motunau Island

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

Subscribe To my newsletter