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Lo-Cab International X Ebb Tide Tackle, Landbased Topwater Yellowtail Kingfish

By John Cahill

As an Aussie topwater guy you can’t help but be eternally jealous of our New Zealand cousins and their endless mega kingfish that litter us daily on social media.  Whilst the inshore zone in NZ is limited in terms of the variety of species, the quality and quantity of the yellowtail kingfish fishery more than makes up for this, it’s pretty insane.

Nice work for your first LB king, great work Cish, Brendan and Slice.

You may remember my mate Nate Tsao from Hawaii, well through him I met Jake Pyne, the bossman behind Lo-Cab International, a New Zealand based online lure shop and rad line of fishing clothing that is inspired by hip hop street wear, pretty cool stuff (check their socials or at  
Long story, but Jake invited us over to sample some NZ topwater landbased game, its didn’t take long to agree to that idea and Cish was quick to take up the fourth spot with Nate flying in as well, it was game on for an international topwater fish-fest!

Lo-Cab bossman Jake Pyne, – loves kings

Scooping us up from the airport Jake took to the wheel in earnest and we covered some miles into the night before arriving at his chosen destination, different guys from different parts of the world but instantly mates, the topwater scene is like that I have found wherever you go.  By reports, all signs looked good; warm water was pushing in onto the east coast and Jake and his mates Brendan and Slice had gotten stuck into some good fish a few days before, we were peaking with excitement but sadly, ridiculously weary!  With a total of about 90 minutes sleep total, it was the early morning fishing routine; 4.30 am wake up, coffee, load up and launch the boat in the darkness.  Now this is worth a mention, Jake has hot off the production line, the very first ever Future Boats fully customised 5.5m centre console.

Team work – JC controlling the fish and Brendan entering the surge zone to do the dirty work

4 on the floor; moving fast to keep them healthy after a manic multi hook up

The practical application of this boat became obvious when we got to Jake’s chosen platform.  The spot, is only accessible by boat and in the ocean conditions we experienced, subject to a couple of meters of surge.  This required some serious experience, skill and balls on the controls to get the anglers safely on the rock as things could very easily go wrong and someone get hurt bad.  Full kudos to Jake, he had this process nailed down tight and the cool head to execute the deal.  Once on the rock it was clearly a mega fishy environment with lots of current, wash, blue water and lots of small bait and bigger kahawai.  Due to the swell surge, the safe casting zone was quite high above the water, a pretty common issue to overcome with landbased casting which really tests your lure selection and stickbaiting skills.  No sooner had we set up and started to cast in the gloom of post dawn, I had a follow, then a few casts later another.  I can’t tell you how good it felt to be getting attention within minutes of firing the first shots, New Zealand is rad!  Instead of my sticky getting inhaled however, it was Nate’s fly.  Like a true fluff chucker, he had skillfully dropped in a meter behind my lure and stripped into the wash zone where it was slurped up just at the point where you have no water left, he was tight!  The poaching bastard! Insults aside, I have witnessed some hectic fights before, but this one might take the cake, Nate was in more trouble than the early settlers but somehow managed to pull it off, a 103cm king off the stones on fly!

Nate on fly, he is kinda extreme

Meter king on fly landbased, surely a small club?

This fish ignited things on the rock and it wasn’t long until we had screams from the other side from Jake, coming over the ridge it was mayhem, and just a matter of getting a lure in to join the fun, a 5 way hookup followed which included the fish of the trip, a 124cm, 24 kilo brute for Brendan, simply wow, this was an insane bite on quality fish.  It would have easily been a 6 way but Nate was running around leadering everyone’s fish.  That was some hectic fishing I wont ever forget, we didn’t even get good photos as there were too many fish to deal with and we wanted them released healthy as the main priority, we were throwing 20 kilo class fish back without a care.  That bite came and went, and to be honest the sequence of events after this point is foggy but the fish are not, over the course of the two days the group scored a total of 28 fish on topwater  and released 27, one smaller fish made it’s way into our poke bowls.  For an Aussie these are Impressive numbers but even better quality, with nearly all fish being well over a meter long and lots in the 112 – 118cm range, very good fish!

Tag, measure, release
Big kings on top on the bricks; put a fork in me, I’m done

It was an awesome time to be able to try different lures and hook combinations and get back in the groove of getting the best out of your lure in all the conditions, across chop, elevated, with current, against current, these are the subtle skills of stickbaiting and essential to get finicky kings to bite, the number of follows we had were off charts.  I remember one 15 minute period on day 2 when I had 5 schools follow me in a 15 minute period before they switched back on and I got one to commit.  yeah it would be relatively easy to drift out a live bait and catch a lot more kings but this is what we do, we cast to fool.  Day 3 we were meant to be back on the rock but the swell had picked up to the point of being pretty sketchy, the right decision was made to call it and snapper softbaiting from the boat was in order, Lo-Cab x Ebb Tide was sick, until next time.

JC releases, Jake fights, Cish films – hectic

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