A Porirua man was astounded to catch what he thought was a good-sized snapper with his bare hands at Plimmerton beach, and even more astounded to find it was actually a rarely seen deep sea fish.
Titahi Bay fishing enthusiast John Weenink says he was somewhat “surprised” when his mate turned up to fillet the snapper at his place and presented him with a Ray’s Bream.
“He was walking along Plimmerton beach near the boat club when he spotted two fish thrashing about in the shallows.
“One of them got cast [grounded] and so my mate jumped in and threw it on to the sand, but couldn’t get the second one.”
Mr Weenink recognised the 2 kilogram, 20 centimetre fish as a large deep water Ray’s Bream, and says it has the big eyes characteristic of deep sea fish which live in low light conditions.
The Ministry of Fisheries website says recreational fishers occasionally come across Ray’s Bream when fishing for bluenose, hapuku and bass over deep reefs, but even that is rare.
“It blew me away – I’ve been fishing out of Titahi Bay for 40 years and I’ve never seen one out there, they’re a deep sea fish,” Mr Weenink says.