Catching a large sevengill shark from the rocks at Taylors Mistake, Canterbury


Taylor's Mistake Sevengiller

The author Allan Burgess hooked-up! Godley Head and Boulder bay in the distance.
The author hooked-up! Godley Head and Boulder Bay in the distance.

It is a sunny afternoon during the holidays. The kids are getting board and like their father are itching to go fishing. Where shall we go? Why not to one of my old spots over the hill at Black Rock, Taylors Mistake.

When packing consideration needed to be given to what we should take with us, and equally importantly, because we would have to walk over part of the Port Hills, what to leave behind. It is amazing how a four-wheel-drive vehicle makes fishermen lazy. You get so used to driving right up to where you are going to fish and just getting out of the vehicle and casting.

This time we would have to carry all our gear by hand or in packs on our backs. I knew there would be plenty of yellow-eyed mullet at Taylors Mistake. From experience the best way to catch them from the rocks is to splash a bit of berley on the water and then fish for them with light spinning rods and flasher rigs.

I had already made some flashers up with size 6 trout hooks ideal for mullet. This meant we would have to carry a 20 litre bucket half full of old bread from the freezer kept for the purpose, some old frozen fish offal, and a bottle of Kilwell Orange Roughy Oil. I had used the later before and knew it would bring in the mullet from miles around.

The sevengill shark on the rocks at last!
The sevengiller on the rocks at last!

There were three of us including the youngster so we needed five rods! Two would be used to cast out baited hooks for red cod, or anything else; perhaps a kahawai or something bigger and then placed in a crack in the rocks. The three smaller rods would be used to catch the mullet.
This sort of fishing is great fun. You know you are at the very least going to catch mullet. The first of which we always use for fresh red cod baits on the long rods.

Sure enough after parking the car and strapping the rods together to make them easier to carry, we pulled on our packs and climbed up the hill and walked along the track and then down to the fishing platform at Black Rock. I had caught plenty of red cod here in the past.On arrival we mixed the berley in the bucket with water and began casting a few cupfuls on the surface. In no time at all the wash below us was teeming with big yellow-eyed mullet.

They would rush in together grabbing tasty morsels from the berley before darting away again. While the kids started catch them i put out the two long rods for the cod. After an hour or so, and several changes of bait, I noticed my long Kilwell Custom surf rod was bent right over and the Alvey was giving line. Headed over to pick up the rod my first though was that it was probably a sting ray. Some huge rays had been caught here in the past. With rod in hand the fight began in earnest..

Sevengill Shark
See the whole shark Click to enlarge picture of: Allan's Sevengill Shark

A long rod works against you when fighting a big fish, and one thing was certain this was a big fish! I had to maintain constant pressure but at the same time take it easy so as not to snap the line. I had caught big sevengillers from the beach at Birdlings Flat in the past and knew that it was just a matter of keeping the pressure on and waiting for the shark to tire.
By this time I was sure it was a shark. I guessed it might be a sevengiller but couldn't be sure. After half an hour or so I caught my first sighting of the unmistakable brown spotted body of a sevengill shark. It was obviously a big one. I knew that they was a lot of fish dinners on the end of the line and was keen to land it if possible. Had I not intended the shark for the ovenI I would have cut it free at this point.


The problem was we were on rocks a couple of metres from the water. I had a gaff on a four foot wooded handle. It seemed inadequate for the task. Fortunately two young blokes fishing near us lent a hand with the gaff and helped to lift the fish from the water. It would have been at least an hour after it was hooked that we had it clear of the tide.

Darkness was approaching so we hurried to gut the shark and carry it back over the hill to the car. It was incredibly heavy even after being gutted. It just goes to show that the more you go fishing the sooner you'll catch a really big fish!


Related pages about sevengill sharks: Allan's Sevengiller. See also: Sevengill and Sixgill Sharks and Sevengill Sharks from the Surf. You might also like: Rock Fishing at Black Rock

Sevengill shark from Taylors Mistake Big Pic 1, 

and Big Pic 2



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