SunLive – Rare Catch to Remember

He’s the one who didn’t run away. A Tauranga charter boat skipper is still buzzing after recently catching a huge bass that tipped the scales at 60.2 kilograms.

“It’s so rare to catch a fish that big,” says Russell “Rusty” Hugh Ensor. “Carrying one of this size around is like the biggest adrenaline rush of your life. It’s quite thrilling. Definitely next level.

Last month, Rusty hosted a group of 12 fishermen from Auckland on his family’s big game fishing boat Te Kuia off Mayor Island.

“We had hardly any centreboard on the boat and we used the mackerel we had caught the day before as bait. Now the thing with the bass is you have to put it right in front of his nose for him to bite – and he did.

actually smoke

The fish was at a depth of 420 meters. “It took us about 15 or 20 minutes to get it to the top. Two of us were working on the electric reel to keep it from blowing up. It was actually smoking,” Rusty explains.

“There was so much cheering and excitement when we brought him to the surface. We just couldn’t believe it. What a monster. The boys were just blown away. This bass was a little over 60 pounds and we could see maybe one or two a year and then you could go three years without seeing one. It’s so rare.

The big catch has whetted Rusty’s appetite for the upcoming charter season, when he will be running luxury big game fishing trips on the famous Riviera 48ft Striker.

“This boat is world famous,” says Rusty. “He caught the world record black marlin and over 2000 marlin during his charter career, and was owned and chartered by award-winning big game fisherman Bruce Smith.”

Rusty’s passion

“Striker’s reputation is that it has had the most strikes of any big game fishing boat. That’s why they call him Striker, I guess. This is my passion. I’ve fished and skippered my whole life, but it’s a little different for me. It’s more upscale.

“A true luxury fishing excursion, harbor cruise, day trip to Isla Mayor or multi-day experience. We are really excited for the summer. This massive catch has cemented the bay’s reputation as an ideal location for deep-sea game fishing.”

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