How to Catch Fish and Where is more than just a fishing book for me. It's the culmination of a lot of hard work, particularly over the last 12 months but equally over a lifetime of fishing with some wonderful people.
From age 5 I would drag home every fishing book I could get my hands on at the Frankton Public Library in Hamilton. I learnt so much of my craft from reading books and referring to them time and time again.
Amongst those books was the original one that carried the title How to Catch Fish and Where.
While the original was probably the most successful fishing book ever published in NZ, this new book is similar only because of the title. Much has changed over the last 40 years and for that reason I have attempted to fit EVERYTHING into this book, plus the kitchen sink.
I think that if HarperCollins and particularly my publisher, Bill Honeybone had realised I was going to give them such an extensive manuscript, (it's about 50% bigger than we planned) with so much detail, the book would have retailed for so much more! I am grateful that they have honoured
the original plan and made the book so affordable.
As the book developed it became more a case of what to leave out rather than what to put in. The good news is that the follow-up book, provisionally titled How to Catch (BIG) Fish and Where - The Experts Edition is already going through planning.
I have been lucky to cover so many styles of fishing and fish some great places over the last 40 years.
Mum and dad bought a bach at Raglan while we kids were still at school. It was a wonderful education. My brother Craig and I were always out floundering. Dad and I spent every moment the big west coast swells let us, out on the water. Later I learnt to dive, as did dad and my sister Sharyn. Crayfish and scallops were always on the menu.
Then I started my working career, originally with the plan of boat building (some of you will remember Muldoon's infamous boat sales tax which effectively curtailed that) before becoming part of the third generation of plumbers in my family.
During that period I got to dive on Australia's Great Barrier Reef, (I even managed to be in the Coral Sea when Cyclone Bola formed!), fish anything up to 100 days a year out from Tauranga and I even got to work the deck during the heavy tackle season off Cairns chasing the big black marlin.
After another stint plumbing I changed direction completely and started a marine electronics business. As well as selling and installing sounders, GPS and more, I also trained people in their use, on and off the water, and also taught Coastguard courses. After 10 years we were approached to sell the business and did so.
At the same time I was also approached to edit a new fishing magazine. Before long I was co-owner and founding editor of NZ Fishing Coast to Coast Magazine. For more than a decade it grew to eventually become the second-biggest fishing magazine in the country, a great result for a bi-monthly competing against a bigger monthly magazine.
Most notably I was able to develop and nurture a large number of the current crop of fishing writers. Some have since gone on to even bigger things including writing careers and even TV shows.
Following a change of circumstance with my business partner several years ago I resigned as a director and later resigned as editor of the magazine. Unfortunately the magazine is no longer produced. A sad conclusion as it was NZ's best fishing magazine ...
The magazine created many special fishing opportunities and even more were provide by our great friends, John and Christine Erkkila. They built two superb Ron Given sailing catamarans designed to gamefish economically with long range throughout NZ and the Pacific.
Who said you can't catch marlin from a yacht! I was charged with proving the concept and the boat was sailed to Vanuatu where I met up with the crew for a couple of weeks of gamefishing.
By the end of the very first day we had tagged two marlin and lost another at the boat!
Since then we have managed an 'adventure' every two years. We've been to Chesterfield Reef twice, Vanuatu, New Caledonia and Tonga. We've also fished in Hawaii. We caught many marlin, of all three species, sailfish, dogtooth tuna, spearfish, wahoo, yellowfin and much more. They truly have been adventures.
The resignation from the magazine meant big changes in my life. A move to Auckland, where I live with my wonderful new partner Kim, has been a positive change. I have also changed career again to become an author, as well as plying my other skills of graphic design and photography.
How to Catch Fish and Where is my third book although my first solo. The first was The NZ Softbait Fishing Guide co-written with Joe Dennehy. The second, published with Harper Collins in 2012 and called The Kiwi Fisherman's Guide to Life was co-written with my good friend, musician and author, Dr. Ian Chapman.
I also did all the internal layouts for How to Catch Fish and Where, the illustrations and most of the photos. It has been a busy time meeting the deadline!
I hope you enjoy reading and using How to Catch Fish and Where as much as I have enjoyed writing and producing it for you.
I caught my first bass off Mayor Island in the early 1980's. It weighed a little over 70 pounds.
1980, aged 19 and just starting my work career, Raglan was my home port. I caught these two 16lb snapper off Gannet Island close to the surface in the middle of a hot, sunny day!
Coral trout caught off the Great Barrier Reef between black marlin! Whatever happened to the waistline ...
It's rare for me to be in front of the camera, I much prefer to be the one taking the pictures ...
My partner Kim has taken to softbait fishing big time! And she's good at it ... She also took many of the photos appearing in How to Catch Fish and Where.
I was there at the start of the current softbaits fishing revolution and wrote a book on the subject. On the very first day I caught this 22lb snapper on a Gulp softbait. This photo has been used in many magazines and ads and has sold many packets of Gulp!
If I'm not fishing or working the chances are you will find me playing drums somewhere ...
Mike lives on Auckland's North Shore with his partner Kim and one cat. There is a second cat but it only turns up every six weeks or so ...
The snapper Mike is holding weighed 32 pounds and is his biggest to date.
As well as writing books Mike is making a living with graphic production work and photography
Recent projects include catalogues, web sites and ads. Mike also did all the production work for the book, excluding the cover.
You can contact him
For any graphics, photography or design work check out -