Dan Morris is a busy guy. He’s Tauranga based, has three daughters (2, 4 and 6), his own automotive workshop plus a passion for all things sports and outdoors. 

He’s been a keen hunter all his life and he's always loved fishing with his dad and his mates. But after purchasing a Rayglass he caught the bug and couldn’t get enough of game fishing. 

The mother of all lockdown purchases: Fishizzle

Dan explains he’s always loved fishing but he’s usually stayed inshore and caught snapper and he’s never had his own fishing boat. That is until, like many of us, he made a large purchase during lockdown.

“I was keen to give gamefishing a good go and be my own skipper, so over COVID lockdowns I bought a Rayglass Legend 2350 called Fishizzle from a guy in Auckland. I went to my local tackle shop and they helped me with all the gear I needed then advice from friends helped me set up the boat."

With the boat sorted, all the gear, and some idea, Dan got started on his research:

“I became a nerd. I was a student schooling myself on how it all worked. I was frequently visiting my local fishing shop Decoro and bugging them for info. I have good friends who are really good game fishers so I spoke to them and learnt everything I could. You’ve got to enlist the help of people around you to get that good intel and all the tips and tricks”

Enjoying the hunt

When Dan speaks about his time out on the water you can tell he absolutely loves it:

“You’ve got to find a way to enjoy the hunt. Finding good water, looking out for baitfish on the sounder and looking out for birds.” And while Dan enjoys the hunt there’s no denying that the catch is the best part.

“It’s really special. As skipper of my own boat I get that feeling of having done it all myself when we catch something. Whether I’m reeling it in or not I get that same buzz.”

Clearly Dan’s doing something right because in his first few season on the water he caught several marlin:

“We hooked 11 marlin, lost six and landed five. I also caught several blue fin tuna, including a 78 kg fish when I was fishing off Whakatane. Then recently we caught a 110 kg big eye tuna off Tauranga which was a new Tauranga club record and an epic two hour fight.”

 A quarter tonne battle

Dan’s most epic battle of his game fishing career came when he hooked his first Blue Marlin off Waihou Bay. A beast estimated to be over 250kg:

“This was the biggest by far. My friend played it for four hours then collapsed and couldn’t do it any more. I jumped on the rod and quickly realised how hard it was,” Dan said. 

After six hours total Dan managed to get the gigantic fish up to the boat when it shot underneath the vessel and the tip of the rod snapped. Dan wasn’t ready to give up:

“I played it for an hour with a snapped rod. I got it close to the boat again but it did the same thing, snapped the line and we lost it. There’s lots of tactics and tricks and learnings to take away so hopefully we get the next one!”

The right tools for the job

When you’re battling fish that weigh a quarter of a tonne, having the right gear is vital, including your boat. And Dan reckons his Legend 2350 is perfect for it:

“It handles much better than anything else I’ve been in that size. Mates that I've taken out have been really surprised at how stable it is and how it handles in big sea. It feels really safe.”

When Dan entered the Kubota Billfish Classic to compete for over $1 million in prizes he took two mates with him to stay on the vessel for four nights straight:

“It has all the comforts of a small launch really. We stayed in Whitianga waterways and out around the islands and it was really comfy to sleep in thanks to its stability and extra weight from the fibreglass," Dan said. "I’ve got a bunk in the front, it sleeps 3-4 comfortably. There's a hot shower, built-in toilet, bbq setup and heaps of storage. I have also added, auto pilot, radar to travel in the the dark and two 1kw transducers."

“Another big part of it is the harmonics. Pelagic fish species are attracted to the right boat sound and the vibration of the inboard engine and the propeller is just right for them. Some of our success is definitely down to the sound attracting fish. You can go and buy a $200,000 trailer boat and catch nothing so it’s great Rayglass got this right.”

Just as importantly Dan explains, the boat has the family’s seal of approval:

“The boat is amazing with the kids and it’s easy to launch and handle by myself. All five of us go to the lakes. We have camping trips and stay overnight on the boat. We're already towing the girls on biscuits and will soon be teaching them to wakeboard and ski. They love it.”

"My wife loves going out on the boat too. I should also mention how awesome she is for allowing me to go out regularly and chase big fish!"

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