The challenge for this year was going to be how to follow up on the success of How to Catch Fish and Where. That book has been in the best-seller list since it was released in November 2014. In fact it has already been reprinted and the reprint was bigger than the original print run!
The answer to that came from my publisher who suggested a boating book to fill the gap we both saw in the market. The outcome is How to Go Boating and Where.
Of course it was supposed to be around 40,000 words but there was no way I was going to compromise on the finished book; 90,000 words later, days of creating illustrations and weeks of 18-hour days and this is the result!
It's a book I'm very proud of, even more so as I once again did all the production (except the cover, although I set up and took the photo). The publisher's decision to make it a hard-cover has made the book look fantastic!
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, packaging design 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 -
Mike in one of his favourite places - behind the wheel of a boat!
During the book project we developed an existing 14'6" boat into a fishing machine!
Kim is pictured launching the boat at our local ramp.
My boating background is extensive and began at around age five, fishing on Raglan Harbour. It took its first big step when, after years of fishing with others, dad decided to buy a family boat and soon after, a bach at Raglan.
There are few better places from which to learn the skills of boat handling than beautiful Raglan. We had a huge range of conditions to deal with, from a mostly benign harbour that had sandbanks to be avoided, to launching directly into the Tasman at Manu Bay. Then there is the Raglan bar ...
A bar teaches boat handling, preparation and safety procedures like no other stretch of water can. Raglan is notorious because it is long and it shifts. There is an area like a washing machine then waves that break further out on the bar proper. I am so pleased I was able to learn at such a young age and in such controlled conditions with
like-minded safe operators.
There were minor skirmishes but our planning compensated for those. There have been no major incidents.
The most important rule to learn at Raglan, and it applies anywhere, is this: if the conditions are marginal, go home. There will be another day.
Diving, especially for crayfish and scallops, then underwater photography, became a major part of my life. For a while I was either on or under the water for at least 100 days a year.
I scored a position working on the deck of a game boat in Cairns during the early 1980's, a time that things were developing in a very professional way, as both equipment and techniques were changing. To be aboard a boat with some of the best boat handlers and anglers in the world was special. Especially as it involved marlin up to and over 1000 pounds!
What that time did tell me was that I didn't want to be a charter skipper, as had been the plan. I have the highest regard for those special captains who make their living that way full-time. It's hard on families and so difficult if you aren't producing every trip. Please recognise that when next you are aboard a charter boat!
In the early 1990s I was lucky to be part of the developing game fishery on the west coast. We didn't get the first marlin out of Raglan, (nearly) although I was very much part of the push for that to happen. What developed after the first marlin was particularly special. Dad and I formed a joint venture to build a boat specifically for the purpose of chasing marlin. We did exceptional things, most notably being the first to fish a canyon southwest of Raglan that is out of sight of land. That first trip was the most amazing fishing experience I will ever have, involving double strikes of marlin and losing a fish that was of near world-record proportions. As it was we took a marlin home that weighed 149kg! On another day I spent over nine hours hooked up to a black marlin that towed us 22 miles out to sea ...
Building that boat made me realise that the available knowledge around marine electronics was very limited. This was at the time that GPS was just starting to become freely available. So I decided to start a business! It was very successful in that I became the biggest dealer in many of the most popular brands of the time, such as Humminbird and Lowrance.
After nearly 10 years the business was sold to a local marine retailer. Through that period though I developed my own courses in GPS and sounder operation, as well as running Coastguard VHF and Boatmaster courses.
Almost by accident, I became a fishing magazine editor then owner. While I had already been published monthly with articles on marine electronics and fishing reports, the magazine opened up a raft of opportunities for boat tests and so much more. The opportunities I had and knowledge I gained was priceless but the greatest success was guiding many of the current crop of fishing writers.
Many are household names in the industry; Milan Radonich now hosts the TV show 'Big Angry Fish', while others have businesses or writing careers built on the magazine's success. My good friend and author, Ian Chapman, started his writing with me and we have co-written a fishing book. Another who wrote for me is Graeme Sinclair, host of 'Gone Fishin'. I have fished and appeared with Graeme since his first TV series.
I also captained the winning team during the inaugural series of Match Fishing League, shown on TV 1.
Early in 2012 I resigned from the magazine company and later that year I resigned as editor. Unfortunately the magazine didn't survive much longer.
During the last decade I have been privileged to travel with or for my friends, John and Christine Erkilla, to many parts of the Pacific and even to Hawaii. We've been to Vanuatu several times, Tonga, New Caledonia and twice to the spectacular Chesterfield Reef. Travelling aboard their superb ocean-going catamarans, designed for long range fishing, has been both a pleasure, a privilege and an education. Navigating through semi-charted waters, especially at night, has been yet another part of my education on the water!
In recent times I have been busy on books as well as the day job. The first book was The Fisherman's Guide to Life which was co-authored with Ian Chapman and released in 2012. Last year was How to Catch Fish and Where and of course this year, How to Go Boating and Where. There is another fishing book underway for next year.
When not fishing, (usually with my partner Kim) or working, the chances are I'll be playing drums in my current band, Mainstreet, or doing something else fishing or music related!
I hope you enjoy the book as much as I have enjoyed researching, writing and producing it.
One of the great things about trips to remote parts of the Pacific - big fish!
Diving has featured less over recent years, probably because I overdosed on it during my 20s! Can't beat warm Pacific diving though!
The original family boat was a Fi-Glass Lightning that I rebuilt completely twice. In this shot I was probably around 20 holding a brace of 16lb snapper caught off Raglan.
Part of my job was to attend press days for the outboard manufacturers and in this case Bombardier put us on SeaDoos as well.
A live performance from a few years ago. I love to play drums every chance I get ...
Another great snapper for Kim! We've caught some terrific fish together.
Copyright 2014 Scallop Publishing and Photography