LIFE FOR TONY ORTON a charter operator at Mangawhai Heads looks like this…

“I’ll leave the dock at first light, so that we can get to the local beach to catch the live bait we’ll use for the day.

“Once that’s done, I’ll head 30 miles offshore to the Mokohinau Islands, where I’ll most likely have the only boat in the area.”

Tony and his wife Bea run Offshore Adventures, as well as the media company Journey of a Fisherman. Life for the couple and their two children is all about the sea.

The Mokohinau Islands on the outer edge of the Hauraki Gulf can be a difficult place to fish. With full exposure to the ocean and high susceptibility to bad winds, it’s a place that a charter operator would only go with confidence in themselves, their crew and their gear.

Tony has been a professional fishing guide for the last 25 years, and each charter has a crew of four – so that’s the trustworthy team sorted.


And for gear, he recently made the change to Mercury Diesel 3.0L V6 270hp sterndrive paired with a Mercury Sea Core Bravo Three X drive on his Extreme 795XST vessel STELLA.

“We used to run boats with two outboards on the back, so if something ever happened to one you knew you would have the other to rely on. Having only one bigger engine, you have to be really certain in its ability to get you through any conditions – particularly being on our own so far from the coast. Thankfully, we can put a lot of trust in the Mercury.

“The change to the diesel makes a lot of sense for us, the boat has a flat transom so we can walk all around the back and not lose any fish. It’s also incredibly easy to service and maintain because the touch points are so accessible.

At cruise speed they’re burning only 1.5L per nautical mile, and at trolling speed of 6.5 knots they’re burning about 6L an hour.

“Our charters have a commitment to sustainability and as little disruption of the environment as we can, so we never anchor when fishing to prevent damaging the sea floor. As a result, we’re always trolling – so these numbers and savings are excellent for us.”