Grey was blown away by the natural beauty and quirky culture we all know and love about New Zealand, but more than this, he was impressed beyond description with the game fishing opportunities he discovered in our thriving marine environment. He introduced New Zealanders to sport fishing for marlin and shark for the first time, and caught many enormous fish of his own during his visits to the Bay of Islands.
Zane Grey’s accomplishments
He also scored a number of world records for all-tackle deep-sea fishing in New Zealand’s waters, the most impressive of which was, arguably, a 111lb whopper of a Yellowtail Kingfish he pulled out in 1926.
Another Grey legacy that has seen successful longevity in New Zealand is his invention of the teaser, a type of hookless bait, which is still used to this day to attract fish.
Unable to stay away, Grey returned to the Bay of Islands many more times over the subsequent years, choosing the idyllic Urupukapuka Island – the largest in the heavenly Bay of Islands – to base himself. Who can blame him?
In 1927, he had a camp and lodge constructed at Otehei Bay on the island. This was called the Zane Grey Sporting Club, and it quickly became a major attraction for wealthy and famous travelers from around the world. The remains of these buildings can still be explored today on the Urupukapuka Archaeological Track, and make for a fascinating encounter with New Zealand’s early 20th Century history.
In addition to his 57 Westerns, Grey also released 8 books about fishing throughout his career. One of these, the beautifully-written Tales of the Angler’s Eldorado, was penned in 1926 about his time in New Zealand. He tells of some of his best catches in the region, described his saltwater and freshwater fishing experiences, and detailed many of New Zealand’s uniquely wonderful environmental and geographical characteristics.
He also wrote many articles for international sporting magazines over the years, which described New Zealand, and the Bay of Islands, as a world class game fishing region. He is widely credited today with playing a huge part in the foundations of New Zealand’s modern fishing industry.
“The New Zealand coast is destined to become the most famous of all fishing waters. It will bring the best anglers from all over the world.”
Tales of the Angler’s Eldorado