Snapper and big trevally are being caught off the wharf at Whitianga, and fishing has also been good up the river, with fish being caught up past the oyster farm as far as Hodges Bay. Fishing has also been good in the western Bay of Plenty with snapper and trevally prevalent and good-sized kingfish prowling the edges of the deeper reef structures. Sail Rock has been fishing well on an incoming tide, and the deep foul out from Kennedy Bay fished well by day with the drop-offs close to shore producing at dawn and dusk. Out of Whakatane a lot of good snapper are coming from foul in 15-30 metres. Trevally can be targeted with berley and soft baits like shellfish or cubes of pilchard on small recurved hooks. But they fight much harder than snapper and the big ones will test tackle. They should also be netted when at the boat or the wharf as they can fall off the hook if lifted from the water on the line. Water temperature is the key to fishing and there are still snapper to be found around Auckland, but they are only in patches and the best way to find fish is to look for changes in the temperature of the water. Some good bags of snapper are still coming from the pins between Motuihe and Browns Islands, and in the Motuihe Channel and out in the wider area between Rakino and Waiheke Islands.
The writer with a large trevally taken at White Island on a fly rod
This is a great time of year for fishing from the rocks. Whether patrolling the ledges along the coast from Waiwera to Mahurangi, in the far north, or along the Coromandel fringes casting floating baits into white water or currents can produce some good action.
From an anchored boat with currents taking berley on the surface towards into weed-covered, rocky terrain some big fish can be hooked. Hooking is the key term, as boating the powerful snapper or kingfish is another matter. These fish will head straight for the rocks or weed and quickly tangle and break the line. A short, heavy trace will help protect the line from sharp teeth, and holding the rod high to lift the fish help, but hard, fast stroke of the rod while winding a few turns of the handle without relieving the pressure is the best approach. With kingfish he cnahor should be lifted and the fish led away from the ocks to open water – that is the theory, and it often works.
This approach has also been bringing results in close to shore from the Takapuna cliffs to Castor Bay and around the Noises, the David Rocks and the Ahaahas. Those anglers using soft baits and drifting the channels between the small islands and rocks are also picking up fish, and the small grub-type tails up to size 5/0 in orange-brown colours are proving successful. One theory is that the snapper are feeding on small crayfish and this lure makes a reasonable imitation.And on the northern side of Rangitoto Island the story is the same, but you have to be out early as it is all over by 8 o’clock. At Little Barrier Island, Great Barrier and Horn Rock straylining hard against the weed line or the rocks has produced some good fish. But metal jigs and slow jigs have also been producing, as well as large fresh baits like a strip of kahawai or mackerel. Casting soft plastics into the shallows and around rocks and reefs should improve as winter takes hold, particularly around the edge of large structures like Kawau Island, Takatu Point, the bottom end of Waiheke Island and of course further afield at the Moko Hinau group and Little Barrier and Great Barrier and the Mercury group. Fishing generally has been reasonable at times in Kawau Bay all the way to Mahurangi, around Little Barrier and at the bottom end of Waiheke on the northern side of Shag Rock and Gannet Rock out to 50 metres deep.
The Manukau Harbour has been surprising regular Manukau fishermen. After a summer plagued by wind and weather, the last two weeks has seen some great fishing with snapper to 45cm and large gurnard coming from the channels.
Game fishing in northern waters is hanging on but like all fishing on the east coast this year, weather and sea conditions have limited opportunities to get out. Some large hapuka have been caught off the west coast of the North Island all the way from Taranaki to 90-Mile Beach, as easterly conditions have allowed boats to get out.
Trout fishing is also moving into winter mode at Rotorua and Taupo, with fly fishing at small stream mouths improving with the first cold snap of winter.
But the moon is heading towards a full moon on Thursday, so this weekend will see the best opportunity.
The spawning runs in the Tongariro River are in full swing after heavy rain and a frost. Two anglers finished with 17 good trout from below the main road bridge over two days last week. They were fishing the old-fashiond way, using sinking lines and wet flies fished downstream. With high lake levels the large moon will see fly fishermen in anchored boats doing well at deep water mouths like the Tauranga-Taupo and Tongariro Rivers on Lake Taupo, and in spots like the Log Pool on Lake Okataina and Emery’s Reef on Lake Rotoiti.
Bite times are am 8.45am and 9.10pm today, and 9.30am and 9.50pm tomorrow.
When straylining floating baits for snapper off the rocks or from a boat, the hook or hooks can be tied directly to the main line. This aids casting and the bait floats more naturally without heavy trace or small sinker. There is a risk of losing large fish, but this may be outweighed by attracting more bites. In strong currents or heavy waves s small ball sinker can be added above the hook to help get the bait down to the fish.