Snapper on the chew
Fishing over the Christmas-New Year period out of Bream Bay has been exceptional – especially for those willing to make the effort and fish either ends of the day.
Typical of this time of year, especially in shallower areas over the sand, it has been the early and the late birds that have caught the fish.
The snapper are still very much in spawning mode. The best place to find them for us has been between the 25 and 45 metre marks over the sand.
A prime example was last Monday (Jan 2) when we took a ladies’ crew out. The word was the fish were sitting around the 25-26 metre mark off the Waipu Golf course. We Had a late start, by our standard anyway, and did not get to the area until around 9.00am. There was good sign on the bottom but we couldn’t buy a bite on either soft baits or plastics. Looking for an alternative to keep the girls happy, we went to a patch of low foul where the day before we had caught john dory and tarakihi, but no-one home. Even a look out deeper was non-productive so after the tide change went back to the original spot and there the snapper were, up off the bottom and nailing soft-baits with the New Penny and Bleeding Banana the best colours. The ladies, who had always treated soft- baiting with a bit of scepticism, are now converts. With limited casting ability, they only had to get the lures a few metres from the boat and let it sink for 5-10 seconds and were getting nailed. Lovey Teau (pictured) caught the best fish on her new Shimano Stradic- Backbone Elite, a great way to christen it with a fish of around 6kgs.
The deep pins such as the area known as the ‘War Zone’, about a NM or so N/W of the Tara Rocks at the Chicks, has just started to fire up. Drifting big baits, especially jack mackerel livebaits, is the way to go. The Fishing News crew had a day dedicated to fishing some new Penn tackle and Top Catch baits in the vicinity on Tuesday and cleaned up. Top Catch have released some XOS ‘piper’ baits, sourced offshore, and these fished well, along with some baby mullet, but it was the bullet tuna baits that produced the best fish. Everything likes tuna, especially the makos which are in the area in big numbers! We caught fish in the 5-6 kilos with them and binned out. Interestingly, when the fish went off the bite on baits, they started hitting the soft-baits. These we fished on one and one-and- a- half ounce 3/0 jig heads with the Bruised Banana colour the star of the action.
Elsewhere, some decent kingfish are starting to show up around the channel markers. One angler spoken to landed three kingfish in the 12-15kg bracket early one morning just before the high tide, casting surface lures around the buoys.
Tarakihi are starting to show themselves over the foul just off Bream Head for those who don’t want to venture too far and the lumps of rock all the way along Bream Bay from Ruakaka to the Waipu Rivermouth are holding good numbers of john dory who those bothering to target them with jack mackerel live baits. Interestingly, we have caught several john dory on soft baits well away from any high ground, among the spawning snapper.
For those who like to fish jigs for snapper, we have found these are also working well on the spawning fish in particular. ‘Drop and drag’ them, and you will get gurnard – these have been around in good numbers and size this summer and seem to be attracted by the sand disturbed by the lure’s movement – or use the ‘yo-yo’ technique with short raises and drops, and snapper will most likely fall victim. Scallops are still there for the taking, but the main beds such as Snake Bank have had a thorough picking over by the holiday makers.
Grant Dixon NZ Fishing News