Snapper, snapper and more snapper!
The news only keeps getting better on the Bream Bay fishing front.
The good fishing that many anglers have experienced in recent weeks, especially those targeting snapper, seems to be continuing. All good news for those heading to the Century Batteries Beach and Boat Contest February 17-18.
The water temperature inshore of the Hen and Chicks has been struggling to reach 19 degrees with the snapper still fully roed up.
Over the long weekend the deeper foul – 40-60 metres fished well with the snapper still in big schools over the pins and surrounding sand. One pin, which is clearly marked on the charts out from Bream Head, had upwards of 20 boats fishing it on Saturday and Sunday, with some skippers in need of a lesson or two in fishing etiquette.
Most boats drift fished the schools, ending their run before working back to the start point by taking a wide berth to their start point. Not so others, who seemed to delight in charging straight back among the other boats on the half plane, creating a fair bit of wash. And then there was the ‘johnny come lately’ who decided he was going to anchor right in the middle of everyone’s drift line – doh!
We fished those pins on Friday and then again Monday. Producing a binful both days. Richard Bathurst produced our best fish of seven kilos plus, which he put back. When the fishing is that hot, you can afford to be selective and we chose to set a lower and upper limit, targeting the best eaters in the 40-50cm bracket.
Once again soft-baits did the business for us – a couple of the new Gulp! Colours fishing well, especially the purple 7” Jerk Shad. Our old favourite, the Z-Man Bruised Banana was again consistent go-to colour along with New Penny.
Dusk and dawn has been producing some nice fish for those fishing closer in off the refinery, Ruakaka and Uretiti. One Waipu cove camp regular, who only ever fishes baits, caught a 22lb snapper off the sand in close down towards the golf course. Wally and the ‘Last of the Summer Wine’ crew aren’t known for their early starts, so the sun was well up when this fish was taken, a personal best I believe. I haven’t fished this area recently, but the qword is the snapper are between eight and 20 metres, with lures working the best.
A friend went around to Ocean Beach on Sunday ahead of the sunrise and did well drifting both baits and lures from 10 metres out to 15, taking several snapper over 4.6kgs (10lbs).
Kingfish are around in good numbers. One Whangarei local has been fishing the shipping lane markers near the entrance to the harbour and has been producing some consistently nice fish on surface lures.
Smaller rats are still ‘annoying’ the soft-baiters targeting snapper out wider.
The Hen and Chickens are starting to fish consistently well, with places like the ‘War Zone’ and the Tara Rocks responding well to both baits and lures. One crew had a dusk straylining session at the Taras at the weekend, catching and releasing several snapper over the magic 20 pound mark.
Had a look ‘out wide’ in the vicinity of the Niagra wreck on Saturday and all we gained from the day was some well-washed lures and a decent fuel bill! Gave the new Black Magic softhead lures – a pusher and a plunger - a good run. I suspect they will do the business for us later in the season.
There was plenty of bait action going on in 120 metres off Ocean Beach with dolphins working up the bait schools with the gannets joining in. They were moving fast and difficult to keep ahead of. We suspect there was yellowfin in the melee but can’t confirm that. The water never reached above 18.5 degrees all day, but because the feed was there we were reluctant to move.
It looks like the great weather enjoyed over Anniversary weekend looks set to continue over Waitangi weekend and beyond – see you out there!
Grant Dixon NZ Fishing News