The West Coast is fishing well at the moment but as always catch rates will vary from one day to the next. I’m expecting snapper fishing to slow down a little as we get further into summer but I’m guessing the good times will remain, just slowing down from the sometimes frantic action we’ve been seeing over the last two months or more. The 60m mark is your best bet and while you can catch them in closer, you will also tangle with a lot of sharks and kahawai.
While most snapper are around 2 or 3 kg, there are some much larger fish around, I smoked up one for a mate that measured 75cm, making it a good honest 18lbs. As summer goes on and snapper have spawned they will start moving in closer but until that time its best to fish deep. Kingfish are also turning up in numbers and can be caught on jigs or baits. Try a whole squid on a dropper rig, simply hook them once near the end of the tail so they look lifelike drop it to the bottom and hang on!
Further out hapuku, bass and gemfish are being caught with most anglers fishing at least 200m for puka and deeper again for bass. I expect there will be plenty of anglers going wide for broadbill too when the conditions allow. I’ve not heard of any tuna or marlin action yet but they won’t be far away now. We had a local boat overturn on the river bar last weekend, fortunately without injury so please be prepared for the worst when you venture out.
The harbour, as is usual for this time of year has been inundated with juvenile snapper. They can make fishing very challenging and the best way to avoid them is to move. There really is no point in targeting snapper with hooks less than 6/0 and we generally use at least 7/0 recurve hooks with very few hooks being swallowed. Kingfish are also starting to show in the harbour and scallops are in prime condition and well worth putting in some time to find.
Take care, Smudge