It's marlin time and this week saw the first striped marlin caught off the west coast. Others have been seen/hooked/dropped but now there's proof with a 102kg fish crossing the scales. Congratulations to the crew! Albacore and skippies are in as close as 45m but there is much more action out past 100m, look for the birds.
Likewise, bottom fishing is still going well although results seem to vary from one day to the next. We've had good snapper catches in at 40m, others are doing well at 50 to 55m. Torpedo longliners are starting to get some excellent catches off the beach too so the fish are well and truly spread out.
On our last trip just before Xmas we struggled at 43m so rather than do the sensible thing and go to the proven deeper water we went in to 35m. The snapper fishing was every bit as hard for us there but I can't ever recall catching anywhere near as many gurnard off the coast as that day. We let many of them go, after all who really needs 40 gurnard? Kingfish are a valid target out west too especially in the shallow water off Port Waikato.
The harbour has been patchy but being in the right spot is certainly paying dividends. The better catches appear to be coming from close to the main channels such as the Papakura and Parakau. You don't need to fish deep but you do need to get away from the millions of tiny snapper that can make fishing so frustrating. Another frustration at the moment is red weed. As soon as that stuff gets on your bait you won't get another bite. If you can't get away from it, clear your line and baits every few minutes. Moving inshore may also help.
A lot of kingfish are being caught, particularly around the Huia Banks to Whatipu area. Live baits or jigs are the go. I don't have a lot of kingfish jigging experience so I have no advice to offer there. We prefer to use Jack mackerel for our live baits. Stop near a wharf or shallow inlet, berley up and they should come to you. Sabiki rigs are the easiest way to catch them but little snapper will smash the hooks off the cheapy sets.
We put an 8/0 recurve in through the mouth of the mackerel and out through the hard part of its 'nose'. Use two metres of 100lb trace with a big ball sinker down onto the hook. You can fish that rig from an anchored or drifting boat.
Grey mullet are everywhere in the harbour but can only really be caught by netting, there are by laws you need to be aware of though. While most only regard these fish as bait, at this time of year especially they are one of the tastiest smoked fish you will ever try. There should be plenty of flounder in the harbour too. Once again, make sure you know the rules before you even think about setting a net. You can find them here: https://www.mpi.govt.nz/travel-and- recreation/fishing/fishing-rules/
The paralytic shellfish poisoning ban has finally been lifted but scallops are well past their best. Strangely the beds are cleaner after the recent big storm.
Take care, Smudge