We are staring down the barrel of some of the best fishing weather for the west coast in weeks but don’t take my word on it. Do your homework and make sure you, your boat and crew are up for it if you choose to go. Sunday looks good at this stage.
Here's a few predictions about what can be expected over the next few weeks.
Starting with game fish, striped marlin have been in short supply out east so maybe they are making a run for the west coast. No one really knows just yet what’s going on out on our side of the ocean but one thing is certain, you won’t catch one reading about it! If you know your stuff you’ll know what to do. If game fishing isn’t really your area of expertise but you want to give it a shot my advice is to give it another week or two and let the explorers put in the hard yards. I’m always happy to profit from their hard work!
Snapper fishing out west is likely to be good as long as you can find the fish. My advice is to start watching your sounder from 40m on and dropping anchor on any bottom sign that pops up on your sounder. Deeper is almost always better at this time of year.
We are in for some average to bigger tides this weekend and my advice for the mid day high tides in the harbour will always be the same. Head out in the evening and grab those last hours of daylight from low tide to the first two or three hours of incoming. Those conditions have served me well over the years in both deep and shallow water but my preference is for the shallows. Three metres deep is plenty deep enough in low light but you really need to fish into a gut or the end of a channel. Fishing in an area without any structure is often fruitless.
The mid sized tides of Waitangi weekend are perfect for a day time fish in the big muddy harbour and it is fishing very well. The trick is to move if the small snapper are causing you problems. Move shallow or move deep, just move! Use 7/0 recurve hooks as a minimum size and you shouldn’t have too many problems. Kingfish are about in numbers that I haven’t seen before, while trevally, gurnard and kahawai are all available for those who wish to hunt them down.
My tip for the harbour is to use small squid baits fished on a two hook dropper rig directly under the boat with another larger bait cast well out the back with just enough weight bearing down onto the hook to keep it on the bottom. Mullet or kahawai baits are also likely to do well.
Whether you chose to fish inside the harbour or out, please check the weather and sea conditions before you go. It’s an exciting time to be fishing and some great catches are possible but the west coast is especially unforgiving so make sure you’re prepared.
Take care, Smudge