With the bad weather of May and June now behind us and it’s time to think about fishing again. Yes the water may be a little colder, the days a little shorter, and those early starts a bit less appealing but the fish are still out there in good numbers. Personally, I find this time of year to be just as good as summer. Fishing the change of light is far easier and there's a huge reduction in other anglers who would otherwise be trying to steal your favourite pozzie.
With the water temperature hovering around 14°C, cold water species like gurnard and terakihi have now moved in close and are a great alternative to snapper. Gurnard can be caught almost anywhere there’s sand while terakihi are a bit more difficult and are typically found holding over the reefs a bit further out.
As gurnard are an opportunistic feeder, the standard method to target them is using a ledger rig and medium sized, smelly baits like a cube of pilchard or bonito. If you want to be serious, you can’t really go past a Black Magic ‘Gurnard Grabber’, finished off with a 4oz teardrop sinker. Softbaits are rapidly becoming another favourite method to target the old carrot. All you have to do is employ the old heave and leave technique; use any old softie, flick it out the back and then let Mr. Rod Holder do all the work. This is a technique that is gaining quite a following and you will quickly discover that it is effective for catching a variety of species.
To target terakihi you first need to find a reef. There are a variety of publications that list GPS way points for this purpose so it shouldn’t be too hard to build up a good selection of possible candidates. Use a ledger rig with 2/0 octopus hooks a a 6oz sinker. Almost any bait will work, but they have been known to be picky so it always pays to have a good selection. A firm favourite amongst serious anglers is tuatuas. Be warned however as tuatuas don’t stay on the hook for long, so a spool of cotton is a mandatory accessory – a few wraps around the hook keeps them in place. To get these tasty little shellfish you’ll have to go for a swim in the surf, so while there is still 1 week left of schools holidays, I suggest you take the kids to the beach at low tide and let them go nuts...you will get both bait and ‘man points’ for doing this!!
My update wouldn’t be complete without mentioning snapper. At this time of year snapper are in a lazy mode because they are fat! There are plenty of them around but they just take a bit of encouragement to hook up. Softbaiting is still my favourite method to target them but you will have to change your technique slightly as they aren’t as enthusiastic about smashing baits. Use very small jerks during your retrieve and even let it drag behind you for awhile. As for colours, I can’t go past my favourite, Lime Tiger, but Pink Shine is rapidly taking over as the no.1 producer. Lately I have found that both 4" grubs and 5" jerkshads are working equally well.
As a final word, I just want to quickly mention Legasea. Hopefully you will have seen or heard about Legasea over the last few months but if you haven’t you might remember its predecessor Option 4 or the Kahawai Legal Challenge. Check out www.legasea.co.nz for more details and to contribute. There is an extremely hard working team behind this brand, all working on your behalf, and we require your support to ensure the future of our fisheries.
Winter's a great time to get out there and get amongst it.
Tim Taylor, avid kayaker and fisherman, will be bringing us a regular Tauranga fishing update. Having paddled right round New Zealand in recent times, Tim's well qualified to be in places you might not expect to see a 'yakker... if you see him out there, give him a wave!