Bream Bay Fishing Report - 09/03/23

Action spread far and wide

Not a lot to add this week that is any different from my two previous reports.

Bream Bay and Whangārei Harbour continue to fish well for lure and bait fishers alike.

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It seems the fish switch from one to another. One day the bait fishers nail it, and another day it is the turn of the lure anglers. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to carry a bit of both – lures and bait – to cover the bases.

Fishing guide and charter skipper Nik Key has been doing well out a little deeper. He fished off Ocean Beach during the week and found some great action in 60 metres. His crew couldn’t miss and landed some nice fish using 200g slider-style lures and jigs.

On Tuesday, I had Andrew Walsh from tackle distributor Conaghans on board to give a couple of new Hayabusa lure styles a run. Any lure that produces three fish from three drops at the first spot we stopped has to get my vote. The lures are ‘Jack Eye Kune Kunes’ and come in a range of weights, up to 60g, so they are very much an inshore shallow-depth product. Orange was my firm favourite, although Andrew enjoyed his fair share of action on the pink one. We caught several nice gurnard on the jigs, making a nice change to the dinner menu. Check out next month’s edition of NZ Fishing News for a full review of the new lures.

Andrew Walsh with a nice pannie taken on one of the recently arrived Hayabusa ‘Jack Eye Kune Kune’ jig.

On Wednesday, I jumped aboard Alistair Arkell’s new centre console, a Haines Signature 543SF, to do a review. Alistair is right into his lure fishing, especially in shallows. We headed to the Hen and Chicks, which we thoroughly covered with softbaits. The action was steady rather than spectacular, although we were both run to ground by decent fish. It was the first time I had seen a big snapper smash a softbait on the surface like a kingfish might a stickbait – pretty cool stuff and would have made a great shot if it had been a camera in my hand and not a softbait outfit!

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We fished through the outgoing tide. Alistair tells me he has caught most of his better fish in the middle of the day, with the tide being more critical than the time. He also says having a Haswing electric motor adds to the stealth element needed when targeting fish in the shallows. It certainly worked for us.

While on the subject of wash fishing, charter skipper Tony Orton aboard Stella has been doing particularly well softbaiting the shallows and promontories around his favourite haunt, the Mokohinau Islands. There is no shortage of great wash-fishing opportunities out there.

From the Mangawhai end, plenty of fish are still holding in 10-20 metres off the big dune, although they tend to be in that 35-45cm range with the occasional string-pulling surprise. The surfcasters and beach longliners continue to produce good results, with some nice fish coming off the Te Ari Point rocks and beach on the incoming tide.

Talking to one jetski fisher at the ramp, he had had a great mid-day session on the snapper in 12 metres of water off the back of the bar after charging off initially to the islands, where he barely caught enough for dinner. There was plenty of sign when we travelled through that area during the week, and I probably should have stopped – don’t leave fish to find fish!

I am sorry to hear the Century Batteries Reel Legends contest had to be cancelled. After being tipped over by the pandemic last year, the hosts were dealt a further blow when a national disaster was declared following the cyclones and serious flooding experienced in the area. On the advice of various authorities, they were advised not to run the event at that time.

The event was a fundraiser for several local worthy causes, and it was heartening to hear that many entrants have chosen to donate their entry fee – the event was paying out 70% of the ticket price – to the charities who missed out. Thanks to Brent, Jody, and the sponsors for their efforts in organising the event. You just can’t help bad luck.

Grant Dixon


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