Bream Bay Fishing Report - 13/01/23

Fishing still good – when you can access it

Not much to report, other than the fishing in the Bay continues to be productive when the opportunity arises.

Many holidaymakers – and the keener locals – have been working the Whangarei harbour which has produced some good snapper catches. Lures seem to be the go; lighter quarter and three-eighth ounce jigheads armed with natural coloured soft-bait tails that match the anchovies the fish are feeding on are doing the business. The bait and berley anglers tend to be plagued with smaller, undersized fish in the main.

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Interestingly, soft-baiters and hard metal jig fishers who like to add a bit of squid or some other natural bait to their offerings have been suffering the same fate – smaller fish – while those who deliver their lures unencumbered might be catching fewer, but they are generally the bigger models.

The writer with a 77.5cm snapper caught soft-baiting in 60 metres of water over deep foul off Bream Head.

Talking of the harbour, a reminder to the visitors who might not know is that the scallop beds are closed for this season. Fisheries officers have spoken to several crews and a couple have received infringement notices for targeting scallops illegally.

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After the recent storms and big easterly season, scallops have washed up on the beaches and as frustrating and wasteful as it might seem, these have to be left alone.

In the Bay itself, the fishing continues to be steady. The whale/dolphin/gannet workup action continues unabated. Our go-to location for this is in the vicinity of the four designated ships anchoring areas. The workups have become more sporadic and less intense, probably not helped by the inconsiderate folk who, every time they see the birds starting to work, plough right into the centre of the action.

The greatest benefit comes to anglers when the workups are left to do their thing with crews fishing behind the action in what is commonly referred to as the ‘exhaust’.

Last weekend we went and fished some of the deeper foul off Bream Head in 55 plus metres, pulling out some snapper to 77.5cm in length on soft baits. The bigger fish were post-spawners and not in great condition.

Dave Gurr from the Mangawhai Top Catch store had some customers in who had enjoyed some great results from a strayline session at Sail Rock last weekend.

Easterlies are forecast for the next few days, so keep an eye on the swell if crossing the Mangawhai bar. Apparently, last Saturday morning when there was an exceptionally low tide and a two-metre plus lift, there were several boats whose crews probably needed a change in underwear after making what the locals were describing as a ‘butt clenching’ crossing. If you are not sure, put the boat back on the trailer and take the 40-minute trip to Marsden Cove where you can access Bream Bay in a much safer manner. No fish is worth risking your life and your boat for.

Grant Dixon



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