Main photo: This fish was hooked just metres from the surface in 40 metres of water, enabling the angler to safely release it after the image was taken
Leading up to last weekend’s full moon and big tides, the fishing in Bream Bay was good, especially out a little wider.
Once again, an early start combined with a matching bite time produced some action on the snapper front. During the week there were some good work-ups north of Bream Tail. Mangawhai charter skipper Tony Orton had a crew fishing with him for three days last week and with the tail end of the strong westerlies curtailing his efforts at the Mokohinaus, he produced the goods for them inshore under the birds, landing some great snapper.
Others fishing the 30-metre contour line that runs from Bream Tail up to Bream Head produced some nice fish. If you have a bathymetric chart on your sounder, look for the areas along this line that show rises and falls, and fish the ‘channels’ between them.
We had an early mission on Saturday morning from Mangawhai and did just this, ending up with a binful of prime eating snapper between two and four kilos, with some nice gurnard, trevally and a kingfish thrown in. The latter, at 94cm, gave me a good work-out on my softbait outfit and 15lb leader.
At one point we caught a kahawai which was quickly despatched, skinned and filleted, then cut into strip baits. The fish showed very little interest in the offering, while the ‘artificials’ – sliders and soft-baits – continued to steadily produce the goods. I would have thought a slab of fresh kahawai would have been nailed, but it produced just one modest snapper all the time it was fished.
For us it has been a ‘strange’ season for soft-bait tail colours. Some of the tails that fired early on in the season – Z-Man Atomic Sunrises and Fusilier 7” jerk shads, along with Gulp! 5” tails – Squid Black and Barbecue Chicken – failed to live up to their promises as summer has gone on. In more recent times the good old Gulp 6” Grub in New Penny and Nuclear Chicken colours have been the producers, along with Z-Man Nuked Pilchard and Bleeding Banana. The Catch! Livies in Glowing Gurnard and Mackerel have also been fishing well, paired with the Stingaz jigheads. Fished hard on the bottom, gurnard love them. One technique
My normal ‘go-to’s’ – Motor Oil and Bruised Banana, while still catching, have not been as consistent as they have in the past.
There have been some good kingfish schools on the deeper pins off Bream Head. One crew I spoke to landed and released a dozen fish jigging over some 45-metre foul. There weren’t any big ones among them, the best measured just under the metre mark. Apparently 300gm pink and white knife jigs were to lure of choice. Unfortunately there were a few ‘coutta in the mix, just to keep the tackle retailers happy.
Just a plea when launching for those early morning starts at the ramp. Please turn you lights off or just having the running lights on, when backing down the ramp. Even if on dip, the angle of the ramp ensures the lights blind everything else looking your way.
On the gamefishing front, there are reports of some good bait schools in the ‘golden triangle’ – between the Hen and Chicks, Mokohinaus and the Niagara/Ocean Beach area, but I haven’t heard of any billfish captures there yet. If the bait and the birds are there, the marlin won’t be too far away.
Action at the Mokes themselves has started to slow down this week after the full moon, following an exceptional spring/early summer for both kingfish and snapper. Unfortunately, big ‘coutta schools have inhabited the deeper outer pins, make it almost impossible to get a lure down the 140 metres or so to where the kingfish are.
The writer with a typical kingfish being caught soft-baiting around the schooling snapper.
Tony Orton has been putting his clients onto some nice snapper off Bream Tail, targeting the spawning fish as they rise in the water column.