Bream Bay Fishing Report - 17/05/23

Great autumn action – when you can get out 

The fishery just keeps giving in the Whangarei Harbour/Bream Bay region. 

You only have to check out the action on the Bream Bay Fishing Facebook page to see the region is producing consistent results. The page moderator Shane Pebbles says the harbour fishing is still good with much of the action concentrated towards the entrance. Having said that he has been hearing reports of good snapper being caught in the shallows up towards Limestone and off the Parua Bay entrance. 

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Trevally continue to be on the chew both inside the harbour and beyond, with the kahawai being in great condition after an autumn of gorging on the anchovies 

One of the most meritorious catches was a metre-long kingfish caught by top angler Andrew Tohu fishing off the McLeods Bay Wharf. Andrew was using softbait tackle and the fish had him chasing it along the shore before it was finally landed.

Sandra Leech and fiancé Leo Liua’ana with a couple of the better fish caught around the sporadic workups in Bream Bay aboard Tackle Tester. 

The snapper have been along the Bream Bay shore from Ruakaka south to Langs Beach. The recent strong easterly blow that accompanied last week’s ‘weather bomb’ obviously stirred up the tucker. Good catches on both lures and bait have been reported in the seven to 20-metre depth range right along the bay. One kontiki fisher needed just two sets for his party to take home a limit of snapper off Uretiti Beach. 

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North Shore angler Alistair Arkell snuck across the southern border with Auckland on Mother’s Day with his ‘mad-keen’ softbaiting six-year-old son James in tow. They headed down Uretiti way from Mangawhai where they caught some nice fish which Alistair says were spewing up tube worms. They were using white Berkley Gulp! Nemesis tails which matched the tube worms, the result being a good haul of snapper for dinner. 

Mike Leese from the Mangawhai-based Fishmeister Charters says the baitfish have been back off Andersons Bay when he has been loading up on them for his kingfish missions. While the kingfish have not been so cooperative, Mike has been dropping the livies to near the bottom where he has been enjoying some good catches of john dory. For its eating qualities, give me a JD over a kingfish anytime – fighting qualities are a different matter. 

Mike has been doing well off the eastern end of the Chicks, fishing bait and berley in 20 or so metres of water. When this failed to produce, he came into 40 metres off the sand dunes and nailed some nice snapper. He put the change in fish activity down to a sudden temperature drop. The water went from 19.9 degrees Celsius to 19.1 in a matter of 48 hours. The fish are now in their slower winter mode and appear to be feeding accordingly.

James Arkell had a ball targeting Bream Bay pannies with softbaits in the shallows off Uretiti. 

There have been some good reports of crews straylining in 12-14 metres of water off Te Arai, with bait and berley doing the business over the lures. 

I managed a trip out last Saturday aboard Tackle Tester and headed to one of our favourite haunts in 40 metres of water about four miles off Bream Tail in a line with Bream Head. Fishing lures on a day when the Bite Time indicator said ‘mow the lawns’, the action was initially slow. Adding a small piece of squid to the hooks made all the difference and between the four of us, we put 20 snapper in the bin to 58cm in length. What was interesting was a bit of workup action in the area that included dolphins, gannets and kahawai dealing to what appeared on the sounder to be anchovies. It was fast-moving and not intense, but the snapper were ‘in the exhaust’ of the action and on the chew. 

A couple of boats snuck back to the same location the following day when the Bite Times were meant to have been better, but the action was slower.

Dave Gurr from Mangawhai Top Catch reports customers doing well in the 50-60 metre mark out in front of the Mangawhai bar, where there was also some workup activity. 

Out a bit wider at the Mokohinaus, Steve Martinovich aboard the charter boat Sumo had a blinder of a day on the snapper, much to the disappointment of his Chinese clients who would have much-preferred trevally, kingfish, granddaddy hapuku, pigfish and pink maomao. 

Steve reports that the Hen and Chicks have been fishing well if you could get past the ‘millions’ of small snapper. Coppermine Island, both north and south, was the most productive area for him. 

For this weekend’s bite times, go to Looking at the windy forecast, I would give the Whangarei harbour a go. The wind is strong west to north-west (gusting 40 knots mid-Saturday pm) so if you are heading out into the bay, I would be hugging the coastline.

Check out the Bite Times for your favourite fishing spot here.

Grant Dixon 


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