Bream Bay Fishing Report - 18/04/24

Change in seasons, change in tactics

Not a lot to report in the ‘big fish’ department this month as the snapper fishery begins its change to late autumn/winter tactics, with the better fish being caught over the deep foul.

Lure fishing tends to slow down as the colder months and water approaches, with anglers fishing bait and berley as a rule tending to do better – but not always!

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There is a heap of small snapper about at the moment, with one crew I was speaking to fishing their normal productive depths around the Waipu rivermouth and landing a dozen legal snapper, but all under their boat’s ‘length’ minimum of 35cm, before heading out to 40 metres and taking home a good feed. Their go-to softbait  tail was that hardy annual ‘nuclear chicken’ pattern which was the flavour of that trip, and their next one as well.

In general, smaller snapper have featured in many anglers’ catches, both in close around the coast as well as the harbours.

My Tackle Tester crews found the same thing fishing south of the Mangawhai Bar the last two trips out. We tried all our favourite shallow spots from in front of the sand dunes right the way down to south of Te Ari and had very little to show for our efforts. Taking the bull by the horns, we headed wide to close by the cable zone, fishing nearer to Little Barrier than the Mangawhai entrance, and loaded up on respectable pannie snapper to 51cms in a little over an hour. There was very little showing on the sounder except small speckles four to five metres off the bottom (55m), not what you would call ‘hard sign’. Of the 41 snapper brought on board in recent trips, there were just a couple that had the ‘white flesh’, with three or four others not in great nick but passable for the table.

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For us, it was purple-headed Coin Drops (80g and 100g) with black and orange skirts that couldn’t miss, with ‘anything orange’ being a close second. Interestingly, orange softbaits from 7” tails down to the micro baits hardly got a mention on the piscatorial menu favourites. One of our crew always adds a sliver of squid to his hard-bodied lures and he does catch more fish, but they tend to be the smaller ‘pickers’. Personally, I prefer to add a bit of attractant to the lure when the fishing slows – less messy and just as effective.

Auckland softbait aficionado Alistair Arkell likes to cross the border to fish our waters and, as if to make a mockery of my above statements, he and his young fella James fished the Bream Tail shallows and produced some nice snapper, certainly bigger than anything we put on the deck from out wide.

James Arkell with a nice fish he pulled out of the shallows, then released to swim another day.

As I write this, the Fish and Dive Mangawhai-hosted, Limitless Scaffold-sponsored junior tournament is underway. This is a three-day event confined to fishing in the harbour and it turns up some great fish. With a day and a half to go, the heaviest snapper weighed so far is 3.4kg. The entry fee is $20 and that is all donated to the MAZ  (Mangawhai Activity Zone) which will receive over $6000 from the event, which has attracted 300-plus young anglers. The above was all made possible thanks to the generous donations of many businesses and individuals.

April 2024 - Grant Dixon
New Zealand Fishing News Magazine.
Copyright: NZ Fishing Media Ltd.
Re-publishing elsewhere is prohibited

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