From both my own experience and that of other anglers, the results around the Bream Bay spring workups have been inconsistent.
Even in the presence of the gannets, mammals and the baitfish, there has not been a guarantee of a hot bite.
Whangarei-based guide and charter skipper Nik Key has been putting his clients and friends onto some good action of late.
On the Thursday prior to the remnants of Cyclone Lola arriving, he fished in 10-14 metres of water off the Ruakaka bank with great success. He had heard the inshore workups were proving to be a little finicky thanks to the helpful reports on the Bream Bay Fishing Facebook page. Nik found that if he was in the right spot at the right time then the fishing was outstanding, but it had been inconsistent.
He says you had to watch the workups and then fish the exhaust of the most consistent ones (not the ones with the most birds but the ones that lasted longer). Again, natural-coloured softbait and GBombs with pink jelly babies were the go when you were in the zone. The fish were not small and were all over 50cm in these circumstances. There were also big trevs and kingfish amongst it.
Close but no cigar – Phil Lees with his 80cm snapper caught straylining off Bream Tail.
After our Labour Weekend ‘disaster’ where only three of the 14 snapper we brought home were not affected to some degree by milky white flesh, I went for a strayline session last Thursday afternoon. The bite times were not great, nor were the tides and moon phase but what the hell, is there ever a bad time to go fishing!
Neighbours Phil and Chris made up the numbers and we headed to a small patch of foul off Bream Tail. The fishing was slow despite running plenty of berley and jack mackerel baits, the highlight being Phil’s 80.0cm (just a tad over 19lbs) snapper. Phil has been chasing the magic 20-pounder and while this snapper was a PB, it fell just short of the 20lb club membership qualification.
The weekend is looking good at the moment, with winds less than 10 knots.
But if you have a smaller boat and have a fishing itch that needs scratching, the Whangarei harbour might be the go. According to social media reports the action is starting to warm up around the channel edges. If you wanted to travel a little further afield, the Kaipara would be another option to tuck away from the forecasted nor’easterlies.
Talking with Gave Gurr at Dive Fish Mangawhai, he says his land-based customers have enjoyed some great surfcasting. One young angler nailed a seven-kilo snapper off the beach in front of the Mangawhai surf club. There have been other reliable reports of snapper being caught in good numbers and size off the beach at the Waipu and Ruakaka river mouths, fishing the change of light on an incoming tide.
November 2023 - Grant Dixon
New Zealand Fishing News Magazine.
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