This is the time of year when you are never quite sure what is likely to show up at your favourite fishing possie.
Those unexplained marks on the sounder could well be worth investigating with ‘something different’ by way of tackle, or at the very least drop a jig or lure down into.
Last week with the wind blowing hard out of the southerly quarter I pointed Tackle Tester south and headed down off Te Arai where we found plenty of snapper sign tucked hard on the bottom in 20 metres with birds and eventually dolphins milling around.
Almost to the minute of the appointed Major Bite Time (MBT) according to www.fishing.net.nz the fish came up off the bottom and started feeding. It certainly wasn’t breeding as all but one of the snapper were females. To make a long story short, we ended up with a bin full of pannies up to the 46cm mark, among which was a lone tarakihi. This was out in the open, nowhere near structure, not where I would traditionally expect to tangle with a ‘turkey’.
A few years back in December, I was doing a Charter Connection on the then Marsden Cove-based charter boat Spot X. Fishing in less than 10 metres of water right off the refinery and among the pilchard schools I hooked a hard-fighting fish that I couldn’t pick, until up came a four-kilo pup h?puku. Just to prove it wasn’t a fluke I caught another one on the same softbait a few casts later.
Even more exciting was another occasion pre-Xmas when Tony Orton and I were getting a feed of fish for our respective family Yuletide celebrations. We were in the vicinity of the pin that is clearly marked on the chart two-thirds of the way across from Bream Head to the Chicks – we have nicknamed it Ace. Much to our surprise two striped marlin swam across our stern. We could only stand and watch with just softbait gear on board as they made a beeline for a large school of english mackerel that had erupted nearby. Had we had some more substantial tackle on board, we could have caught a livebait and targeted the billfish. Always be prepared.
Back to the present and fishing continues to fire in the greater Bream Bay/Whangarei harbour area. With the recent spate of easterlies a number of people were confined to its more sheltered waters and that proved not to be a bad thing. Keeping a close eye on Bream Bay Fishing Facebook page there were a number of posts from members doing well, especially on the change of light. Takahiwai and the ‘Mad Mile’ had produced well with snapper and trevally in the mix.
Kevin Leech with a tarakihi picked up on an inchiku lure off Te Arai last weekend.
The workup action seems to be concentrated at the northern end of Bream Bay, starting in close early morning and gradually working out to the deeper water. We have found some good action around the designated ship anchorage areas. Steve Martinovich has been working this area where he has put his clients aboard Sumo onto some consistent fishing. Deploying mainly bait and berley, he tells me sharks have been a problem including a mako estimated at 200kgs – diving anyone?
My surfcasting contacts tell me the beach fishing has been on fire. Good friend Ivan Penno has been at Camp Waipu Cove and tells me some nights when he had gone down to the beach at dusk to get a couple of snapper for dinner, he has had the job done before he could finish his first beer!
Some of the beach longliners – kontiki and drone fishers – have been nailing their bag limits of snapper with just one or two sets. Once again either the change of light or change of tide have been critical factors. With the fish in close the boaties and beach fishers are working the same area and that can be problematic. Skippers need to keep a sharp eye out.
November 2023 - Grant Dixon
New Zealand Fishing News Magazine.
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