In close, or out wide? Decisions, decisions, decisions!
This is the question confronting boat-based anglers at present.
Crews fishing from smaller trailerboats in the know have been fishing in close all along Bream Bay from Ruakaka down to Waipu and beyond to Te Ari Point in the south.
Talking with Dave at Mangawhai Top Catch last week, he pointed me in the direction of Te Ari Point where the snapper, kahawai and kingfish were making gluttons of themselves on the anchovy schools.
I managed to get out on Monday and took his advice. Although the sun was high in the sky by the time I got there and the major bite time long past, I found the birds and the fish. There was only one decent work-up involving the white and black kahawai terns, but there was some good snapper action underneath it.
When I went to find my soft-baits, I discovered to my horror they were still sitting in the garage. Bugger! Luckily, there were a couple of punnets of Gulp! On board – 6” new Penny grub tails. They worked at treat and I soon had seven nice fish between 38-47cm on ice, plus a couple of big kahawai, the latter destined for the smoker.
The anchovies have been there the remainder of the week, with anglers reporting the predators pushing them hard up against the beach.
Dave says ‘matching the hatch’ with smaller micro-jigs such as Ocean Angler Fleas and Shimano Colt Snipers being the go-to lures for most.
The fish have tended on the ‘nice-pannies’ size, as opposed to XOS snapper, with the odd big one thrown in the mix. The beach fishers have also been in on the action and those with kontikis have not had to set them too far out.
Several crews have headed out wide to the Mokohinaus this last week and have found casting large soft-baits around the wash areas the go. Paddletails, with their slower descent rate and lighter jigheads – 3/8th being the go - worked well.
The weather this long ANZAC weekend is not looking that great, so the inshore option will be my choice.
There has been some good trevally in the mix right the way through the bay, with the smaller lures – both metal and soft-plastic – doing the damage. Anything that looks anything like an anchovy is likely to get eaten.
Trevally are still being caught in Whangarei harbour and the ‘Mad Mile’ has also been producing some reasonable snapper for the bait and berley merchants.
It won’t be long until gurnard will be in the mix. Noticeable by their absence, it is about now they start reappearing. Small orange-tailed inchikus and slider-type lures will almost come with a guarantee of a gurnard once they show up. Drop and drag soft-bait techniques also work well over the sand.
One of my favourites, tarakihi, is another species anglers anticipate catching over the cooler months. The marks just off Bream Head – they are obvious on any bathymetric chart – are worth a look from now on. The top and the bottom of the tide work well for me, using smaller hooks – 1/0 recurves tied as a ledger rig and baited with tuatua. A great eating fish, tarakihi are well worth dressing up warmly against the winter chill to target.
- Grant Dixon