As is expected at this time of the year, the fishing in Bream Bay, especially for snapper, has slowed considerably.
Having said that, there are some good catches being made by those who make the effort to fish the change of light, especially when they coincide with the bite times.
The snapper seem to be a little deeper at the moment, which is understandable given the water temperature inshore is a toasty 22.5 degrees C and the amount of boat traffic over the holidays.
Most of our success over the break has come from the 30-50m mark where we have fished the contours – where there is a noticeable drop in depth over a short distance. Contributor Ben Francis and his family have been putting some good catches in the bin doing just that, around the 40m mark NNW of Bream Tail. Fishing a mixture of bait and lures, included in their catches have been snapper, gurnard, porae and tarakihi.
Bream Bay regular Shannon Neho has been doing well on the Catch Livie soft-baits. His six-year-old son Chase nailed a nice 7.2kg (16lb) snapper in 18 metres of water last week. It was a short, stocky fish that was in prime condition.
If you are heading out, don’t put all your ‘bait’ in one basket. Take a mixture of sliders, micro jogs and soft-baits, along with some cut baits. We fished a pin off Bream Head at the weekend, the fishing being frustratingly slow and the sea conditions less than ideal, although the snapper we were catching were a decent size – up to 4.4kg. There was good sign on the bottom and plenty of baitfish around, but lures were not doing the business. I put on a BMT Snapper Snatcher and dropped it down. The result was instantaneous – a good 40cm model gracing the bin – I haven’t fished bait for ages, so might have to follow my own advice and start taking some more often!
Interestingly, 11 of the 12 fish we kept were all males in pre-spawning condition. So when travelling about and you come across some good sign mid-water, it will be worth stopping and dropping a line – it could well be spawning snapper.
The scallops in the harbour, especially around the likes of Urquhart’s Bay, are plentiful but small. Divers are having to turn over a heap of shells to find ones to go the 100mm distance – time to give a bed a rest perhaps and go explore some different grounds such as off Takahiwai.
Although the recent spate of easterly conditions has seen the coastline stirred up, as well as the shallower inshore reefs, divers have reported getting some nice crays. We recently went to the Coppermine Reef at the Chicks looking to catch a kingfish on topwater. While there were plenty of schooling fish – mainly trevally and kahawai – we couldn’t entice a bite from something bigger. The spearos working the area weren’t having any luck either.
With the water temperature over 22 degrees C . the billfish won’t be too far away. One was weighed in at Mangawhai before Christmas and Tutukaka based boats seem to be nailing a few stripies as well as yellowfin.
Preparations are well underway for the forthcoming Reel Legends Fishing Contest March 24-26 based out of Marsden Cove in March. In the February edition of NZ Fishing News there is a guide to fishing Bream Bay. Watch out for it.