For the first time I can recall for two weeks in a row I have been unable to get out for a fish, not happy.
Despite a couple of days that I could have snuck out, cleaning and repairing flood damage had priority. Fortunately, all the rods and reels were above the water line.
Doing a bit of a phone around to mates that have been out it appears that the fishing around the inner gulf has been fairly patchy. Out on the worm beds, the snapper are mainly in the 32-36 cm range. Bigger fish have been caught in close straylining back on the rocks in Area 5 - Spots 19 (Western Rakino Island) and 20 (Woody Island – Rakino). One mate had a blast catching nice pannies but was also got taken to the weeds by a few big old moochers in Area 2 Spot 7 (western side of Browns Island). This is a spot you must have the wind and tide right to target the huge area of foul, being close to a number of launch ramps for those not wanting to spend a lot on fuel.
The best news coming in is from across the Firth of Thames at the mussel farms, easterly winds give a fair bit of shelter so rather than bash their way across the Firth the boys have been launching on the Coromandel side. Mates on the Coromandel who live close to the mussel farms have reported a vast increase in the number and size of not only the snapper but also john dory. Kingfish have been in the mix, but in the ‘rat’ category.
Wanting to catch a few bigger fish for the smoker, the boys are anchoring just out from the end markers of the mussel farms then tossing un-weighted baits back to slowly sink down, nailing snapper from 42-52 plus the odd bigger fish. Catching kahawai, slabbing off big baits or using whole fresh live baits, they find they are not getting hooked up on a lot of the juvenile fish lurking around the mussel lines. If you do want to fish the mussel farms please note where the barges are working or even ask the crew where you can fish. Show them respect as it will go a long way.
I know that I bang on about taking care of the catch. Even though it’s now colder still iki and ice your fish. This stops the flesh from getting bruised and helps it set. We are now seeing a vast increase in the fat content which makes them stunning eating, and especially good in the smoker. When filleting, after each fish wipe the fat off the blade and give it a few strokes on the sharpening steel - clean sharp blades make a huge difference to the speed and efficiency of filleting.
If you want a bit of a one-on-one chat with me, I will be at the Hutchwilco NZ Boat Show giving an hour-long talk and powerpoint presentation on Saturday at 1 pm and Sunday at 12.30. The presentations focus on stray lining- what habitat to look for, how to target the fish along with the type of tackle, rigging baits, casting and catching then looking after the fish.
Check out the Bite Times for your favourite fishing spot here.