The snapper are pouring into the gulf just like the good old days, presently there are a lot of fish holding off Motuora Island in around the 26 meter mark where a lot of the charter boats are heading as not only are there plenty of snapper but a good number of legal size king fish being caught.
A lot of snapper have already moved through to the southern side of the Whangaproa Peninsula "Warning " take extreme care to stay well clear of the CABLE AREA which is a no anchoring or fishing area, it is clearly marked on your chart ! Some people still think that they can still use jigs and soft baits as they are not at anchor but it's not true this is a total exclusion zone by act of government ! reason being that often the cable is just on the sandy bottom not under it so super sharp hooks could penetrate the cable casing. It is interesting to hear that two independent surveys have been done in the cable zone area and there is no structure or reason for fish to hold in the area, snapper are no different to cattle in a paddock they all just move about grazing as they feel the need. If you see anyone anchored or drift fishing inside the area go and tell them to get the hell out of it as those cables carry 98 percent of all our communications such as all your internet credit card transactions and phone calls. If theses cables get damaged the it means I cant fuel my boat or buy my rum and I will get very dark and come looking for you.
South of what we call the "hook" that is where the cable zone dose a dogs leg out past the southern side of Tiri there are a lot of schools of snapper between the hook and the gap between the top of the Whangaproa Peninsula and Tiri , you will often see a few work ups here but if you slowly zig zag into the current [ keeping well clear of the cable zone] you will see either blotchy lumps of solid red just on or off the bottom, this is where I find my Furuno TZ touch worth its weight in gold as there are a lot of small fish lurking about and with ACCU fish on [ it measures the length of the fish I go over] I can easily determine weather its worth dropping the anchor on them.
With the snapper getting a bit fussy on what and how they eat prior to spawning I am finding that a very simple stray line rig is often more successful than any other especially when they fish are well spread out on the sand feeding. By anchoring ahead of the fish I drop the wobbly pot till it is about 2 meters off the bottom as this will allow the burly trail to spread over a wider area than if it was set just off the bottom. Rather then putting a single 1 oz sinker on I put several smaller sinkers on as it just seems to sit better on the bottom and results in a way higher hook up rate the a single sinker rig. I do not use any trace I simply feed on the sinkers then tie on either a 7 or 8 size hook. You must use 7-8 hooks for the barb to be well exposed from the hook as this not only gives you a better hook up rate when you strike and you seldom gut hook any fish. The key id to use either smaller baits such as half pilchards or strip baits, cast the bait as far as you can directly astern of the boat and when the bait hits the water very slowly let line off the spool so the sinkers stay down on top of the bait. Very often the fish will just mouth the baits till the burly trail kicks in making the fish feed more aggressively, what and feel for even the smallest bite and when you strike you must start winding in line as you are striking to take out the line stretch. Out in 17 -20 odd meters you may have up to 40 -60 meters of line out and that equates to a hell of a lot of stretch so once you hook up you must keep the rod tip bent all the time, as a fishing guide breaking peoples bad habits is the hardest part of the job as you must watch the rod tip all of the time as you can't see the fish. Most fish caught on this rig are either lip or jaw hooked so with the line stretch acting like a rubber band if you drop the rod tip to quickly the fish can easily throw the hook. The best thing with this rig is that it teaches you good rod skills mainly lip or jaw hooks the fish and best of all you can hold the hook then with your other hand hold the fish in a wet towel and quickly and easily remove the hook minimising the stress on the fish if it is to be released.
Remember troops take just what you need for a fresh feed and let the rest have a chance to breed.