I say, you can't beat a day's fishing with no one else around on a calm cloudless day during the week when every other bugger is at work. Best of all when conditions are so calm and the water is so clear you can sneak into the shallows and survey the foreshores of the numerous islands at low tide to spy out crops of foul and kelp beds.
With the aid of my Furuno TZ touch chart plotter sounder I have the advantage of being able to identify fish marks by size if they go directly through the middle of the transducer beam. A good example is on the south western side of Rangitoto there are numerous bits of low foul and small isolated rocks. I first do a zig-zag approach to the target area, whilst watching my sounder to get an idea of the number of fish out on the sand away from the foul. You have to remember that in shallow water the size of the foot print (the area below the boat) is quite small so this method of approaching gives you a better idea of the number of fish in the area.
Once close to the foul, you get a better idea of its size and shape plus any gutters and channels, this can be critical in getting your burley to pull the fish back towards the boat. Next I look at where I would best anchor for the different tide and wind directions and how far off the structure I need to be and mark it on the chart plotter. Now I know how to approach and exactly where to anchor in even the worst conditions.
The Furuno TZ touch with its 'Accufish' (a feature that allows you to see the size of the fish beneath you) has opened up a whole new world of areas to target, as before it was very hard to identify the size of the fish marks showing and again this week it didn't tell any lies.
Having surveyed an area, I anchored up at the turn of the tide in four-and-a-half meters of water to target an area of foul no bigger than the average garage as the Furuno sounder had shown me the were a few snapper around the 35-55 cm mark close to the foul.
To be honest (which is extremely hard for me) I had only gone out with the idea of using up all the old bits of bait I had in the freezer and didn't have any burley. In this depth of water I never bother with a sinker as the weight of the bait will get it down. Plus, there way less line resistance when a fish moves off with it as very often in the shallows the fish can be a bit spooky and drop the bait if there is too much resistance.
Having lobbed a couple of baits out I started to chop up a couple of handfuls of very second-hand refrozen pilchards for ground bait. The key when targeting a new area is to toss ground bait as far away from the boat as possible as the oil slick from them will show you what direction the current is running. Well pour me a Captain Morgan and call me a drunk, both rods went off. Unfortunately for me, I very successfully managed to drop both fish.
As you can expect, when you use old bait you only get one shot for each fish to hook up, so having dropped some really nice fish, it was out with the bait line to catch a few baby kahawai. The first one was butterflied and biffed out to the front of a gutter. It was taken by a bloody monster of a snapper and as far as I know the fish is still powering off and could be past the Barrier by now. Not that I will ever keep a fish that size, but it's a hell of a buzz when hooked up with no trace to use your rod skills to play a fish out of the foul and it's great to see fish this size are still around.
Long story short I brought a few fish home to put in the smoker as well as just one to eat fresh, but best of all, I found some new spots to revisit next time.