The weather has definitely become more settled now with typical late Feb early March cool mornings and hot crisp clear days.
This cooling down should mean better fishing as the snapper will now go on a mission to feed up and store fat for the coming winter out wide! We have been heading to the top of Coromandel and fishing the contour lines to target these fish. Although there have not been many workups, the area is full of good size snapper grazing on the abundant crustaceans and shellfish. We are finding the morning bite is the best at the moment and after midday, it all goes a bit quiet (unless you find a consistent workup that is).
We are using slow jigs in the 100-200g range to target these fish. We are also finding the orange, red and pink colours are working the best and often mix up all three in one skirt. Above is a typical snapper from this area that I was lucky enough to catch on a 200g orange head with a pink, red and orange skirt (8.6kg). I was using a very good quality PE2 slow jigging rod and reel that we supply on the boat (Poseidon Rod and Ocean Next 50 reel).
While I was heading to this area last Sunday we came upon a very nice consistent dolphin and gannet workup about halfway across from Gulf Harbour. We stopped for a drift and did not move for 1.5hrs. We drifted about 2-3nm and caught good snapper all the way and had our quota by 10.30am. This is not typical by rather the exception but I really love this type of fishing when it is presented to you. We then hunted kingfish for a couple of hours, retired to a quiet bay out of the wind at the back of Motaora and the crew had lunch a few beers and swam in the warm summer waters for the rest of the day.
We have also been getting quite a few kingfish, john dory, gurnard and even some big blue cod while fishing these areas over the last 2 weeks. This is always a pleasant surprise and something different for the clients to take home and cook up for family and friends.
The inner harbours will be fishing really well over the next month and especially areas like the flats up around Te Atatu and Meola reef on dusk and dawn. I suggest moving out of the main channels and up into the shallow water (2-3mtrs). Big baits lightly weighted and straylined out into the burley will produce some fantastic bigger snapper and they will give you the fight of your life!
We have trips planned over to the Great Barrier in the next few weeks so are hoping to find some new fishing grounds (and of course fish the old favourites like pigeons, jimmies, needles etc). Will write up a report on our return.
So I look forward to seeing you out there. Or come out with me and enjoy my playground and learn a few tricks I have gained over the years!
Nik Key is a tutor, guide, lure tester, author and charter skipper
Capt Nik (Snap) - 021 596 074
"Nothing ventured nothing gained"