Over the last week, I have managed to sneak out for a quick fish or two and am stunned to see the changes that have taken place.
For the last seven years, the snapper have failed to turn up into the channels in any numbers and when they do it's generally around the middle of November, yet this year (and especially in the last month) the number of fish that have come into the Rakino and Motuihe channels is quite outstanding.
I am writing this report having just put the boat back on the marina less than an hour ago, so if you are thinking about getting on the water this weekend, go for it as you don't have to go far to find the fish.
I started stray lining the shallow kelp beds around Browns Island, nailing some good snapper in around three meters of water. When stray lining the shallows you must put baits up alongside the kelp and focus on the line angle to be able to set the hook.
Having seen in the last few weeks a hell of a lot of fish between Islington Bay and the Rangitoto wharf in around 9–10 meters I decided to have a drift fish for a change. Having a Furuno TZ touch sounder gives me a hell of an advantage. Accufish not only tells me the size of the fish that go through the middle of the transducer it also puts them on the chart plotter which then makes it easy to work out where you need to position the boat to be able to drift back through them.
The key to catching fish on the drift in this depth is to leave the reel in free spool, so the bait is not moved the moment they pick it up when you feel a bite, let them take a meter or so of line and then strike. A couple of slow drifts saw another four snapper around the 40-45cm mark welcomed aboard.
Having all the fish we needed, and with it being such a stunning day why head home when you have a few hours up your sleeve to lurk about - this is what's its all about for me, looking and learning.
If you are heading out through the Rangitoto Channel, take a line from the lighthouse to Tiri and around about half a mile north of A buoy you should come across fish. In this spot, it is best to slow right down and slowly zig-zag into the tide to get an idea where the majority of them are. This area is good for fishing soft-baits as it's a clean bottom, but if bait fishing I strongly recommend you use ground bait and burley. I had a look at the western and slightly inside side of Billy Goat Point, and there was a lot of fish showing, and by the size of them, it was probably a school of male fish.
On the western side of Rakino all along the dropoff in front of West Bay was holding fish as well up inside the bay on the southern side.