Headed out to the Takatu area yesterday in my little tinny - and struggled!
Bloody thankful I had an early start, because they were biting when I arrived - but I dropped the first eight snapper, including a couple of decent ones that were pulling out line! In fact, I was just about to change the jig-head, thinking something must be wrong with it, then caught the next five in a row! Unlike many other lure fishers, I rarely downsize - I figure even seven inch tails are still half the physical size of a standard pilchard, so carry on using 5-7" soft-bait tails regardless. In this case I found Motor Oil produced, with yellow-based combinations being a distant second.
Depths around 7-14 metres seemed to produce the best over the day, although the period from 9-11am was absolute crap for me, failing to land a single fish, despite heaps of baitfish being present. Could have caught some kahawai, which were feeding regularly on the surface, but focussed on what was under them. Ended up hooking a reasonable kingfish instead in just 7 metres of water over reefy ground with a strong current sweeping over it! Tough challenge solo, but eventually landed a just-legal kingfish, which I released. Caught only one more decent snapper soon after, then headed off to fillet my catch - and caught another three by dragging my soft-bait while doing so! (The fish-finder showed an empty screen - a frequent scenario when snapper are feeding hard against a flat, sandy sea floor.) So, pretty average overall, although I hear other people did much better. I suspect the work-ups in 35-45m would still be producing, but too far out for me...
- Mark Kitteridge