As all of us old buggers have been saying none of us could ever recall a summer with the fresh to strong winds constantly coming in the east. We had better get used to it as NIWA has just forecast that this weather pattern looks to be with us for the next three years.
The positive out of the negative is that this should bring down warmer water temps earlier than usual and those fishing off the west coast will be able to get out off the coast more often.
With the boat show coming up next week, come on into the fishing court and meet the experts that will be giving free seminars. Check out the show programme for topics covered for times and speakers.
After forty-three years of boat shows this will be my last due to health issues. As a bonus, I will be doing an hour-long seminar on both Saturday and Sunday covering extensively how to strayline but more importantly, sharing an understanding of where the fish are and the reasons at each time of the year, plus interpreting what you are seeing on your depth sounder. After the seminar I will spend time talking one on one with anyone who wants to know more.
I have often said “ how the hell can the wind affect fish” but this has been more evident in the last couple of weeks when the wind has swung round to the south. Understanding the effects of how a chill factor in the wind effects the way and manner fish bite often determines where I will fish in these conditions. I have found over the years, knowing the bite will be slow and light, that targeting an area of foul with kelp with the aid of burley and ground bait will produce more fish that working the open, flat sandy areas. For these conditions to be successful, set a game plan to fish just the one spot over the whole run of the tide as at some point the fish will feed more aggressively. Fishing either the foul or open sand, try and cast a pattern of baits at different angles and distances from the boat as this will determine where the strike zone is.
As the snapper are lethargic and less aggressive in the bite, stronger baits such as kahawai and mullet last longer, especially when the fish have a change of heart and the bite becomes more aggressive. I also find small half baits of pilchards to be very effective, even though they get ripped off more easily. This entices the fish in time to compete for your bait.
Over the winter when fish tend to mouth and suck down a bait, gut hooking can be an issue so I go up in hook size from 7 /0 to 8 /0. This won’t affect your hook up rate if you rig baits with the barb well exposed.
Don’t be fooled into initially thinking the fish are small by the small bites, it’s just the way they feed and the reason I use smaller baits as they tend to mouth and then suck in the bait.
In the last couple of weeks fishing out on the worm beds and north towards Kawau has been productive for snapper big kahawai and king fish, big work ups are close in along the coast with plenty of snapper below them.
As we get into the colder months, the best fishing is on and just after the change of light. Up early and out to the Noises, the team recently had the wind and tide in their favour, taking the burley trail up and around the rocks at spot 14 area 5. A couple of just under size kingfish were released but all the snapper were in the 38-45 cm range. Given the same conditions, spots 9 and 11 are sure to produce good fish. D’Urville Rocks is where I would be targeting on an outgoing tide in the colder southerly wind for bigger snapper to put in the smoker [spot 1 ]. Again, this is a place to set a game plan to fish over the whole tide, put a kahawai live bait out under a balloon for a kingfish and a jack mac livebait down near the bottom for a john dory.
With an easterly wind and an incoming tide try spot 16 area 3 in Administration Bay but be very carefully as there are some nasty rocks strewn around close by. Be prepared to lose some gear, but fishing into the rocks where the fish have nowhere to go, they put up a hell of a good fight. Being so shallow, any fish released have a better a chance of survival.
An update on the challenge as to who can catch fish for under $10.00 of bait and fuel, sees an effort producing seven snapper - five bigger ones for the smoker - plus one trevally for sashimi in forty-five minutes fishing and $1.98 worth of gas, heading the leaderboard. It pays to have an early start!