The typical equinox weather we’ve had with four seasons in the one day makes you want to grab every chance you can to get out for a fish, even if it’s for just a few hours.
At this time of year, you must be prepared for the worst scenario at all times. You might depart in the morning when it’s flat calm and not a breath of wind with a forecast of 14 knots, dropping away in the afternoon. Yeah right – in reality, the wind picked up early afternoon to around 35-40 knots and as the wind opposed the tide, the ride home was very ugly.
When I have a bit of time to wait for the tide to change, I like to survey certain areas to see where the snapper are holding or have moved to as every year there will be changes due to weather and water temperature. From what I see, and from talking to other knowledgeable fishermen, I build up a database which helps me maximize the catch rate when guiding.
There are good numbers of snapper coming down past Tiri onto the worm bed area. They often hold in or just south of the Tiri passage then move in towards Whangaparaoa. Just be well aware of the cable zone as it is a complete no go fishing area, not only for anchoring but also jigging and even soft-baiting. Around 98% of all our phone, internet and credit card transactions go through the cables and if they get damaged and I can’t fill my diesel tanks, I will coming looking for you.
From the Rangitoto lighthouse north to the end of the spoil ground, the fishing is running hot and cold with no two days being the same, but it is well worth slowing down, running a zig zag course and having a look from 7-14 metres. There are very few fish showing from the spoil ground until you get close to the reef structure between Rangitoto and Motutapu. Here, I have found the snapper from 14 metres and in towards the shore.
A mate did well with a few snapper up to 65cm drifting up the Rangitoto channel with a big bait on a three-metre trace with a circle hook. With the baited rod in the holder, he was able to cover his bases with a soft-bait. Just be aware that a number of big bronze whalers are lurking around the channels and further out towards A buoy.
How about this? A mate of mine moaned that he was out at the Noises, got busted off and dropped a number of fish and only caught three snapper in the 45-65 cm range. Knowing his skills, he was lucky to catch just one fish, let alone three! Others I have spoken to have found a lot more good sized snapper have moved in and are holding around twenty metres close to the islands and rocks. Fresh butterflied jack macs are getting all the big fish.
I have had a couple of trips out this week guiding locally with mixed results as the timing of tides has been a bit of an issue. The foul outside of Islington Bay has fired on the outer edge of the reef where the current is slightly stronger and just for something completely different I had a crack at St Heliers Bay reef.
All is looking good for the weekend but with the moon phase turning to custard, I suggest you set a game plan targeting the one spot with plenty of ground bait and berley.