How is Auckland's west coast fishing? Ten out of ten.
Big snapper, anywhere you find them. Fifty-five to sixty metres is your best bet, but they can turn up anywhere. If beach launching off Karioitahi or Muriwai, chances are you won't have to go deep, especially if you want pannies. Of course, those beaches are not for the faint-hearted or weak-kneed even on the best of days. If you've never done a west coast beach launch before, go and watch someone do it before you decide on that option. Small swells and a well-powered tinny are the keys to staying dry. The Waikato river bar offers good access to the wicked west coast too, but please do your homework first. I'm not going to hand out advice on bar crossings because there are so many variables and you can't learn that stuff from a fishing report. I make no apologies for that. Never cross a bar without contacting Coastguard. If you don't care for that, hand in your man badge now because good people will risk their lives looking for you.
If you do understand the river bar, there is some excellent fishing throughout the year without having to motor too far. If you're fishing that area, my pick is to target just beyond the breakers (in the early or late hours of the day), or in 40 to 60m. As always with the coast, if you're not catching snapper, but kahawai or sharks are turning up, it's best to move.
Jigs work very well this time of year for snapper & gurnard, and I've got a couple of pics from today out at 62m.
Meanwhile, the harbour is providing well. There are lots of trevally and grey mullet in the harbour. The word from the commercial guys is it has been a bumper start to the season. Last weekend we managed a few trevally but struggled to get snapper over 30cm. We fished the edges of the Hangore Bank using 4/0 hooks stray lined with small squid baits to get the trevs. The tides were very small, and the small and big tides can be challenging to fish. We still managed enough to feed two families for a couple of nights and donate some to others, so I am certainly not complaining. Large gurnard are around too.
I mentioned earlier that I don't regard the very small or very big tides as good times to go fishing in the harbour. There are exceptions to that. For example, the big tides occur on the full moon. That means we have a midday (and midnight) high tide. That means the low tide is six hours earlier. When you fish the shallows in the evenings, the flooding tides can offer some of the best fishing you will see in the harbour. Make the most of that from here on in until the new year and beyond.
I get asked about scallops a lot but if there is one thing I don't give out it is scallop spots. Again, I don't apologise for that, find your own! The beds do move and what worked last year isn't working for us this year. I know where to try though and will be checking that out in the next week or two.
I know my reports are biased toward boat fishing, but I don't do a lot of shore-based stuff these days. Flounder are a tasty option from the harbour - fish an incoming tide in the dark for the best success. A spear, a headlight and a bucket or sack to carry your catch are all you need. That and a settled patch of weather so you can see those tasty crab-eating mud dwellers.
Bronze whaler sharks are also an option for the adventurous. Popular swimming beaches such as Graham's Beach or Wattle Bay are favourites with the LBG (land-based gamefishing) crowd. Please don't tell the swimmers though. If you're interested in that style of fishing, do your research and don't go under gunned. Bronzies are a real big fish target from now through to late summer, but they are big dangerous fish so don't take them lightly. Let them swim away too!
That's all I have this time.