Manukau Fishing Report - 8/9/23

Tidal considerations

I haven’t been fishing for a little while and I’m not hearing of many great reports from the harbour recently although there have been a few ‘second hand’ stories doing the rounds of the occasional good snapper (up to 70cm) being caught. Off the coast, I know people have been getting good catches of snapper out at 70m but I’m always a fan of trying in close first at this time of the year. In between those depths expect lots of sharks and kahawai.

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September is the start of the snapper craziness out west and we typically don’t drop anchor until we are at least at the 60m mark. It is common to get snapper over 5kg in spring and sometimes they are much bigger. It’s a very good time to give softbaits and jigs a go – they hit them hard.

I do get asked a lot for advice and recently I was asked my thoughts on how the tides affect fishing, so I’ll give my thoughts on that.  

Firstly, the only consideration I give to the tides when fishing over the coast is around bar crossings. For the harbour bar, I will cross on either low or high. I also look at the size of the tides because they determine the bar conditions to a large extent. As for the tides affecting the fish, well I will be either fishing on the incoming or outgoing, depending on whether I’ve crossed on the low or the high tide. I don’t really bother about what phase it is when I’m dropping a line.

I treat the harbour differently though. Clearly, the tidal flow will change the sea conditions depending on wind direction and strength, with a bigger tide making a bigger difference. Naturally, those factors will influence where and when I fish. 

As for the big tides that we get around a full moon, they can make fishing hard during the day. The current is strong and the fish often don’t seem interested. A point to remember though is that high tide on a full moon is around midday on the Manukau, which means low tide is six hours earlier and six hours after full. Fishing shallow water, where the tide floods over the banks on an evening incoming tide in low light is one of my favourite ways to fish the Manukau and as the days get longer, we get more of those opportunities. Likewise, the early mornings, anchored up in the shallows of a gut running off the banks is a good place to be. 

The new moon follows two weeks after a full moon and they also bring bigger tides, I treat them both the same. Generally, from mid-morning through to mid-afternoon I find the mid-size tides more productive than the bigger tides. It’s worth noting that the tides in different areas of the harbour measure differently. For instance, this Saturday high tide at Onehunga is 6.21pm and 3.11m. At Cornwallis, it is 6.11pm and 2.9m. Not much in it but those differences in depths have a bigger effect on the bigger tides.

Remember of course the more the tide comes in, the further it goes out so be extra careful where you go at low tide.

Good luck, there’s some great fishing ahead. 

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