Manukau/West Coast Fishing Report - 07/03/24

Great condition and large... just not many of them!

It has been an unusual end to summer and the start of autumn out the west side. Typically, snapper fishing slows down a little over Christmas time, which it did.  Usually February is very productive but we haven’t found it to be. The fish we are catching in the harbour and from over the coast have been in great condition and some have been large fish, just not many of them.

Myself and two of my fishing buddies fished The Nationals for snapper over five or six days in mid-February and it was a slow time. The first day we were fishing the coast and caught only two snapper over 1.5kg and two or three kahawai. That was it. We put the hard fishing down to the Maui dolphin pod that were hunting around our boat in the shallow water. They were great to see, but no matter where we moved to, they stayed with us. We were using light tackle so we ventured no deeper than 23 metres or so but yep, those dolphins just wouldn’t stay away!

Our team's best effort on 3kg line weight for The Nationals.

While we saw the dolphins each day we fished the coast, they didn’t stick around for long. Each day saw an improvement in numbers of fish caught, but none of those days were exactly full on. We spent a day in the harbour also, but we only came home with five or six snapper, again some nice ones in the bin.

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The first weekend of March was also a little slow as we fished the CSFC Fish’n Chicks. My mate Skoti and I were on deckie duties that day with three lady anglers. While we did manage 12 nice snapper between 30 and 37cm, the bigger fish eluded us. It’s hard to grizzle too much with that result, it’s just that sometimes we get a bit spoiled and take things for granted. But we all need some days like that to bring us down to earth.

Gamefishing has been quite good with tuna schools in reasonably close, as are marlin. I’ve heard of a fish sighting at 25 metres but that’s an exception. Marlin have been caught in at 50 metres, although 80 to 100 metres seems to be the most reliable depth. Of particular note are the number of blue marlin that have been hooked, landed or released recently. I’ve heard of as many this year as over my last 25 years of involvement with our fishing club. Yellowfin have also featured at the Te Toro weigh station.

Karl Taylor from MSFC tagged this marlin during the West Coaster.

I’m about to fish three days in the CSFC Classic but the coast isn’t looking flash so we will dangle a line for snapper, kingfish, kahawai and gurnard. It’s not going to be easy with the big tides but we will see how we go.

In summary, we have caught some great fish but patience has been the order of the day. Our team got champion line weight anglers on both 2kg and 3kg  line classes, and Counties also placed first on snapper with 1kg and did very well on the game fishing front, although most of the gamefish, apart from the yellowfin, came from other areas. Will things pick up? Of course! Just play it safe out on the water.

Take care.

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- Smudge

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