My favourite time for snapper fishing off the west coast is springtime but I'm having trouble justifying that statement right now. Even though in spring you can almost guarantee a good catch of big snapper if you travel 10 miles offshore, right now you can almost guarantee a great result in only 10 metres of water, maybe only one or two miles offshore. That is seriously good fishing. Dropper rigs, recurve hooks and mullet, kahawai, squid or skipjack baits will see you right.
Meanwhile, there are marlin to be caught. You can drive through the schools of skipjack and albacore that are showing up from 25m onwards, you can drive right on out past the green/blue water colour transition where the makos love to play all the way to 115m where the most striped marlin are being caught. On the way there you have probably motored over a fish or two. Only two or three days before writing this report Counties Sport Fishing Club had lost one fish after a 4 hour battle, a black marlin was weighed at Hoods Landing and a striped marlin weighing 118.8kg was weighed by Declan Moran and Braden Olsen, the 3rd one to hit their gear that day. Not bad considering there were only a handful of boats out.
Mahimahi are also showing up in good numbers despite a slow start so it's pretty much something for everyone out there right now. Get into it!
I will put in a plug here for the CSFC 'Counties Classic' from March 16 to 19. In its second year now it is true I have a vested interest as president of the club. As a revamp on the Counties One Base we have something to offer everyone and cater for harbour fishing as well as big game. Check out our website for more info www.csfc.co.nz
So how is the harbour fishing? Pretty well actually. I like shallow water in low light but just fish when you can. Snapper up to 5kg and gurnard to almost a kilo are being caught. I expect kingfish are about if you target them although we have only had one on board this year. It's hard to fish the harbour when the coast is flat! If I was to pick a reliable snapper spot I'd be looking at the convergence of the Waiuku & Papakura channels off Graham's Beach. Having said that any similar area is likely to produce just as well. Autumn is a very good time for snapper fishing especially and it is also a very productive time in the harbour.
Good luck, Smudge.