The Manukau Harbour has some great winter time fishing with gurnard and kahawai probably the most consistent catches. But with a little sneakiness, trevally and snapper are also likely candidates for the menu. Trevally are best targeted using small strayline baits cast into shallow water. I’ve found the banks around the Tripod in the Papakura channel a consistent area for them. That area extends all the way down the banks of the Parakau Channel towards the Huia Banks.
Snapper can be found in deeper water, particularly in the Papakura Channel and the mid sized tides seem to work best for us. The Waiuku channel is also holding some nice snapper particularly around the Grahams Beach area.
Gurnard will turn up pretty much everywhere and by now the fish will be in prime condition. You will certainly catch them in deep water but I favour the edges of the channels and the areas where the channels start to flatten out onto the banks. The biggest gurnard caught in our recent grunter Hunter gurnard fishing comp weighed 1.3kg and earned Shane Wharerau a comfy $3000! Well done Shane.
If kahawai are your thing, then a little surface berley should bring them in. While most of them are small there are some very big fish around at the moment. The big open area around Pupunga across to Orua Bay is a good place to try for the bigger ones. And if you see terns or gannets in that area, a small lure or softbait cast and retrieved on light gear will keep you and your crew amused for hours.
Clearly the harbour is fishing very well but weather and sea conditions on the coast haven’t been good enough recently to make for safe fishing there so I can only guess how it is going on the outside. Prior to the rough weather, snapper were being caught in as close as 10m and out at 60m. Probably the best results I heard about came from 40m with a few 20lb fish being caught. As is often the case at this time of year the fish are quite spread out and don’t appear to be favouring any particular area or depth.
Spiny dogfish and school sharks (tope) can be a real problem over winter (not so much in the harbour) and I can only suggest that if you find that they are your predominant catch that you move. If you can find where the snapper are and the sharks are not, then you will be in for a real treat as limit catches are a real possibility if you have a need for that many fish.