Manukau/West Coast Fishing Report - 30/11/23

Sharks, sharks and more sharks

It’s been a while since my last report so it’s certainly time for an update.

It’s been a bit of a tough haul fishing the harbour in recent months, not that the fish aren’t there because they certainly are. They just aren’t always so easy to find and for whatever reason there appear to be more sharks around than what I’d normally expect.

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Spring is usually when seven gill sharks make themselves known and there are some big ones around. Usually their numbers start to thin out about now. Tope (school sharks), bronze whalers and the occasional small hammerhead are the main shark species caught late spring through to late autumn and if they are among your target species then you’re unlikely to be disappointed.

Hopefully spiny dogfish and barracouta have found somewhere else they’d rather be by now. Of course, if I’m going to talk about sharks it would be a shame to leave out the spotted dogfish – which South Islanders call rig – they are recognisable by their lack of teeth, brown colouration and multiple small white spots. They are suckers for small squid baits and paddle crabs. Many people call them lemon fish and for years they were a fish and chip shop staple. I’ve found that Graham’s Beach and near the Airport are great areas to try for them – one of the few sharks I will target.

Snapper, kahawai, trevally and gurnard to a lesser extent are still around but you may need a few spots up your sleeve if you get pestered by some of the bities mentioned earlier in the report. Deep water can certainly be productive for snapper but you need heavy sinkers and sturdy gear. I much prefer to target shallow water.

Kat with the gurnard that won her first prize in the CSFC Surfcasting 'Biff Your Shit Out' competition that ran through most of November.

Meanwhile on the coastal side, snapper are at their predictable best at this time of the year. You’ll find them anywhere but personally I prefer to head out at least to 50m. Trawlers have been out there doing their thing and it can be productive to fish behind them. Just anchor up where they have been and you should be away. There probably won’t be any huge fish there but if it’s good quality pannies you’re after that’s a good trick to remember. Deeper water usually holds bigger fish but that depends on the day. As we move into summer the big snapper schools will start to disperse and move into shallower water but snapper fishing should remain pretty constant.

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Anyway, soon it will be gamefishing time. I’m expecting my first call to weigh a marlin for some lucky punter a week either side of Christmas.

Take care,



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