It’s been a while eh? So how is the fishing? Well none of us know exactly, but here’s how things went out west on the first day of Level 2 fishing.
Snapper were a little hard to find off the west coast. Some fished the shallows for meagre gains. That would have been my advice for when the swell is down this time of the year. Some small pannies were caught but the fishing was slow. Boats out at 40m or so had similar issues. The best fishing was at 55m plus where limit catches were had of fish up to 15lbs – at least that is what I know of. A 20kg kingfish was allegedly caught in the deep water too, on a smelly old bait.
Torpedo fishermen & surfcasters have had some good catches off the surf beaches while the swell has been down too, hence my advice to fish shallow. What happens from the shore doesn’t always translate into good boat fishing however.
The harbour was slow today (Thursday 14th) also but last weekend I know of several people who did well surfcasting the low tide with catches of snapper to 6lb. Trevally are also a feature for harbour surfcasters and every so often a gurnard or two is turning up.
One thing you learn after fishing for a few years is that every day is different. What happened yesterday is no guarantee of what the day ahead of us is likely to provide. There is however a trend and this is what I have learned about fishing the Manukau area over the last 20 years or more at this time of the year:
Gurnard and trevally can be prolific in the shallows, with best catches usually at the very start of the incoming and start of the outgoing tides. Of course you need to be in the right spot at those times. Trevally will be where the shellfish beds are and gurnard will be hunting around areas that hold shrimps, crabs and juvenile flounder. Finding those places are the key to a good days fishing. Guts running up onto banks are a good place to be on slack water and the two hours or so that follow. You may not be where the shellfish/crabs/shrimps are but you will get the traffic up onto those areas at those times.
Snapper are still buzzing about the harbour too and while those same areas will provide well -especially in low light conditions, it is pretty hard to beat patches of deep foul for the big fish. Contrary to popular belief, the Manukau holds some very big snapper at this time of the year. My good fishing mate Skoti Warrender has hauled many double digit snapper from the harbour between April and August in past years. I doubt this year will be any different.
Mullet are still in the harbour which suggests to me that kingfish may still be around. Flounder are a good option too for those brave enough to leave their warm homes in the middle of the night to wade through cold knee deep water.
The forecast is looking reasonably good for the weekend but please remember to be courteous at the boat ramp. Make sure your boat is going to start before you put it in the water, wear your lifejacket and be prepared for all those things that can get in the way of an enjoyable day out!