The snapper fishing in the harbour has been outstanding, but more for the quality and size of the fish than catch numbers. Having said that, it’s not too difficult to find a few fish.
All depths seem to be holding fish but not in all places of course. Changes in structure, such as the channel edges, foul ground, guts etc., are all worth checking out. Use whatever rig you’re happy with but I’ll always use a straylined bait in shallow water. Dropper rigs work especially well in deeper areas and as long as there is some current flow, a metre-long trace under a heavy enough sinker to keep things down on the seafloor can be quite effective. There is no one rig you have to use to get results – some rigs just work better in certain situations.
The best snapper for us this month was a 15lb fish caught by my son Arron in the Papakura Channel. That fish was caught in 20m+ using a bullet tuna for bait on a single hook dropper rig with an 8/0 hook. He and his mate caught a swag of other fish from 1.5kg to 3kg as well as the big one. The snapper are in superb condition right now and it’s well worth a trip out on the Big Muddy.
There are also some nice gurnard being caught, which is music to my ears as we’re busy planning our annual gurnard fishing competition – The Franklin Hunting & Fishing Grunter Hunter. My best fish this year is 1.2kg model – not a real monster but still a good fish. Others have done well more recently and the gurnard catch rate is climbing as the temperatures fall. I know of two highly successful local surfcasters who have done very well off the harbour beaches over the last three weeks or so. I’ve also heard that a 5.2kg trevally was caught in the harbour last week. That’s a stonker of a trev!
Our gurnard competition is on June 5 and is based out of Te Toro. We have an in-store ‘How To’ session this Saturday (21 May) from 9:00am at the big Franklin H&F outlet in Pukekohe. Come along and catch up and we’ll be happy to share our knowledge. You can buy your fishing supplies and your competition tickets while you’re there.
Fishing off the coast has likewise been productive for those who have the available time to get out when the conditions allow. Some good pannie snapper and gurnard are being caught out to 30m, so there’s generally no need to go too far. Kahawai and sharks can be a problem at times and as winter draws closer, it will be challenging to avoid the spiny dogfish.
Catches don’t get much better though than the 255.6kg broadbill caught recently by local anglers Cam Elliot, Dan Gray and Tony Prescott aboard Strike 2. Broadbill of that size are one of the most impressive and powerful looking fish you will see. They were hooked up on that fish for six hours and they were incredibly happy boys when that went up on the scales!
The change in season period can be rewarding but please make sure that you check the weather forecast and monitor the conditions as things can go wrong very quickly. Take care.