Northland Fishing Report - 16/05/24

Trophy fish on offer

With the temperatures dropping and the days getting shorter, you could be fooled into thinking it was time to put the fishing gear away for the winter. But don’t give in to the temptation of snuggling up and staying cozy by a nice warm fire, this is the time of the year to target those trophy fish, as you will typically find the fish are fatter and in better condition than their summer counterparts as they pack on fat for the winter.

Recently, the annual Just Another Fisherman’s Anglers Escape took place, based out of the beautiful Rangiputa. Although this is essentially a fun, measure-based, fishing competition between a bunch of mates, the fishing was top notch with many impressive fish being caught and over $25,000 being raised for men’s mental health over the three-day event.

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Clinton Rogers with his trophy snapper on a Shimano Kaos rod and Stradic 4000 reel.

With the weather being on the sportier side and many of the teams choosing to stick close to home, Injun Park and his team on their Offshore Boats 750 decided to buck the trend and send it to North Cape to chase the famed snapper fishing that the northern coast has to offer. Once there, the team focused on fishing softbaits in depths between 10m and 30m and they weren’t disappointed with what they found – many snapper to over 80cm came in throughout their day. After grabbing a few photos, the fish were all released to fight another day.

Further down the coast, Leith Main and his crew focused on targeting kingfish while they sought shelter from the wind under the Karikari cliffs. Casting stickbaits at the various reefs along this part of the coast paid dividends with Leith landing a perfectly conditioned winter kingfish. The crew reported back mentioning that they caught a few more kingfish of around the same size working the bait that was hanging off the structure.

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Leith Main and a chunky topwater king.

In the shallows, the fishing has still been holding its own. With Leith and his crew getting their fix on kingfish the day before, they decided to challenge themselves with a new objective and set off chasing snapper on lures in the upper reaches of the Rangaunu Harbour. Working areas of water less than one metre in depth, the team found ferocious snapper trying their best to inhale the stickbaits they cast towards the mangroves. While not a conventional method of targeting snapper, this method is hugely exciting!

Leith Main with a Rangaunu Harbour snapper on a stickbait.

Moving offshore, the fishing has remained hot with many reports coming through of good catches of bluenose and swordfish. In fact, just last Saturday, the team on Tennessee Whiskey managed to catch themselves a fat striped marlin while towing lures on route to the sword grounds out of Whangaroa. The team also backed it up by tagging a nice swordfish later in the day.

It just goes to show that although the water may be cooler, the fish are still there and when you catch them, you can guarantee they will be fat!

Catch you all next month.

- Jordan Hensen

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