Tauranga Fishing Report - 01/12/22

Packhorse notable in their absence

Mother Nature has been looking after her own, with just a few weather windows to get out and harvest kaimoana over the last two weeks.

Last Sunday, I got in two dives in Mōtītī Island area, and although the water wasn’t crystal clear,  it was still very pleasant, with about eight metres of visibility.

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The ocean never ceases to interest me after diving locally for the past fifty years plus, and I still enjoy it immensely. One dive was to a location in 27 metres, where normally, at this time of the year, it would be populated by packhorse crayfish – and plenty of them. There wasn’t one sighted, and that was covering a wide area with 12 divers.

They may have moved on, but it will be interesting to see what happens in this area in 12 months’ time, as packhorse crays are normally creatures of habit.

The water temperature was 17 degrees with a definite thermocline at around fifteen metres, noticeable even through a 7mm wetsuit.

The rules for deep-water species have changed. Anglers can only take two hāpuku or bass per day or a total bag of three for a multi-day trip. Photo: Grant Blair

As for the fishing: while not frequent, the trips have been positive. A spot off Papamoa that had been full of juvenile snapper produced a slightly better feed, including a nice tarakihi. Among the novice crew were a French family who contributed to a nice bag of 18 superb-eating fish.

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They thoroughly enjoyed their day, which naturally made me feel much better after the slow start to the day when it was completely dead, even after using berley and pilchard ground bait combined with a nice current to spread it far and wide. 

Again, despite risking sounding like an old broken record, there are still good snapper and trevally in the harbour, and yes, even though there are the odd juvenile great white and bronze whaler sharks at the Bowentown end, there are still good fish there too. You just need to be alert to any bites and retrieve your fish as fast as possible to avoid the tax collectors.

I have still not had any reports from the deep knolls regarding bluenose, hāpuku and bass, but please note the new rules that are now in place regarding these great-eating fish. I personally think the new rules are extremely generous (two hāpuku or bass per day, with an accumulated catch of three fish for multi-day trips). I always like to have some ‘voluntary’ limits on these fish anyway. Go to the MPI website to check out the new regulations, as different management areas have different rules.

All the best out there, and enjoy your fishing to the full.

Russ Hawkins
Fat Boy Charters Ltd (facebook)

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