Tauranga Fishing Report - 13/01/23

Tauranga Harbour still fishing well

While there is not too much happening – we’ve had to cancel more charter days than we managed to get out, and the fishing was challenging on the few days we put to sea – it can only get better, right?

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We did get out a few times, mostly fishing in the 70-85 metre depths, but the action was slow, even though we were right on the fish sign. Luckily the clients were very understanding and went home happy with an average feed of snapper and tarakihi.

Jigging for kingfish has been average; mainly due to a lack of opportunity and smaller fish being about.

I am keen to try some of the deeper knolls southeast of Mayor Island as soon as the weather settles, as the blue water is only about five miles off the coast and a balmy 20 degrees.

The Tauranga and Bowentown harbours are still fishing well, even in the shallows in broad daylight. Some nice pannie snapper have been landed, and the kingfish have been observed chasing baitfish in just a metre of water. One or two good kingfish have busted anglers off, with fish in the 10-12kg range being caught. Take the time to catch a couple of livies as there is some perfect ‘bait-sized’ kahawai just off Pane Pane Point, by the harbour entrance, on the incoming tides. The yellowfin seem to be around also, and the odd good (140kg) striped marlin caught by those keen enough to get out wide.

I haven’t checked the advertisements under charter boats or camping grounds for sale, but I feel genuinely sorry for the owners over the past few weeks; what a hell run they have had.

A reduced TACC and recreational take for the management area Hāpuku 1 has been implemented to allow socks to rebuild.

I recently received the book I get each year from Clement and Associates titled The Atlas of Area Codes and TACCs. It’s an interesting book that records all landings/quotas in the past ten years for all commercially caught species. It contains excellent real-time evidence of landings and quotas and how they have changed for the better, which is great to see. One interesting example relates to the Hāpuku 1 management area, which covers the West Coast from the Kaipara Harbour, right up to the Three Kings and down to East Cape. Quota in the seven years from 2014 to 2021 was 481 tonnes, but this was never caught. The TACC was reset down to 140 tonnes last year, with 135 tonnes landed. Hopefully, this biomass will recover over time with recent changes to the recreational bag limits, in conjunction with cuts to industry.

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On that note, I look forward to some great fishing and weather, but I am not holding my breath!

Russ Hawkins

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