Tauranga Fishing Report - August 11th, 2022

Good snapper off Motiti

At last, a day or two with good sea conditions and some reasonable fishing.

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Last Friday, the Motiti Island area produced some great snapper, the largest being an estimated 8kg (18lb), which was released back into shallow water. Other good fish of lesser size were taken at the same time.

The southern bluefin tuna seem to have either gone on their way or are proving very elusive, with some vessels covering the Rangatiras and up to the Alderman Rise without a touch. I heard of some tuna being caught way out beyond these areas, about another 30 odd nautical miles out. This is getting in the ‘too far basket’ at around 75 miles offshore.

I had a charter last Saturday (July 6) with a group of five anglers targeting the deep-water species - bluenose, bass, hāpuku and gemfish. Conditions were superb, with 5knots or less of wind and a slight swell, so the hopes were up there. Our first stop in 350 metres of water showed some fish hanging above a small knoll.

All geared up and instructions are given on the cost of losing gear at $30.00 per trace, line and sinker. The team were just great in watching the lines and making sure that they properly “hit bottom and ten winds up.” The bottom is not flat either, so they were instructed to keep the drop-down, wind-up action going.

Stumpy, a local seagull who lost both his feet to entanglement in mono, is something of a Mount Maunganui identity who is kept well-fed by the locals.

This would be the best group who did the correct drills and rods at 45 degrees from each other. After five hours of solid work, we did not have one tangle and no lost gear. This was the first session in 22 years that we have not lost even a sinker – well-done team!

Back to the actual fishing, which turned out to be dead. After shifting to several different knolls and covering depths from 220m to 350m (and even trying the good old 290m knoll that gets a fair flogging but seems to produce fish still) we had managed two gem fish only.

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An observation at the ‘290 knoll’: five other vessels were hanging on the tops and edges, and it appeared that they were not getting much action either. That day, we covered 61 nautical miles for damn all and thanks to a great crew and their attitude, we ended on a sort of happy note.

The water out wide was a lovely blue and 16.2 degrees, and some of the knolls showed what looked like a reasonable amount of sign, possibly gemfish, but they were just not on the chew.

Another charter group further north of us were out targeting kingfish, and they too had a ‘zero catch’, so perhaps it was just one of those days! It is not too long now before we get some spring weather, so it can only improve.

An issue that has happened in the past and will continue to happen is fuel theft from trailer boats parked on private property.  Ensure you have a locking device to prevent the fuel from being siphoned.

This happened to one of the locals who is meticulous in his fishing preparation. After a day on the water, he started for home with what he thought was plenty of fuel aboard. A sudden splutter, and then the engine stopped. It was most unusual and, on inspection, found that a fair amount of fuel had been flogged from his boat at home before going out.

Let’s close on a positive, he got home safely, and as I said above, spring is on its way.

Russ Hawkins

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