Top of the South Fishing Report - 08/02/24

Great snapper numbers

The warm weather continues and this week we have had a number of days over 28°C so as you can imagine the water is warming up very quickly within the Top of the South. I have received the first confirmation of albacore tuna being caught in Tasman Bay with a few confirmed captures on Waitangi Day as people made the most of the fine weather. Hopefully, it is not far away from marlin turning up behind Farewell Spit.

It is great for the region when these pelagic tuna turn up and a lot of people get out and chase them. The biggest thing to remember with these warm-blooded fish is that they need to be chilled straight away, and they take a lot of ice to chill them down. The warm-blooded fish along with the warm water temperatures will certainly chew through the ice, so make sure you have plenty onboard! The longer the fish are not on ice, the shorter the shelf life as the flesh can deteriorate very quickly if not looked after correctly. Albacore are great to eat when looked after and prepared correctly so hopefully a few people can get out and try to catch some.

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Good-conditioned snapper are plentiful in Tasman Bay, but bite times can be short.

There are lots of baitfish around the Top of the South at the moment, which is great to see, and that means there is plenty of tucker for the bigger fish. I was out last week and the school of jack mackerel sitting below the boat would have been in the thousands – very cool to see. Also, there are lots of big piper which make great bait if you can catch them.

There are still plenty of the larger predatory fish around such as mako sharks, which can be a nuisance if they take a liking to your fish coming up! There is not much you can do when they turn up, other than limit the amount of berley going into the water.

With the full moon a couple of weeks ago there were a number of spikey dogs about, but they seem to have disappeared now which is good and the next week or so should prove good fishing as the tides build.

I took a few guys out from Daiwa NZ and Hunting & Fishing Nelson last week and we had some good fun catching snapper in Tasman Bay. It was a short bite for the snapper, but they were all on for a while and it was great to showcase what snapper fishing can be like in the Nelson/Tasman region. There were no monsters, but all nice, well-conditioned fish that gave a good account for themselves on light gear. We got a good mixed bag of fish too, with kingfish, rig and gurnard also finding their way to the boat, which suggests we have a very healthy and productive fishery at the moment. The Daiwa team brought the new Freeswimmer 3000’s onboard and these are great reels for straylining snapper, and I am sure will be very popular throughout NZ over the coming years. One of the great advantages of these reels is that the bait runner system has a good loud click, so there is no mistaking when a fish takes your strayline out the back of the boat.

Kingfish are still being caught along the Boulder Bank when using Rapalas, and a few spearos are still picking them up around the mussel farms, although the bronze whalers are also well aware of this fishery and wait for an easy meal once the divers jump in the water.

The outer Marlborough Sounds continue to produce good numbers of snapper. With the deeper waters, slow jigs are the way to go when targeting snapper and there is normally a good bycatch of john dory, trevally, gurnard and small school groper. There have been some good reports of a few groper being caught out in the deeper waters as well – nothing huge, but nice eaters by all accounts.

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I hope you manage to get some time to get out over the next couple of weeks and if you do, good luck out there.


Dan Govier 

[email protected]  

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