'Top of the South' Fishing Report - 18/05/23

Snapper on the move to deeper water 

Despite another weather bomb recently hitting the top of the south, resulting in flooding in some areas and introducing lots of driftwood and debris into Tasman Bay, the snapper are still present within Tasman Bay.  Following the rain, the fish have moved into deeper water as they make their move north. Snapper are being caught in water depths beyond 30 m which is great to see as it is later than normal for the bay 

I was out fishing last weekend in 50 metres off Okiwi Bay and the water was starting to clean up away from the major rivers.  It was still a dirty green in colour but there was lots of plankton in the water, most likely due to the introduction of nutrients with the rain and runoff from the land.  Water temperatures are still holding at 16.7, which is a lot warmer than the air temperature in the mornings due to the presence of snow on the hills.   

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In the deeper water, slow jigs are working well. I managed to find a few nice schools of fish on the sounder and was rewarded with some nice fat snapper in prime condition making their way into the bin.  A 15kg kingfish on the slow jig was a nice bonus to the day.

In the deeper water there is no substitute for good electronics which you can rely on and trust.  Having electronics that help you find the fish is one of the most important assets on the boat and if you cannot see the bottom or fish, you need some support.  In the top of the south, we are lucky to have ENL based down at Port Nelson to provide sales, service and follow up support.  If you can’t see fish with your electronics, something is wrong and it can be easily fixed, either through correct set up, better understanding of your electronics or simply new electronics is required.  I am more than happy to discuss electronics if anyone is having issues or wants some advice.   

There have been reports of some nice fish being caught around D’Urville Island.  The snapper have now turned up there and although not in large numbers yet, compared to what will be present over the coming months, some very good fish have been caught.  Kingfish and snapper are the main target species around D’Urville at the moment; however, blue cod and groper are worth targeting and can provide a good mixed bag for the day.

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Snapper are on the move to deeper water at the moment. 

As more people start to fish D’Urville Island this winter, please familiarise yourself with the fishing regulations and where the boundaries are.  Stephens Passage and French Pass mark the boundary for the Marlborough Sounds region, and you are only allowed three snapper in these areas, compared to 10 on the western side of D’Urville in the Challenger Area.  The other important rule to remember as more people are fishing in the waters around D’Urville Island is that you cannot cut the throats of blue cod and they must be landed whole with a limit of two per person.

We have been very fortunate to get some very settled spells of weather in the middle of May, probably some of the best weather we have had for a long time.  No sea breeze, light winds and glassy calm seas all day are what we all dream of and fortunately, there have been multiple days where these conditions are present.     

So even though the temperatures are dropping, there are still some good fish to be caught, so put on an extra layer of clothes and get out there.  


Top of the South
Dan Govier (Nelson)
[email protected]

Follow Dan’s fishing on Instagram @dan.govier.fishing.nz

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