Waiting for weather
Spring is definitely here. The blossoms are out, the days are much longer, and we are on the eve of daylight savings (and of course, the spring southwesterly wind is here!). In the top of the south, the southwest wind during spring is not very nice and can make the bay quite unpleasant to fish. We were greeted with 50kts of southwest on Monday, certainly not conducive to getting out and seeing if those snapper have arrived yet.
I have not been yet this spring as I think it is still slightly early, but from the reports I have heard, there are still lots of spikey dogs about in large numbers. At this time of the year, in the early part of the return of the snapper to Tasman Bay, the fish normally turn up out wide first in the deeper waters. I would be fishing out in the 40-50m water depth over the next month if I were to head out. This is where they traditionally turn up around October, before they move into the bay and shallower waters. Given the large number of sharks around while the water is still cold, don’t use any burley at this time of the year, and I would recommend using slow jigs over flasher rigs while the sharks are still in good numbers. You will still catch the odd shark on jigs, but not in the numbers that you will using bait. The other way is to drift with a parachute or sea anchor out, as this controls your drift, allows you to cover more ground, and does not allow the sharks to congregate below the boat. If you are anchored and the sharks start following the other sharks to the surface as you wind them in, pull up anchor and move, there is no point in staying there.
By all accounts, there have still been a few gurnard caught in Delaware Bay, so that is a good place to call in on your way home if fishing has been a bit tougher than you hoped when you were trying for those early season snapper. Small baits and small hooks seem to work really well for gurnard in Delaware Bay, and if you can, try fishing along the reef edge, as this should produce some nice fish. There is a few blue cod in there though, so don’t get too close to the reef that lines the sides of Delaware Bay.
It sounds like the whitebait season is going well for those putting the time in this year, especially down the West Coast. Some big catches are being caught and it is great to see a good season for a change. This time of year, when whitebait is present, you will often see large schools of kahawai feeding on whitebait in both Tasman Bay and Golden Bay. If you want to catch these, remember you need to match the hatch. They are feeding on very small whitebait, so towing a large lure through them will not have the best results. Use the smallest lure you have, or pop down to your local fishing store and get a lure that looks like whitebait in terms of size and colour – there are plenty on the market, from flies to soft baits.
It is exciting times at the moment; our new boat will be launched next week, and I cannot wait to get that out on the water and chasing the snapper as they return to Tasman Bay. If you do get out for a fish between the periods of wind, good luck, I hope you find them! And if you want any help with fishing in the top of the south, please reach out, more than happy to help out and point you in the right direction.