Top of the South Fishing Report - 30/11/23

Snapper bite one of the best for years

It is hard to imagine we are in December already, but it is very exciting to see water temperatures increasing, calmer days and some good reports of fish being caught right across the region.

Snapper fishing in the top of the south has continued to be one of the best seasons for many years, with lots of people getting out and having great success with snapper. They are being caught surfcasting, from kayaks and from all sizes of boats in a wide range of water depths at the moment. Due to the number of fish around, catching a snapper is certainly accessible to a lot of people.

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The average size is also very good this year, with a lot of the fish being within that 60-70 cm size class and they are in very good condition. I was lucky enough to get one at 80cm last weekend and it was in very good condition too. Certainly, there’s no shortage of food here at the moment. The roes in the females are not fully formed yet, so there are still a few weeks left of them being hungry before they go off the feed once spawning starts. Water temperatures are up over 18 ?C now – getting close to the temperature the snapper like for spawning so it is only a matter of time.

The writer with an 80cm snapper caught during the recent hot snapper bite.

With the warmer water some of the pelagics have turned up already. I had a mako shark around the boat last weekend and a few thresher sharks have also been caught too. The kingfish continue to show up throughout Tasman Bay at the moment. There have been a lot caught out on the mud on flasher rigs and this is most likely due to the amount of baitfish throughout the bay. Spearos are now starting to get them around the mussel farms and likewise, the Boulder Bank is starting to produce a few kings for those trolling lures.

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The Marlborough Sounds have been producing some very good fish so far this spring as well, with a number of fish over that magic 80cm mark being caught and released to carry on and do their thing.

Fortunately, the sharks have mostly disappeared throughout the bay at the moment with the water temperatures so that means you can use berley much easier without attracting a lot of unwanted attention. However, with fishing like it is, berley has certainly not been a necessity of late. Pilchards and squid appear to be hot on the menu at the moment for the snapper, so have a selection of bait with you and see what works. Likewise, try using both a strayline and flasher/ledger rigs and see what they are taking. Some days the fish will prefer one method over another, so it is good to cover your bases.


Dan Govier 

[email protected]  

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