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Night fishing in harbours during colder months

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    Posted: 23 May 2020 at 2:45pm
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I know most fish tend to head into deeper waters during winter months and the harbour fishing drops off a bit.  I'm also aware kahawai, snapper and trevally go off the bite as night falls.  Added to all of this is the fact that I want to fish in Ohiwa harbour which is known to be notoriously hard fishing at the best of times.

So I've got a lot of odds staked up against me as you can see.

To increase my chances of success I've "lowered my horizons" and I'm happy with catching one kahawai for the smoker per fishing session.
I'm using a pulley rig and salted pilchards for bait cut into thirds.  Pretty standard stuff. 

My question is does anyone have any tips or techniques for night fishing in harbours during colder months targeting kahawai?

I'm not an experienced surfcaster so any advice will help thanks








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Post Options Post Options   Likes (1) Likes(1)   Quote taurangatroutmaster Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 May 2020 at 4:40pm
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Snapper bite hard at night. East coast fishing off the sand is always better at night. You still get kahawai at night aswell. Especially under lights at wharves.
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote BlueMarlin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 May 2020 at 9:38pm
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Originally posted by taurangatroutmaster taurangatroutmaster wrote:

Snapper bite hard at night. East coast fishing off the sand is always better at night. You still get kahawai at night aswell. Especially under lights at wharves.


I think I remember reading somewhere that snapper like to come in close to the beach under the cover of dark.  I might give Coastlands beach a try at night.

Ohiwa wharf has a lot of juvenile kahawai hanging around there at the moment but bait and lures don't seem to work even though the kahawai are feeding on something near the surface.  I might try a flasher rig next weekend when I'm back over those ways.

Cheers
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote smudge Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 May 2020 at 11:14pm
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Originally posted by taurangatroutmaster taurangatroutmaster wrote:

Snapper bite hard at night. East coast fishing off the sand is always better at night. You still get kahawai at night aswell. Especially under lights at wharves.

Kahawai fishing under lights at night can be epic. My best is 3.63kg and have probably caught 500 or more like that. All on fly, softbaits and jigs

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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote kitno Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 May 2020 at 9:00am
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Got 15 kahawai last night in Tauranga harbour. The bite died just before high tide. If you're willing to travel a bit further east, I can pm you some spots for winter fishing.
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote taurangatroutmaster Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 May 2020 at 10:32am
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Try a small white or clear Pat swift silicon smelt on those kahawai under the lights. When they are on you get a fish every cast. As for the snapper after dark for sure, pilchards or anchovies, just make sure you tie them on well with bait cotton. 5 Oz BOS sinker and a short running trace (long traces tangle in the surf). A trick I used on that coast is to stakes Burley bomb in a stream flowing into the sea and it brings the fish right in close. Have had nights where everyone caught their limit doing that.even guys that can't fish. Some of the best fishing along that coast is between midnight and 3am. also make sure u have a light or glowsticks on your rod so you can see bites
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote BlueMarlin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 May 2020 at 1:54pm
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Originally posted by kitno kitno wrote:

Got 15 kahawai last night in Tauranga harbour. The bite died just before high tide. If you're willing to travel a bit further east, I can pm you some spots for winter fishing.


That's a lot of kahawai!! I'm happy catching just one for the smoker (it's only me so I can only eat one smoked kahawai at a time).  I'd have to do catch & release for the rest of em :)

I'm planning on moving to Tauranga in Jan-Feb next year.  I was hoping the harbour fishing over those ways is good.  I'm not familiar with fishing that area but I've heard good things about fishing from the bridge marina.

Yeah that will be nice if you could pm me please.  I like the east coast, I had big plans of heading to Lottin Point in late spring for a 2 week fishing and diving trip but unforeseen circumstances forced me to cancel that trip :( 

I'm willing to travel a bit further a field. I have a campervan and I'm not afraid to use it to head east in the weekends ;)
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote BlueMarlin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 May 2020 at 5:17pm
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Originally posted by taurangatroutmaster taurangatroutmaster wrote:

Try a small white or clear Pat swift silicon smelt on those kahawai under the lights. When they are on you get a fish every cast. As for the snapper after dark for sure, pilchards or anchovies, just make sure you tie them on well with bait cotton. 5 Oz BOS sinker and a short running trace (long traces tangle in the surf). A trick I used on that coast is to stakes Burley bomb in a stream flowing into the sea and it brings the fish right in close. Have had nights where everyone caught their limit doing that.even guys that can't fish. Some of the best fishing along that coast is between midnight and 3am. also make sure u have a light or glowsticks on your rod so you can see bites


Good suggestion using the silicon smelt.  The kahawai at Ohiwa wharf were feeding on whitebait or some other very small fish near the surface, probably why they weren't interested in my pilly bait.  I'll try a smelt fly next weekend.

Yeah I got some BOS sinkers, I'll shorten my traces as you suggested. 

Using a burley bomb will be perfect for Ohiwa harbour mouth, I just did a reconn there this morning and seen a nice gut were I can cast into.  If I put a burley bomb a little "up stream" I think I can get a burley trial flowing pretty close to the gut.

I'll try fishing the Ohiwa mouth at three separate times - first light, fading light and at night time to see what the best results are.  I really prefer fishing at night under the stars but I'll see how it all goes.

I got those red blinking rod tip lights that only light up when I get bits.  Really good devices for night fishing.
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote taurangatroutmaster Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 May 2020 at 7:02pm
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Quite often it goes dead when the sun goes down and stays that way for a couple hours. For beach fishing anywhere along that coast I pretty much didn't bother before 10 pm if I was targetting snapper. Kahawai will bite hard all day along with the odd snapper.

Those silicon smelt are deadly. When the kahawai were chasing whitebait in Tauranga habour we would average 70 to 80 fish in a bit over an hour at one spot on flyrods. The fly would be in the water for 2 to 3 seconds max before it gets eaten
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote BlueMarlin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 May 2020 at 10:21pm
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Originally posted by taurangatroutmaster taurangatroutmaster wrote:

Quite often it goes dead when the sun goes down and stays that way for a couple hours. For beach fishing anywhere along that coast I pretty much didn't bother before 10 pm if I was targetting snapper. Kahawai will bite hard all day along with the odd snapper.

Those silicon smelt are deadly. When the kahawai were chasing whitebait in Tauranga habour we would average 70 to 80 fish in a bit over an hour at one spot on flyrods. The fly would be in the water for 2 to 3 seconds max before it gets eaten


I'll remember not to bother with night fishing before 10PM on the beach.  I'm going to try tackle the kahawai in the harbour first then work my way up to beach fishing for snapper, I wouldn't mind catching a few snapper, I want to try this snapper skin & roe recipe I seen on youtube.

Man I got to get up to Tauranga and do some harbour fishing some time.  Long weekend coming up hmmm
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote PJay Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 May 2020 at 2:43pm
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"I know most fish tend to head into deeper waters during winter months and the harbour fishing drops off a bit."

I'd respectfully disagree.

Because our target species take their temperature from the water around them, they slow down with colder water and so don't feed as hard, but they don't stop eating altogether. They slow down, but they don't go away out to sea.

Most of my big snapper have been caught in close during winter, and that's been an obvious pattern for each of the last 20 years. I think that may be because the bigger ones find it easier to shove the smaller ones aside when the smaller ones have less energy (and may need much less food).

The fishing drops off in winter in the sense that fisherpersons' appendages do...so there's less fishing effort.

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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote BlueMarlin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 May 2020 at 8:58am
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Originally posted by PJay PJay wrote:

"I know most fish tend to head into deeper waters during winter months and the harbour fishing drops off a bit."

I'd respectfully disagree.

Because our target species take their temperature from the water around them, they slow down with colder water and so don't feed as hard, but they don't stop eating altogether. They slow down, but they don't go away out to sea.

Most of my big snapper have been caught in close during winter, and that's been an obvious pattern for each of the last 20 years. I think that may be because the bigger ones find it easier to shove the smaller ones aside when the smaller ones have less energy (and may need much less food).

The fishing drops off in winter in the sense that fisherpersons' appendages do...so there's less fishing effort.



I guess only a tagging study could determine where the snapper go during winter...if they go anywhere at all.

It could be the big snapper can withstand the colder water better than the smaller snapper and therefore prefer to stay put on their turf while the smaller snapper head out to deeper water where it is warmer.





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