Geoff Thomas

Geoff Thomas on fishing

Geoff Thomas: Snapper action gives newbies chance to pick up hot tips

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Snapper fishing is going well east of Tiritiri Matangi Island. Photo / Supplied
Snapper fishing is going well east of Tiritiri Matangi Island. Photo / Supplied

Often you will see people strike savagely by lifting the rod, then waiting to see if they can feel a fish. That hesitation can be fatal, and while a fish may have been there, giving it any slack line can allow it escape.Things are certainly picking up on the fishing scene, particularly in Auckland. While snapper are turning up in the Rangitoto Channel and the worm beds, the best results are still coming from further out.

East of Tiritiri Matangi Island at 30m depth, 6.4km north of Gannet Rock at 40m, and the southeast corner of Motuora Island are all going well. There must be a worm bed north of Gannet, as snapper caught there on Thursday were spewing up large worms.

It is always a pleasure introducing newcomers to our snapper fishing, because they have no pre-conceived ideas and tend to do well as they welcome advice.

For example, when dropping the sinker and two baited hooks, if the rod is pointed down at the water, the line will run off faster than if it is pointed up at the sky, creating an angle at the rod tip.

And when the snapper are biting, it is important to get the baits up and down as efficiently as possible, for the bite may not last.

The old standby rig - a ledger or flasher rig with 5/0 recurved hooks baited with a small chunk of pilchard - is hard to beat.

The hooks can be rebaited quickly and dropped back, and the fragments of pilchard work as a miniature berley system, keeping the snapper in the area.

As the boat drifts, the gear will lift off the bottom, so line has to be slipped out continuously to compensate. In fact, keeping the reel in free-spool with the thumb on the spool is even better, letting it slip out slowly until a fish bites.

Striking upwards with the rod every time a bite is felt doesn't help, either. You are pulling the bait away from the fish, when in fact you want to do the opposite - make it easy for it to eat the bait.

Waiting until the line goes tight is a better option, then it is just a question of winding and lifting the rod. A fast strike is not needed. Keeping the line tight is more important.

Often you will see people strike savagely by lifting the rod, then waiting to see if they can feel a fish. That hesitation can be fatal, and while a fish may have been there, giving it any slack line can allow it escape. Simply winding in the line without stopping will work better.

It worked on Thursday, and there were plenty of snapper in the area where birds were congregating. The work-ups are not lasting long, which may be an indication of a lack of pilchards.

Whether this is because of natural causes or over-fishing of pilchards for the bait industry is not clear. But the baitfish are small anchovies and they are in small schools.

It can be exciting fishing where dolphins are splashing and birds are fluttering around and diving, but it is not necessary to be in the thick of it.

Just drifting through the general area will produce fish, and soft baits or other lures in the smaller sizes, to match the size of the bait, will work well.

The new Squid Vicious soft plastics were doing the business the other day, and with three tails they continue to be effective after a tail has been torn off. Chunks of pilchards were far more effective than squid bait.

The theory that the full moon is a bad time for fishing was well and truly discounted this week, with Tuesday and Thursday - which fell either side of the full moon - producing red-hot action.

They weren't the largest tides of the month, either - this month the biggest tides occur around the new moon at the end of October.

Whitebait fishing has been slow in the Waikato River and scallops on the Manukau Harbour have been disappointingly small.

An albacore tuna tournament in Whakatane, which ran for the whole month of September, did not record a single catch, but this month the tuna have turned up in the Bay of Plenty and albies up to 15kg are being reported. Kingfish are starting to turn up at White Island, while snapper fishing in close has been hit-and-miss.

It is a similar story in the Bay of Islands, with short bite times, but water temperatures are starting to creep up, so it should improve.

Tarakihi are being reported from quite close, even around Capstan Rock, and rugby supporters are keeping charter boats busy during the middle of the week, with people returning to Auckland for the weekends.

* More fishing action can be found on Rheem Outdoors with Geoff, 5pm tonight, and on the internet television channel FishnHunt.Tv

- NZ Herald

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