Geoff Thomas
Geoff Thomas on fishing

Geoff Thomas: Warmer seas put snapper in easier reach

Photo / Brett Phibbs
Photo / Brett Phibbs

Sea temperatures are creeping up and off Auckland are nudging 17C. That suggests snapper-spawning will start any time and fish will be schooling in preparation.

From now until Christmas is always one of the best parts of the fishing season, which usually gets harder in January before picking up in February and March.

The increased boat traffic over the summer holidays is probably a factor.

Try getting on the water at first light or at dusk, leaving the daylight hours for skiing or swimming.

The ability to go fishing at short notice helps at the moment. When the wind dies, boats can get out wide to the main action. There have been widespread work-ups east of Tiritiri Matangi Island, northeast of Kawau Island and north of Gannet Rock. It depends on the prevailing wind and the answer is to head into the wind to find fish.

Remember that sea conditions will always improve the more you travel upwind, while it will get rougher in the other direction.

The inner channels off Auckland are starting to fish (although there are a lot of small snapper around) and also the worm beds in 15m to 18m, but it is slow between there and 30m.

There are also some fish in the middle of Whangaparaoa Bay at 20m over the horse mussel beds and off Motuora Island.

Large kahawai are prolific and one way to avoid them is to fish well down-current from a work-up, away from the surface activity, where snapper can usually be found on the bottom. The Firth of Thames has been fishing well and, on the eastern side of the Coromandel Peninsula, snapper to 6kg are coming from Kennedy Bay between 5pm and dark.

Pilchards and squid are working well, but the snapper seem to have gone off soft plastics, says Johnny Elwood, the skipper of the charter vessel Wai.

He said the main thing was to have the wind and tide running in the same direction.

In the Bay of Islands, snapper are just starting to school ready to spawn and the best bite is at dawn. Stray-lining off Roberton Island and Tapeka Rock has produced some nice fish in the evenings.

Kingfish are just starting to turn up off the bay, but are not yet around in large numbers.

Many young crayfish have been found dead off the Raukaukore River in the eastern Bay of Plenty. Whether this is connected to oil pollution from the Rena, or can be attributed to natural causes, is not known.

But the threat of running into a half-submerged container while travelling in the bay has been likened to "playing Russian roulette".

The broken half of a refrigerated container was found 23km northwest of Whakatane. A buoy was attached so a tug could tow it back to Whakatane. But with an estimated 80 containers lost, the danger will continue.

Charter vessels travelling to White Island put two people on the flybridge to keep watch, changing them every half an hour to maintain vigilant eyes.

Reports of containers are broadcast by the Coastguard when their locations can be identified.

There are a lot of small kingfish at White Island, and a few flying fish and squid have turned up. Fishing has been patchy but should improve later in the month as the bigger kings arrive to spawn.

Albacore tuna can be picked up by towing lures while travelling and at the Ranfurly Banks, off East Cape, some anglers have had great sport fishing with stick baits.

This new type of casting lures and working them back just under the surface will attract kingfish from the depths and it can be some of the most exciting sport fishing found anywhere.

Lake Tarawera continues to perform as the top lake in the Rotorua district in terms of numbers and size and condition of trout.

They are being caught by all methods and some have been nudging 4.5kg.

This bodes well for the fly fishing next autumn when the fish will have added more weight.

Conversely, the trout in Lake Taupo continue to disappoint many anglers in terms of numbers and size. There are many theories as to why the fishery is in such a poor state, but lack of food must be a major factor.

The smelt population has not been in good shape, in contrast to the Rotorua lakes where the smelt are much bigger and in good numbers.

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

- NZ Herald

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