Geoff Thomas
Geoff Thomas on fishing

Geoff Thomas: Crown your catch for the nationals with kingfish, snapper

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Kingfish up to 40kg are coming from the Coromandel Peninsula. Photo / File
Kingfish up to 40kg are coming from the Coromandel Peninsula. Photo / File

Kingfish are the prime target, with mega-sized models up to 40kg coming from the top of the Coromandel Peninsula at spots such as Square Top Island.

With the annual NZ Nationals starting today there will be a lot of boats chasing kings, as the winning teams gain their points by catching fish such as kings and snapper on very light line.

One popular spot for kingfish is the Pakatoa Reef. Live baits can be picked up at the nearby wharf on the island, and then fished under a balloon along the edge of the reef.

By fishing with the motor idling the noise will attract the quarry, and when a king is hooked the boat can be driven away from the reef to deep water to play the fish.

Marlin are running off the west coast, and out off the Manukau Harbour small lures are working well. With the week-long nationals under way boats all around the country will be heading out game fishing. It is the only competition which involves all clubs in the country, and points are gained for releasing fish and for using light line for the different species.

Game fishing is going well in the Bay of Plenty, more so at the western end rather than down at Whakatane and Waihau Bay.

Some of the best fishing for marlin has been from the Aldermen Islands down to the Penguin Shoals. The western side of Mayor Island and in 100 metres of water off Whangamata are also hot spots, with striped marlin running from 90kg to 120kg. The blue water and the bait fish are in close in about 15 metres of water and there are good numbers of skipjack tuna. These lovely tuna can be picked up on red and white feather jigs trolled fast or by edging up to the school and casting pink soft baits, although a 5kg skippie will take some time to bring in on a soft bait rod.

Snapper are better in close in 10-20 metres along the coast rather than out wide, and the middle ground off Tauranga has been producing.

Snapper fishing has been slow in the Bay of Islands, but more attention will be on game fishing this week. There has been a patch of marlin off the Ninepin in 100 metres but they have moved towards Piercy Island, and it is not necessary to go past 200 metres to find fish. There have also been patches of marlin in the past week off Berghans Pt and off Cape Karikari. There has been little sign of blue marlin in Northland waters so far this season, which may be an indication of cooler water temperatures and is the opposite to last summer. But broadbill swordfish have turned up at the garden Patch which bodes well for the broadie season which usually runs through to the winter.

On the Auckland snapper scene, fish are still coming from shallow water along the edge of the channels and in the Tamaki Strait. The Rangitoto Channel fired up this week, and it was not necessary to go far, particularly in the early morning. The southern side of Whangaparaoa Peninsula was also fishing well, and outside Tirititi Matangi Island was another area producing fish.

The fickle weather has not made fishing easy, and strong winds have limited the opportunities to get out. Windy conditions not only make it uncomfortable but the fish don't seem to like it as well and fishing can be hard.

Soft baiting has picked up, and drifting through the channels when boat traffic is not too heavy works well. Trout fishing in the Rotorua lakes has slowed, but there are some bright spots. The Ngongotaha Stream is holding good numbers of brown trout, including a lot of big fish. A few fish are coming from the Waiteti and Hamurana stream mouths, but Awahou has not fired this summer.

Fish are smelting on Lake Rotoiti and fly fishing from an anchored boat, or drifting, will be worth trying. But most anglers are still jigging.

At Lake Taupo, rain put fresh water into the rivers during the week, which was welcomed by anglers.

Trout are reported to be in better condition than last summer, and brown trout are being caught in the Tongariro River with night fishing producing the best results using large dry flies or wet lining. The appearance of cicadas helps fly fishermen in the rivers, and in the back country.

More outdoor action can be seen on Rheem Outdoors With Geoff at 5.30pm on TV3 tonight, and on the internet television channel www.FishnHunt.Tv

- NZ Herald

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