Geoff Thomas

Geoff Thomas on fishing

Geoff Thomas: Fingers crossed for a pickup in snapper numbers

By Geoff Thomas

Weaker currents next week will improve prospects on the Waitemata. Photo / Geoff Thomas
Weaker currents next week will improve prospects on the Waitemata. Photo / Geoff Thomas

Snapper fishing is proving fickle this summer, with many anglers struggling for catches. The hope is that the spring season, which was a month later than usual, is carrying over into summer, and that things will pick up in another month.

Reports from out on the water tell the same story - "We would catch two snapper, then nothing happens for an hour, then we catch another one. It is very slow." This applies to fishing in the channels, and it is even harder out wide in deep water where small fish are common, but keepers are hard to find.

One theory is that the numbers of snapper just aren't there. There are large patches with no fish, so it is a question of finding them more than of how to catch them. The more successful boats move around continuously, picking up a few fish at a time.

Fishing inside the Waitemata Harbour has been excellent and there are good numbers of fish up the harbour, but the big tides this week shut it down.

It is just too hard fishing in the harbour with strong currents, but that will change next week.

There are kingfish and bronze whaler sharks in the harbour, and kings can be caught on live baits or trolling lures. Dawn is the best time and if it coincides with low tide it is even better. Kings are also being hooked off places like the Cornwallis Wharf and the launching ramp at Waiau Pa on the Manukau Harbour. One fishermen also reported picking up kings to 11kg while trolling in two metres of water along the edge of the banks on the Manukau. "The one kingfish that I kept was full of baby flounder," he said.

Freshwater

Trout at Lake Taupo are in better condition than they have been for several years, which reflects improved food production in the lake, and indications are promising for the runs in the spawning rivers this winter.

Deep trolling and jigging in the lake has been producing some good fish about 45cm long, and fly fishing at stream mouths at night is starting to pick up as fish seek cold water. The lake is low and clear, which allows streams flowing in to form a good rip.

A small fresh in the Tongariro River at New Year sparked a run of brown trout, and the lower reaches have produced fish up to 5.2kg. A rainbow trout of 5.5kg was also reported caught in the river.

While cicadas have not started hatching yet, stalking big browns along the banks of the lower pools will be worth a look when the cicadas can be heard in the trees. This is exciting sight fishing, spotting the brown shadow of a big fish lying close to the riverbank then creeping up on it and casting a large dry fly so the fly drifts down over the trout while ensuring it doesn't see the line.

On the Rotorua lakes fishing has been mixed. Shallow lakes like Rotorua heat up much faster than the deep lakes, and as water temperatures rise trout are attracted to the cold water of tributary streams. Fly fishing at mouths like the Waiteti, Ngongotaha, Hamurana and Awahou Streams is improving, particularly at night.

Lesser known streams like the small tributaries on Lake Rotoiti and Twin Streams on Lake Tarawera can also produce good fly fishing at this time of year - fishing off the drop-off during the day, and wading the shallows at night.

But as with sea fishing, the season is later this year and the deep lakes are not fishing well. Trout are scattered around the lakes, and when summer conditions cause the deep lakes to stratify into layers of different temperatures fish will be easier to find.

Bite times

Bite times today are 7am and 7.25pm; tomorrow 7.45am and 8.10pm.

Tip of the week

When snapper fishing a ledger rig is best used at slack tide or little current, switching to a trace and running rig as the current increases.

More fishing action can be found tonight on Rheem Outdoors with Geoff, 5.30pm TV3.

- NZ Herald

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