Geoff Thomas
Geoff Thomas on fishing

Geoff Thomas: Good catches await winter surfcasters

When casting from the shore or the rocks in a new area, a check at low tide will show any deep holes. Photo / Brett Phibbs
When casting from the shore or the rocks in a new area, a check at low tide will show any deep holes. Photo / Brett Phibbs

Surfcasting from the rocks has been producing good catches of snapper for North Island anglers.

In Auckland, fish can be caught along the Kawakawa Bay-Orere Point shore, particularly at high tide. Berley helps and pilchards are the top bait. Tie chunks on to the hook with bait cotton as whole pilchards are easily stripped from hooks.

Surfcasting from Bay of Plenty beaches has been good, particularly at night, and electric torpedoes taking out longlines do well. Gurnard and kahawai can be caught at this time of year as well as snapper. Fresh bait is always preferred for longlines simply because it stays on the hook while being dragged across the sand.

Trevally are being hooked in close around Waiheke Island. Park Point and Matiatia Harbour good spots to find these hard-fighting fish. The Tamaki Estuary is another good area. Trevally prefer small baits such as pilchard chunks. Shellfish are particularly effective. Mussels and tuatua should be tied to the hooks.

Berley also helps when targeting them, and when it comes to sashimi fresh trevally is hard to beat.

As these fish have soft mouths they can be hard to bring to the side of the boat, so should be netted. Trevally will take small softbaits or jigs and these can be cast so all the water around the boat is covered.


Sunday is the last day of the season for the big lakes in the Rotorua area, and the upper reaches of some streams also close to protect the spawning trout. A fishing contest on Lake Tarawera today marks the end of the season. Thompson Marine is the main sponsor.

Some small lakes remain open to fishing through the winter, and shoreline fishing with fly tackle or spin tackle remains open in limited areas on the big lakes.

Check the regulations on the Eastern Region Fish and Game website.

The full moon last weekend made fly-fishing hard, but some nice fish have been taken jigging at Hinehopu and Gisborne Point.

Among the larger trout taken were a 5.34kg rainbow from The Pipe and a 5.3kg brown trout from the lower Ngongotaha Stream. A 4.8k rainbow was taken fly-fishing at Ruato. Jigging with a small grey ghost is catching fish at Lake Rotoiti and Lake Tarawera, and harling and deep trolling will produce results.

It is usually not necessary to go as deep as you would in summer when water temperatures rise, and a black toby on five colours of lead-core line trolled around the edge of the drop-off will usually do the trick.

Fly fishing at the traditional spawning areas is best when the weather breaks or the barometer drops, and conversely the trout seem to lock their mouths closed in bright, cold, clear conditions.

Bite times

These are 5.05am and 5.30pm today, and tomorrow at 5.50am and 6.15pm. These are based on the moon phase and position, not tides, so apply to the whole country.

Tip of the week

When casting from the shore or the rocks in a new area, a check at low tide will show any deep holes or guts or channels between rocks which are the areas to target when casting baits at high tide.

More fishing action can be found on Rheem Outdoors with Geoff, 6.30am Saturdays, TV3.

- NZ Herald

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