Snapper fishing is still going well as seasons change and fish can be found just about anywhere.
But it still makes a difference when you increase your chances by using plenty of berley, and instead of putting down one berley bomb some successful fishermen will start out with two or three bombs to create a concentrated stream of fish scraps and scent which bring the fish to you.
It makes sense to thaw out the first bombs, rather than put them in frozen, as it will dissipate much faster and be more effective. And they will regularly check the berley containers to make sure it has not run out, adding new bombs before they do so.
Fishing has picked up at the Great Mercury group, with several twenty-pounders coming from the eastern side of Red Mercury Island. Limit bags of 3kg to 4kg snapper are coming from the sand just off Whitianga.
The tag end of lovely weather coming at the end of a summer has people smiling in the Bay of Plenty, and fishing along the coast since the weather bomb hit a week ago has been the best for some time, according to local reports. Snapper have been filling limit bags for anglers fishing off Tauranga, anywhere from in the shallows out to 30m.
Surfcasters and long-lines deployed off the beach usually do well at this time of year, and beaches on both coasts have been producing some good fish when conditions are suitable. The early morning and evening are the prime times to have baits in the water, and on the beach if this coincides with high tide so much the better.
One trick when sending out a line with 25 hooks and traces is to use fresh bait, which will withstand picking from small fish better than bait which has been frozen, and to hook the bait so the skin side runs along the sand as it is being taken out. This way the flesh side will not be damaged before it reaches the fishing zone.
Gurnard are still scarce, but as water temperatures continue to cool they should turn up, which is when the snapper move out. This is the pattern in harbours like the Manukau and Kaipara, and off the coast. Tarakihi can be found in their normal haunts, and kingfish should start to move out soon, leaving large, individual fish which patrol the coast over winter.
Following the heavy rain the first trout have started to congregate at stream mouths in the Rotorua lakes, and at Lake Taupo. Usually one of the three big lakes - Lakes Rotoiti, Tarawera and Rotoiti - will shine in terms of the quality of the trout, for this is the time of year anglers expect to hook the biggest fish of the season. The trout, which are usually 3 years old, return to their natal streams as adults to spawn. Or, if liberated into the lake as yearlings from the hatchery, they return to the beach where they were released two and a half years earlier.
Tip of the week
This is a prime time of year for targeting big snapper around islands and reefs. The best time is at dawn, witha good current running, and large baits of fresh kahawai or mackerel should be cast down the berley trail well away from the boat. Strong tackle, of at least 15kg breaking strain line with a 30kg trace, is needed to stop the fish getting into the reef.
Bite times are 9:35am and 10pm tomorrow and 10:25am and 10:50pm on Sunday. These are based on the phase and position of the moon, not tides, and apply to the whole country. More fishing action can be found on Rheem Outdoors with Geoff, 6:30am Saturdays, TV3, and at www.GTtackle.co.nz