Geoff Thomas

Geoff Thomas on fishing

Geoff Thomas: On screen world's top fly fishing battles

By Geoff Thomas

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Some of the biggest brown trout are in the Bay of Plenty.
Some of the biggest brown trout are in the Bay of Plenty.

Some of the biggest brown trout are in the Bay of Plenty.

The eighth annual Rise Fly Fishing Film Festival, presenting the best fishing films from around the world, is on for one night in Auckland on Monday.

Cinema audiences will be gripped by stunning footage from Australia, New Zealand, Guyana, Argentina and Bolivia presented in high definition on the big screen.

The feature film, Leviathan, documents epic fly fishing battles with monsters around the globe.

New Zealand is recognised as a Mecca for giant brown trout, but few realise that the largest of these live in tiny spring creeks hidden deep in the dense forests of the Bay of Plenty. Next are the giant rainbow trout of Patagonia's fabled Jurassic Lake. This desolate and wind-swept lake is undoubtedly home to the largest trout on the planet. Surprisingly, these brutes readily devour huge dry flies, leading to many heart-in-mouth moments for fly fishers.

Then anglers go after giant trevally, the mighty fish that live in the coral reefs of French Polynesia and Australia's Great Barrier Reef.

The festival is at the Event Cinemas in Queen St, at 8pm.

Sea fishing

The bait working best for gurnard on the Manukau Harbour at the moment is cubes of pilchard. But not just any pilchards; the ones which are soft and mushy.

Usually bait that has been thawed and re-frozen is good only for berley as it is too soft to stay on the hook, but in the case of small baits for gurnard it works well. Use bait elastic to tie the cube of soft bait on to the hook.

If keeping bait on the hooks is too hard, it can be mixed with other tough baits such as salted mullet, with a cube of pilchard on two hooks and one of salted mullet on another hook on the ledger or flasher rig.

In the Hauraki Gulf, the school of fish which has been east of Tiritiri Matangi Island has moved north. If this congregation of fish can be found, it is not hard to catch snapper and john dory on the bottom, and trevally and kahawai in mid-water.

Soft baits, jigs or small live baits can be dropped to the seabed while drifting through the surface activity, although the bottom feeders are usually a little distance away, down the current.

Or, cut baits on a ledger rig with a heavy sinker to keep it on the bottom, should catch snapper.

Getting a lure or bait down through the barracouta which are prevalent throughout the winter can be a problem, and shiny swivels or lures should be avoided.

Trevally move inshore at this time of year and for the next two months can often be found around structures such as reefs, weed beds, marker poles and mooring chains.

They can be targeted, but are more wary than fish such as snapper so using thin, clear mono-filament trace like fluorocarbon is a good move.

Berley helps attract trevally, and the boat should be positioned so the berley washes down the current along the edge of a reef or weed bed.

Baits should be small - cubes of pilchard or squid on small circle hooks; trevally also love shellfish baits like pipis or mussel bound on to the hook with bait elastic.

Trevally have soft mouths and are tough fighters, and should be netted when brought to the boat as they often fall off the hook if lifted out of the water.

They will take a fly fished on a saltfly outfit, and one angler reported finding small green cockabullies in the stomach of a trevally. A saltfly pattern like a clouser is a good imitation of a small fish and will entice trevally when fished down a berley trail.

Freshwater

Trout fishers around the North Island are counting down to the new season opening on October 1, but there is still some good early spring fishing to be found on the waters which remain open through the winter.

Fly fishing or spinning from the shore at places like Lake Rerewhakaaitu and Lake Tarawera's Rangiuru Bay just gets better as the weather warms.

Wading and casting patterns like the Kilwell No 1, Hamills Killer and Green Orbit with slow sinking lines at Rerewhakaaitu and fast-sinking lines at Tarawera are popular.

While red-bodied flies are favoured in winter when trout are spawning, a change to yellow-bodied patterns is recommended in spring when smelt and immature bullies are the main targets of feeding trout.

Tip of the week Judging by the number of letters to the Herald the furore over snapper limits and bags has certainly attracted the attention of fishermen.

A lot of comments have been made about the number of snapper a person can take home, with some suggesting a reduction to five or six would be acceptable.

But be very careful about such ideas, for once the limit is reduced it will never be raised again. In the past 50 years we have gone from no limit to 50 to 30 to 20 to 15 and now nine.

Nobody is suggesting 30 or 50 is feasible, but if fish stocks grow to a healthy size you can be sure any extra allowable catch will go directly to the commercial industry.

Bite times

Bite times are 1am and 1.25pm today, and tomorrow at 1.45am and 2.10pm. These are based on the moon phase and position, not tides, so apply to the whole country.

More fishing action can be found on Rheem Outdoors with Geoff, 5pm Saturdays, TV3, and at www.GTTackle.co.nz.

- NZ Herald

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