Geoff Thomas

Geoff Thomas on fishing

Geoff Thomas: Scallops of legal size getting hard to find

By Geoff Thomas

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Photo / APN
Photo / APN

Fishing with Geoff Cold weather has slowed fishing in the past week, but it won't take much for things to take off and the first spell of fine weather should see plenty of activity.

This winter has been warmer than usual. As a result, fish have not moved out in large numbers and snapper are now back outside the Motuihe Channel, off Home Bay and Station Bay.

Kahawai have moved in close in good numbers and can be found by locating birds, and out wide in the Hauraki Gulf barracouta are still around, which can be a problem for those using jigs or lures.

With sea water temperatures dropping to 14C rather than 12C over the past three months, scallops have not grown as much as expected and around Auckland people are finding it difficult getting scallops over the 100mm minimum size. The season opened on September 1 and runs until March 31, and the daily bag limit is 20 per day. Divers are allowed to take bags for up to two other people on a boat, provided they help with running the boat.

Scallops are proving hard to find in the Firth of Thames, as they do move around. Snapper are still in the shallows in good numbers. John dory are another fish which can be found in the firth at the moment and can be targeted with soft baits, slow jigs or live baits.

Fishing in the Bay of Plenty has been slow in close, with the best action coming from 60-70m of water. Kingfish are running well on the edges of the offshore reefs and banks around Mayor Island, and can be targeted with speed jigs or live baits.

Freshwater

Fly fishers in the Lake Taupo fishery are smiling after several years of catching small trout in poor condition. The fishery has improved radically and, as one experienced angler noted: "It can take three years for a fishery to deteriorate and another three years for it to bounce back, so it is a six-year cycle.

"It is all about nature but, in spite of a lack of rain over the winter, the runs of mature trout in the spawning tributaries have been impressive, with fish in top condition and running up to 4kg. The low rainfall has meant that in streams the trout run through quickly and the lucky angler who strikes a fresh run will do well.

On the Tongariro River the stable, low conditions result in an explosion of invertebrate insect life. If there are no major floods to flush out the river, the summer should see some great dry fly action as the predominantly caddis nymphs hatch. Anglers do need to take care when wading, as the low water stimulates growth of algae and weed, making rocks slippery. It also provides shelter for the nymphs.

With the rain this week, the weekend should see fresh trout running in the river, and the electricity authorities are going to release water in a managed release between 9am and 3pm today to aid recreational activities like rafting. The low rivers have caused trout numbers to build up at stream mouths in the lake, resulting in some excellent fishing.

Tip of the week

Always carry the small sabiki jig fly flashers, which are great for catching jack mackerel (yellowtails). You can cut off every second trace as they tangle easily and the small hooks seem to love fingers. With a scrap of bait added and lowered near the bottom in a berley trail, they soon catch the lively little fish. One dropped back down with a hook through the back will soon attract any john dory in the vicinity. It can be fished with a heavy sinker to prevent it tangling other lines, and the rod tied to a rail up the front of the boat out of the way.

Bite times

Bite times are 7.10am and 7.40pm today, and tomorrow at 8.10am and 8.40pm. 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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