Marine: Moon plays tricks

By Geoff Thomas

Moon plays tricksNight fishing may be a good bet over Easter

Fishing at night is always a good option on a bright moon, says Geoff Thomas.  Photo / Thinkstock
Fishing at night is always a good option on a bright moon, says Geoff Thomas. Photo / Thinkstock

The weather and the moon seem destined to influence fishing over the Easter weekend. Southeasterly winds and a full moon deliver the worst combination for fishing.

Checking forecasts and watching weather conditions will be important, and it may be worth fishing at night, which is always a good option on a bright moon. The biggest tides of the month will help, bringing strong currents, but at mid-tide will make fishing in the channels a challenge.

A six-ounce sinker and a trace of several metres will be a good option, with tough baits like squid or fresh mullet.

There are still plenty of fish around, whether putting a long-line out at beaches such as Muriwai Beach and Kariotahi, or casting from the breakwater under the Auckland Harbour Bridge. The entrance to Tauranga Harbour has been firing at night, with local fishermen commenting it is the best snapper fishing they have seen for many years. It is similar in the Waitemata Harbour and off the west coast, where prevailing easterly conditions have helped those launching boats from the beaches or heading out over the bar at the Manukau Harbour entrance.

In Auckland, the channels are still holding plenty of snapper.

Work-ups are firing up along the East Coast Bays, on the worm beds, and from Whangaparaoa Peninsula to Kawau Island, with plenty of kahawai working in schools.

With southeasterlies expected, the western shoreline of Waiheke Island will be protected and there are still some good fish around Matiatia. Fishing on the reef around the Ahaaha Rocks is picking up but it is exposed to the wind.

Kingfish are still in good numbers and, with plenty of kahawai in the harbour, getting livebait has not been a problem. The Pakatoa Reef is the pick of the spots for kingfish.
Until the cold southerlies arrive, the snapper should stay well within reach of small boats. Then they will move into the Hauraki Gulf.

The Firth of Thames continues to fish well and, like many areas, it has been a standout summer of snapper fishing all through the Firth.

Whether surfcasting from the shore or dropping a flasher rig in the mussel farms, the fishing has been superb. Kingfish love to hang around the mussel ropes but are impossible to catch among so many wires.

They will often take a whole pilchard drifting down in the current, but will then head straight for the nearest wire rope and break the line.

But a 19kg king did make one angler smile after he boated it while fishing off Tapu Point this week.

This is always one of the best holiday weekends for trout fishermen, but the downside will be the full moon today.

Most people seem to agree that fish switch off at this time of the month and when they are not feeding they become hard to catch. It affects trout on the lakes more than fish at sea, probably because the tides are also affected by the moon phase and for six months of the year the biggest tides will fall on the full moon.

However, trout will be moving up rivers towards tributaries before spawning, and in the lakes they will be hanging around stream mouths and at release points such as the Landing and Rangiuru Bay of Lake Tarawera.

Fly fishing at these spots has picked up in the past week, and fishing at night may be a good option in the bright moon.

Smelt are in close along the edge of the weed beds and a killer pattern like a Kilwell No1 fished slowly on a sinking line works well. At this time of year a red body produces better results.

Small stream mouths do not fish well in moonlight but deep water, like the bay at the Log Pool on Lake Okataina and the delta of the Tongariro River and the rip at the Tauranga-Taupo Stream mouth, can fish very well on a bright moon.

Trout of 4.5kg have come from Okataina and Lake Rotoiti in the past two weeks and the fish are in prime condition.

Harling or booby fishing will be best at dawn and dusk. Fishing the depths with lead-core or wire lines, or jigging, will offer the best chances during the day.

* More fishing action can be seen on Rheem Outdoors with Geoff, at 5.30pm on TV3 tonight, with highlights from the latest series; and on the internet television channel FishnHunt.

- NZ Herald

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