Big kings reign in fight at Nationals

By Geoff Thomas

Monster 40kg fish can be found as top of Coromandel.

Kingfish can be targeted with jigs when drifting over deep pinnacles.
Kingfish can be targeted with jigs when drifting over deep pinnacles.

Kingfish are the prime target at present, with mega-sized models up to 40kg coming from the top of the Coromandel Peninsula at spots like Square Top Island. With the annual NZ Sport Fishing Council's Nationals starting tomorrow there will be a lot of boats chasing kings, as the winning teams gain their points by catching fish like kings and snapper on very light line.

One popular spot for kingfish is the Pakatoa Reef. Live baits can be picked up at the nearby wharf on the island, and then fished under a balloon along the reef edge.

By fishing with the motor idling the noise will attract the quarry, and when a king is hooked the boat can be driven away from the reef to play the fish.

Marlin are running off the west coast, and out off the Manukau Harbour small lures are working well. Six were caught on the first day of the Counties Sport Fishing Club's One-Base Tournament last week; then bad weather turned conditions around. The heaviest was 126kg, but a striped marlin of 158kg was reported a couple of weeks ago, and marlin are being caught all up the west coast.

When conditions allow, bottom fishing for snapper, gurnard and kahawai has been hot off the coast, with albacore and skipjack tuna in good numbers for those trolling lures.

With the week-long Nationals under way boats all around the country will be heading out game fishing.

In the Bay of Plenty marlin are running off Waihau Bay, and it is always a popular base for trailer boats fishing the week-long competition. At Whakatane game fishing has been much slower.

Marlin are also being hooked from the Aldermen Islands down to the Penguin Shoals. The western side of Mayor Island and in 100m of water off Whangamata are also producing, with striped marlin running from 90kg to 120kg.

Snapper are better in close in 10-20m along the coast rather than out wide, and the middle ground off Tauranga has been producing.

Snapper fishing has been slow in the Bay of Islands, but more attention will be on game fishing this week.

There has been a patch of marlin off the Ninepin in 100m but they have moved towards Piercy Island, and it is not necessary to go past 200m to find fish. There have also been patches of marlin in the past week off Berghans Pt and off Cape Karikari.

On the Auckland snapper scene it is still very patchy but some fish are coming from shallow water along the edge of the channels and in the Tamaki Strait. The southern side of Kawau Island has been fishing well, and east of Tiritiri Matangi Island is another area producing fish.


Trout fishing in the Rotorua lakes has slowed, but there are some bright spots. The Ngongotaha Stream is holding good numbers of brown trout, including a lot of big fish. A few fish are coming from the Waiteti and Hamurana stream mouths.

Fish are smelting on Lake Rotoiti and fly fishing from an anchored boat, or drifting, will be worth trying. But most anglers are still jigging, and the better fishing seems to be in the afternoons on the northern side of the lake.

At Lake Taupo rain at the weekend was welcomed by anglers. Trout are reported to be in better condition than last summer, and brown trout are being caught in the Tongariro River with night fishing producing the best results using large dry flies or wet lining.

Tip of the week

When snapper fishing try a size 2 trout fly in orange or yellow, on a loop above the bait, and drift. Maybe the snapper liken it to scallop roe, but it often works when fishing is slow.

Bite times

Bite times are 1.10am and 1.30pm tomorrow, and 1.50am and 2.15pm 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, 5pm Saturdays, TV3, and at

- NZ Herald

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