Fishing: Bronze whaler female sharks in shallow waters

By Geoff Thomas

Bronze whaler sharks are coming right into the harbours and estuaries.  Photo / Geoff Thomas
Bronze whaler sharks are coming right into the harbours and estuaries. Photo / Geoff Thomas

Sharks are providing a lot of action, and entertainment, around harbours and some are close to where people are swimming and boating.

They are female large bronze whalers which venture into shallow water to have their babies, and to feed on the rich pickings such as snapper and flounder. It happens every year after Christmas in harbours from Tauranga to the Far North, but in Auckland the large sharks are being seen off beaches such as Bucklands Beach. Some enterprising anglers seeking some entertaining sport row out large baits in kayaks and hook the sharks from the beach, attracting large crowds of onlookers. They have traditionally been hooked at spots such as Musick Point, Crusoe Rock, Duders Point, and up the Waitemata Harbour. Traditional baits like a whole skipjack tuna hooked on a galvanised hook and wire trace, rigged to 24kg stand-up game tackle, is used to handle the big sharks. The hook can be cut off, and unlike stainless steel hooks will quickly rust out. The sharks also like small rays.

Others take up residence at the entrance to the harbour Matiatia on Waiheke Island, waiting for fishermen to toss fish scraps overboard after cleaning their catch of snapper.

Snapper fishing has proved hard for many people in the past week, although there are some bright spots particularly in shallow water and from the shore. Fish are being caught from the rocks at Musick Point and from the breakwaters in the city, and boat fishermen are doing well in shallow water in the evenings on a high tide.

Inside the Waitemata has been fishing better than further out, particularly off the naval base and Kauri Point, but boat traffic and congestion can be a problem.

The channels are still patchy, but fish numbers have improved. The key to fishing places such as the Rangitoto Channel is to keep moving until you find the fish. Even then it can slow down after catching a few fish, and another move is needed.

Kingfish are being hooked in good numbers at the Ahaaha Rocks, and there are some snapper around Kawau Island.

Fishing remains hard out wide in the Hauraki Gulf, at Great Barrier Island around the Coromandel Peninsula and in the Firth of Thames.

Game fishing is better off Tutukaka than the Bay of Islands, where water temperatures are low.

The west coast has been fishing better, with marlin taken in 120 metres off Piha.

A couple of marlin have been caught in the western Bay of Plenty, and the skipjack tuna are about eight miles offshore.

In the Tauranga Harbour the experienced anglers are doing well, particularly on the last of the out-going tide at change of light with a snapper of 6.5kg snapper reported this week.

Freshwater

The summer fishing pattern on the Rotorua lakes is running later than last year, and fly fishing at the stream mouths on Lake Rotorua is picking up.

The Waiteti Stream mouth is the best performer, with some brown trout more than 4.5kg taken late at night. The number of anglers wading and casting from anchored dinghies is always a good indication of which spots are fishing best.

Jigging and deep trolling on the deep lakes has improved but is not producing the large numbers of trout as last year. This is because the lakes have not stratified into separate layers, condensing the fish into a narrow band of water where temperatures change - called the thermocline - which means the trout are harder to target at specific depths.

But some nice fish have been taken recently, including several over 4.5kg and two of 5.6kg from Lake Rotoiti and one of 5kg reported from Lake Tarawera. Harling on Tarawera has also picked up with some good catches from Rangiuru Bay.

Bite times

Today, 12.10am, 12.35pm; tomorrow 12.55am, 1.20pm.

Tip of the week

Try using recurve, or mutsu, hooks for all snapper fishing. Like longline hooks these are designed for the fish to hook themselves and although always used on ledger or flasher rigs, they also work well on the end of a trace. This works well when fishing in strong currents such as in the Manukau and Kaipara Harbours where extra long traces are often used, anchored to heavy weights. In these conditions, the fish will hook themselves and you don't feel them until they have been hooked.

• More fishing action can be found today on Rheem Outdoors with Geoff, 5pm TV3.

- NZ Herald

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