Fishing: Angling windfall with good catches of large fish

By Geoff Thomas

Trevally are moving into the shallows and providing good sport. Photo / Geoff Thomas.
Trevally are moving into the shallows and providing good sport. Photo / Geoff Thomas.

Large kahawai and good-sized snapper and big trevally are producing a windfall for anglers fishing from the shore around Auckland.

The Panmure Estuary continues to amaze locals who say it is "the best we have seen for 30 years. They are catching 3kg snapper and good trevally as far up as the Waipuna Road bridge - that's 10 nautical miles from the entrance!"

Kingfish have been reported up the estuary as well. And popular surfcasting spots like along the foreshore at Bucklands Beach - where a 4kg trevally was caught off the beach - and Musick Pt are proving a bonanza for those lining the water's edge. This fishing can be found up the Waitemata Harbour, all the way along the Tamaki Strait and the coast of the Firth of Thames.

Trevally are moving in and can be found at Park Pt, in the harbours and under the lights at the entrance off Halfmoon Bay where night fishing is particularly effective.

With April coming to a close, water temperatures are still high, around 20 degrees in places, so the hot fishing is expected to continue, at least until the first frosts hit.

Divers are doing well finding crayfish around Waiheke and Kawau Islands as those fish also remain inshore.

Trevally can be targeted with berley and soft baits like shellfish or cubes of pilchard on small recurved hooks. But they fight much harder than snapper and the big ones will test tackle. They should also be netted when at the boat or the wharf as they can fall off the hook if lifted from the water on the line. These lovely fish are tough battlers and test light tackle. They are also excellent table fish, either as sashimi, smoked or delicately pan-fried.

Some good bags of snapper are still coming from the pins between Motuihe and Browns Islands, but plenty of berley is the key.

This style of fishing has improved, casting floating baits down a berley trail into weed-covered, rocky terrain. This approach has also been bringing results in close to shore from the Takapuna cliffs to Castor Bay and around the Noises, the David Rocks and the Ahaahas.

Those anglers using soft baits and drifting the channels between the small islands and rocks are also picking up fish, and the small grub-type tails up to size 5/0 in orange-brown colours are proving successful. One theory is that the snapper are feeding on small crayfish and this lure makes a reasonable imitation. And on the northern side of Rangitoto Island the story is the same, but you have to be out early as it is all over by 8 o'clock.

At Little Barrier Island, Great Barrier and Horn Rock straylining hard against the weed line or the rocks has produced some good fish. But metal jigs and slow jigs have also been producing, as well as large fresh baits like a strip of kahawai or mackerel.

Casting soft plastics into the shallows and around rocks and reefs should improve as winter takes hold, particularly around the edge of Kawau Island, Takatu Pt, the bottom end of Waiheke Island and of course further afield at the Moko Hinau group and Little Barrier and Great Barrier and the Mercury group.

The inshore fishing is widespread also, with trevally also being caught off the wharf at Whitianga, and fishing has also been good up the river with fish being caught up past the oyster farm as far as Hodges Bay.

On the other side of the river at the ferry landing people are catching long-finned eels, which is something locals have not seen for a long time.

Fishing has also been good in the western Bay of Plenty with snapper and trevally prevalent and good-sized kingfish prowling the edges of the deeper reef structures.

Sail Rock has been fishing well on an incoming tide, and the deep foul out from Kennedy Bay fished well by day with the drop-offs close to shore producing at dawn and dusk.

Out of Whakatane, some good snapper are coming from foul in 15-30 metres, and one monster snapper was reported last week.

FreshwaterTrout fishing also hasn't yet moved into winter mode at Rotorua and Taupo, but fly fishing at small stream mouths should improve as the moon wanes; and harling and shallow trolling is producing fish in the early mornings and evenings.

As the trout move into spawning mode red-bodied flies and lures come into their own. Conversely, in the spring when smelt are spawning yellow-bodied flies prevail.

On Lake Okataina, fishing booby flies at the Log Pool continues to produce, although there are also fish at the Dogger Bank where the same method works well.

- NZ Herald

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