Summer fishing is here, and prospects are looking good for the first holiday weekend of the season. The moon is in a good phase, and if one theory about the lunar fishing calendar holds true then the mornings will offer the best fishing. Many experienced anglers agree that fishing is better when the moon is visible in the sky. Today it rises just after 1am and sets just before noon. Then it is about an hour later each day.
Snapper have moved in close along the coast in the Hauraki Gulf, and are being caught in the Tamaki Strait and along the East Coast Bays.
Fish can also be found around the Noises, Maria Rock and the Ahaaha Rocks; and there are also plenty of work-ups out in the gulf although often there are no snapper under the birds. Drifting and covering the ground at 40m with slow jigs and flutter jigs will often locate fish, and then it is a case of repeating the drift.
The pinnacles in the middle of the Firth of Thames are fishing very well, and it is worth trying a whole jack mackerel in these areas.
Another feature of the fishing is the prevalence of gurnard on the east coast, and at the bottom end of Waiheke Island some gurnard of about 1kg are turning up. These lovely table fish can be filleted and pan fried with the skin on, as the scales are embedded in the skin creating a smooth surface, rather like an eel or a john dory.
With a 3.3m high tide on the Waitemata Harbour today the area of foul between Browns Island and Islington Bay will be worth trying, as snapper up to 4.5kg are being taken there and it fishes best on the larger tides. But tides are becoming smaller as the moon recedes towards the new moon on Monday week, and today will be the best bet.
There are still a lot of small snapper out of Tauranga and it is important to handle fish being returned to the water carefully. To give a fish the best chance of survival it should not be touched by human hands, and they are not designed to be taken out of the water. The most efficient approach is to use needle-nosed pliers to grip the hook and twist it out while the fish is in the water. On a large boat, a soft-mesh landing net can be used.
Some very nice fresh-run trout up to 2.5kg are still coming from the Tongariro River on both nymphs and wet flies. On smaller streams a dry fly is worth trying as there are some good hatches in the afternoons. But the high level of Lake Taupo makes fishing the larger rips tricky as it can be hard locating the current at the drop-off. One indicator is to look for leaves moving along the sand on the bottom.
Tip of the week
If heading out after snapper this weekend, then don't limit your opportunities. If planning on using jigs or slow jigs, also take berley and bait because if the jigging is slow you can drop the anchor and a berley bomb and wait for 10 minutes. The fish will turn up.
Bite times today are 6.20am and 6.50pm, and tomorrow at 7.15am and 7.45pm. These are based on the moon phase and position, not tides, so apply to the whole country. More fishing action can be found at www.GTtackle.co.nz