With a full moon today the weather should be bright and calm - ideal for heading out wide.

The moon does affect the weather, and it usually delivers fine, settled conditions; which is why you can see the bright moon so clearly in the sky.

But the few days around the full moon are also known as being hard for fishing. This may be because fish are wary about moving around in the bright conditions when they are vulnerable to predators. No one knows, but the moon obviously influences tides and for half of the year the biggest tides of the month occur around the new moon, and for six months they coincide with the full moon.

Today is one such occasion, with a high tide of 3.4m on the Waitemata Harbour, so there will be strong tidal flows.

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These currents make fishing in narrow harbours difficult, but conversely it can help when fishing out in the wide, open spaces. And that is where the bulk of the fish are at the moment.

Harbours like the Manukau and Kapiara and Tauranga and Hokianga are holding fish, but strong currents pose a challenge in getting baits to the sea bed.

But off the west coast at Raglan or New Plymouth there are plenty of snapper, and game fish are also running. One boat caught a marlin each day last weekend, fishing out of the Manukau bar.

And in the Hauraki Gulf the better fishing is still out to 35-40m. Look for signs on the bottom or for birds sitting around on the water with some dolphins splashing nearby. Then drop baits or lures and wait for the tide to start running if it is dead high or low when you start.

It is also well worth catching a few yellowtails and putting one down with a hook through the nose, and stopping it about 10m off the bottom, as there are plenty of kingfish around. And there is always the chance of a john dory taking the livie.

One charter boat managed to catch a kingfish for every angler on board while snapper fishing north of Tiritiri Matangi Island last week.

They also took home a good bag of snapper. Using chunks of pilchard from the stomach section, which has the guts in, ensures plenty of bites. The snapper prefer that bait which is leaking blood and juices.

A kayak or dinghy is also a good option for catching snapper at the moment, because fishing in a few metres of water is producing better results than out in the channels.

In shallow water a big boat is a handicap, as the noise scares fish, and of course a dinghy or kayak is much quieter and less obtrusive. This approach works well anywhere around the coast, from Orere Pt to East Coast Bays and further north.

One party in a small boat brought home 14 lovely snapper when fishing in 3m of water in the early morning near Thames last week and they did not have to return any small fish.

Light line and floating baits cast well away from the boat are the key when fishing the shallows, and it can be a lot of fun and challenging when large fish are hooked.

Drifting and working soft baits can also produce good results and in the bays around Waiheke Island this approach has been working well for some local anglers. The key is to be on the water at first light, or in the evening.

Fresh bait like mackerel or piper is always worth trying, and it does target the larger fish which helps when there are a lot of small ones around. Mackerel can be cut into strips, which are hooked through one end so the tail dangles, and piper cut into chunks.

It is quite common to see small fish which have been caught and tossed back into the sea float past on the current, usually upside down.

But when small fish are brought to the surface, the way they are treated will influence the chance of survival. For example, the eyes of a snapper were not designed to be exposed to bright sunlight so keeping them in the water is a good start.

The hook can be flicked out with long-nosed pliers and the fish released without touching it, another important part of the process.

Dry hands can damage the coating of slime which protects the skin from infection, and if a fish must be picked up, a wet towel or at least wet hands should be used. They were not designed for flying either, and a fish slipped gently into the water will be in better shape than one which is tossed into the air.

Fish are designed for their bodies to be supported by water around them, and lifting them out and squeezing fish to grasp them can damage internal organs. Most of this involves common sense, but it is always disappointing to see how some people treat fish which are being returned to the water.

Freshwater

Jigging on Lake Rotoiti is hot at the moment, with large numbers of trout being caught. Fishing off the shelf at the West Bank is one popular area producing good numbers of fish.

And in Taupo, the lack of rain has affected Lake Otamangakau, with little water flowing through. But some nice fish are coming from the lake, and nearby Lake Rotoaira. A small green nymph imitating a damselfly larva works well in summer when fished along the edge of weed beds.

Tip of the week

It's a great time of year for surfcasting from the shore or rocks. Using bait elastic will ensure baits last much longer.

Bite times
Bite times are 1.10am and 1.30pm today, and 2am and 2.25pm tomorrow. More fishing action can be found at GTTackle.co.nz.