As the weather deteriorated, with gale-force, icy winds and very rough seas, more boating trips were cancelled and anglers stayed home. There was very little to go on to describe the overall Western Bay of Plenty fishing situation.
The two fishing contests scheduled for last weekend were postponed. Papamoa Surfcasting for Fun Group's inaugural contest for the season has been reorganised for next weekend (October 2-3).
Tauranga Fish and Dive Club's three species contest has been postponed to later in the year.
The few who fished last week and weekend reinforced my previous analysis that there were some very good spots, if only they could be found but otherwise it was very hard fishing with catches few and far between.
Nevertheless, despite the conditions, a handful of keen anglers and boat skippers were out and about, searching for the elusive, bountiful spots or just the odd fish or two.
Russell Anderson in a party of three was looking for kahawai last Saturday. They went up Tauranga Harbour but with the incoming tide pickings were few. However, on the outgoing tide towards Rangiwaea Island, they struck a spot that was producing.
They landed nine good kahawai and one good snapper about 1kg. They lost as many kahawai as they landed and also put back quite a few of the too small variety.
Other small boats in the harbour also reported landing some reasonable sized kahawai, while one fishing just off Matakana, on the outside, reported landing some good gurnard and a couple of acceptable snapper.
Surfcasters, in general, found the strong icy winds too unpleasant to stay around for long.
Those who stay a while sometimes managed to land up to two reasonable snapper or a few gurnard. One surfcaster landed five good snapper including one of 5kg.
The motorised kontikis, largely operating within 800 metres of the shore, brought in a few gurnard and the odd snapper. Some of the gurnard were exceptionally large .
Garth Le Lievre (skipper on Deepstar charter boat) out on Friday, found fishing at Mayor Island very hard work. Looking for hapuku they landed just three gemfish.
Switching to other species they found it no easier landing just a few tarakihi and the odd red snapper. Fishing was certainly tough at the moment, Garth said. He was beginning to agree that this year was the worst fishing year that he had known. However, he says he had not yet had a trip when they had caught no fish at all.
The anglers aboard generally ended up with a feed, even if sometimes it was a small one.
Hugh Ensor (Ohorere) out towards Motiti on Saturday picked up a few tarakihi. Although strong winds and currents made it difficult to hold the boat where the fish signs were.
Where they could anchor it was steady to slow fishing and they picked up tarakihi, the odd red snapper and a couple of eels. All aboard caught some fish, some up to 10 per person.
Brett Keller (Manutere) out on an overnighter to Mayor Island Friday-Saturday had a very pleasing trip. They picked up to 10 tarakihi overnight and on Saturday they found a good spot where they were landing good snapper and tarakihi with snapper up to 2.5kg.
Then on a puka drift they landed a dozen hapuku ranging up to one of 14kg and also five bass. They had struck the right spots and it was a good days fishing, he said. On Sunday when it was too rough for fishing and winds were blowing at 35 knots with gusts up to 40 knots, Manutere took a dive party around Motiti.
The divers collected two or three crayfish each, including reasonably large ones. The divers said some of the crayfish they saw were still in berry.
The whitebaiting appears to have become quite steady with the successful claiming to have gathered around 1.3kg a time and one claiming that amount within four hours in the Waimapu.
One dawn-to-dusk whitebaiter is said to have collected more than 30kg in the Kaituna. The Wairoa River is another spot said to be producing 1kg to 2kg a time.
The scallop divers and gatherers have largely been totally non-communicative about their operations. However, there have been two reports of good-sized scallops gathered in Tauranga Harbour. One scallop fisherman reported he got his limit of very acceptable scallops off Omokoroa.
Over the past three weeks, an interesting feature of the fishing scene has been the wide variety of baits anglers claimed was essential for catching sufficient fish.
Among the main baits were: bonito, squid, tua tua, octopus, pilchards, kahawai, mullet and occasionally a mixture of two of these, or two different kinds of bait on one hook.
The emphasis was on the need for the bait to be fresh.
To encourage adults to take their kids fishing during the school holidays, the Ratahi is running a promotion whereby adults are charged a kid's rate ie $30 a half-day. Weekend tides Salisbury Wharf: Today, 3.16pm; Tomorrow, 3.34am and 4.18pm; Sunday, 4.39am and 5.17pm.