The change in the weather helps the fishing, and any improvement would certainly be welcome.
Often, that is exactly what is needed, as weather does affect all fishing. Prolonged cold, southerly conditions are the worst possible conditions as fish just switch off. They just close their mouths and go dormant.
But a rise in temperatures, a good blow and a change in the barometer are all factors which can turn things around, and this weekend brings positive indicators - the tides are over 3m in Auckland which helps, and the moon is waxing after the new moon on Thursday which are some of the best days in the lunar month.
There have been some bright spots.
Long lines fished off the beach at Muriwai have been producing some good catches of snapper and gurnard, with both kites and torpedoes working well. Fresh mullet seems to be the bait of choice, as it always has been, but the fish are a long way offshore with lines 1300 or 1400m out. Another spot where shore-based long-lines have been catching snapper up to 6kg is at Pakiri Beach and Te Arai Point.
A fisherman dropping jigs at North Reef, off the Poor Knights Islands, was recently catching kingfish in midwater. He discovered they were feeding on paper nautilus shellfish which were gathering for their annual spawning ritual. So he dropped a bait, hoping for a snapper as they also are partial to a meal of nautilus, and added snapper to the menu for dinner.
Gurnard are also the favoured quarry of harbour fishermen at this time of year, and it is almost as if nature is looking after anglers by ensuring snapper flood the harbours in summer and gurnard replace them during the cold months.
The Manukau and Kaipara Harbours are favourites for gurnard hunters, and while the Manukau has been fickle the Kaipara has been producing some mega-sized specimens.
One approach that often works well is to reverse the traditional flasher rig. The pre-tied rigs with four or five hooks tied with flasher material in small sizes of 4/0 or 5/0 are popular, and are usually rigged with a sinker at the bottom. But gurnard feed by literally crawling along the seabed, locating food like small crabs with their sensitive leg-like feelers. So it makes sense to offer all of the baited hooks hard on the bottom, and a ball sinker fitted above the trace - rather than a weight at the end - does exactly that. It allows the hooks to all lie on the sand or mud and the unweighted trace can also move in the current, providing added allure for the fish. Small cubes of skipjack tuna are good baits but, like all fish, gurnard can be finicky and on some days squid or pilchard produces better results, or fresh kahawai or mullet. The key is to use small baits with the hook exposed.
Filleting gurnard can be frustrating and the skin tears easily, but there is no real reason to skin the fillets. Pan fry them with the skin on like john dory, and the lack of scales makes the skin a crispy addition to the meal and also serves to retain juices.
One technique which applies to any fillets with skin on, is to score the skin, then sprinkle the skin side with granulated sea salt and fry on a hot pan or barbecue plate until crisp. Then turn and cook the flesh side for a short time to seal it but cook it through no more than the equivalent of a medium steak.
Trout fishing on Lake Rotorua has been excellent in spite of the cold weather, and trolling in shallow water around Mokoia Island and off Ngongotaha is producing good numbers of rainbows, with the occasional large brown trout hooked.
The Outdoors column in tomorrow's Herald on Sunday looks at fishing motorised kontikis off the beach at Muriwai.