Fishing in Whangarei Harbour is very good at present and likely to continue, possibly right up until Easter. While there are a lot of undersized fish, there are also a lot of very good snapper. The average take-home fish size is about 380mm, with many over 500 and up to 800mm being caught.
Ledger rigs with firm baits; mullet, salted anchovies/squid/mackerel and freshly-caught jack mackerel and kahawai are all working well. Fish the edges of channels and sandbanks and cast your baits as far as you can - the bigger fish are further back. Tide movement is very important - the first three hours of incoming tide is very good, with the biggest snapper often being caught during the second and third hours. The first few hours of outgoing tide can also be good. The Onerahi, Rat Island, Limestone Island area is fishing very well - you don't need to travel far! There are some good kingfish throughout the harbour also - jigs/poppers/live baits and even snapper baits are getting good results. A few kahawhai also being caught. The Takahiwai/Skull Creek area is also fishing well. Kayakers are doing well with baits, and one kayaker reported casting soft baits over the sand banks and catching good fish in good numbers. For the divers, the recent rain hasn't done any harm. Scallops in the harbour are in good condition and in good numbers.
Catch of the month:
5.30 pm, Onerahi locals Tiana Wilson and hubby Donny got a call from a mate to head up north to a special spot to catch a BIG snapper. They got the gear ready, carried out some hasty boat repairs and left at 11.30pm.
At 2.30am they arrived at Rangiputa, where it was too late to find accommodation so, to protect their fishing gear, the boys slept in the boat while Tiana had the 'luxury' of sleeping in the car.
At 5am, Tiana is woken by the boys with a spotlight in the face. Once in the boat, it was calm seas and out to the secret spot. Using soft baits, some nice 3-6kg snapper were caught.
Donny landed his first 20lber (9kg), Tiana changed her rig, 5/8oz soft bait head and seven inch "Z-man Jerk shadZ Motor Oil soft bait, released the bail arm and, when it hit the bottom, clicked the reel into gear and the rod doubled over, reel screaming.
After a powerful initial fight, the monster was netted, barely fitting in the net.
Immediately weighed, a colossal 34lb (15.5kg), yahoo! The boys had given Tiana stick regarding her gear; a powerful 15kg rod and a big 1200 reel.
This was not soft bait gear, making this catch even more amazing! Well done Tiana.