With water temperatures remaining warm, the very good snapper fishing continues. Throughout the North, the snapper are in good condition and of good average size. Although at times there are smaller fish to be carefully released, there are plenty of very tasty snapper 350-500 long with some much bigger fish being caught.
As well as snapper, trevally (especially on small oily baits) kahawhai and good kingfish are being caught in reasonable numbers. The kings are responding to jigs in deeper water and poppers and livebaits in the shallows. Anglers livebait fishing off the rocks have been catching some good-sized kings and even harbour snapper fisho's are catching legal-sized kings on snapper bait occasionally. I have also heard rumours of good results with slow jigs … I hope to have more to tell next month.
Whangarei Harbour snapper fishing is hot; limit bags of good-sized fish are being reported by many anglers. From the One Tree Point area, right down almost to the Port Wharf area, small dinghies are catching limit bags in sight of the Onerahi boat ramp. Some good snapper catches are coming from the Onerahi jetty and along the points jutting out from the foreshore - a good surfcasting rod can make a difference. I would think other harbour jetties would be giving similar results and harbour rock fishing will also likely be worth a shot.
Many launch owners are fishing inside the harbour because the fishing is so good. Running rigs with the bait well behind the boat is working very well. Freshly-caught baits are the best for big snapper. Alternatively, well-rigged mullet or tough baits are also good. Ledger rigs cast well away from the boat are also getting good results.
A tip - when you encounter other fishers, strike up a conversation: "How was your day?" etc. Fisho's generally are a friendly lot and a lot can be gained in a 10-minute conversation with a skilled angler.
My harbour skills improved heaps with advice from local legends Pete S, David D and Glen B - thanks guys! Very recent conversations with these guys turned up that Pete and David were in the inner harbour at their favourite spot where there was heaps of undersized snapper. They moved and tried a few other spots which was not great. They moved again, then when the tide changed, the bigger snapper came on the bite. It was another limit bag with many snapper around 50cm - great fishing!
Glen B and another local legend, another Glen B, usually always fish their preferred incoming tide, but on a suitable weather day, the tide was going out. They went anyway, not quite confident, lines in and 45-minutes later, had 14 very nice snapper on the wrong tide! Tide movement is very important inside the harbour but, at the moment, direction is less important, so get out there whenever you can.
David D was fishing with Pete S when a large fish pulled his rod and reel out of the rod holder and he watched it disappear. Disappointed, he carried on with his other rod and, when he wound it in to check his bait, he had snagged the line from his lost rod! Careful retrieval and he got his rod and reel back complete with the monster 60cm kahawhai that had pulled it into the water.