People all around the country will be chasing game fish tomorrow as the annual national tournament starts.
Points are gained for using light line in relation to the size of the fish, and the emphasis is on catch and release. Some anglers specialise in fishing with ultra-light line and catch fish such as kahawai, snapper, kingfish and trevally on light tackle, even down to one- or two-kilo breaking strain.
The tournament is divided into sections covering tuna, sharks, marlin, trevally, kahawai, kingfish and snapper.
Smaller game fish such as kahawai, snapper, trevally and kingfish can be caught around Auckland, and some anglers who specialise in land-based fishing do well from the rocks.
They might travel to Great Barrier Island or the top of the Coromandel Peninsula to fish, and reports indicate good numbers of large snapper in the Colville Channel with 7kg and 8kg fish common.
Other game fishermen concentrate on fishing for marlin and sharks. Teams fishing in Hawkes Bay and off the Manukau Harbour do well, and the traditional marlin fishing grounds off Northland and the Bay of Plenty are always popular.
Snapper fishing in the Hauraki Gulf has been hot this week, with good numbers of fish in 60m off Flat Rock, and work-ups can be found south of Little Barrier Island and north of Anchorite Rock.
Fishing the work-ups with lures such as freestyle kabura jigs and flutter jigs has been very successful.
The kaburas are fished on light jig rods with braid line and dropped to the seabed and retrieved slowly - one wind of the reel per second.
The fish can be felt mouthing the tail of the lure and you have to resist the temptation to strike and just keep winding slowly until the line tightens and the fish is on.
Jigs such as the beta-bugs target larger snapper, and are fished with an upward jerk of the rod and allowed to flutter back down. They sometimes provoke a strike while sinking so it is important to keep in touch with the line as it sinks.
But both lures should be fished close to the bottom, so after retrieving a few metres the jig is dropped back to the bottom and the process repeated until the line has drifted back to an angle of about 45deg, when it is retrieved and cast again, away from the boat in the direction of the drift so it sinks directly below the boat.
There are also good numbers of snapper in the inner Waitemata Harbour, all the way up to Te Atatu where fishing floating baits in shallow water on the rising tide at dawn works well.
Kingfish can also be targeted in the harbour with lures such as surface poppers cast and retrieved, bibbed lures such as rapals trolled, or live baits.
The Manukau Harbour also has plenty of kingfish, and small ones are easily caught trolling a lure off Cornwallis.
Snapper have started running in the Manukau and the gurnard fishing will get better as the summer moves into autumn.
Scallops in the harbour are reported to be in good condition, and that season runs until the end of next month.
A typical trip out on the harbour fishing the deep channels will produce snapper, gurnard and trevally, with kahawai also turning up occasionally.
But as in the Waitemata, the best time to fish is on the small tides, as the strong currents on big tides make it difficult to get baits to the bottom; and seaweed carried in the current can foul lines.
The big trout continue to come from Lake Rotoiti where the hot weather has caused the fish to congregate at around 30m, although the depth varies during the day.
Deep jigging is producing good numbers of fish and anglers who can detect the schools of fish at the right depth and target them with colour-coded braid line catch large numbers.
Harling on the other lakes is producing some fishing at first light, but Lake Tarawera is proving hard for many anglers.
The emergence of hatching cicadas is giving back-country stream fishing a boost.
Bite times are 2.55am and 3.25pm tomorrow, and 3.50am and 4.20pm on Sunday.
Tip of the week
When snapper fishing it is a good idea to have one rod set up for casting so a bait can be cast well away from the boat. Small fish will always congregate under the boat as they compete for the baits, but the larger ones tend to hang back. It is a good idea to use fresh bait on the long-distance line as frozen bait such as pilchards and squid is easily stripped by small fish.