Sharks are providing a lot of action, and entertainment, around harbours at the moment and some are very close to where people are swimming and boating.

They are usually large female bronze whalers which venture into shallow water to have their babies, and to feed on the rich pickings like snapper and flounder. It happens every year after Christmas in harbours from Tauranga to the Far North, but in Auckland the large sharks are being seen off beaches like Bucklands Beach.

Some enterprising anglers seeking some entertaining sport row out large baits in kayaks and hook the sharks from the beach, attracting large crowds of onlookers. They have traditionally been hooked at spots like Musick Point, Duders Point, and up the Waitemata Harbour.

Others take up residence at the entrance to the harbour at Matiatia on Waiheke Island, waiting for fishermen to toss fish scraps overboard after cleaning their catch of snapper.


While bronze whalers are regarded as official game fish, with records kept internationally, when caught in our waters they are released unless a potential world record is to be weighed. Unlike harbours in Australia where fish life has been depleted and sharks are regarded as dangerous, there is an abundance of natural food for them in our harbours.

The other sharks spotted this week include a blue shark off the Noises and small mako sharks following hooked snapper to the boat.

Fishing inside the Waitemata Harbour has been excellent and there are good numbers of fish up the harbour, but the big tides this week shut it down. It is just too hard fishing in the harbour with strong currents, but that will change next week.

One solution is to drift, particularly when the wind and tide are battling each other which keeps the boat reasonably stable. Drifting off the container wharf with slow jigs or soft baits has been producing snapper up to 70cm.

Tip of the week

When snapper fishing a ledger rig is best used at slack tide or little current, switching to a trace and running rig as the current increases.

The number of anglers surfcasting off the footpath under the harbour bridge is always a good indication of how the fishing is along the edge of the harbour, and some of them catch a lot of snapper.

There are kingfish in all the harbours, and kings can be caught on live baits or trolling lures. Dawn is the best time and if it coincides with low tide it is even better.

Kings are also being hooked off places like the Cornwallis Wharf and the launching ramp at Waiau Pa on the Manukau Harbour. One fisherman also reported picking up kings to 11kg while trolling in two metres of water along the edge of the banks on the Manukau.


Trout at Lake Taupo are in better condition than they have been for several years, which reflects improved food production in the lake, and indications are promising for the runs in the spawning rivers this winter.

Jigging in the lake has been producing some good fish around 45cm long, and fly fishing at stream mouths at night is starting to pick up as fish seek cold water.

A small fresh in the Tongariro River at New Year sparked a run of brown trout, and the lower reaches have produced fish up to 5.2kg. A rainbow trout of 4.5kg was also reported caught in the river.

While cicadas have not started hatching yet, stalking big browns along the banks of the lower pools will be worth a look when the cicadas can be heard in the trees.

This is exciting sight fishing, spotting the brown shadow of a big fish lying close to the river bank then creeping up on it and casting a large dry fly so the fly drifts down over the trout while ensuring it doesn't see the line.

Hatches of caddis and other flies in the late afternoons make dry fly fishing on the river well worthwhile in the evenings.

Harling on the lake with smelt patterns is also working well in the early mornings.

On the Rotorua lakes fishing has been a mixed bag. Shallow lakes like Lake Rotorua heat up much faster than the deep lakes, and as water temperatures rise trout are attracted to the cold water of tributary streams.

Fly fishing at mouths like the Waiteti, Ngongotaha, Hamurana and Awahou Streams is improving, particularly at night.

But like sea fishing, the season is later this year and the deep trolling is still the best method in the deep lakes, although jigging on Lake Rotoiti is producing good catches.

Trout are scattered throughout the lakes, and when summer conditions cause the deep lakes to stratify into layers of different temperatures the fish will be easier to locate. The thermocline is where the warm surface layer meets colder deep water, and trout can be found at this level with the help of a depth sounder.

When jigging or deep trolling the sign showing on the screen determines the depth to fish at, and this is usually schools of smelt rather than trout - but where the smelt are the trout will not be far away.

Bite times

8am and 8.20pm today and 8.40am and 9pm tomorrow. More fishing action can be found at