There are some spots around the coast where snapper can be hooked in shallow water.

Whether it is along the Coromandel coast or off a rocky point, this is a great time of year to target the shallows.

A small boat is also ideal for this approach and shallow water fishing can be productive at low light, casting lightly weighted baits on light tackle, well back from a small boat. Some big snapper can be caught like this if baits like half a fresh yellowtail are used.

Baitrunner type reels are ideal for this style of fishing, and the original baitrunner was developed by Shimano specifically for fishing in New Zealand and Australia.


One spot that has been consistent is the Waiheke Island shoreline between Matiatia and Church Bay.

What some fishermen do is catch fresh bait in Matiatia Harbour, and when they have a good supply of yellowtails (more correctly jack mackerel) they head around the corner and anchor in quite shallow water.

With a good berley trail and big baits of half a yellowtail or a fillet of fresh kahawai cast well back behind the boat, they catch some good snapper.

One advantage of using such baits is that, while the bites are less frequent, it deters the small pickers which can be such a nuisance when using frozen bait like pilchards and squid.

An added bonus is the number of big trevally which have turned up in the harbour, and can be caught on small chunks of pilchard. Trevally will test light tackle, and should always be netted rather than lifted into the boat, as their soft mouths tear easily and they fall off the hook.

Another area which fishes well in the shallows is on the reefs off the Whangaparaoa Peninsula, and strayling down a berley trail usually produces well.

Fishing for snapper around the Noises is picking up, and some big kingfish have been caught there, including two of about 25kg.

There are two ways of presenting live baits . You can anchor in the channel between the main islands on the edge of the reef and send out a couple of livies under balloons. These can be piper, yellowtails or kahawai.

When fished like this the bait is hooked under the tough skin on the back, just in front of the dorsal fin. Hook size should match the size of the bait as too large a hook will handicap the bait and slow it, eventually killing it.

To be effective, a live bait should be as lively and fresh as possible. The small-shanked live bait hooks are designed for this purpose and are the best option.

The hook is angled at 45 degrees to the body of the bait so that when it is lying flat along the back the point is facing the tail. The reason is that the kingfish swallow the bait headfirst, and you want the point facing away from its mouth.

The other method is to slow troll and a kahawai is best for this as they are so tough. The hook is inserted through the point of the upper lip on the nose.

This way it does not impede the bait's ability to breathe and they swim along about 30m behind the boat.

With both live bait systems the drag on the reel is set with just enough pressure to stop the bait pulling line, so the kingfish can swim away with the bait before the drag is pushed up to strike.

A kingi will often have several attempts at eating the bait, and it must be allowed time to grab it and swim away. This can be exciting, with the kingi lunging and the angler must resist the temptation to pull the bait away from it.

On the west coast snapper fishing can be hot, and there are still marlin at 130m. In the Manukau harbour small snapper are everywhere, but bigger specimens can be found on deep foul in the channels and a tough bait like a mullet head on a long trace will often produce a large one.

The Firth of Thames is holding fish, and the 40m mark off Gannet Rock has been going well. There has been a lot of bird activity in the area in the last week, with snapper below.

But snapper can also be found right through the firth, and if there are no favourite spots logged into the GPS system, it is just a question of mooching along until some sign or a patch of foul shows up on the bottom.

The water in the Bay of Islands is still green and most fish are holding in deep water, except for kahawai which are abundant in the bay. Snapper are coming from about 80m off Bird Rock, and there are kingfish on the western end of Roberton Island, but the deep reefs are fishing better for kings.


Trout fishing will slow down with the full moon on Tuesday, but one spot which will be well worth visiting will be the delta of the Tongariro River.

The heavy rain will have put fresh water into the river, attracting large trout which are preparing to run up the river to spawn. Anchored in the current at one of the mouths and casting out over the drop-off with a fast-sinking line can be very exciting.

And fishing on a moonlit night is even better, while shallow water stream mouths are the opposite - they fish best on a dark night.

Tip of the week

Yellowtails can be fished either as a fillet off a large one, or cut in half at an angle with a hook through the nose. Fresh kahawai are also good for shallow water straylining, with a long strip hanging from a single hook.

Bite times
Bite times are am 10am and 10.25pm today, and 10.45am and 11.10pm tomorrow. More fishing action can be found at