This is a good time of year for targeting large snapper off the beach with a torpedo and long-line.
There is usually a run of large snapper up the west coast from Taranaki to 90-Mile Beach, and Mokau is one beach which is a favourite for torpedo fishermen.
Others are Whirinaki in Hawkes Bay, and the Bay of Plenty beaches between Whakatane and Opotiki. A 9kg snapper was pulled in last week at Tirohonga Beach, near Opotiki.
One spot which has been fishing well is surfcasting at Poutu, north of the Kaipara Harbour entrance, where some large snapper have been taken from the beach recently including one of 12kg. One angler reported hooking good snapper on four consecutive casts there last week.
While the best fishing on the east coast is on big tides with strong currents, the other side is much better to visit on the small tides. The Manukau can be very challenging when the currents are racing. It is hard getting terminal gear down to the seabed, and strong currents tear out weed which quickly fouls lines.
When considered, the fishing around Auckland is very user-friendly. You can fish the east side on big tides and take home seven snapper over 30cm long; and travel to the Manukau or Kaipara Harbours when the tides are at their smallest and on a good day take home 10 snapper down to 27cm.
There is also a daily allowance of 20 other assorted fish, which may be trevally, kahawai, gurnard or something else like john dory.
Any kingfish which are boated may be taken on top of the other bags, with up to three allowed although few anglers take more than one kingfish which is ample for the kitchen.
When conditions allow there have been plenty of fish to be caught on the east coast, from Leigh down to the North Shore, with snapper up to 4kg taken under work-ups.
The most consistent fishing has been north of Tiritiri Matangi Island, and one party brought home a bin of good snapper and a kingfish last Saturday after fishing under a huge work-up east of Flat Rock.
There are good schools of snapper at 35m north of The Noises, and the triangle between Tiri and Kawau Island and out in the Hauraki Gulf toward the cable zone also usually holds a lot of fish at this time of year.
Look for birds and dolphins, or anchor and drop berley on the seabed. When drifting lures and jigs can be used, but if anchored baits are better. More fish will be hooked if small baits are used, like chunks of pilchards on flasher rigs, rather than whole pillies drifted down on a strayline rig where the sinker is hard up against the bait. While large baits will attract fish, they are easily stripped by the aggressive smaller snapper and in deep water it takes time bringing up lines and replacing baits. The baits which stay on the hook longer are fresh bait like strips of kahawai, mullet or yellowtail.
These can also be mixed with pilchard to make a cocktail - one to attract the fish with its blood and juices, and the other to resist the small teeth of pickers until a good fish comes along.
Fishing out around Great Barrier Island has been good, both straylining over inshore reefs and out in 40-45m, with hapuku moving in to 130m outside Barrier.
In the Bay of Islands fishing at dusk is best off Tapeka Pt and the Centre Foul. Kingfish can be hooked at the 71m reef and on the deep reefs off Rocky Pt along the 50m line, and skipjack tuna have been reported out off Whangaroa.
Inshore snapper fishing is improving in the Bay of Plenty, with water temperatures around 16C, and out at White Island kingfish are turning up and fishing is picking up, with the first flying fish also out.
Trolling and harling on the Rotorua lakes and at Lake Taupo has picked up, with more trout chasing smelt on Lakes Rotorua, Rotoiti, Okataina and Tarawera. The reason Rotoiti and Rotorua produce fast trout growth is the abundance and size of the smelt in the lakes, which can be attributed to the rich nutrients in the water.
While this contributes to fast growth of both smelt and trout, it can also signal a problem in mid-summer when algal blooms appear.
Smelt spawn in the shallows in spring and autumn, and trout at Tarawera often have juvenile smelt in their gut at this time of year. But the trout in the best condition are the larger fish which are feeding on koura.
Only the bigger trout can manage to catch and eat the crayfish, and the seratonin in the shells turns the trouts flesh pink, like salmon. Such trout usually have a red stripe down the flank, and the vent will be dilated from passing the koura shells.
Tip of the week
Fresh kahawai or mullet are favourite baits for long-lines set from the beach and the fish should be first scaled, then cut into small chunks. Large baits are no advantage on long-lines, and can cause problems by spinning as the line is pulled out. The hook needs to go through the chunk only once, and if the skin side is resting on the sand the flesh will not be damaged as the line is pulled across the sand.
Bite times are 1.45am and 2.10pm tomorrow and 2.30am and 2.55pm on Sunday. More fishing action can be found at GTTackle.co.nz