While there is a full moon today, which can make fishing hard as they seem to go off the bite, there are also big tides with a 3.3-metre high on the Waitematā Harbour over the weekend and similar high tides elsewhere.

This will bring strong currents, which help offset the negative aspect of the full moon.

Most lunar, or Māori, fishing calendars predict hard fishing on the day of the full moon as the fish often just refuse to bite. One theory is that they feed at night in the bright conditions.

One effect of the bright nights is that crayfish stay in their rocky lairs as they are more vulnerable to predators in bright light. This has such an influence on their movements that professional crayfishermen in the Chatham Islands don't bother to go out and check their pots on the full moon, as they say the catch will be very poor.


Fishing for snapper has been running hot and cold, in spite of water temperatures up to 18C, and the biggest concentration of fish is south of Kawau Island in "the triangle", between 25 and 30 metres of water. The bottom end of Waiheke Island and the nearby reefs have fished well at times, and the Firth of Thames has been hot and cold.

But the west coast was on fire last weekend, which saw perfect conditions after settled weather, and good bags of snapper came from all the way up the coast from Mokau to Ninety Mile Beach.

Of course the daily limit bag on the coast is 10 snapper, with 27cm still the minimum length. A little fish which is important to snapper fishermen is the yellowtail, or more correctly jack mackerel.

The humble "jack" has a symbiotic relationship with an ugly little creature called a sea louse, which hitches a ride while hanging on inside its throat and no doubt helps itself to the jack's dinner as it goes past.

These loathsome, white parasites desert their host when it dies and crawl out in search of another vehicle. Maybe this is why jacks always seem to die with their mouth wide open.

Experienced snapper fishermen know that the yellow-brown mackerel make just about the best bait for the big ones. That is what has been happening in the Firth of Thames, out off the Whangaparāoa Peninsula and in the Bay of Islands. Kingfish love them, too, and they are often referred to as "kingfish candy".

When hoping for a snapper of 5kg or more, anglers will use the whole jack as a bait. They can be hooked with a single hook inserted under the pectoral fin on one side, hook facing forward, and rolled back so the shank rests against the flank and the point sticks out with the eye of the hook facing the tail.

The trace can then be looped around the tail with a couple of half-hitches to secure it for casting. If a weight is needed to pull the bait down through waves or a strong current, a small ball sinker can be first pushed down against the hook so it doesn't slide up the trace during casting and create a pendulum effect. This is a top bait when stray-lining down a berley trail but also works well when dropped into 25 metres, like in the firth. It just needs a bigger sinker.


At popular spots like Flat Rock, Shearer's Rock and the reef south of Shearers where several large snapper were caught and released last week, a butterflied yellowtail is a favourite big-snapper offering.

This is a jack with the backbone removed, leaving two flaps of flesh hanging from the head and leaching juices which are a magnet to the targeted quarry. It can be rigged with one hook through the bony part of the head for security, and a second hook reversed halfway down one of the fillets.

Some anglers believe the snapper fishing is always better if there are jack mackerel in the vicinity, and they will look for sign of bait fish in midwater on the fish finder when deciding were to fish.

They are also easily targeted with sabiki jig flies baited with morsels of pilchard or squid. Jacks can be filleted and used as regular bait in chunks or strips, and such baits will resists the picking of juveniles and usually result in bigger snapper being hooked, although the action will be slower than with the more common pilchard baits.

Tarakihi are also around in good numbers in 40 metres of water off Little Barrier Island, and are in top condition. They can be targeted with small hooks and baits, fishing along the edge of weed beds or areas of foul.

Fresh water
Anglers are reminded of the "CCD" message- check, clean and dry fishing gear to prevent the spread of plant and fish pests. This applies to fly rods, waders and wading boots; and boats and trailers should be thoroughly cleaned of weed and checked for stowaways like the cat fish which have appeared in Lake Rotoiti.

These hardy fish can live out of water for hours and could be transported between lakes in the box girders which support trailers and are usually open to allow water to run out.

Tip of the week

Old socks make good bags for carrying reels inside a tackle box. This prevents them bouncing around. And the small plastic pill containers we all seem to have are ideal for carrying small items like swivels, plastic beads and hooks etc. A few drops of cooking oil added helps keep rust at bay also. More fishing action can be found at GTTackle.co.nz.

• Bite times

Bite times are 1.30am and 2pm tomorrow and 2.30am and 3pm on Sunday.