The west coast is where it's happening, with snapper up to 8kg coming from Raglan, and good fish reported up and down the coast. The Graveyard on the Kaipara Harbour has also benefited from the influx of big snapper on the coast, and is fishing well.

The action seems to be in between 50 and 60 metres of water, which is quite a way offshore on a coast where the seabed is flat and featureless and slopes away gradually. So it is a question of stopping and dropping baits on the favourite west coast rig — a simple flasher or dropped rig with a couple of chunks of bait on large recurved hooks — and waiting for the snapper to turn up.

Off the Manukau Harbour it is often a question of dropping the anchor, catching a couple of snapper and then moving to another spot as there are sharks everywhere and they sometimes turn up quickly when a fish is hooked.

In the Hauraki Gulf, the pattern has changed, and where two weeks ago there were good numbers of snapper at the 40m mark, they have moved into shallower water. On the western side from Tiritiri Matangi Island to Kawau Island the better fishing can be found between 20 and 25m, and when there are no work-ups happening many fishermen are anchoring and sending out berley to attract the fish.


Drifting and dropping slow jigs and soft baits will pick up some fish, but it is a question of trying different spots until you find fish.

The pattern is the same in the Firth of Thames where snapper can be found in 18-20m of water, but generally it has slowed down.

Stray-lining with light line in water only three or four metres deep has also been working well along both sides of the Tamaki Strait.

Break the head off a pilchard to let the blood and juices run out and cast it unweighted well out from the boat down a berley trail.

People in small boats fishing into the dark are a worry for many boaties returning home, and some people seem to ignore the rule that requires a light to be shown at night. Even a torch is better than nothing, but the onus is also on other boats which should always have somebody on watch when travelling in low light.

Scallops in the Rakino Channel are in good condition, and they also nice and fat on the Manukau Harbour with no sign of the rotting weed which plagued those who were dredging for scallops in past years.

Some anglers are using the frill from the scallop meat for bait, threading it on to a size 2/0 hook with a very small sinker on a soft bait rod and casting over the banks in the areas where they have been dredging, and hooking some nice trevally. One fisherman caught one of 2.4kg using this approach.

School snapper are also in the harbour in reasonable numbers although they are not yet widespread; being more concentrated at the top of the harbour by the junction of the Papakura and Waiuku Channels. The first kingfish are also showing up in the harbour.


Fishing around the Mercury group of islands is picking up and crayfish are in deep water around 25 metres, but casting soft baits along the coast of Great Barrier Island has been good, from Tryphena to Cape Barrier and Wellington Head with snapper up to 12kg caught and released.

Kingfish can be hard to find in the Bay of Plenty, but there are good numbers of tarakihi on the edge of the deeper reefs in 60-70 metres of water. Snapper fishing is also better in deep water although two 5kg snapper were caught on lures a mile off Mt Maunganui.

In the Bay of Islands, those anglers on the water at dawn are doing well drifting in 50 metres, and during the day some nice snapper are being taken on the up-current side of Centre Foul. Kingfish can be hard to find in the bay, but the better action is on the 71-metre reef and at Whale Rock.

Fresh water
The new moon today brings dark nights, which are ideal for fly fishing at small stream mouths on the Rotorua and Taupo lakes.

Harling on all the lakes has picked up as smelt activity increases, although a higher proportion of fish that are recovering after spawning are hooked in the shallows compared to deep trolling.

On Lake Tarawera, the improvement in the size and condition of trout continues, although there have been few boats on the lake.

Some of the fish which were liberated last year in October and are now just over two years old (they are one year old when released) are touching 2.65kg on the scales, which is just under 6lbs in the old measure. These can be identified by the left pelvic fin missing.

Fish and Game mark the yearlings by clipping off one of the pelvic fins — on the left side in uneven years, and the right side on even years. This also applies to other lakes, and some of the liberations are staggered through the year, with the majority released in the spring as these seem to have the best survival rate.

The population comprises about 70 per cent liberated fish and 30 per cent recruited naturally through the spawning streams which feed the lake.

Tip of the week

When looking for snapper, in the absence of work-ups follow contour lines on the chart, and look for little nooks and crannies or small patches of foul bottom on the depth sounder. These are places which will hold fish, and can be checked by drifting. More fishing action can be found at

Bite times
Bite times are 1.30am and 1.55pm tomorrow and 2.20am and 2.45pm on Sunday.