A lot of fish have swum through these pages over the years — 498 columns to be precise — but this is our last cast.

It is said that everything changes, and yet nothing changes. Looking back on the first column (July 25, 2009), we reported a fisherman dropping jigs at North Reef, off the Poor Knights Islands, was having a lot of fun catching kingfish in midwater.

He discovered they were feeding on paper nautilus shellfish which were gathering for their annual spawning ritual. So he dropped a bait, hoping for a snapper as they also are partial to a meal of nautilus, and sure enough he boated a beauty. Back on land the scales registered 15kg (33lb) — one bait, one fish. It doesn't get much better than that.

There is a patch of foul about 10km north of The Noises in 40 metres, and large soft plastics dropped down on light braid line will often produce snapper up to about 8kg. Dark coloured lures in brown or purple work well.

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The other action to be found is what seasoned snapper hunters know only too well, and that is casting small baits into the shallow reefs which line the edge of Rangitoto, Waiheke and other islands. Ruthe Passage and Orere Pt are other favoured areas for this style of fishing. The key is to find patches of weed.

When targeting gurnard on the Manukau and Kaipara harbours one approach that works well is to reverse the traditional flasher rig. The pre-tied rigs with four or five hooks tied with flasher material in small sizes of 4/0 or 5/0 are popular, and are usually rigged with a sinker at the bottom. But gurnard feed by literally crawling along the seabed, locating food like small crabs with their sensitive leg-like feelers.

It makes sense to offer all of the baited hooks hard on the bottom, and a ball sinker fitted above the trace — rather than a weight at the end — does exactly that. It allows the hooks to all lie on the sand or mud and the unweighted trace can also move in the current, providing added allure for the fish.

And so the stories, like the tides, ebbed and flowed through the seasons. But some things remain constant, and the 90-10 rule is one of them. That is, that 10 per cent of those who drop a line catch 90 per cent of the fish; or thereabouts. If we knew exactly why there would be no need for books and chat sites where knowledge is shared.

For nobody knows it all, and those with an open mind who think about what is going on under the surface, and are prepared to learn and adapt, will consistently catch fish. Others will enjoy the occasional hot patch. But for every good day there will be a slow one, for you always pay your dues.

Hopefully the reports and occasional scraps of advice have helped put fish in the boat from time time. Many thanks for the support over the years. Stay safe on the water.

Freshwater
Fish and Game want anglers fishing in the eastern district to go online and submit reports through a new diary system. Management of the trout fishery depends on quality information, says fishery officer Mark Sherburn.

"While we survey thousands of fishers, we always need more information, especially from out-of-the-way places," he says.

The new online diary will allow anglers to enter information about their trips on rivers, streams and lakes.

"Monitoring it is vital for the management of the trout fishery."

There is an incentive also, with vouchers to be won. The diaries can be found online.

Tip of the week

The full moon two days ago might slow down fishing, but king tides will compensate by bringing powerful currents. The key is to fish through the end of one tide, the turn, and the start of the next tide until the current becomes too strong to keep gear on the bottom in the channels. Then move out into wide open water for the next phase.

You usually find that one part of the tide will fish better than others, which is why it makes sense to cover both tides. More fishing action can be found at GTTackle.co.nz.

Bite times
Bite times are 3.10am and 9.25pm tomorrow and 3.45am and 9.55pm on Sunday