One of the first rules of fishing is simple: fish to the conditions
Which rig is best to use on the business end of the snapper line? Some people opt for a ledger rig, others prefer a trace. On some days one rig will outfish the other, but there are good reasons for this and it comes down to the conditions encountered - boat and water movement.
The dynamics of the actual trace-sinker setup can be altered to suit the conditions. For example, if the boat is swinging on the anchor a ledger rig with the sinker on the bottom under a couple of hooks on loops, or a pre-tied flasher rig, can be pulled up away from the bottom where the snapper are usually found. In this case a sinker above a swivel with a trace below and a hook on the end will ensure the bait stays hard on the bottom. The same applies in strong currents.
Conversely, when the surface is still and there is little current, a ledger will often produce better results. But the trick is to have the hooks as low as possible. When tying a ledger the bottom loop should be just above the sinker so the hook will droop down on to the bottom, and the next hook should be as close as possible without the loops being able to meet and tangle the hooks. The pre-tied flasher rigs with coloured flashers on the hooks often have the bottom hook too far above the sinker but this is easily remedied by using a sharp knife and raising the sinker.
The hooks on ledgers should be recurve hooks, while the common octopus or suicide models are usually tied on to the end of a long trace. The rule of thumb with a trace, or running rig, is "the stronger the current, the longer the trace".
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One other trick which many people use is to fish a flasher rig like a running rig, with the sinker above the rig, allowing the flashers to move in the current. In this case another baited hook can be added to the loop at the end.
The action continues all along the east coast off Leigh, Pakiri and Mangawhai with schools of bait fish, birds and snapper. But the best results for large fish are still coming from the deeper water further out. There are good fish all along the cable line east of Kawau, and north of Tiritiri Matangi Island continues to produce.
The winter produced some excellent fishing on the Manukau Harbour, according to long-time Manukau angler John Moran.
"Last week one angler launched his boat at Cornwallis and fished in the general area around the wharf. After catching a couple of gurnard and legal snapper he was busted off a couple of times on 2kg line, so he beefed up to 6kg tackle and connected to a heavy fish - eventually landing a 9.1kg snapper. On the west coast it is simply a mater of crossing the bar when the weather allows and a limit of 10 snapper is virtually guaranteed," he said.
Fresh waterWindy conditions have affected fishing on the Rotorua lakes but all methods are producing good fish. Jigging at Hauparu Bay on Lake Rotoiti has picked up, while harling at the southern end of Lake Okataina and on Tarawera is improving.
At Lake Taupo all signs are pointing to a good start to the smelting season. Trout are still deep, and those fishing jigs and downriggers report fish are at 30-40m and are gorged with smelt. Fly fishing the stream mouths should pick up as the moon wanes next week.