Famously celebrated as Zane Grey’s Anglers Eldorado the Bay of Islands continues to shine as a favourite all-weather fishing destination for both locals and visiting anglers from around the world. The author learnt his trade in the Bay fishing every nook and cranny it’s hundreds of islands and rocky cliffs hide.
1. Rocky Point foul – kingfish
This inshore kingfish ground is heavily fished but continues to produce the goods. Pay close attention to the sounder and fish the marks as you see them. Jigging and deep-fished livebaits work equally well.
2. The Needles and Lion Rock - crayfish
Good hunter diver country. This whole coast is worth exploring.
3. The Ninepin – snapper, kingfish
Target snapper on the bottom structure to the east of the main rock. Kingis often maraud the bait schools hanging around breaking rocks.
4. Inside Ninepin Trench – marlin
One the Bay’s best known marlin spots. Lures are best as you will need to cover ground. Hapuka can also be marked
5. Outside Ninepin Trench – marlin
Worth plenty of effort with lures on
the right day. Has produced numerous blue marlin.
6. Light of the Goat – marlin, hapuka
An area of foul ground starts in about 220m. The landmark is the Cape Brett lighthouse directly over Goat Island.
7. Rex’s Trench – marlin, hapuka
This shallow trench is part of an area often filled with skipjack and gannets.
If conditions look right two a couple of live skipjack.
8. 71m Reef – kingfish, hapuka
A well-known reef northeast of Cape Brett. Kingfish and hapuka are common. Fishes well for snapper at times. Try jigging, poppers and deep set livebait.
9. Waiwiri Rock – kingfish, snapper
Top-rated kingfish spot, particularly with live blue koheru. Endless fishing options can present for those keen to try new techniques. Produces a few surprise marlin. Good surface fish activity.
10. The Hole in the Rock – kingfish, snapper
Both sides fish well depending on the tide. Look for baitfish on the surface as an indication of where to fish. Be wary of boat traffic suddenly appearing out of the Hole.
11. Pig Gully – snapper
Can be very good snapper fishing, particularly on the northern side
of the bay’s entrance. Good in southwesterly winds.
12. Bird Rock – kingfish, snapper
Good go-to location for kingfish jiggers. Mostly smaller fish but often in big numbers.
13. The Sisters – kingfish
As a rule the southwestern end fishes best. The author has hooked two marlin here when targeting kingfish.
14. Deep Water Cove – anchorage
A very good anchorage in an easterly. Fishing is banned here.
15. Kingfish reef – kingfish, snapper
A great spot for keen jiggers. The pin rises sharply so be wary of lost gear.
16. Whale Rock – snapper
Arguable the Bay of Islands most famous snapper spot. Many trophy fish taken here. Fishes best on an incoming tide with strayline. Use a sounder to find you own possie.
17. Paradise Bay – scallops
The inner island area is full of scallop beds. The 10m contour is a good place
to start looking.
18. The middle ground – snapper
Often holds very good numbers of fish. Use a sounder if anchoring although work ups are common so keep an eye open.
19. Western end of Roberton Island – snapper
Very consistent snapper foul. Work the 30m line.
20. The Brampton Shoal – snapper
A stealthy approach in a small boat or kayak will yield good results. Shoal breaks heavily in an easterly swell.
21. Kemp Passage – snapper, terakihi
Great spot to fish in strong northwest to northerly winds. Hunt the edge of the foul around the Motuterakihi Islands.
22. Onslow Rock – snapper, terakihi
Fish the reel to the southeast of this rock for the best results. Watch for birds and work-ups towards the inner bay.