Rock fishing newbie Paul Walker charts a treasure trove of nooks and crannies heading up the East Coast from Auckland
1. North Head
There are some ledges facing Rangitoto which can hold kingies over the summer. Best to get there very early morning before the continuous boat traffic starts. Chance of snapper here at low incoming tide; best with piper or live bait.
2. Cheltenham Beach
A wide flat pan beach which extends basically out to the Rangitoto Channel at low tide. With a good cast you will be in deep water on the edge of the channel. At most, a couple of hours is all you will get here before the tide chases you back to the beach, but it may be all you will need. Very early morning or evening low will be best to beat the boat traffic.
3. Takapuna Head
The rock country under Fort Cautley can produce some great evening fishing. Best around change of light using big floating baits. Watch you don’t get cut off in here as the tide comes right into the cliffs in places. If you can, take berley.
4. North Narrow Neck to St Leonard’s Beach
This is a long piece of excellent rocky coast with a variety of fishing spots – it would pay to take a low tide walk along here to check out the options. There are quite a few offshore rocks and reefs that will need a good cast to get to, but there are also numerous gutters and sandy spots right through to under Clifton Road that have given up some very big snapper with evening fishing.
5. Black Rocks
In this area from Takapuna boat ramp through to Milford beach, including Thorne Bay, use running rigs as you will need a distance cast to get clear. Either strip baits or squid and a short 40-pound trace, fishing just past the weed line for a mixed bag of kahawai, snapper and the odd John dory.
At the end of Tiri Road, just on dusk, drop a big floating bait (fresh if possible) in between the reefs over the foul ground. You’ll only need one, and hey presto:
7. Castor Bay to Campbell’s Bay
Here’s another spot that can give up big fish, but for some strange reason small baits like anchovies do well here. Walk down the steps at Kennedy Park, turn left at the bottom and walk to the large slip in the cliff. Fish up to 7kg have been pulled out of here. Great in an easterly.
8. Mairangi, Murray’s and Rothesay Bays
All of this area is quite shallow in places, but there is some low foul, best fished with floating baits towards high tide, morning or night, or on overcast days. You can get trapped on the Rothesay Bay rocks at high tide, so be careful there.
9. Torbay, Winstone’s Cove
Another good rocky spot. Torbay is a bit shallow so it will need a good cast, but Winstone’s Cove has, on occasion, produced some huge snapper, up to 9kg or more. Use big floating baits at dusk.
10. Arkles Bay
There is a rock shelf that runs around into the Wade River mouth from Arkles Bay. Fish this on an out-going tide – a lot of fish come out of that river.
EDITOR"S NOTE: We have been informed this is private property and permission is required to access this fishing spot.
11. Shakespeare Park
On the southern side of the park is a large shallow bay called Okoromai. As soon as the high tide will let you, walk out along the eastern side, heading for the old wreck. About 100 metres before you reach the wreck there is a shelf that fishes well in a northerly wind.
Te Haruhi or Shakespeares Bay is the next bay around. The eastern end off the point can fish well with an incoming tide.
From this point you can walk around Whangaparaoa head to Army Bay, but it’s a long walk (3-4 hours). Better to walk straight from Army Bay, following the rocks around until you’re opposite Wellington reef. Fish into the channel there, but watch the tide – you can get cut off.
12. Fisherman’s Cove
From the little ramp you can go right to Army Bay or left to Coal Mine Bay; there are good shelves, gutters and points both ways. You will need a decent cast to get clear in some places but floating baits in others.
13. Hatfield’s Beach
At the northern end of the beach is a small stream. Cross this and head out to the rocks, but don’t go too far – no need to go around the point. Cast while facing Orewa Beach and you may be surprised just how well you do.
Head south from the beach back toward Hatfield’s. You may need the tide to drop a bit before you can get around the rocks, but this little piece of coast can fish very well with deeper water not too far out. Mornings can be good here.
Head south back towards Waiwera until just before the point. Don’t go out to the Sugar Loaf Island as you can get trapped here very quickly. Cast down the side of the foul north of the island. Big floating baits work here.
16. Mahurangi Regional Park
From the stream around to Cudlip Point is a good shelf that faces back toward Brazier Rock. On the high tide this place can fish very well for both snapper and kingies. You can cross the stream and head down the beach to the rock shelf right opposite brazier rock, casting out into the channel between the two. The Puhoi River also empties out here so there’s plenty of water movement. Piper seems to be an excellent bait all along
17. Mahurangi Harbour
Just inside the harbour on the southern side are three points: Tungutu Point (best reached from Otarawao or Sullivan’s Bay), and Opahi Point and Opaheke Point, which are both left and right of the Opahi Bay boat ramp. These three points fish really well from half to low tide.