MANUKAU REPORT: Getting past the sharks
It isn’t easy trying to put a report together when the weather doesn’t want to come out and play.
Nothing new from the west coast due to the bad weather but even if Te Ra shines on us and the sea is flat I am unlikely to go fishing out there until spring time. That’s just me, I prefer to chase gurnard around the harbour in winter, or fish out east in 50m of water. It’s not that the fish aren’t there, it is more to do with the bycatch. This time of year the bycatch is sharks - big sharks, small sharks, spiny sharks, smooth sharks, blue sharks, bronze sharks …every kind of shark!
Find a way through them and you will be rewarded with some nice snapper on a good day but you have to work for them. Some great snapper are caught this time of the year to kite and torpedo fishermen when the swells are down especially in low light conditions. I’ve seen a lot of 20lb-plus fish from Kariotahi caught from long lines in June, July and August in past years. I’ll wait for those big spring snapper that will arrive in late September, hopefully!
Fishing has been hard in the harbour. If the fish are playing hard to catch be prepared to move around and try varying the depth you’re fishing at. If you decide to try deep water, target an hour or two each side of high and low to minimise the effects of the strong Manukau currents. Often you will find that the fishing is very slow on the very top and bottom of the tide with the fish on the bite either on the ebb or the flood, but often not on both. Confused? Yep I am too but that’s where the fun comes from, when you clean up on good fish in winter it is very rewarding. Putting a plan together to cover all the bases is all important when fish are hard to find.
The reports I’m hearing from the Kaipara this year have been outstanding. It’s a similar harbour to the Manukau and similar species and techniques mean Manukau fishers feel right at home on the Kaipara. It is a vast harbour though and it pays to do a little homework before heading out. I often hear of gurnard around the 2kg mark and around 60cm long. I’ve yet to see any that big though!
My picture this week is of a spotted dog fish known by a whole lot of names such as rig, smooth hounds, lemon fish or doggies. They are the original ‘fish ‘n chips’ shark and are quite sought after by some anglers, especially surfcasters. This one was caught off Grahams Beach two weeks ago, they can be caught on a variety of baits but pilchard cubes, squid, shellfish and crabs seem to work best.
Spotted dogfish are easily recognised by their brownish colouring and multiple small white spots. They don’t have teeth, well not like other sharks do and are easily handled. Just don’t mistake them for spiny dog fish which need special care when handling. Although reputed to be nice eating I have yet to eat one. I prefer eating the tradiitional table fish. This one was released to grow bigger but it was a reasonable size.
This weekend we have midday high tides of around 4.1m. For no particular reason other than it’s time for it to fire, I’m picking the Manukau to turn on some good fishing if the weather allows.
Good luck! Smudge.