MANUKAU REPORT: Weather gives a break
Finally we had some great weather again and fishermen were making the most of it last week.
Off the coast many boaties were frustrated with the large number of spiny dogfish featuring in their catch.
Conditions were so good at times that boats were fishing in as close as 6m. Although they were catching snapper the fish were small.
Further out at 60m depth some big snapper were caught with one story of two fish of around 9kg and the rest of the catch made up of fish from 2kg up.
However almost everyone else was reporting spiny dogs. That’s not at all unusual for this time of the year with the better fish usually found well out in the deep water.
Kite fishermen and surfcasters shouldn’t let that hold them back as they are still finding it worth their while getting out when the conditions allow.
The harbour is still turning up good gurnard and kahawai and, as I wrote last week, expect trevally to be around.
Whitebait season opens on August 15 and that is a very popular pastime in rural NZ at least. Whitebait remain the only fish that a recreational angler is legally allowed to sell. It fetches good money too and a lot of retired people and those with time on their hands enjoy the camaraderie and peacefulness of a day on the river with the benefit of a tasty treat if you’re lucky and a handy income supplement if you know your stuff.
Remember though that there are rules and etiquette around whitebaiting so please familiarise yourself before taking to the water.
The Waikato River is also a great place to go to fill up your bait freezer and grey mullet are one of the finest baits you can use for the harbour or the coast. These fish can be caught in numbers when netting and of course there are rules. Learn them.
Like all fishing, mullet netting is a learned art and some mullet netters are very successful. At the moment the fish are plentiful, large and fat.
Kahawai are another fish caught in good numbers up toward the river mouth where it’s best to fish an incoming tide. With whitebait moving in expect kahawai to be around. Trevally are also caught around now and although I haven’t heard of any reports I’m betting a shellfish bait fished from the shore or boat off the sand dunes near the mouth will produce the goods.
Another fish well worth chasing in the river is koi. These carp grow very big and are classified as a noxious fish. They forage around the banks defoliating and eroding the waterways. There are literally millions of them and a walk around the ditches and streams running into the Waikato River around Hoods Landing will surprise many as to just how big and common these fish are. They are believed to have been introduced to the river illegally in the 70s and have just dominated the river. If caught they must be destroyed.
They do make very tough and oily baits which can be dynamite one day and not so good the next. They are also a great burley. I’ve yet to catch one on rod and reel myself but a mate of mine found one stranded in a flooded paddock recently. Knowing I like to use them as bait - or maybe more to annoy my wife - he left it in my mailbox.
Thanks to Neil Bray & John Moran for keeping me up with the fishing action.