Northland Hot Spots

By Forsyth ThompsonNZ Fishing World
Northland Hot Spots

NZ Fishing World’s Forsyth Thompson has fished the length and breadth of New Zealand. Part two of this series covers some of his best spots in the Far North and Bay of Islands

Parengarenga Barges

34 31’33S  172 59’41E

Target species Trevally, kingfish, kahawai

Hot tips Beware of a wrecked and sunken barge outside the entrance to the harbour. As with all bars, take extreme care when crossing and avoid in any weather from the easterly quadrant. Fishing crystal clear water over the sand, use berley to bring in the massive trevally and schools of kahawai right up to the back of the boat. Always keep a livey swimming too, kings will most likely show up.  Stay as far from the barges as you can, the trevally can get massive and are nigh-on impossible to stop. Straylining with single hooks and smaller cube baits for the trevally. Standard livebait gear for the kings.

North Cape

34 24’58.06S 173 03’06.32E

Target species Snapper, trevally, kingfish

Hot tips Site of some of the most spectacular land-based fishing I’ve been privileged to witness. When 4-6kg snapper are free-swimming around you and taking baits off the surface, you know you’re somewhere special. Straylining: 15kg minimum main line, 60lb-plus fluoro trace. Big fish, reefs and currents. Baits: The bigger the better; half kahawai or heads, whole mackerel etc.

Spirits Bay

34 24’55S 172 51’14E

Target species Trevally, kingfish, snapper, kahawai, sharks

Hot tips Rightly famous land-based spot. Access from the beach, walking over the hill. Gets some pressure, but plenty of fantastic fish come from here. Be judicious with berley as sharks can be a problem. Quality snapper, trevs and kings are all possible here. Straylining for the first two, livebaits or topwater lures for the kings.

Landbased snapper

Motuopao Island (Cape Maria van Diemen)

34 27’44.47S 172 38’06E

Target species Kingfish

Hot tips When weather permits to get here the kingfish can be spectacular. The area holds masses of kahawai and has huge currents. Jigging for kingfish around the northern tip of the island can be dramatic and these West Coast fish fight really hard. Bring the heavier jigging gear!

Karikari Peninsula, Moturoa Island

34 46’02.69S 173 20’39.39E

Target species Kingfish

Hot tips Right through this chain of islands, there are numerous spots to troll livebaits and throw poppers and stickbaits. I like to start out at the far end of the island where the water is deep right up to the rocks and the currents run. Moving through the islands throwing lures and/or trolling livebaits will produce kings more often than not right through the season.

Keri Keri Islands

Kerikeri Peninsula, Whangatupere Bay

34 50’21.86S 173 26’56.90E

Target species Snapper

Hot tips Best boat fishing is drifting closer in to the rocks, flicking softbaits. Anchoring and straylining with berley definitely an option too. Upsize hooks, braid and trace, as there are huge snapper through here, which will seriously test your gear. Also seen several 12kg-plus PB snapper taken through this bay by land-based fishos.

Keri keri to Nine Pin

Okaituna Bay

34 55’28.31S 173 34’21.22E

Target species Snapper

Hot tips Numerous land-based opportunities through here. This particular rock produced tournament-winning snapper to 8kg, all caught free sight fishing the berley. Straylining essential, steady berley trail and constant cubing of small baits. When the fish go off the bite, move from here.


Taupo Bay/False Head

34 59’42.64S 173 44’43E

Target species Snapper

Hot tips A sunken reef just off the small rocky outcrop holds fish in a fairly small area depending on tide direction. It's a foul, reefy area, so heavier trace is recommended with no weight for straylining with assorted baits.

Urapukapuka Island

35 12’24.10S 174 13’59.00E

Target species Snapper

Hot tips Fishing facing south-east off the rock produces the best fish consistently. Not as foul as some other land-based spots, so you can strayline and go down a little on trace if required. Some 7kg-plus snapper taken from here, 2-3kg common.


35 13’09S 174 15’09E

Target species Snapper

Hot tips The island and ledges nearby have accounted for a lot of big snapper. They do get a reasonable amount of pressure due to accessibility. Take care with tides if fishing the island. Strayline pilchards and mackerel. Reasonably foul, so mainline/trace accordingly.

Urupukapuka, Rawhiti, Bay of Islands

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