Destination Rodney on the rocks
23 June 2015
The Rodney area north of Auckland has some little gems when it comes to fishing. There are bays, ledges, estuaries, islands and rock stacks which are all places of interest for the fisherman.
The first noticeable area north of Whangapaoroa is Mahurangi Harbour. This has some good land-based spots and some relaxing reserves the family can picnic at while Dad sneaks off to cast a line.
Scott’s Point on the north side of the harbour is one such location, found by driving through Warkworth to Snell’s Beach and following the signs. It has a concrete boat ramp, a historic home, reserve, safe swimming and the island can be a good spot to cast a line.
The island is cut off from about half tide; the low allows access to the eastern part of the island where the weedbeds are noticeable. A 3oz sinker on a ledger rig with pilchards cast towards the deeper water at the southern tip or a floating bait cast behind the weedbed can produce fish.
This is also a good area to launch a kayak or boat and head to towards the mouth of the harbour.
The point on the north side of the harbour can provide good shelter when the other parts of the coast are shut down by easterlies. You have to anchor in close. If you look at Google Earth you can see the contour lines and kelp beds.
Kayaks allow you to get to hard-to-reach rock spots.
During one blustery north easter I encountered great shallow water fishing here in less than two metres of water using a strayline rig.
The rest of the harbour was very bumpy and mostly void of boats but I was peacefully fishing with my legs stretched out on my kayak in the sun. Oily berley is important and draws lots of attention. It will be mostly pannie-sized snapper but trevally and kahawai also make an appearance.
Smaller boats can find this spot productive as well when fishing out wide produces nothing.
The rocky point itself fishes well in the evening but it will only be an hour or two around low tide before the incoming pushes you off the best fishing ledges.
I’ve had consistent action here on weightless pilchard rigs over the low a few metres from the edge. Again berley is important to draw the fish to your location.
Heading back along the peninsula and taking the Martins Bay road will bring you out to Scandrett Park (look for the sign). Out to the right is Mullet Point, about a 15-20 minute stroll from about half tide out.
The very end has a channel marker and there is good current sweeping past. This is a good spot to encounter kingfish, although they tend to be a bit ratty in size. A stickbait or livebait will both produce.
This is also a place a slidebait could be quite deadly because of the clean bottom and deeper water closeby. There’s few if any obstructions. The best spots are along the south-eastern side of the point as there is obvious foul looking back towards Snell’s Beach on the north-western side of the point. A longer rod is sometimes an advantage to get the line over the edge. A weighted bait just past the kelp will draw strikes. I have had some surprisingly strong hits close in here.
Although I haven’t tried night fishing, I’d bet my Shimano 50W it could turn on some good snapper fishing on the right moon. Berley is a must, and there is plenty of room for several rods along the ledges.
Be careful you’re not cut off by a rising tide as there is little room to back up and the walk back will be a wet one. There is a gate to the park that closes at 9pm in summer but once inside the gate will open as you approach if you exit after 9pm.
Further north up the coast is Takatu Peninsula, which boasts a marine reserve and a picturesque surfing and swimming beach at Anchor Bay.
There are a few ledges you can fish (on the opposite side of the peninsula to the marine reserve of course) but it takes some looking and exploring to locate them.
The marine reserve covers a couple of kilometres from the point itself back towards Omaha. Check the map at the park entrance to make sure you are familiar with the boundaries.
While a few fishermen in the know target Elephant Point and Tokatu itself (be careful going down the cliff down the front) there is a small rock stack island that often gets missed north of Maori Bay.
If a moderate northerly is making the point unfishable, this spot can be a bit easier to fish. My wife and I were unable to fish the point itself on one trip but a walk back towards the carpark on the Kawau Island side brought us to a rocky island that was cut off at high tide.
We walked across and on first look, it looked to be too shallow to attract any fish.
However 30 minutes later a school of 30 or more kahawai swimming under my feet changed my mind.
Rocky structure and kelp make it difficult to swim a livebait but a stickbait ready maybe a good idea in case his majesty cruises past.
This is rough foul country so floating baits (kahawai strips are good) on 10kg mono is a good standard rig.
Kahawai - a common catch off the rocks.
Driving along Matakana Road after Warkworth, follow the signs out to Omaha Beach and then turn right at the roundabout and follow your nose to the end where there is a walkway past a tennis court to the eastern end of the beach.
A low tide on a calm evening is best to fish the rock ledge that borders the beach. It will be mostly kahawai that you encounter casting back almost into the bay.
However it’s easy access and a lightly weighted bait cast 50-60 meters out will attract fish and give you something for the smoker. A nice place to take the Mrs, a picnic and a beer or wine would be a nice accompaniment for the casual fisherman.
Some fishermen target bronze whalers off the beach, while the Ti Point side of the estuary entrance has a wharf and a track. The entrance itself on an outgoing tide isn’t a bad place to cast a line, it is fairly deep and kahawai, trevally and the occasional kingfish can be swimming past.
Fishing just past the channel marker on the rocks after an hour or more is the best spot. John dory inhabit the harbour so a livie on a slidebait or ledger rig close in is a way to snare some prime John dory fillets for dinner, unless a kingfish grabs it instead and you have to dash 100 metres along the rocks to keep up.