Where's the fish?
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This is the time of year that kingfish are really firing up. Between now and the end of January, it can traditionally be the best time for kingy fishing, and the big, strong-fighting game fish are hitting lures both top water and jig, and smashing live baits. Just about anywhere you can find current and structure is great for targeting kingfish. Pins and drop offs will hold fish, but not always in the same place.
It’s important to use your sounder to identify where fish are holding, or at least where the bait fish are holding. Whether the tide is running in, or running out will affect the current, and therefore the position the bait and predators will be.
Just like trout shelter in front and behind rocks as the rivers flow, kingfish use the current to their advantage. Be aware when you are fishing of what direction the current is flowing, and look to the leeward side of the structure to find the point that fish are sheltering. There’s always current lines that gather baitfish where they need to expend the least energy to shelter and feed, and often this is also where the predators will be.
When you do hook up, mark or note your spot on the sounder. More often than not returning to the exact spot will see more hook-ups result, as the kingfish are often not solitary predators.
Sharks are always around and this year is no different. They can be very stubborn and stick around so you only have two options. Firstly, use heavier gear and really get your fish to the surface fast. That works only sometimes. A better option is just to bite the bullet and move on to another area. Very frustrating when you know you are leaving fish.
If there are a few on board, and you do get into some good fishing and are pulling fish up from 70 metres or so hooked on jigs or livies, try dropping another jig down 20 metres or so, or throwing out a stick bait when the hooked fish is near the surface.
Often some very good fish will be accompanying their mate to the surface and can be quite excited and amped for hitting a lure.
The pins around the Alderman’s continue to produce good fishing, and also the deeper areas off the north of Great Mercury such as Never Fail rock, and the pins off Cuvier if you can get out that far.
Another good option is to troll live baits. Kings will hit a trolled livie just about anywhere around our coastline in anything from 10 to 30 metres of water. Off most headlands, areas of foul, or even beaches, you can hook kingfish and sometimes big snapper using this method. Just rig a jigging rod with a couple of metres of 100lb fluorocarbon and a bridle rigged, or nose-hooked jack mackerel and run it as slowly as you can manage with the reel in free spool and your thumb holding the line. Run about 20 metres of line with a 2-3oz ball sinker running on the main line to get the bait down to the zone. You’ll feel a strike, give it 3- 4 seconds running line before you set the hook.
Snapper fishing can be all on or all off at this time of year as the fish spawn, and are often more interested in procreating than eating. Bite times can be short and fish can be very hard to get on the bite, even when you know they are there.
There’s always good fishing at some point though, as they still have to eat, so when you do hit the right note and find the fish activity enjoy it while you can.
Fish will be in close all around the Coromandel region, and berleying, stray lining, or drifting with soft baits should eventually produce some nice fishing.
Change of light is often, but not always, a game changer targeting summer snapper in close, and our east coast is usually a pretty nice place to be before the sea breeze picks up.
The Christmas break is naturally the busiest time on the water here, as holiday makers arrive with boats in tow, so just remember we are all part of the same team that enjoy our fishing and boating. Remember to keep speeds down around other boats, look out for small craft and give other boats fishing some reasonable space.
Have a great Christmas break and see you in the New Year
NZ Fishing World