Autumn is one of our favourite seasons to fish in the Coromandel, as the on-water traffic is down to a minimal and most fish are in superb condition when you do find them. The season can feel like the middle of summer one day, when the weather is in a settled pattern, and conversely can suddenly be like mid-winter, so it is a time to pick the windows.
Fishing off the beaches has been rewarding lately, if you are after some action from good sized kahawai.
The bigger fish are packing roe, and if you are a fan of smoking your kahawai, then you might enjoy smoking the roe to go with it.
For those that don’t think kahawai is a decent table fish, think again. Try bleeding your fish immediately, filleting out the dark bloody part, and making a tasty ceviche or just fresh sashimi.
At change of light there are often snapper, kingfish and trevally in the shallows if you can get a bait or lure into deep enough water.
I’ve enjoyed using an 11 foot ‘shore jigging’ rod with light braid, like a cross between a spinning rod and a surf caster.
These long rigs are designed specifically to cast and fish lures great distance from shore, and are another very effective and fun way to fish courtesy of Japan’s fishing culture. Here’s an example of another 10 foot model available at Marine Deals.
Snapper fishing has been been pretty consistent with decent resident fish holding in close to the reef and foul structures or where sand meets the foul.
Many of the school snapper have moved off the sand out deeper, so fishing the beaches can be hit and miss depending on the tides, moon phases and other factors.
Recently there’s been good beach fishing off Kennedy Bay, Matarangi, Kuoatunu and Otama using soft baits cast ahead of the drift in 20 to 30 metres.
If you are keen on a snapper tournament, don’t miss the Mercury Bay Queen’s Birthday Snapper Fishing Tournament on Saturday the 4th of June. Entry and details HERE
Good lure fishermen will still get the job done but most local anglers are putting their faith in a bit of berley and bait to get the big ones in.
Moving offshore the Mercury Island groups have been fishing pretty well, particularly around the better reef structures and off the northern locations such as Never Fail Rock, Arimawhai Point, and the structure off Cathedral rocks.
Be aware that Biosecurity New Zealand has placed legal controls over the western bays of Ahuahu Great Mercury Island in a bid to prevent the spread of an introduced pest seaweed found there.
It limits anchoring, and if you want more details find the full rules and details HERE https://www.mpi.govt.nz/news/media-releases/boating-and-fishing-rules-in-place-at-great-mercury-island-to-stop-the-spread-of-invasive-seaweed/
As the weather cools, the kingfish are often down a bit deeper on the pins and tend to respond better to live baits than jigs, so slow trolling livies around the shallower reefs, or dropping jack macks down on the deeper pins is where the best chances are. Keep a topwater set handy though, as any surface bust ups can be rewarded if you’re quick enough to get a stickbait out.
Approaching winter means deep dropping for bluenose and hapuka, and the challenge of finding them if you don’t already have marks for your favourite spot X’s.
If you have the weather and the range to get out to contour lines and any small bottom structures between 130 to 400 metres will be where you will find bluenose, bass, gemfish and hapuka.
Navionics sonar charts clearly indicate shelves, structure, and contour lines that are worth exploring, but finding your own marks on the sounder and saving them is the only way to go as most anglers prefer to keep those hard-earned locations under their hats.
Here's a bit of detail from Matt Watson we posted last year regarding using your sounder to find deepwater sign: