We fished the Sunday of Queens Birthday weekend for the CSFC & Franklin Hunting & Fishing Grunter Hunter. Saturday was a perfect day and some very nice snapper came out of the harbour, plus a few gurnard.
Unfortunately, the day of the event wasn’t too flash but it was ok in the morning.
When the wind is against the current in the Manukau, sea conditions deteriorate very quickly.
Clearly you need to be cautious about the wind and tide directions and of course that can be different for each channel as they don’t all go the same way.
Another challenge is the wind overcoming the tide which becomes very important when using burley.
If your baits aren’t going to the same place as the burley then you’re achieving the opposite of drawing fish in – you’re sending them away! To counter that you can use no burley, you can try to find a spot where the wind and tide are aligned – which isn’t practical most of the time or you can tie a drogue off to one of the corners of the boat in an attempt to use the current to overpower the effects of the wind.
We chose not to use a drogue because it is just another thing to get tangled up but it can be frustrating dealing with a boat that swings around all over the place. After a very slow start we eventually caught some gurnard although none of them were big enough to get us in the prizes.
Still, we went home with 13 and probably released 6 or so. A trevally, a spotted dogfish, some kahawai, jack mackerel and a snapper were in the bin when we packed it in so from a fishing perspective it was a successful day.
We caught almost all of our fish in the Waiuku channel but I know the edges of the Papakura channel fished well with the second placed fish at least coming from there.
The top 20 fish weighed between 1.27kg and 0.96 kg so a fish of around 45cm was required to be in the running. No one type of bait stood out for us although the flasher rigs out performed the straylines on the day.
There are still plenty of solid snapper in the harbour and I expect they will hang around for at least another month. We only caught one spiny dogfish which is fine by me.
There are times they are all you will catch over winter but that’s more of a problem over the coast than in the harbour but you do need to be very careful when handling them.
Once they start to wrap around your arm, you’re going to get stung by those nasty spines.
I have no news from the coast, conditions haven’t been good for getting out there but apart from the spiny dogs, snapper will be around. I wouldn’t go much further out than the 30m mark initially.
That’s it from me. Remember that the weather can change very quickly, especially at this time of year.
Take care, Smudge.
This Manukau / Auckland west coast report is supplied by Michael "Smudge" Parker and supports the Counties Sportfishing Club