It’s been a long time between reports for me, which is a bit naughty especially as I’ve done my share of fishing lately. The ever reliable west coast hasn’t let us down and it seldom does in springtime. One recent trip had some hectic fishing on baits and jigs for some very good fish up to 8kg, then a couple of weeks later with a new fishfinder/chartplotter with no marks whatsoever saved we repeated that trick in even faster time despite just stopping in a random spot in 58m. The difference was in the size of the fish, nothing over 3kg, but that isn’t a bad thing at all.
Here’s the thing out west – if you search around you will find a school of fish but such is the nature of the place at this time of year that once they find your baits the fishing gets almost too easy. In both our recent trips the first hook up was in seconds of our baits hitting the bottom.
Out of two trips I think we only hooked 3 kahawai and a couple of sharks.
In shallower water where terns and gannets were putting on a spectacle, kahawai were rounding up schools of anchovies.
As they are fun to catch on light tackle we spent some time casting lures to them, keeping a few for food and bait. Kahawai is very nice to eat by the way if you know how to deal with it properly.
Bleed them, chill them down and eaten fresh in a number of ways they are pretty good nosh. These fish were only around 1.5kg max and I think they are nicer to eat than the big ones.
We did try for a snapper underneath all that top water action in 20+m but I got impatient and wanted to get out to where the snapper fishing would be more rewarding.
Inside the harbour, snapper are being caught with some reasonable sized fish around.
There are still a few gurnard about (they never really go away there are just fewer of them). Springtime though is a great time to fish for trevally. They are great fighters and light tackle straylines with small hooks, sinkers and bait do a great job.
Usually they are found in shallow water over shell fish beds. Use a net to land the fish though as their mouths tear easily if you lift them out of the water.
Small softbaits also work a treat on trevally but I confess to hardly ever fishing softbaits these days.
The fish in the pics weren’t caught by me but by local trevally expert Marcel Wadek. He is mad keen on catching them and while I know some of his secrets, he really knows his stuff.
If you’re new to fishing the Manukau just remember that there’s a lot of tidal movement, especially on the bigger tides.
That means conditions can change very quickly, especially at the change of the tide.
Make sure you understand the effects of wind against tide out there. As for the bar, don’t take it on unless you’ve done a coastguard course and have had an experience skipper show you the ropes.
Take it easy out there.
This Manukau / Auckland west coast report is supplied by Michael "Smudge" Parker and supports the Counties Sportfishing Club