I guess we’ve been pretty lucky to have so many easterly winds to help flatten out the swells moving into the west coast but they don’t help at all when they are a steady 20 knots, just a little too brisk for me. Then of course now the weekend is upon us and today (Friday) we’re getting sou’ westerlies gusting to 37 knots, bugger! Oh well the trees need pruning, lawns need mowing and there are always a few cold beers in the fridge so I can’t complain.
Out on the harbour things haven’t been going terribly well for us, although it’s relatively easy to catch a few fish.
I just wish I could find some bigger ones.
I know they are out there as at a recent ‘Harbour Only’ sweepstake type fishing competition for snapper and gurnard, the winning fish were a 5kg+ snapper and a 1kg+ gurnard. That’s pretty handy considering we only had 10 or so boats on the water.
Then there was a 7 year old, whose dad took her fishing off the beach and she proudly weighed a 2.7kg kahawai for club points. That is a really nice fish, well done Aurora!
Trevally take a certain approach to catch regularly and I know a few anglers, myself included who love catching those fish. There are plenty around but it can take a bit of searching to find them. Try channel edges, casting out small lightly weighted baits on 4/0 hooks or thereabouts.
Berley helps but keep it on the bottom. Kahawai will turn up of course but this technique works so well on snapper and gurnard also that I never fish the shallows without a line out the back.
The coast is really firing for snapper but I wouldn’t advise going too deep, 30 metres is plenty. In a little shallower it’s well worth casting a stray lined bait out behind the boat. In 20m or more I usually stay with a dropper rig.
Go deeper and I suspect you will get a whole lot more sharks. If the swell is well down you can safely anchor in 10m or less but make sure you have plenty of anchor warp out as even on the calmest of days, eventually a swell much bigger than the others will roll on in.
If it’s big enough and there isn’t enough rope in the water you’re likely to find yourself waiting for a helicopter ride and they are only fun when you’ve pre booked one.
Gamefish have been a little quiet for the last few weeks but there is still time providing the weather plays ball and the first week of April is looking pretty good – at this stage. While it is worth making plans a week out, things can change awfully quick.
Tuna are usually in fairly close in April so there’s an option that you can squeeze in with snapper fishing.
Now that the constraints on outdoor activities have been lifted, we’re starting to plan the 2022 Grunter Hunter.
It’s a very popular event and it’s open to all. This year it is scheduled for June 5. It is a gurnard only competition where anglers can only weigh one fish, it will count for either the biggest fish or as the average sized fish.
The prizes are well worth winning, in the past we’ve been able to offer cash prizes of up to $3000 for the heaviest and $500 for average weight. This is a competition that anyone can win. With my reputation for catching gurnard you would expect that I’ve won it a few times in the last 11 years.
Sadly for me I haven’t but I’ll keep on trying!
That’s it for now, I had better go stock up the fridge.
Good luck out there and stay safe.
This Manukau / Auckland west coast report is supplied by Michael "Smudge" Parker and supports the Counties Sportfishing Club