Expect an increase in active fishing opportunities, with abundant snapper in the harbour post-spawning, along with kingfish, trevally, and kahawai, while flounder and grey mullet also offer rewarding catches, either through netting or spearing, amidst various fishing methods and local regulations.
So we close in on February, it’s a fair expectation that fishing in general will step up. There are certainly some great snapper in the harbour and I expect the bigger fish will become more active now that spawning is mostly out of the way. Kingfish, trevally & kahawai will also continue to keep us happy. Other species well worth fishing for are flounder and grey mullet. While I haven’t had a crack at either so far this year, I’ve seen plenty of mullet and heard of many success stories from the keen flounder hunters.
Grey mullet really need to be caught in nets. I’ve heard of people catching them using salt water fly gear but have yet to see the evidence. I’m not saying those stories are made up but I know of many accomplished SWF fishers who despite many attempts have yet to catch one. The only success I have had is dragging a treble hook at speed across a school. Not sporting but it worked! Once. A better option is to snell 3 to 5 hooks onto your mainline with a 1oz sinker on the end and apply the same technique. Personally I would use a mullet net. There are a lot of restrictions and regulations when it comes to netting, especially in our waters. Please don’t even try unless you are fully conversant with the rules. Mullet are not only one of the best baits out here, they are one of the tastiest smoked fish you could wrap your jaws around. If you catch them in the Waikato river though, it’s best you use them for bait especially if their colouration has changed from silvery grey to greenish backs.
You can also net for flounder but I haven’t done that since I was a kid. I prefer to spear them. You need an incoming tide, an underwater flounder light or a good strong head light, a spear obviously, a good clear night with very little wind and some sort of carry bag. You will see loads of piper, crabs, maybe some eels, mullet & rays (sometimes they sit on top of the water just looking at the stars). A big ray is an amazing thing to see on a dark night and as long as you leave them alone they present no danger. It's a pretty good idea not to step on one though. You may also see the occasional little shark. I even once had a seal come up behind me. One big snort from that creature and I was walking on water! Piper are a very tasty treat and are a great bait. While you’re flounder spearing they will often come right up to you. A small scoop net or a whack with a spear will get them.
West Coast action
So how is the action off the west coast Smudge? It wasn’t quite like I said in my last report. My son Arron was fishing from my boat and I was with my mate Karl in his. We hatched a plan for him to fish close and us to go to 40. Well, we tried at 25m and failed. We went to 40m and it was very slow so a move south was the call and at 46m we had a slow day. Meanwhile in close, Arron and a couple of other boats cleaned up with some very nice fish. So yeah, don’t be in any hurry to go out to the deep water. A mate fishing off Piha did well with fish to 15lb and providing you have the gas to travel north, it’s fair to say that area really produces some big fish.
Albacore & skipjack are moving in closer, look for working or circling gannets, current lines and feathers on the water. If the tuna are there, the bait are there and quite probably there will be a marlin sneaking around. We’ve already seen a 132kg stripey hanging from the scales at Te Toro. That was a big early season fish for Paul Lamb.
Counties Sportfishing Club competitions calendar
Visit csfc.co.nz to see our upcoming competitions, we run some pretty cool events and most anglers come back year after year. Joining Counties really sorted my fishing out, there’s nothing like mixing with a bunch of good people and getting to fish with them to improve your catch rates. If you’re a non-member and want a special fish weighed, we do charge a fee. Join the club and it is free. Plus you get a cheaper entry fee on our comps.
Take care. Smudge