Caption: Fishing isn’t just about catching fish, it’s a great way to relax and forget about some of those worries that everyday life can bring.

West Coast/Manukau Fishing Report

Fishing is likely to be fairly consistent through spring and early summer so rather than repeat my last report without the benefit of doing much fishing to back things up, I’ll mention a little about rigs and set ups that I’ve found successful over the years. It’s been pretty miserable weather after all!

I often mention a strayline rig in my writing, in its simplest form it is just a hook or two tied onto the end of your mainline. With a pilchard attached it will cast very well on light gear but will only really be effective on surface feeding fish or in shallow water. Rigged like that it is extremely effective on kahawai. I use a strayline rig often in the harbour for trevally, gurnard, snapper and kahawai where I usually tie a 20lb trace directly to my mainline with a sinker sliding down onto the hook. I use just enough lead to reach the bottom so this rig is best used when there is little current and usually in shallow water with small baits.

For deeper water or in strong currents I prefer a two hook dropper rig for both the harbour and the coast. You can buy commercially made flasher rigs which are effectively a dressed up dropper rig and they are very effective also. For gurnard and trevally fishing I’ll generally use 4/0 recurve hooks, for snapper7/0 or bigger. Dropper rigs are very effective when fished correctly. Use plenty of weight, keep the line as tight as you can without lifting the sinker off the bottom and most importantly rig your baits so they don’t spin in the current. If using recurve hooks, don’t strike the bites, instead let the fish chew a little then lift the rod slowly but firmly while winding the reel. I only ever put the hook through the bait once as these hooks aren’t effective when choked with bait. All going well your hook up rates should be very high following those guidelines.

Caption:  Jigs and lures are another option to bait fishing but they work more effectively outside of the harbour—possibly something to do with water clarity. This gurnard was caught in 60m and snapper were all over the jigs as well.

I also use a running rig in high current areas. That involves having a sinker running down onto a swivel and for snapper I will choose a 60lb trace of around one metre long with an 8/0 hook tied to the end. The trick once again is to use a bait that is streamlined so it won’t spin.

In my opinion, after choosing your fishing location, the next most important factor for maximising your chances of a good catch is to pay attention to the finer details of tying your rig and attaching the bait. I rate that as more important than choice of bait for example. It’s the detail that often makes all the difference between catching or not.
Take care,
Smudge