Gone fishing— Smudge says

The Manukau Harbour is still plagued with the dreaded red weed that is so frustrating to deal with.

Slack water is the best time to avoid it and if you hunt around you will find places where it’s not such a problem. It covers your line and your baits and once that happens you won’t catch a thing so clear the stuff away as often as you can.

Sort that out and there are some nice fish to be had. We had an evening fish recently and while the majority of the snapper were around 30cm the biggest was 46cm, which isn’t bad at all from water only four metres deep. While sharks haven’t been much of a problem there are a few around and they love nothing more than biting live baits in half. Nasty creatures!

Out over the coast, the best marlin action appears to be coming from the south, more off the Waikato River bar than the Manukau. The depth that features most is 110m to 120m according to the stories I hear at the Te Toro weigh station but there have been more than a few reports of marlin turning up much closer in well before the water has turned blue.

I guess the old story of ‘find the bait, find the marlin’ still applies. There certainly seems to be no shortage of skipjack tuna around this year.
Snapper fishing off the coast can be frustrating with some boats finding it tough going while for others it is too easy. Boats fishing well south of the Manukau bar are having the best luck, especially straight off the river.

The most consistent depth is 30m but it’s always worth exploring deeper water. I’m expecting shallower water to start producing more fish as we move into autumn.
At Counties Sport Fishing Club we have our annual Fish ‘n Chicks event on March 3 and my advice for those fishing this is to hit the water early.

If you’re staying in the harbour, the early morning should work well in the shallows but the big tides will make fishing deeper water difficult. If you have no luck in shallow water move out to deeper water so you’re ready to fish around 11.00am to make the most of the slack water over the high tide. Shellfish beds are a great place to catch trevally and there are still plenty of gurnard and kahawai around.

If you end up snapper fishing across the bar, there are also plenty of good gurnard to be caught in 30m. Just fish a two hook dropper rig as you would for snapper and gurnard will probably feature as often as snapper in your chilly bin.

A little trick I use to identify each angler’s fish is to take some coloured rubber bands along. Each angler has their own colour and it’s easy for them to wear some as a bangle and slip one over the fish’s tail as it goes into the bin.

Enjoy your autumn fishing, it’s one of the best times to be on the water and snapper in particular are in great condition.


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