Gone Fishing with Smudge— November 2017

It’s hard to believe that only a month ago we were struggling to get a chance to get out fishing. Since then we couldn’t have asked for better weather. Hopefully you’ve had a chance to make the most of it and catch a few fish in the process.
The harbour is fishing very well for trevally but they take a bit of a specialist approach. Fishing over shellfish beds with a good berley trail down hard on the bottom (using only enough weight on a strayline rig to keep it on the bottom) will give you the best chance at one of these hard fighting fish. You really need to net them once they are at the boat as it’s very easy to pull the hooks out of their mouths.
Kahawai are easy to find but snapper and gurnard not so much. Expect snapper fishing to improve and gurnard to be an infrequent bycatch. I’m also expecting kingfish to make another strong showing this summer,with a few small ‘rats’ turning up both in the harbour and off the coast.
Scallops, however, are off the menu due to paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP), which is a toxin that affects shellfish from time to time in various parts of the country. PSP is caused by an algae and although it doesn’t harm the shellfish it can be very toxic to humans.
The big news around town though is the amazing snapper fishing we’re getting right now. The pre-spawning season we’re seeing now will soon end, and once the fish have spawned things, will get a little quieter as their focus turns to activities other than eating and that normally occurs around Christmas time. It will certainly still be worth the trip out though and snapper will soon enough return to feeding hard out.
Fish of over ten old fashioned pounds are common but many prefer the smaller fish of half that size. There have been some big snapper over 11kg caught recently and those trophy fish certainly put up a good tussle.  I’m still picking 55 to 60m as the best place to be for the bigger fish, but those fishing out of Port Waikato may well find big fish in closer around the 40m mark. Trawlers are starting to scoop up the fish too, so you want to keep well away from where they have been working as they pretty much nab everything swimming on the bottom.
Another month and the first bill fish will likely be poking their beaks out of the water, so if you’re planning on having a crack at one it’s time to get your gear sorted out because as we know there are only so many opportunities to get out over the west coast.
Take care,

Arron Parker with a massive snapper caught off the west coast.

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