Gone Fishing with Smudge October 2017

I have a confession to make. Most of my reports from the last three months have been propped up with results from mates who have been out fishing on those days when I couldn’t make it.
In three months I only fished three times. That’s probably more often than most people fish but in order to get a good honest report together I had to rely on others to give me some info. Thanks to those who share and for the record I have yet to make up any stories in my four years or more of writing reports such as this. I have been out plenty of times over the last few weeks and this is what I’ve found:
There are some big gurnard in the harbour, some good snapper are turning up and the trevally fishing has been as good as it gets. Local anglers Marcel & Callum Wadek managed a very good haul of trevs up to 2.5kg recently and I suspect they were fishing over the scallop beds east of Matakawau. That general area is producing snapper and gurnard, particularly on the channel edges on an evening incoming tide. Don’t go deeper than 5m and you should do well. A workmate told me of a 26kg kingfish caught off Clarks Beach also and while I haven’t seen the pictures I lost two big fish on my light gear in that area only a couple of weeks ago. I told myself they were probably sharks but I also know what big kings do to 6lb braid and 20lb leaders. I believe his story!
So the big news really is what is happening over the coast. First up don’t even consider it unless you understand bar crossings and you and your boat are up to it. I went out west onboard ‘Out West’ on the first weekend of October with Shane Johnston & his son Brock where we headed straight out to 62m in front of the harbour entrance. I fished jigs while my mates fished baits. It was a pretty even contest with baits getting the biggest fish of the day on Brock’s light gear. Any bait seemed to work and a limit catch came onboard in short order with a by catch of only one shark, one gurnard and one kahawai. That’s a hard act to beat eh? We followed that up with some fat scallops from the harbour.
It’s all about snapper right now off the coast and my advice is to go deep first, at least 55m. Use a two hook dropper rig with 8/0 recurve hooks and whatever bait you have. Mullet and kahawai would be my pick but pretty much anything will do from now till Christmas. When using recurves use a big sinker and don’t strike the bites. Make sure you only put the hook through the bait once. Hook the bait so it hangs from the hook. It may look wrong but it works. Wait for the rod to load up and then crank that handle hard out! You will drop very few fish using that technique!
Personally I prefer jigs and a 60 to 100g inchiku in green and red or orange is very hard to beat. You really do need braid to fish jigs effectively in those depths but it is so much fun, it’s worth getting the right gear for the job.
There is a lot to be said for filling the bin though and with the limited opportunities and tidal/weather windows we get it’s pretty hard to beat the tried and true two hook dropper rig out there. Right now through til July is probably the best fishing you will get. Anywhere. Make the most of it but remember the rules and only take what you can use.
Take care, Smudge
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