Bay of Islands - September 2012
Spring snapper anticipatedGEOFF STONE
Continuing heavy rain and strong winds over the winter months have restricted fishing opportunities in the Bay.
Russell locals have been taking advantage of the few calm days to fish close to home at Tapeka Point or the Brampton Reef, catching some very nice snapper in the process. Practically all the best catches have been during the evening, with bite times very restricted during the day. Best baits have been whole jack mackerel or slabs of kahawai, mainly to avoid the plague of juvenile snapper that cause so much frustration during most daytime expeditions at this time of year. General snapper fishing will start to improve from mid to late September as big males begin their migration into the Bay for the start of the spawning season.
Kingfish have been steady but not spectacular. Some good kingies of around 16kg are being taken regularly around Cape Brett, Waiwiri Rock and 71 Metre Reef, but most of the fish inside the Bay are only just making legal size. As we move into spring, Hansens Reef will provide better fishing, and at this time of year there will be fewer problems with the bronze whalers that become a nuisance around Rocky Point over summer.
Barracouta continue to be less of a problem than a few years back, though cool water and spring bait schools are likely to bring increasing numbers as snapper spawning schools start to form.
Hapuku have been a disappointment out wide. Rough seas and strong winds have limited the opportunities to fish outside the lee of the Cape Brett Peninsula, and on the few trips that have been possible, results have been poor. The commercial fleet seems to have had similar problems, and it may be time for the Ministry of Primary Industries to revaluate the hapuku and bass quotas for Zone 1.
To ensure a feed while hapuku fishing, a rig fished with smaller hooks will pick up some good tarakihi at this time of year. If tarakihi are the main target, deep water may be the best option, as the normal beds off Howe Point and Oke Bay have been providing only limited results.
Bay of Islands by Geoff Stone
0274 377 844
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