The scallop season opened on September 1, but then we were told the toxin levels are not safe, so now we wait; this sometimes lasts some months.
Many crayfish should have started to drop their 'berries' by now but take care as some can hold their eggs well into October.
At least the inshore fishing in close is still good, particularly for tarakihi, with the odd pup hapuku being caught near shallow foul in around 45m of water. At the moment the water temperature is around 15° and a few snapper are starting to show in the harbour. Perhaps we might get an earlier spawning season this year.
The locals have been getting snapper up to 3kg in the early morning by running a good berley trail in depths from 15 to 50m.
Out wide on the Mayor Knolls there has been reasonable success with average bass and small bluenose (up to 5kg) as well as the odd large ling.
Gurnard are starting to appear between Karewa and Matakana Islands. Soft-baits and ledger rigs are doing the business. Fish a slow drift, mark the spot when the action heats up, and then anchor up.
The kingfish have been hit and miss when targeted with jigs and live baits, leading to anglers having to wait for the afternoon bite time reasonably often. But some days off Mayor Island it has been mayhem, with plenty of action from fish around 15kg. Schooner Rocks have also produced some nice kings around the 18kg mark on jigs.
The Rena is still a thorn in our side, and I recently wrote to our local harbour master to try to get the exclusion zone reduced to one kilometre during daylight hours. However, salvers Braemar Howells replied that they wanted the zone to remain at two nautical miles "for the safety of their divers". I personally find this ridiculous, and being a diver myself, find no logic in a two-mile zone. The Astrolabe area is the 'Jewel in the Crown' for recreational anglers in our area, and as a charter operator I've had a 50% drop in income over the four months following the Rena hitting the reef. Let's hope the final salvage is tidied up quickly.
Tauranga by Russ Hawkins
Fatboy Charters, Tauranga
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