Bay of Plenty
The winds have predictably curtailed many early-spring fishing opportunities.
During the inclement spells, Ohiwa Harbour has usually managed to provide a fishing fix and enough fillets to keep most satisfied. Some fresh shellfish supplements a meagre day.
Those who have made it over the river bars have experienced some great fishing. The water is still down around 15°C, but will soon rise. The fish remain spread out along the coast, but are beginning to congregate on their usual grounds. There is still a good mixture of snapper, tarakihi and gurnard, and their condition is improving. Good numbers of snapper are present along the beach in 10-30m off Ohope and Ohiwa, Kohi Point, the radio mast, Thornton, Tarawera and right down to Matata and further westwards.
Out deeper, in 40-75m, the catches are right up there quality-wise, and laced with pup hapuku, kingfish and trevally. With daylight saving having kicked in, pre-dawn mornings will be a favourite time to hit the water.
The snapper fishing has also been great off the beach, with kontikis scoring very well up to a kilometre offshore. Also, right along the coast the swells have formed a number of holes, exposing inshore tucker for snapper. Good-conditioned gurnard and kahawai add to the mix and reward those who fish the change of light.
The whitebait season has delivered improved catches from last year - in the Rangitaiki and Tarawera Rivers at least - with the run around the new moon being very productive.
The new trout fishing season has kicked off and first results are very encouraging, too.
Fishing opportunities will improve as spring settles in around White Island and down east on the Ranfurly Bank. While always worth the effort, these outposts command respect both in angling ability and weather watching. The rewards are a smorgasbord of seafood delights, accompanied in many instances by a severe workout from the world-class fish that frequent these waters.
Albacore are still a possibility en route to these places as we await the arrival of the baitfish and, hopefully, the attendant pelagic species...
Whakatane by Stu Davidson
Ph 07 304 9356
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