The question was: where to locate the best fishing without being overwhelmed by voracious baby snapper?
Popularity was dictated by economics and weather patterns. Most popular was close into the coast, with harbour fishing for those in the Waihi Beach area. Harbour fishing provided good catches of snapper with a regular bycatch of trevally. While most snapper were of an acceptable size, some in the 50cm range were reported. Whangamata Harbour, while not usually very productive, surprised anglers with a number of snapper up to 35cm, along with kahawai and trevally. Sunken Rock and the junction of the boat channel were the favoured areas.
Towards the end of the month snapper numbers tended to reduce in the harbour, and this will continue as they exit shallow areas on their annual migration.
Surfcasters and kontiki exponents had one of the best months for some time: as well as good numbers of snapper and kahawai, some fish weighed in excess of four kilos.
Several boats from Whangamata found difficulty in locating good fish until venturing close inshore or travelling out to 90-100m. Spots southeast of the Aldermen Islands were reported as providing good tarakihi, regular snapper, red snapper and remarkably large pink maomao, along with occasional hapuku pups. Best fishing in the Alderman area was achieved by a party stray-lining in shallow water at the southwestern edge of the main group.
For boaties who fished shallow Homunga Bay, the Pinnacles and Watchman proved the best areas at depths of 4-10m, while Hikurangi and Petleys were dominated by hordes of baby snapper.
Mayor Island was reported as being inconsistent, although there were some good catches early in the month.
One stray-lining effort inshore of the Garden Patch reportedly yielded snapper in excess of 8kg. I suspect this would be close to what, years ago, was known as the Rubbish Dump.
Some good catches of fish have come from the south side of Tuhua Reef too, especially while a slight south to north current existed, confirming this to be a hot spot when conditions are right.
Big schools of skipjack and mackerel have been active, with many fishermen taking the opportunity to replace depleted bait stocks.
Waihi and Whangamata by Llew Jones
0274 978 136
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