West Coast Waikato - November 2012
Gurnard better than snapper?CHRIS BUNGARD
Westerly squalls have been pounding the West Coast and causing a large amount of frustration.
It happens every year at this time; perhaps it's Mother Nature's way of protecting the wonderful spoils the west coast has to offer?
Charter skipper, Dwade Pinny, is excited about the way things are shaping up, however. The condition of the fish is good already, and they are holding some fairly mature roe.
On a couple of trips his charters have been rewarded with limit bags of snapper, including a couple of fish up around that magical twenty-pound mark. The boys have been getting the best results from in and around 55-58m of water, and the good thing at the moment is that the sharks seem to have done a runner.
Murphy's Law says that now I've mentioned it they'll be back, but right now the boys are very pleased with the good, clean fishing.
Another pleasing aspect of fishing on the coast at the moment is the gurnard. They are out there in big numbers and are of exceptional size. Dwade tells me of a trip recently where the carrots averaged over a kilo in size. For many this 'by-catch' is more desirable than snapper; they are a beautiful table fish with great texture and a very nice flavour.
It's also that time of the year to give the humble old kahawai a plug. They are great snapper bait when fresh; whip the sides off a fresh one, skin the fillet, then cube and hook it, and drop it down on the ledger rig. I think you will be pleasantly surprised with the results. The ones you want to eat should be bled straight away, then put into an ice slurry. Eaten as cooked fillets or, my favourite, smoked, they are a much underrated fish.
Another West Coast gem is the area we call the Trench. It hasn't disappointed: on recent trips the bottom dwellers - including 'puka, bluenose and gemfish - have been about in good numbers. It is a long way to venture on your own, but making the trip in a charter boat with an experienced skipper can be very rewarding.
West Coast Waikato by Chris Bungard
Ph 07 888 8515
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