New Zealand Fishing Reports by Epic Adventures expert skippers
Coromandel : Whitianga report
with Capt. Owen
Call 0800 EPIC NZ or +64 21 886 223 today and ask to fish on Coroking. Check availability here
April/May/June being one of my favorite times of the year to target big kings all round especially inshore shallows which can produce some epic fishing at times as we encountered in an unbelievable bite on big fish on a recent three boater trip. Fishing that good that you wouldn’t believe me if I told you. So looking ahead into the rest of May and June should see us with some awesome winter fishing. As they do this time of year the sharks become a bit of a problem trying to get fish to the boat so with the water temperatures dropping we hope to see these predators of the deep move on.
Snapper are starting to show up in better numbers on the Alderman pins and still firing on the Cuvier pins as it has been over the last couple of months. So we are looking forward to May/June as the kings haven’t been hard to find.
Cheers all Capt. Owen
with Capt. Tom
Call 0800 EPIC NZ or +64 21 886 223 today and ask to fish on Madmax. Check availability here
April has been a hectic month onboard Mad Max and as usual the fishery here in Whitianga has really turned it on for our punters!
The bottom fishing has been going off with multiple hookups becoming the norm every single drift!
The offshore seamounts have been holding large numbers of snapper which have been a welcomed bycatch on livebaits when targeting Kingfish!
The Kingfish have been very consistent on the offshore seamounts however staying away from the dreaded taxman has been challenging at times! A few good inshore sessions in the shallows have also produced fantastic results!
with Capt. Chase
Call 0800 EPIC NZ or +64 21 886 223 today and ask to fish on EPIC. Check availability here
Some pretty sweet fishing in the shallows”, with the presence of bronzies on almost every pin we’ve been sticking to the targeting kings in the shallows, livies just working a treat in close, managing to land some pretty solid fish in close in less than 20 metres makes for some pretty cool Rod action, snapper are in close too which is handy to add to quickly add to the bin…
Coromandel Report : Omedo Bay
with Capt. Chris
Call 0800 EPIC NZ or +64 21 886 223 today and ask to fish on Anglers Lodge
Check availability here
Well, Apirl started off with a bang.
Had a few days at Great Barrier Island fishing the pins out the back of Cuvier. We smashed kings and big reds all day. It was a trip remember.
As far as the gulf goes, bait fish are in abundance and kahawai work ups are on the rise.
Snapper are still in big numbers around the mussel farms. Straylining the shallows north of Colville is working well using whole pillies or live mackies.
Kingis are still making a lively appearance taking everything, even little snapper when you are winding up. They are even taking dead baits too.
Aprils water temp was above average.
Great Barrier Island Report
with Capt. Scott
Call 0800 EPIC NZ or +64 21 886 223 today and ask to fish on GameChaser
Check availability here
April has been providing consistent catches of a big reds in the shallows, soft baits and micro jigs in 10-20 meters.
The biggest specimens have been taken at the Cuvier pins on livebaits while targeting Kings with many fish taken over 8 kilos.
Bronze whaler sharks have been prolific on the eastern side of Great Barrier, once a fish is taken the chances of landing the next are slim as they home in on the boat.
Cape Barrier has just started to fire with large schools of kingies, there are daily workups at Sunken Rock and Cecilia Sutton bay.
Channel Island has worked well though the Sharks have taxed some big fish. Recently a large pod of False killer whales moved in and cleaned up the kings in a frenzied attack, spectacular to watch.
Trevs and Dory have been readily taking grub style softbaits, a delicious addition to a day’s catch.
Bill our resident fish smoker has been doing a great job , the secret brine and method produces the best results possible.
The next month will be all about big kings and snapper at the Broken Islands, May is one of the best times so long as the weather holds.
New Zealand Fishing Reports by Epic Adventures expert skippers
Its been a windy start to the year but our big Senator boats, powered by #YamahaMarineNZ, have handled the conditions well and our team of expert skippers Owen, Chase, Tom, Scott and Chris have all been putting customers on some big fish!
The bite has been hot and the catch varied. A good supply of live baits has been the key to a good day out.
Call 0800 EPICNZ or +64 21 886 223 today and ask to fish on EPIC with Capt. Chasa. Check availability here. https://www.epicadventures.co.nz
Capt. Chasa on the EPIC boat has had a crazy month with customers landing some big Kingies, huge Puka and even a Marlin joined the show.
While drifting livies for Kingies at the Alderman pins in 120m, a lucky customer hooked up with an awesome early black marlin!
Well done Jonty!
Another day and another Capt Chase success story on board EPIC with this massive Puka coming up from just 100m.
COROKING – CaptO
Call 0800 EPICNZ on +64 21 886 223 today and ask to fish on CoroKing with Capt. Owen. Check availability here. https://www.epicadventures.co.nz
Capt Owen has been doing what he does best, getting customers onto the big Kings and Puka. The Alderman pins have been producing good fat fish! While we limit the catch to one per customer per day, some boats have been catching 30+ kingies on a mixture of live Jack mac baits and Shimano jigs. All Epic boats run top of line Shimano Rods and Reels that get the job done!
Call 0800 EPICNZ or +64 21 886 223 today and ask to fish on MADMAX with Capt. Tom. Check availability here. https://www.epicadventures.co.nzThe MADMAX boat has been slaying it of late! Capt. Tom has been delivering some tasty deep water beasts out wide. We’ve seen EPIC catches of Bluenose, Bass and Puka all coming up.
Dive trips have been popular with plenty of crays for this time of year! The best we’ve seen in the area for the time of year, while scallops and kina are as plentiful as always!
Tom ran the Australia v NZ cricket challenge with blackcaps, Dean Brownlie on-board and coming out on top with the biggest kingi of the day!
Mid December saw a good run of trophy size snapper on livebaits north of Whitianga. Alec Mackay joins the 20 pound club! Well done mate!
Some massive Hapuka, Bluenose and Bass were landed with young Tim’s record breaking sea bass the highlight!!
And of course…. The Kingi fishing is as consistent as ever! Get out there!
Amodeo Bay – ANGLERS LODGE
Call 0800 EPICNZ or +64 21 886 223 today and ask to fish Amodeo bay on board ANGLERS LODGE. Check availability here. https://www.epicadventures.co.nz
Fishing in the gulf in December and January has been up and down with the water temperature below average.
Weather has stopped us heading out from times as the southwesterly has been our provaling wind.
We are still getting good snapper in the gulf especially around the island and in 10 meters of water.
The schools of kahawai have started to turn up with big work ups out wide. They are taking anything you throw at them and are of good ocean going size.
Bait fish have been considerably harder to get at times for livies but when we do, it’s Dory on.
The kingies are in good numbers but again, below the average size. But still good fun.Cheers
EPIC Game Chaser on Great Barrier Island!
Following a truly successful 2016 season, EPIC will have the awesome Game Chaser boat permanently based on Great Barrier island for the next 3-4 months. This will be really EPIC, but limited spots left! Epics Game Chaser will be based at Tryphena on Great Barrier island for the game season and there is great fishing to be had! Check out some shots from last season! Putting Game Chaser back on GBI was the Epic thing to do!
The Barrier is within striking distance of the outer gulf hot spots including Cuvier island Mokohinaus and the Bluewater trolling grounds.Fully catered packages are available at Epic HQs base at Tryphena, bed breakfast lunch and dinner are included in the package price.Call 0800 EPICNZ or +64 21 886 223 today and ask to fish Great Barrier Island on Game Chaser Check availability here. https://www.epicadventures.co.nz
The Coromandel has definitely had a fiery temper the last few months. We’ve had the artic blows and the heavy rain and inbetween we’ve experienced some of the Coromandel’s calmness, producing huge fish and in plentiful supply. As is often the case with winter fishing it’s a bit of a treasure trove out there. The spots haven’t being seeing the regular boat pressure so numbers are high and often the species range varies considerably making it really exciting for the anglers. I’ll endeavour to outline what the Epic team have been up to over the June / July winter months and then I’ll present you with the exciting developments for the upcoming months also.
The mighty Kingfish have spread themselves out a fair bit over the last few months. I’ve struck plentiful numbers on all the inshore reefs as well as the usual haunt’s like the Alderman Pins and Cuvier Island. The most obvious thing has been the shift from the kingies congregating on top of the structure to more often than not settling on the drop offs or even out wide on the mud. It often pays to really explore any area you are targeting as you just never know what’s hiding out on the edges. The jigs have been finally getting slammed pretty frequently so that’s been a great relief as the bait supplies have at times been thin. I’m picking the average size of the kingies over June and July had hovered around 16kg with a few beauty’s hitting into the 20plus kg bracket.
Rumour has it the Hapuka have made a presence in as shallow as 40 metres in the last few weeks of July. The hook has had the odd fish but it’s a very late start for these beauties. Bluenose and bass are plentiful on the 450 mtr line if you have the fuel budget to carry you there. Guys have been dropping sword baits as well whilst in these vicinity’s but it’s been slow on that front.
Snapper Mercury bay
There’s loads of snapper still in the bay especially in the last few hours of daylight whilst laying a long burley trail and soaking some baits. Out a bit wider. The Mercury Island produced great fat snapper in the 2 to 6 kg bracket consistently all winter long primarily on bait. The 80 mtr line on broken fowl with lots of mud around it has had excellent results with some of the biggest snapper being pulled from those vicinity’s. Excellent fun if you’re confident in your knowledge of the area and your sounder to identify them.
Snapper Hauraki Gulf and Coromandel
The Firth of Thames and Hauraki Gulf is alive with spring snapper work up action. Find the gannets diving and you will have found the snapper and kingfish. These sessions are epic. The crashing of the gannets from 60 ft. or so above the boats hurtling into the water by their hundreds is a sight and sound every fisherman should experience. The best methods in these situations are using either sliders or slow jigs. They get down fast and often there is no rod action required at all before you are solidly hooked up on the fat well-conditioned snapper. Some of the fish out of these work ups are hitting the 9 and 10 kg bracket so it’s a very rewarding session generally. Please take enough for a feed only as it’s very easy to let the numbers collect up quickly and before you know it you have fish you can’t utilise. Epic Adventures still place a huge emphasis on taking enough for a feed and then taking a fast picture and releasing the fish for someone else to play with another day. I’ve also found the soft baiting to be epic. I target a lot of snapper in 2.5 to 5 metres of water. A very stealthy approach is needed to pull off this style of fishing. Very light outfits with the lightest jig head possible to allow for a very slow flutter through the water column. Epic Adventures now offers this style of fishing as an option and can be booked on line. We are excited about offering this to our clients as an alternative option especially for multi day bookings where a bit of diversity is required. I took Roy Veal out and demonstrated the techniques to many of my usual haunts in the Firth of Thames and the Coromandel area and he had a blast. The following week I was dying to get my two boys out into the action also so off we went nailing huge snapper on soft baits in an epic two hour snapper session. The Hauraki Gulf and the Coromandel/Firth of Thames areas are so dynamic as they have hundreds of islands and secluded bays to hide out of almost any wind and the fishing is first class. If you haven’t caught sizable snapper or feel like you need some tuition in refining your skills or learning new ones it is money well spent.
Baits been hard. The usually haunts are slow. It appears the Mackie’s are around any clump of fowl at present. Find the foul and a bit of shelter and you’ll generally get enough especially if you lay a nice burley trail also.
This is the exciting part. We are nearing the absolute dynamite time of year for the biggest, hardest kingies you will strike on the Coromandel. If you haven’t already booked it might pay to think about doing it quickly as this time of year from August on is famous for fulfilling some personal bests. The snapper especially on the Western side of the Coromandel Peninisula and up into the Firth of Thames and out into the Hauraki Gulf will be frantic. Endless lure options become available to you as the fish are hungry and plentiful. Our skippers have had a little bit of downtime to recharge there batteries over winter so we can offer you our rejuvinated skills. Even young skipper Chase managed a pig caught by hand on the way home after a rock fishing mission with our other skipper Owen. The Epic crew are fully pumped and rearing to go. Hope to see you guys soon.
Safe to say summer’s over! The epic crew have pulled out the woollies and are powering through. The fish don’t appear to be minding the change in temperature and what better way to warm up than on a big King anyway. Fishing has at times been mind blowing and many a smile, yahoo and high five has taken place on all three boats daily. May has been no exception and on a whole our groups had some very memorable days. I’ll give a bit of an overview of the last month and what our Epic team have been up to.
May has been a funny month at the the pins with it firing hot with mid to high 16 to 20 kg fish but consistently on an afternoon bite. Patience has been the key but for the crews that had faith in our skippers they had some mind blowing sessions. Fast, frantic and solid fish once the bite began. None of our boats have ventured down around the g spot or south of the Aldermans this month as we’ve found more fish than we needed closer to home. The Mercs have been a huge focus for the month of May slow trolling around shallow pins or marking patches of sign and drifting through it. Some hefty fish with several around 25 kg were produced. It makes for an epic day slow trolling as it’s generally very shallow and there is no room for error. The angler and the skipper must be in tune for it to work efficiently so if you haven’t tried this style we’d recommend you do so. We use exactly the same live bait set up and rig as we would for the deep pins. We usually run out 2 to 3 colours and idle at a mere 1 to 2 kts the slower the better. The strikes are aggressive and the angler becomes railed within second’s then quick boat manouvouring out off the reef and the tussle can again commence. Due to weather we’ve all at times had to resort to a burley trail resulting in some epic surface kingie action under balloons. Again very exciting watching the greenbacks smashing the bait on the surface often in packs before the reel screams into action as the fish fights for its escape. Cuvier saw a fair amount of attention during May. The results were mixed with a few smaller fish still in attendance up that way but it did offer fast frantic action with an average size of 12 to 14 kg. Some real solid fish were holding on the deeper pins. Jigs are now working very well. So that’s extremely encouraging so if live baiting is not your thing get out with us now as we’ve had some epic jig sessions and it’ll only get better over the next couple of months. On the shallow pins around the Merc’s the stick baits have been getting hit as well and that’s our preferred method over any other style. It’s interactive, exciting and has an element of technique involved so it’s a wee bit more challenging. And finally the bay itself has held some epic sized kingies all sticking hard to the bait schools throughout the month of May. Fluctuating between 10 and 17 kg it great fun dusting off the soft bait gear and getting those reels screaming to the point the drag systems are boiling hot. There’s little to bust the fish off so it’s a complete buzz for the anglers and to be honest the skippers alike.
These bronzed beauties are taking their time to arrive this season. The commercial boys are having success very wide still on droppers so I’m sure they will move onto our shallower reef systems soon. Reports are coming through that the barrier area is holding a few but it’s very patchy. I wish I had more to report on this front.
Well it appears these beauty’s are in very healthy supply. The deep pins are holding nice fish with lots of double figured fish showing up. I have been lucky enough to be getting some very respectable fish on 300 to 400 gram jigs all rigged with my own secret assist rig with a squirted imitation squid. The soft baiting off Opito bay has been insane with very fast action when the wind abates enough to let us drift it efficiently. Slow jigs are also getting nailed but for me my pick for May has to be the new sliders that are the new fishing trend at present. I’m fishing then shallow or deep on both sand/mud or reef structure. You don’t need a lot of action just a very slow retrieve and continue the wind as the bites start and that ensures a solid hook up. A very soft tipped rod is required, as an example most of the light 6 to 10 kg soft bait outfits will work effectively enough to sell you on this new craze. I find when doing any style of lure fishing you must sound out a continuous patch of fish. Another words if I see solid snapper sign for say 200 mtrs or more ill then do a dummy drift to get the drift path sorted then I align myself at the head of the sign and start my long drift knowing I’m on solid sign versus erratic patches. If you take the time to use your electronics correctly any of the lure techniques work, soft baiting, slow jigs, sliders. On the bait fishing front the bay itself is teaming in snapper. And a good old burley trail will guarantee you a fast easy supply of pan snapper. The commercial boys are loading up on Snapper on the 80 mtr line along the mud and interestingly there have been loads of kingies with them by all accounts its pretty hot. Again this is where your sounder and chart plotter will save the day.
At times during May the epic crew struggled with bait. We had a large amount of easterly winds and that tends to pull the swell up giving our Mackie’s no option but to run to deeper water and seek the gentle currents versus being thrown about in the shallows. As May continued the bay became more plentiful with bait and by the last week in May the sign was as good as the summer and the bay kingfish returned and were in hot pursuit of our Mackie’s whilst attached to our sabiki’s giving many of our customers a wee thrill on the light gear. That’s the best part of fishing I find, you just never know what’s going to happen and no two days are ever the same, love it.
Well all in all Mays been awesome. Lots of fish and of very solid condition. Yes it’s getting cooler and a jacket and thermals are a must but it’s been an exciting month. Junes only going to be better and July and August will be epic. Jigs will be cranking. Live baits will be being scoffed. High fives and yeehaa’s a plenty….. Bring it on.
Well what a year so far… Boat shows, T.V shows, magazine trips, new Epic boat, new skippers, new friends and a whole website rebuild (painfully close to launching) has left our heads spinning! Now we’re getting our winter groove on and happily watching the fish get bigger as the waters start cool.
Mercury bay has many hidden gems and is widely known as a never fail holiday and fishing destination. The longer you live in the Coromandel the more it becomes a huge part of you. Being able to work with the backdrop our incredible coastline and with the sort of fishing we keep having is simply breath taking. April’s has offered up more of the same and treated our fleet to another very consistent run of fishing.
April has definitely had a dramatic decline in the amount of boats out targeting the gamefish with the vessels clearly replacing there tiagra 80 wide’s for the bait runners for the huge autumn moocher snapper that are currently present. To be honest game fishing hasn’t been the focus for our fleet this month due to demand for other species which has left us contemplating the opportunities versus getting amongst it. The temps were still in the twenties up until the week of the 20th then with the days rapidly shortening and the very brisk early morning temps dropping water temps to an average of 19 degrees. Early in the month fish were still being taken again around the alderman rise and the hook. I think for most as was the case for late march any of the more experienced boats had shifted their focus towards the broadbill. If this is a fish that you have always dreamt about but had often thought was well out of your reach, think again. As with many things on our very unique patch of water the broadbill are in healthy supply and readily accessible from the larger trailer boats. Quality bait is definitely the key and extra thought must always be given to safety gear and additional fuel supplies ensuring you have ample as if you are lucky enough to latch on to one of these gladiators of the deep then there are no rules as to how short or long this battle could take you so be prepared for the unknown and you’ll be fine. It’s possibly worth a mention to that with the daytime fishery really coming into its own in New Zealand for swordfish tackle becomes paramount. It’s not cheap to set up for and there are many little tricks that most people develop and wont share however look up daytime swords in new Zealand on you tube and it’ll give you an understanding of how it works but better still jump on board with epic and we will endeavour to teach you all the finer points and fulfill the dream.
Well these greenback beauties have made their presence known all throughout April. Fish south of the mercury islands have averaged 16 kg with some absolute hogs reaching the 30kg mark.
North of the mercury islands have been holding a 12kg average but in such plentiful numbers and readily taking a jig as well. Most of the fish have been sitting very near the bottom not allowing a great deal of time for inexperience often with the angler having to hit the drag straight to sunset and holding on merely hoping for the best. I’ve developed a wee technique that will often turn a huge hog in its tracks but you need to act fast and some simply are just too stubborn but if you go to sunset and it’s still screaming yank on the rod with sharp pumps just like you are yanking on a naughty dog whilst walking it.
Often this yanking motion is enough for the fish to slow just enough to get absolutely stuck into it. If you turn its head forget the gimbal as that is most people’s biggest mistake they waste lots of time fumbling a gimbal and then cry when their fish of a lifetime gets away. So if it’s screaming off, full sunset and jig that rod fast and hard keeping the rod low to prevent high sticking if the fish stops crank a wind. Short pumps but fast and aggressive forget the gimbal and get a couple of colours of braid back once this has been achieved and only then you can put your rod in your gimbal and commence the arduous task of bringing the beast to the surface.
The snapper haven’t changed a lot from last month and the outer reefs are supplying a steady supply of nice 4 to 6 pound snapper whilst live baiting. Inshore the Mercury islands are fishing well.
I found fresh bait has really worked well and it’s been easy to achieve a steady run of pan sized snapper. There have been some really nice snapper coming in from a few local boats who target them frequently so that’s been awesome to see. Owen on board ’Coroking’ has spent some very successful days during a string of very strong easterly blows near the end of April which had him fishing his home turf towards coromandel township. He’s got a wealth of knowledge in this stretch of water and he loves an opportunity to tow over the hill and show off his skills to our hungry clientele who are often just dying to get railed by anything from a snapper to a huge kingfish.
These are now the ones to watch for. Our boats are keen to showcase the fishery we have here and although Hapuka were not our focus for April but from May onwards they become an important part of our daily catch.
With the weather slowly changing I’m picking the kingfish to increase a fair bit in the average size over May and June. The Hapuka will become a very frequent by catch if not a targeted species. The broadbill are going to get a heck of a hurry up from myself ‘Hadyn’ on board ‘Epic’ and I’m sure Chase on board ‘Game chaser’ will be keen to get in on that action with some of his upcoming crews as well. Bluenose and gem fish will be on offer along with some very substantial autumn/ winter snapper fishing.
Well with January and Febuary being so strong with great fishing, amazing water quality and smooth seas abundant with gamefish you would expect the Mercury Bay couldn’t get much better!! wrong. March has fired extremely well. I guess the main topic of conversation should be the gamefishing.
It became apparent that several guys this season decided to extend there fuel budgets and put some serious time out there all being rewarded for some long hours. One guy that springs to mind is Tom from ‘Mad Max ‘ he has had an absolute stunner of a season not only in the Mercury Bay but following the hot bites all over the Upper North Island so full credit must go to him. The Aldie rise seemed to be the focus for many a boat as temps were holding in the low twenties and with that it held consistent water quality and great bait sign. We found that almost daily we were hooking marlin whilst targeting kingfish on both the 70 and pa five. They seemed to be around the 60 mtr mark so they weren’t always near the surface interestingly. Owen managed to get one to stick and his clients were treated to a fantastic thrill. The odds are heavily stacked against you whilst fishing on jig gear but with a bit of luck and skill every now and then you get to pull it off.
Mahimahi proved to be abundent on the 250 mtr line and mostly congregating around clumps of floating debri. The tuna made there presence known throughout March also and I’m sure anyone who has a passion for gamefishing will be stoked with this seasons re-appearence of our elusive yellow barrels. The marlin slowed off a little late into March with alot of lost fish due to a poor hook up. I think often with large amounts of bait and healthy fish numbers they often become picky and play with the lure rushing up bill slapping the gear from behind verses hurdling in from the side or underneath swipping and turning 90 degrees and running. Generally these are the fish that stick. Broadbill have been on the improve with a fair few fish coming from out wide. Knowledge of the daytime fishery around the Mayor knolls and behind Great Barrier is now very public and its great to see so many trailer boats giving these gladiators a try. March, April and May are the pick of the months as the Broadbill are feeding on the pup bluenose so if you can find large quantities of these then generally thats a likely place to try for a sword. These fish are often found near the bottom during the day between 250 and 500 mtrs in depth.
Well March has fired well, mostly south of the Mercs, as reports coming from Cuvier were very eratic. I guess typically the fish have beeen in great condition with the average around 14 to 16kg but we have had copious amounts of fish in the high twenties coming onboard all 3 boats getting a picture taken and then being spiraled back down headfirst into the depths they came from. Epic adventures as a company has a huge respect for our fishery and we are very selective about the fish we take and the quantities we allow to be taken. We are very conscious to be constantly looking for new ground and securing the best for our clients. This area is an absolute treasure and research is starting to tell us our kingfish stocks are very strong.
There has been great snapper fishing out on the outer reefs and the live baits have been getting hammered somedays by snapper before our greenbacks even get a chance to see the bait. Inshore there seems to be loads of snapper. The 50mtr line off hahei has had very healthy stocks that were pretty consistent.
Looking forward to April I’m picking the water temps will be on the decline but dont be fooled the gamefish will still be around for the few keen guys still left with a fuel budget to chase them. You may find a live bait drifted or slow trolled over the pins etc to be a better option. Concentrate on where you know there’s some bait. The kingies will be very strong around areas like the 70, the pa five and the g spot. Im expecting there to be some absolute hogs to grace our boats so keep an eye out for that. I’m also expecting further south will be equally as good and I’m keen to explore those outer pins onboard Epic. The emphasis will shift a little as it cools and some lovely hapuka will be caught very regulary too. So if you don’t have access to our coastline and aren’t as yet booked on one of our vessels then get in quick as spots are filling fast. You can book online and we will see you out there.
2015 has started with a hiss and a roar the fishing has been EPIC. Firstly the reappearance of Yellowfin tuna on our coastline has brought sheer excitement amongst the fleet, as it’s been a while since these large yellow bullets have been able to reach our waters in any numbers. Big eye tuna of massive proportions have also arrived especially in January. It isn’t uncommon to experience the larger tuna in the late stages of December and early January and this sure was the case this season. Let’s hope this trend continues over the future years as they have been sorely missed.
Skippies have had a fair amount of commercial pressure and the seine boats have been working our patch heavily but it’s encouraging to see them in as close as 40 meters off cooks beach. And huge schools at that.
With the water temperatures being so high it only lends itself well to high numbers of striped and blue marlin. The sizes have been awesome and this season is really shaping up well. In January Mercury bay was charging ahead of all the other game fishing clubs with their daily tallies. It’s worth a mention that the new bonze dredge system coupled with his amazing lures really are doing the damage. I was fifty yards from a boat trolling past the seventy the other week and I noticed the dredge shimmering from my vessel so imagine how they look from the fish’s perspective. The bonze lures certainly are leading the charge this year in many of the tournaments.
The kingfish have been amazing over January and February. We were ecstatic to see the high quality of fish around. They are well conditioned and abundant. January saw our fleet working more around the Cuvier island pins as there were loads of kingis ranging from rats to large thirty kg beasts. Jigs worked well in the 250- 300 gram size but the smaller fish favored them so our livies took president and we’re often never getting to the desired depths before a large greenback devoured it. The 30 mtr pins at Cuvier fished really well nearer the end of January early February with a few memorable days of more fish lost than caught due to their massive size. I’m sure we had kingfish in the 40 kg brackets we just couldn’t get a wind on. Very frustrating but wow, what a fishery we have. Nearing the end of January and early February our time was spent between the alderman pins and Cuvier. The alderman’s were holding some astounding fish but at times had an inconsistent bite, this however improved from mid February on and the solid fish were at Pa five and the seventy, or the alderman pins. Again however livebaits were our preference over jigs. The livebaits have been easy to get as long as conditions were settled in both January and February the minute we get a easterly blow and a rising swell the bait pulled back to at least the 25 mtr line and often more. If we see a large easterly blow you can all but guarantee needing a few days of recovery in the bay and setting a burley trail at the wharf with baited size 12 sabikis pre dawn worked wonders. Squid’s our preferred bait as there’s minimal down time re baiting as for us time is money.
A majority of the time the bait balls have been inside Centre island and have had prolific kingies in attendance. Our boats have often had numerous lovely fish to 14 or 15 kg bracket before even leaving the bay. It would be my pick if I had kids or enjoyed light tackle and wanted amazing fast kingie action Merely minutes from the ramp. I find rigging a light rod like a softbait 6 to 10 kg outfit with four meters of 60 lb shock leader tied with a pr knot to the braid end. A double on the shock leader with a 3 Oz sinker a heavy swivel then 1.5 mtr s of 60 lb fluoro with a size 28 mutsu hook is a never fail system. It can be baited with a livie and drifted through the bait balls or slow trolled using the sinker as a slight downrigger but either way the gear needs to be no stronger and it’s great fun. A friend went into the bay a few weeks back for an afternoon and nailed 27 kingfish on six kg line in a few hours.
John dory and snapper are abundant on the pins and the bay is full of pan snapper around 30 to 40 cm.I have found the snapper are hammering the livies if you set an extra colour deeper please don’t fall into the trap of thinking these fish are always bottom dwellers as they are often feeding around thirty meters off the bottom around mid water.
Hapuka are worth a mention and have appeared around the hook and north of Cuvier but a bit of patience is required using a leadger rig with two circles and two livies would be my pick and the by-catch of some huge kingies are never unwanted. So in summary 2015 is off to an epic start. The fishing is consistent. The fish are well conditioned and plentiful and there’s a huge array of species up for grabs this summer. Broaden your horizons and look around it’s pretty amazing out there. March will only be better!! Can’t wait.