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.