As the wintery weather started to abate over August we were left with many a blue dome day and a calm sea a very welcome sight for both the epic skippers and our loyal epic clientele. The clothing layers were often shed and the sunscreen had been applied in copious quantities. So with the weather improving and the seas flat you must be wondering… how’s the fishing been?
Well I’ll give a wee bit of a rundown of what the epic crew have been up to over the last month and offer a few predictions for the upcoming months encase your contemplating a trip on board any one of our four top quality vessels.
Finally we have had a wee flurry of Hapuka gracing our inshore reef structures. Rumour has it they are spread around a little bit from the commercial long liners and the large concentrations of fish are yet to arrive but with only a couple of attempts at the bronzed demons of the deep from the epic crew the success has been great. The size hasn’t been outstanding but with lots of school fish it will only but improve. My bet is that anywhere from Cuvier to south of the alderman’s will be holding fish.
Bluenose have been a common capture for those travelling a little wider. It hasn’t been taking long to secure a really good bin full. Our very own Chase and his mate Sammy Clothier had a pretty cool session recently resulting in a nice bag of bluenose and a few bass.
Although the commercial boys are off to a slow start with their cray season the divers are doing well if they have the local knowledge and the guts to brave the elements. Thomas and Chase had a swim in the last week of August and looking at the pics there’s a few around. Visibility has been pretty good in most areas so although Crays aren’t something epic adventures focuses on it does show the diversity and wealth of knowledge our skipper’s have for the mercury bay/ coromandel areas.
These little beauties are some of the finest eating fish you can get and are becoming a very frequent bycatch whilst targeting our kingies on the live baits. I’ve had a few days this month where we managed half a dozen as a bycatch. So they are becoming a very welcome treat for clients on board our vessels.
Well these little fellas have made their presence known in the bay again. It hasn’t been too hard to get them but on the odd occasion we have been sweetening the offerings with a little squid or pilchard and even a bit of burley just to keep them frenzied. Patience really is the key when it comes to bait. I often see lots of boats follow us to the bait grounds and we are slaying Mackie’s and they are looking at us in complete confusion as to why were frenzied and they aren’t getting any. I think most of it is in trusting your equipment and not following the boats. If they aren’t balled up under your boat you could be 3 metre from the boat beside you catching them five at a time and you will catch nothing. There is still lots of resident bait around the weed edges on a lot of the islands. They like structure for safety but they will often be seen cruising around over the sand and if a predator is in pursuit they will seek refuge in amongst the weed etc. find with resident bait like this find the sign anchor up quietly and burley. But don’t feed the bait. I will pull my burley out and release small amounts as needed or they simply fill up and won’t take the wee baited sadiki’s that are on offer.
Although during august our Skippers haven’t focused on snapper there have been lots around. I took a group in around the Alderman’s and had a wash session casting light weighted soft baits into the kelp with a very steady supply of snapper. Nothing of huge proportions but a lot of fun none the less. The Coromandel has been firing very well. It must be mentioned though that winter can make the snapper less likely to feed aggressively so it pays to keep things a little bit lighter. Baits smaller and the bites will be less aggressive. As I only soft bait I find winter is the time of year I pull my 3 inch soft baits out and I’ll run down to a 15 lb fluorocarbon leader versus my 30 lb for the summer. I find the snapper love the kelp and very shallow reef structures from June to September and extra stealth is the key component to your success.
These green backed buetys have given us a very good month. They are hitting the jigs well on most occasions but to be honest you still can’t beat the live baits. Fish have been very fat and some have hit the low to mid 20s with an average of about 17 kg. The pins have been hit and miss and we have all burnt a lot of gas trying to ensure our customers a successful day filled with personal bests and high fives. The bite times have been a bit spasmodic so patience has been the key.
Looking ahead into September
September and October are two very exciting months for epic adventures. The fish are big and to be honest some fish of a lifetime will be caught through these months the options will be a little more diverse as bottom bouncing for Hapuka/bass and bluenose are all accessible if the weather permits. It does pay to let the booking office know however if this is your intention so the skippers can have the necessary bait and supply’s to offer you these options otherwise we are generally geared just for our kingies etc. If I was looking at a trip with epic. Id honestly be booking now. The next two months will blow everyone’s minds including the skippers. Spots are filling fast and you don’t want to be the guys or gals that miss out on the best of the best.