The Kingfish season 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.