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.