The snapper have finished spawning and will now be turning their attention to putting on condition for the cooler months.
Although the spawning period produces patchy fishing, you can expect a vast improvement through to May as the fish move into channels, harbours, worm beds and reefs. These areas provide great food sources for the fish and as the water cools we should see an increase in work ups. Jigs, slow jigs and soft baits really come into play at this time of year proving irresistible to the hungry snapper and kingfish.
The best colours still seem to be those that worked well during Spring: orange, new penny, blue and yellow for soft baits. Small blue and pink jigs have also been working well.
Make sure you have enough weight to get you down to the bottom and don’t be afraid to work the whole water column. In many cases the fish will be in mid-water and this is where soft baits and jigs work very well with the natural action of a distressed bait fish.
Live baits, stick baits and towed bibbed lures will also be taken by the hungry kingfish. Working knife jigs over the reefs and bait schools is a great way to “prospect” a reef. In some areas the fish are getting “jig shy” so this is when you’ll be wanting a live bait or three. You can catch live bait in most bays provided the small snapper don’t swarm your sabiki rigs. Try in 10–15m of water on your way out – it will be worth it.
The kingfish population in the Gulf has certainly grown and there have been some good captures along with a few tales of the fish winning too. Make sure you are well equipped so the fish isn’t left with your gear trailing from it.
Make sure you have good gear, the correct knots and the right lures and rigs for the job.
Topcatch Whangaparoa will run free seminars during the upcoming season including one for new anglers or those new to the area. More info will be available in store soon.