If it’s pelagics you are targeting, then I am sure you have done well lately. Yellowfin tuna seem to be making a comeback in our area after many years of absence and can be caught from the Mokohinau Islands area and around Great Barrier Island. Green colour game lures seem to be the preferred colour if you plan on targeting them. We managed to get a triple hook up last week, however I was the one to drop mine shortly after the strike.
The two that were landed were 18+ kilos and sure made for some great mouth watering barbecued steaks. Skipjack tuna have also been around and are being seen in closer between Leigh Reef and Little Barrier, as well as further out toward the Mokes. They always seem to grab the smaller skippy lures. Pink is the favourite colour. For those of you who think skipjack are only good for bait, think again. They are great eating if prepared correctly. The secret is to make sure they are cooked rare. The big mistake everybody makes is to overcook them, resulting in food that tastes like dry cardboard. Skipjack are lean swimming machines and have no body fat. These fish must swim about three to four times their body length every second just to survive. Cut out the four fillets leaving no bones, take off the skin, add a liberal amount of course salt and pepper and hot smoke. Make sure the fish is rare and still moist. If it is not tasty, you have overcooked it! Try again, you won’t be sorry.
Kingfish have also been on the bite and good areas to find them have been around Flat Rock, Leigh Reef, and further away around Anchorite and Horn Rock for those who like to travel. They generally like a lot of water movement. If you are seeing them on the sounder but not getting them to take the speed jigs or surface poppers and stick baits, then a live bait will work. It is always good practice to try to get some live baits before going out to your favoured spot. Jack mackerel, kahawai and especially koheru make for great live baits. If one of these cannot entice a kingi to dinner, nothing will.
Snapper fishing has generally been slow during February. Don’t feel bad if you have struggled on some days. It has taken some hard work on certain days to get a good feed, but hang in there because March generally brings them back on to the bite in bigger numbers. It also makes for easier fishing leading up to the winter months. The best fishing weather will be over the next few months as the days get cooler with less wind. Tight Lines!
Anthony Roberts, Tackle & Outdoors