Southern bluefin tuna are currently being targeted off East Cape. This annual run is known as the Waihau Bay Bluefin Tuna Run. This year, for the first time, a catch limit has been imposed on recreational anglers. This is set at one fish per angler, per day. Please note that every boat is checked by Fisheries New Zealand for monitoring of the species. On June 12, the season kicked off with a 70kg and a 61kg being landed on one boat. Another boat landed two, lost one and tagged another two around the 70kg mark. As I write, fish are still being caught down Gisborne way, so there is still an opportunity to catch these migratory tuna before they move on up the New Zealand coast, passing East Cape and Great Barrier Island, before leaving our waters until next year around the same time. What makes fishing for them attractive off Waihau Bay is that the deep water is very close in, dropping off quickly to depths far in excess of 500m. These tuna are savored for the best tasting sashimi, ever. No wonder the Japanese are willing to pay huge money for this prized fish.
Locally, the Kaipara Harbour has started to produce some big gurnard again. This time of year it is a good idea to try to target them as they are around in reasonable numbers, quite large and very tasty! The preferred way of catching them is on a ledger rig with two smaller hooks around the 3/0 or 4/0 size and covered in pink flash, plus your favorite bait.
There are also some great snapper being caught in the Kaipara so do give it a try if you are not doing so well on the east side.
Anthony Roberts, Tackle & Outdoors