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Steve's Fishing Report - Wellington - July 7, 2013

Shore Report

The shortest day of the year has been and gone – YEEE HAAA! Fishing has been patchy and will be difficult for the next few weeks after the big storm and with the full on winter weather, though amongst the patches of bad weather we have had some gorgeous still calm winter days, make sure you make the most of weather when the weather gods are kind. Also spend a bit of time checking out your favourite spots in the next few weeks, they may well have changed ie sand banks and gutters will have moved and taken on new shapes and sizes.

The Harbour

Nathan Church's snapperHarbour fishing has been reasonable with a few Snapper being caught behind the NIWA building in Evans Bay and from Miramar Wharf, along with some massive Red Cod and chunky winter Kahawai. Nathan Church caught a lovely 4.76 kg Snapper testing his new rod and what a great fish to test it on. Nice fish mate!

South Coast

Breaker Bay and Lyall Bay have had massive schools of Kahawai pushing bait schools onto the beaches with all anglers getting more than enough Kahawai for a feed. Palliser Bay round to Castle Point is producing good spotted Sharks up to 9kg along with the odd Moki, with the biggest being 5.2kg. Fish are being taken on mussel baits dropped just over the drop off on the steeper gravel beaches. Castle Point has been very good for Gurnard, Spiny Dogfish, Carpet Sharks and Red Cod. The beach inside the reef can produce some excellent Spotted Sharks too at times.

West Coast

The West has been very tough due to the weather, people that have got out for a fish have got Red Cod and Kahawai off Makara Beach and the odd Gurnard from Titahi Bay. For the next couple of months the West is a great place to try for a big Trevally off the rocks and gigantic Spotty Sharks off the beaches. Crayfish is popular bait for targeting both these species, however due to the cost of Cray Fish, Paddle Crabs and super fresh Squid can be just as effective.

It is a great time of year to check over all your gear, ie some new rigs, service or get your reels serviced check your guides and repair as needed, a tip to check your guides is to run a cotton ball around the inside and the cotton will be caught in any hairline cracks you can’t see. So you are ready when there is a break in the weather.

Happy fishing, rug up warm and enjoy some great Winter fishing. There actually IS such a thing!

Cheers, Felix

Boat Report

The Harbour

Having fished it over the last couple of weeks after the Southerly gale I was surprised at how well it fished with dirt brown water and the Hutt River in flood. I thought I would be catching trout but to my surprise we caught a wide variety of fish, winter Red Cod, and Spiny Dogfish did make their presence known along with five Trevally and Warahou and plenty of Kahawai and small Blue Cod. We fished three different places and all had fish in good numbers to my surprise. If there was one thing that was reinforced it was the value of the good berley trail used, on each of the fishing spots we tried. When the berley ran out the fishing slowed down or end stopped. Small baits, good berley trail and light rod and reel sets makes for fun in the Harbour over winter. Thanks Skateboard Fred for your company out fishing. PS : On this trip we left all the fish we caught in the Harbour but one.

West Coast

Henry Neale - Groper Winter fishing can be challenging but very rewarding at the same time, with most summer fish off the menu, our focus is on our staple Blue Cod, Tarakihi and Groper. Out wide behind Mana Island and off Hunters Bank has been fishing well for Groper, with many reports of Groper being caught. If you are a first timer for Groper on the West 2 –3 Hook Groper Rigs with 12 – 14/0 circle hooks will do the job along with 30 or 40 oz sinkers. Strip baits are best cut with a taper, ie eight inches long and three inches wide down to one inch wide. Punch your hook through the three inch end once and leave the rest trailing as we are trying to make our bait look like a bait fish down deep. Preferred baits are Squid or fillet Barracuda. The addition of a light stick will help improve your chances too.

Places to try are out wide behind Mana Island drifting the ledges about 150 – 200 metres, or wide off Hunters Bank in 120 metres down to 150 metres. If Groper is not your thing then there are still very good numbers of Blue Cod and Tarakihi fishing over the Winter months, on the West Coast. Hunter’s Bank, The Pins off the North end of Mana, Verns Reef, Tecam Bank and South Makara all offer good winter fishing. The trick is to anchor a couple of hours before the tide turns, and if you are able to, berley down deep in 40 - 70 metres depending on where you are. Pictured is Henry Neale with a lovely fat winter condition Groper he caught near Kapiti.

Rods and reels should be 10 – 15 kg set with braid as the line, not nylon line. Yes there are still a lot of fisho’s who still use nylon and wonder what day of the week it is, and when their next bite will come. Braid has dropped a lot in price considerably over the years, so there is no reason not to use it, 300 metres of 50lb braid can cost 49.90. When fishing for Tarakihi and Blue Cod make sure your rigs are tough and hardy as they will get lots of nicks and frays from Baraccouta and Spiny Dogfish as well, so check your rigs regularly and retie them when needed.

South Coast

Unlike the West Coast Groper fishing has been patchy with large swells and southerly winds making it hard to get out wide. Typically Bluenose fishing is good over the winter months when you can get out. We often find Bluenose in shallow water 140 – 160 metres this time of year lurking around the tops of banks. We make our traces lighter ie 200lb mono and smaller hooks ie 10/0 – 12/0 power baiter hooks. Just like for Groper, fish strip baits with a tapered cut work best, and a lumo light stick will improve your chances too.

Inshore on the South Coast is hard to beat in Wellington this time of year, with plenty of reefs around to fish for Blue Cod and Tarakihi. Just like the Harbour berley will improve your chances of a better catch and small tough Flasher Rigs ie: 2/0 or 3/0 and small baits work a treat. Places to try are Western Ledge, Arabella Rock and Fitzroy Bay are all worth a shot this time of year.

On a recent trip to Auckland Felix and I were lucky enough to take a peep at some of the new fishing tackle coming out for the new season. Plus thanks to Gulp Soft Baits, we had a day soft bait fishing in Auckland, and fun it was flicking soft baits on light rods and catching Snapper. It did make me think how lucky we are in Wellington with year round Blue Cod, Tarakihi, Groper and Bluenose etc. Plus you don’t really have to travel far at all, and we have hardly any traffic which is a big bonus when going out for a fish! Next time I have to wait twenty minutes at the roundabout at Plimmerton I’ll just think of the Auckland traffic and I will have a big smile on my face, instead of stressing about a short wait compared with what fisho’s have to put up with in Auckland. A big thanks to the team at Gulp for a fun day out fishing in Auckland with passionate fellow fisho’s.

All the best wishes for your fishing over the Winter months. Wrap up warm and I’ll see you out there doing it.