Chang­ing chan­nels Spots to try

New Zealand Fishing World - - (Technique) -

Paul Walker looks at the chal­lenges and out­lines the best meth­ods for fish­ing in Auck­land’s many chan­nels.

Chan­nels should get you think­ing, bring­ing out your fish­ing knowl­edge and in­stincts as on any given day one style or type of tackle and rig may well out­fish all oth­ers.

Chan­nels of­fer so many op­por­tu­ni­ties and there are so many dif­fer­ent ways to fish them.

If you get bored with chan­nel fish­ing then you’re not us­ing all of the pos­si­bil­i­ties avail­able to you.

Chan­nels should get you think­ing, bring­ing out your fish­ing knowl­edge and in­stincts as on any given day one style or type of tackle and rig may well out­fish all oth­ers.

The bath­o­me­t­ric lay­out of chan­nels falls into three cat­e­gories, the flats above the chan­nel, the drop-off into the deeper wa­ter and chan­nel it­self, which in ma­jor cen­tres will no doubt be a main ship­ping route, so may well pro­hibit fish­ing at an­chor but drift fish­ing could be ac­cept­able. Chan­nel op­tions There are plenty chan­nels to choose from in the north­ern waters around Kawau Is­land plus the Rosario chan­nels.

Then there’s Blanche be­tween Mo­tuketekete and Mo­turekareka Is­lands al­though this chan­nel is quite small.

Be­tween th­ese is­lands and the main­land lies the main in­ner chan­nel, check ma­rine chart 5227. South of Kawau comes the Whanga­paraoa pas­sage com­monly known as the Tiri chan­nel then mov­ing south­east there is a chan­nel be­tween the Noises and Rakino Is­land. The main Rakino Chan­nel lies to the south of the is­land be­tween it­self and Mo­tu­tapu Is­land.

En­ter­ing Auck­land Har­bour, the two main heavy com­mer­cial traf­fic chan­nels come into play - the Ran­gi­toto and the Mo­tu­ihe - be­cause th­ese two traf­fic lanes are so busy with con­tainer ships, liners, fer­ries and all man­ner of other com­mer­cial and plea­surecraft. You re­ally will have to obey all the rel­e­vant ship­ping rules and have your wits about you so as not to get run over. How­ever even around

th­ese busy lanes there is still good fish­ing to be had and some great snap­per are pulled from th­ese waters over sum­mer.

Mov­ing east of th­ese two, we have Sergeants Chan­nel and even fur­ther east there is the large Wai­heke Chan­nel di­vid­ing Wai­heke Is­land from Ponui, Ro­toroa and Paka­toa is­lands, with both the Ruthe Pas­sage and the Sand­spit Pas­sage sep­a­rat­ing this group of is­lands. Check ma­rine chart 5324 for a closer look.

Last but not least is the Auck­land Har­bour it­self and a chan­nel of sorts runs from north head past the CBD, wharves and navel base then un­der the Har­bour Bridge past the Chelsea su­gar works and Kauri Point and on up into the western Up­per Har­bour. Don’t for­get all the creeks and es­tu­ar­ies in th­ese ar­eas as they can hold good num­bers of fish in sum­mer.

Spawn­ing snap­per There is no short­age of good fish­ing chan­nels in the Auck­land area and af­ter the snap­per have spawned in the more open ar­eas just north of Auck­land, they seem to pour into the in­ner Auck­land chan­nels and take up res­i­dence from Jan­uary through to March.

That’s just fine by us as it makes the fish­ing very ac­ces­si­ble for small boat an­glers who haven’t been able to ac­cess the spawn­ing snap­per out wide in the deeper wa­ter. Also, hav­ing the fish in so close to the city at this time makes it easy for an af­ter work fish, mak­ing the most of day­light sav­ings. On nice evenings there are plenty of hope­ful an­glers out there do­ing just that. Visi­tors to Auck­land can­not be­lieve that over this pe­riod such qual­ity fish are caught on a reg­u­lar ba­sis right un­der the bright lights of Auck­land’s CBD. On nice nights tourists will be lined up watch­ing this event take place, gob­s­maked at the fact that good fish are be­ing caught just out there. Chan­nel tac­tics Chan­nels have from day to day so many vari­ables that you re­ally should sit down and make a plan be­fore you head off. First the tide will be a huge fac­tor in where you fish as it will both in­crease and de­crease in flow through­out the month. It may well be too dif­fi­cult to fish the cen­tre of a chan­nel in a high tidal flow but as the flow de­creases later in the month this same spot may be quite fish­able.

In high tidal flows look to fish up on the flats, closer to shore where the tide won’t be as strong but you have another prob­lem here.

Shal­low wa­ter and bright sun usu­ally don’t make for good fish­ing re­strict fish­ing to early morn­ing and or late af­ter­noon to evenings to give your­self the best chance or if the day is over­cast then this will help and as is the na­ture of most chan­nel wa­ter, it’s stirred up and murky.

This all helps to block out the sun­light which fish seem to avoid. Best chan­nel meth­ods Bait is prob­a­bly the most com­mon form used in chan­nel fish­ing. With the run­ning rig, a heavy pyra­mid 6oz to 10oz sinker is placed on top of the swivel.

Don’t use ball or egg sinkers as they roll too much in the cur­rent. Then use a trace of two to six me­tres, tied to the swivel.

The length of trace is up to you but longer traces tend to sway about in the cur­rent and snap­per are at­tracted by smell and move­ment.

I know of one guy who uses this sys­tem but has five or six hooks tied down the length of the six-me­tre trace, a lit­tle like a small long­line, and has great suc­cess with

hav­ing the fish in so close to the city at this time makes it easy for an af­ter work fish, mak­ing the

most of day­light sav­ings.

this sys­tem as he has six times the chance of hook­ing up. Next comes the drop­per or fixed rig and store-bought snap­per flasher rigs are ideal for this and can be fished in sev­eral ways.

The stan­dard is to at­tach a chan­nel sinker or a clip-on teardrop sinker in again 6oz to 10oz, or more if needed, to the base of this rig and fish it with the sinker just touch­ing the bot­tom.

As an ad­just­ment to this, clip the heavy sinker to the top swivel and a lighter sinker, say 3or 4oz, to the bot­tom.

This rig will then lay along the seabed and will be picked up by snap­per feed­ing along the bot­tom. We use the rig fish­ing for gurnard in the Kaipara Har­bour and it works very well. Walk­ing the dog At an­chor one of my favourite meth­ods is a thing called walk­ing the dog us­ing an over­head reel setup and a stray­line rig with a ball or egg sinker of 2oz to 4oz sit­ting on top of the hooks.

Leave the reel out of gear and your thumb on the spool and slowly feed line out let­ting the bait bounce and roll along the bot­tom. You can let out 50m or more and some­where along its trav­els this bait is go­ing to get spot­ted and nailed by a snap­per be­cause they just can’t re­sist a mov­ing bait.

If you don’t get hit on the way out then en­gage the reel and very slowly re­trieve the line, some­where ei­ther go­ing out or com­ing back it’s go­ing to get nailed. Catch­ing the drift With the ad­vent of soft­bait­ing and the var­i­ous forms of jig­ging with metal lures, drift­ing has been the nat­u­ral way to fish as you cover more ground and a mov­ing boat helps with the move­ment of the lure.

auck­land’s chan­nels hold end­less fish­ing op­tions.

whether sof tbait­ing, slow jig­ing or bait fish­ing, chan­nels are a god choice.

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