Shal­low wa­ter tac­tics

New Zealand Fishing World - - Destinations -

Be­ing shal­low it of­ten fishes best early in the day, the fish be­com­ing more wary or dis­ap­pear­ing al­to­gether af­ter the sun gets up. If this is the case when you visit drop your fluoro­car­bon leader down to 10lb and cast your baits and lures well away from the boat. Of­ten, this will be the dif­fer­ence be­tween fresh snap­per and bat­tered hoki for din­ner that night.

The band of wa­ter that seems to pro­duce best re­sults is 15 to 20 me­tres with a bit of cur­rent ei­ther side of a high tide. It’s com­fort­able to fish in al­most any wind, es­pe­cially off­shore souther­lies. That said, if a de­cent east­erly is blow­ing have sausages ready for the bar­beque be­cause you’ll likely need them.

Tom and I had picked an ab­so­lute stun­ner day, no no­tice­able breeze and a high tide at 0900. The only nig­gling worry was a moon in full bloom, which is gen­er­ally not ideal. The Maori fish­ing cal­en­dar in­di­cated a tough day ahead, but Ken Ring’s bite times promised great fish­ing. We went with Ken and a pos­i­tive at­ti­tude, and it ended up pay­ing off.

Pad­dling out we were not alone as a few fishos’ couldn’t re­sist the per­fect con­di­tions. Things were pretty slow to start with just the odd pan sized snap­per slip­ping qui­etly on board, but at least there was some­thing hap­pen­ing. I no­ticed a com­mer­cial boat join­ing us very close in and as it came slowly nearer, iden­ti­fied it was dredg­ing the bot­tom for scal­lops. A com­mer­cial dredge is a for­mi­da­ble chunk of iron to be hauled across the sea floor and it was not hard to imag­ine the trail of dis­tur­bance it would be leav­ing be­low.

Fig­ur­ing this could be an op­por­tu­nity to ben­e­fit from the free ground bait we pad­dled out and tucked in be­hind the in­dus­trial sized sand plough. Sure enough the op­por­tunis­tic snap­per were as pre­dictable as ever and it was all on.

With dou­ble strikes the norm a solid haul of nice pan-sized snap­per was caught pretty much at will for the fol­low­ing hour or so. I no­ticed that we were do­ing a lot bet­ter drift­ing around than the suc­cess the boats that were an­chored up were en­joy­ing. In my ex­pe­ri­ence this is the case more of­ten than not when the weather con­di­tions al­low it.

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