Shallow water tactics
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.