The upper Marlborough Sounds
Winter provides still, calm days for offshore boating and extended trips, while the Upper Sounds offers a good range of small boat and kayak fishing options – so there’s something for everyone here. And, better still, winter accommodation is often available at cheaper rates.
You’ll also be pleased to know there are far more varieties of fish than just blue cod in the Sounds. Getting to know where other species such as flounder, gurnard, tarakihi and school sharks live and feed will improve your fishing enjoyment.
For example, the shallow water environments can be surprisingly productive, with flounder fishing being a top option here. And while the snapper may not be around in any real numbers in areas such as Kenepuru Sound, the gurnard certainly have been in recent years, especially on the foul along the edge of the mussel farms. Kahawai shoals can often be seen here, with shearwaters and terns breaking the morning’s silence.
And even if the fishing is not successful, it’s possible to gather some huge green-lipped mussels in prime condition, at low tide.
Golden Bay offers an ideal time for small boat and kayak fishing compared to the spring and summer months, when the nor’westerly blows through the bay. It is quiet over the cooler months, with little in the way of boat and angler activity.
Flounder can caught in the Upper Sounds’ shallows, while small patches of foul – even in relatively shallow water – will hold tarakihi. The mussel farms in Golden Bay are worth a look, too, thanks to a range of reef fish mooching around them. Kahawai shoals are common, and fishing underneath them can result in a range of fish species. Indeed, the bay has such a variety of fish species present that you’re bound to catch a feed – especially as the bay’s open, sandy expanses mean a long-line can be set as a good insurance policy.
The area out from Pakawau, where mudflats slope away into sandy shallows occupied by offshore mussel farms and a range of fish species, is a favourite. The shallow mudflats are home to a bountiful supply of crabs and worms, and these produce well throughout the year.
As a big bonus, the scallop season begins in mid-august.