The up­per Marl­bor­ough Sounds

NZ Fishing News - - Fishing Personality -

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

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.

As the mud­flats have a boun­ti­ful sup­ply of crabs year round, it makes sense to tar­get the floun­der feed­ing on them over the win­ter.

Blue cod have al­ways been the sta­ple species in the Sounds, but other worth­while species, such as gurnard, are also on of­fer.

Avoid­ing spiny dog­fish is one of the big chal­lenges dur­ing the cooler months.

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