Whats Not To Like
Other than the typical Spring weather at the moment there is plenty to like about the fishing options out off the West Coast. Whether you are chasing Snapper, Whitebait or Hapuka there is plenty to like about the prospects provided you can find a decent gap in the weather. If the Snapper are your target then dropping the anchor anywhere between 50-65 metres will see you rewarded with some quality fishing. The guys fishing out around 60 odd metres seem to be doing better on the X Large Gurnard at the moment but the better Snapper are closer to 50 metres. Also most boats are fishing out off the back of Jacksons Reef, i haven't had too many reports coming from further North as yet. We had a day out fishing at 54 metres recently and the size of the Snapper was very good. Suprisingly the nice pan sized Snapper between 3-8 pound were in very good condition however we also had a couple of fish that were very close to 20 pound but were quite slabby. If these same fish had been landed in another 4-6 weeks then they would have comfortably gone a lot heavier. There are still a few crews charging about all over the place catching bugger all and moaning of a tough day on the water, now is the time to put in a bit of time. This time of the year is all about depth so once you have set your anchor give it up to 2 hours for the fish to find you, they will turn up you just need a bit of patience. As in past seasons it's hard to go past Bonito and Squid as baits of choice, a nice oily bit of Bonito to get them on the chew and whole squid on each hook once they turn up. Grab a hand full of the Tasman Tackle H.D Snapper Slayers, designed for this style of fishing with ball bearing swivel, 8/0 Mutsu hooks and 120lb leader, meat hunting at it's finest.
If you do get a weather window and choose to drive over the top of all the quality Snapper fishing going on then there is some outstanding Hapuku fishing to be had out on the shelf. Some of the local crews have managed to get out over the last couple of weeks and have had some spectacular catches on the Puka, Bass and Bluenose. Any structure from the Mokau Trench and further North between 200-300 metres is definitely worth investing some time. If staying on land is more your style then the White Baiting on the harbour streams has been as successful as the Puka and Snapper fishing and this weekends tides are looking real good. Getting a solid feed at the moment hasn't been too difficult. In all reality there really is nothing to grizzle about out West at the moment, everything is there for the taking without a great deal of effort.
Take care if you are out and about on the roads this long weekend and don't force the issue trying to get across the bar cause at this stage Sunday looks like the only day we might get a shot.
Good luck and see you out there!