Boating NZ : FREE TO READ March 2014
T o feel your line tighten to an early morning snapper in the quiet reaches of a harbour somewhere is one of the great pleasures of summer. Summer and autumn are good times to fish for snapper that move into harbours and estuaries to feed on baitfish, crabs, crustaceans and invertebrates. They’re not afraid of shallow water, especially under the cover of darkness, and even in daylight snapper will feed in less than a metre of water at high tide, provided they are left undisturbed. GOOD NUMBERS Radical changes to water quality from land-based activities, more efficient catch methods and greater fishing efforts have affected snapper numbers everywhere. None of our harbours is unaffected by 600 years of deforestation and 100-plus years of intensive farming, urban growth and other human activity, but surprisingly there is still good snapper fishing in most of them, from the Far North to Wellington, the Marlborough Sounds, Nelson and estuaries like Whanganui Inlet further south. CHANNEL FISHING In many smaller estuaries fishing is the preserve of small boats, especially in the upper reaches where shallow draft is an advantage, but bigger harbours with their deep channels and basins can accommodate boats of every size. Fishing the channels is probably the most popular form of harbour fishing. Anchoring in deeper channels and holes, and fishing natural baits on ledger/flasher rigs or running rigs with long traces, often with berley deployed close to the bottom, is a popular and successful way to fish. Channel fishing is best when the tide is running, with bites usually tapering off towards the top and bottom of the tide, so plan your harbour fishing to take advantage of the middle part of the tidal run when the water moves fastest and fish bite most readily. LEDGER OR RUNNING RIGS? Rigging options for channel fishing include heavily weighted ledger or HARBOUR SNAPPER A strayline rig and a single recurved hook works well in shallow water and anywhere there’s not too much current. OUT OF THE OCEAN JOHN EICHELSHEIM 106 106 Boating New Zealand March 2014 Out of the Ocean_March14.indd 106 18/02/2014 9:53:25 a.m.
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