Winter is nearly upon us here in NZ, and that changes the way we do things, what fish we seek, our methods, and for some, our enthusiasm ….
While in theory the big snapper should be present in April-May here in the Hawkes Bay, they are conspicuous by their absence this season. In fact snapper of any size are not around in any significant numbers for the average joe surfaster at the moment.
We hear of catches of one or two small fish now and then, but this news is the exception to the rule.
For most of us, we must rely on fishing reports, our own experiences and skills, (or lack of) and a huge dose of luck.
Anyway, winter fishing, most of us here in HB can kiss goodbye to the snapper, trevally, and other ‘summer species’ for a few months, until September or October.
Until then we will attempt to catch Kahawai, have fights with occasional stingrays, curse the spiny dogfish for wrecking our traces, and throw many a sulking redcod back into the briney. Driving north for an hour or two might help.
Winter, for me , is a great time to do a bit of reconnaissance and just check out new places. Take the camera (and the GPS if you’re that way inclined) and walk some coastline. Make a list of ‘must visit’ places for the summer. Of course if the location is remote and untouched enough, you just might find a big daddy snapper waiting out the winter in a reefy bay or channel. He’ll be hungry too, and lobbing a tasty bait in front of his face might produce that elusive winter snapper for you. Big snapper dont mind dirty lumpy water either. I’ve caught big fish in coffee colored water before.
Closer to springtime you might like to try for a nice moki or two. Use shellfish baits and small hooks. Smashed up shells ( especially mussels ) on the beach are a good sign of moki territory.
best of luck 🙂