August 2002                                    back to reports

Fishing here has been OK to quite good this month with good numbers of snapper and the occasional hapuku. The terakihi are starting to move back in after spawning and should soon be in on the closer rocks. Even though the water temperature is at it's lowest right now there was big school of kingies on one of the reefs last week, we dropped a couple of jigs and released about a dozen fish. The old saying of too good to catch only once certainly applies to kingies.
There is a strong northerly current coming down the coast at present that should start to bring the warmer water, September should see the fishing picking up with a few more hapuku, plenty of terakihi and enough snapper to put a bit of colour in the fish bin.

September 2002

The equinoctial winds have played a big part in what we could do this month although they are not to bad here as they are mostly from the west and off shore.
Terakihi have been the mainstay of the catch with some good bags of snapper, hapuku are still hard to find but we have had some good catches of trumpeter which are one of the best eating fish. There are schools of small kingies on the reefs and some big ones deeper down around 100 metres. I hear there has been some big snapper caught off the beaches and there was the occasional school of kahawai working in the bay.
October will see an increase in water temperature, the terakihi moving in after spawning and hopefully hapuku arriving, the snapper will start moving in closer once the water warms and kingie numbers should increase.
Trout season in the rivers opens on October 1st, reports are for a good season with plenty of good conditioned fish.

October 2002

Fishing is really starting to pick up now with every day out being better than the last I would expect that to continue with November being a great month.
Plenty of big fat terakihi on the closer reefs with enough snapper and small hapuku mixed in with them to make the day really interesting. We had a go at one of the kingie reefs a couple of weeks back with average results, a few smaller fish with lots of baracoutta making a pest of themselves and a few surprise blue mackerel taking the jigs. Went past another kingie reef last weekend and saw fish working bait on the surface; I have a kingie trip next week so will have to go back there.
Water temperature should continue climbing through November possibly enough to bring some albacore in by the end of the month, bottom fishing will be great, more kingies should move in and hopefully the Couta will disappear.

November 2002

Fishing has been great here in November with a lot of snapper in the catches along with plenty of big fat terakihi, my favourite eating fish. Small hapuku have been coming to the boat in reasonable numbers with the bigger fish being out in very deep water of between 200 and 300metres, there have been some good bluenose, bass and gem fish in the same depths. There are some big kingies following the terakihi in and we had a couple of great days targeting the kingie schools on the reefs, although we were pestered by barracouta in one spot. We had a Japanese angler who realised his ambition to catch a 20kg kingie in the first hour fishing, he went on to release over 30 kingies.
Water temperatures are rising, fish numbers increasing and I would hope to see the first of the albacore arriving near the end of December with yellowfin not far behind. Forecasters are predicting westerly winds this summer, just what we need for calm seas around here.

Hiroshige with a nice jig caught snapper
December 2002

Fishing in December has been full on with the weather being kind and the fish co-operative. Mainstay of the closer in catch has been terakihi with enough hapuku to make things interesting, there have also been a few snapper to add colour to the fish bin.
Out farther we have been catching bigger hapuku with some big bluenose and trumpeter, there have also been a few gemfish which are an unusual catch here.
The water started looking very fishy early in the month with lots of bait fish with pods of dolphins and diving gannets feeding we trolled a couple of lures and caught a few albacore about the middle of the month however there have been no yellowfin caught here yet. There have been some yellowfin of over 60kg caught just around the cape in the Bay of Plenty so it won't be very long before they arrive here.
We have done a couple of kingie trips with good results, there have still been a few couta mixed in with the kingies but they should leave for the south shortly.

January 2003

Once again terakihi and hapuku have been the main catch for a feed with the odd snapper to add colour to the fish bin. We have done a few kingie trips with enough success to bring a big grin to the anglers faces although there are nowhere near as many kingies as there were a few years back.
We have been getting good bigger hapuku, bass and bluenose farther out with the odd stranger in the shape of gem fish and trumpeter to make it interesting. We got the first of the albacore early in the month, a couple of marlin have been seen and last weekend a yellowfin of over 50kg was caught off Gisborne so the game fish season has started.
I would hope to see more big yellowfin and some marlin caught in the next couple of months.

February 2003

Osprey's new pair 115hp Yamaha 4 stroke outboards are going well and we can still get a comfortable cruise speed of 20kts and a top of 28kts, there are no oil fumes from the 4 strokes and very little noise at idle speed. This will make for trouble free and comfortable trips for quite some time.
For the first time in three years we had a team in the NZ Big Game Fishing Council National Contest we targeted the kingfish section and ended up winning the 10kg, 8kg, 6kg line weight and coming second in the 4kg line class for kingfish. Our 6kg fish of 22.1kg took out champion kingfish angler and we missed out on champion team by less than 4 points. We also won the Tag and release kingfish section with our top angle tagging 17 fish and the team a total of 45 fish. This result reinforces Tolaga Bay as one of the top kingfish destination in the country and the world. I will put the photos on my site at when I get them out of the camera. There are a lot of albacore and skipjack out there and we have seen big yellowfin jumping on several occasions, there have been a number of marlin seen and hooked but none landed as yet. There are some big makos around, we hooked one on a jig on light line and lost it after two and a half hours when the 37kg leader wore through.
We also caught the heaviest hapuku in the Bay Bonanza contest this year.
Fishing from now into winter is likely to be good with plenty of terakihi with hapuku mixed in, kingfish will be around till at least June and snapper will start moving out and congregating on the rocks as the water cools. Bit of luck the weather will co-operate and let us get out there and catch them.

Mark Lewis with a tagged kingie about to be released

March 2003

Fishing has been good in March with several great kingfish trips with overseas anglers. We had one angler from Singapore who released about 150 kingies in 4 days fishing several of them over 20kg, all caught on jigs. At the end of the month the terakihi are starting to move out and school up on certain secret spots ready to make the trip out to spawn. As is normal the big kingies and hapuku are following along for an easy feed. There are still a few smaller hapuku and terakihi closer in, but you need to be right on the spot to get them. There have been plenty of snapper close in and as the water starts to cool they will move out and congregate on the rocks where it is easy to find them. There are still some big skipjack out there and about the middle of the month we saw some yellowfin jumping but couldn't get a strike out of them. Hopefully April will bring a bit more settled weather so we can get out and do more often.

Matt Brown of California with a kingie about to be released
April 2003

When we have been able to get out the fishing has been great with good size hapuku in deeper water and a lot of snapper on the closer rocks. The terakihi moved out early in the month to start their spawning run with the small hapuku and big kingies following. There are plenty of small kingies on the reefs and some good sized trevally with them, unfortunately there are couta mixed in which makes it a bit hard on gear. We have caught a number of kingies on fly gear and don't they make that little reel sing.
There are still skipjack out there and there was a run of yellowfin went through that everyone missed, we saw them jumping a couple of times and towed some lures but got no takers. May should bring more snapper, the kingies will still be about and if the weather allows us to get to them good hapuku.

May 2003

We have had some great weather in May that has let us get out to the fish and the water temperature is still above average for this time of the year.
There are quite good number of small kingfish on the reefs but the barracouta are mixed in with them making it pretty hard on gear. We have been getting some big fat kingies on the bottom, mostly when we find a school of spawning terakihi that they are feeding on. There are snapper around on some of the offshore rocks but most are small fish, big kahawai are chasing the first of the whitebait outside the bay, they should move in closer in the next month. Hapuku have been hard to find, some days we got good catches and others very few, I expect to have to go to deep water to get many in the next month.

June 2003

We experienced some beautiful calm days in June and it was a real pleasure to be out on the sea. There are still good numbers of kingies out there but most are small fish, this is probably because of the amount of bait fish about. The number of barracouta mixed in with the kingies has made it difficult to catch them by our usual jigging and trolling a lure has been the best method of separating the kings from the couta.
Hapuku have been hard to come by and terakihi are spawning with concentrations on some of the reefs, if you can find a school and can park on it you can get a feed no problem. Snapper are also patchy but if you get on to them you do quite well, not huge fish but far enough oversize to make them well worth eating. There have been some schools of kahawai chasing the first of the whitebait that are moving up the river, looks like it could be a good season for both.

July 2003

The weather in July has been against us with only a few days good enough to get out on the sea. On the few fishing days we've been able to get in snapper and terakihi have been the main catch. Snapper have moved onto some of the rocks offshore as they usually do at this time of the year and it seems the terakihi have finished spawning and are slowly making their way back in. There are still the occasional hapuku closer in but most are still well out in deep water and the way the weather has been we haven't been able to get to them. There are still some small kingfish around but not very many, we probably won't see many now till November. August will be pretty much the same as July with snapper the top catch.

August 2003

A very short report as apart from a few days towards the beginning of the month the weather has made getting out on the sea has been almost a non-event in August. When we did get out there were good numbers of snapper and terakihi in the 100metre depth with one or two hapuku.
One thing of note was the catching of a kingie we had tagged in 1998, since we first caught this fish it had grown 36.5 cm in 5 years and 4 months. This is a good indication they are quite slow growing taking 5 years to grow from the present minimum size of 65cm to a size when the females will start to breed.
From now on the water temperature should start to climb however I would still expect snapper to be the main catch for a couple of months yet with the small hapuku and kingies starting to show from October to December.

September 2003

September was another month where we were severely restricted by plenty of foul weather. On the days we did get out the fish co-operated well there were some very nice hapuku, bluenose and king terakihi out deep with the occasional trumpeter and gem fish to make things interesting. Closer in the terakihi are moving back in after spawning and the snapper are also coming in closer, we had some good catches in around 50 to 70 metres with a few small hapuka making an early appearance. As the water warms over the next few months I would expect kingfish to start arriving and the closer fishing to improve.

October 2003

As it's now well into spring it's time once again to let you know what's going on with the fishing here in Tolaga Bay.
We have had good catches over winter with lots of terakihi and snapper and some nice big hapuku when we have been able to get out wide, we got a bass of about 40kg recently and some real big king terakihi. We had very good kingie fishing last autumn one overseas angler I took out caught 150 kingies in four days, all released.
Some of you may have seen my article in the Fishing news on kingies. Yes kingie numbers have been decreasing steadily over the years however because of the light fishing pressure on the reefs out from Tolaga Bay this remains one of the best places in the country to catch a kingie. Provided we look after the fish and there is no targeting by commercial interests it should stay that way.

Now the important bit, what sort of fishing are we likely to have over the coming summer? The Wairarapa current that usually brings the cold water up the coast hasn't run this year so that should let the warm water flow quickly down from the north, heard some commercial boats on the radio last week saying there was a very strong current flowing from the north west. Hopefully this will bring the kingies in early and plenty of game fish as the summer advances.
A couple of weekends ago we got some smaller hapuku on the closer rocks so they are starting to move in, the snapper are also on the move and the terakihi are coming back after spawning. We have been getting bigger hapuku out deep with some bluenose, trumpeter and in one spot big gem fish. As we get closer to summer there should be more bottom fish on the closer rocks and the kingies will start to arrive on the reefs.
Into December I am picking we will get a good albacore run this year and later Yellowfin. In the Northern Hemisphere their summer has produced one of the best yellowfin seasons for many years with large numbers of fish and several world records. With a bit of luck we will also get a good season, we are due for it after the last few years when there has been very few yellowfin caught anywhere in the country. If we do get good warm water and a run of yellowfin as I expect there should be skipjack mixed in with them and marlin following the action, in the next month I will have to sharpen the hooks and re-rig the lures.
Weekend bookings are coming in steadily right through to April but at this point there is still plenty of space. I am looking for a crew for the Tuna and Marlin Tournament on the 12th to the 15th of February, this is a game fishing contest but we usually stop and get a feed at some time, let me know if you are interested.

November 03

Progress into summer is continuing satisfactorily with the water temperatures climbing and the fish moving in. There are smaller hapuku and terakihi in around 70 metres with still the odd snapper. Most snapper are moving in close where they will feed around the beaches and rocks till the start to move out again about May. Farther out in deeper water there are some very good big hapuku, bass, bluenose and in a couple of places king terakihi and gem fish. The kingfish schools are starting to move in to the reefs as they migrate south, hope to have a few more goes at them with salt water fly this year. There have been a few small makos hanging around, tagged one last week and had another trying to steal fish yesterday, that could well be a good sign for the game season.
December should bring the first of the albacore and possibly yellowfin, kingie numbers will continue to increase and the bottom fishing will remain great.

December 03

What a fantastic month December was both the weather and the fishing kept getting better as the month progressed. Terakihi are everywhere from right in the bay to out deep, these are my favourites on the table, crumbed and fried in butter. Lots of smaller hapuku in as shallow as 40 metres with the big fish out deeper. We fished in 120 metres one day last week, dropped 4 lines each with 2 hooks each they were all hit as soon as they touched bottom and up came 8 hapuku. Two more drops and we came home with 3 fish for each angler all between 15 and 20kg.
Kingie numbers are starting to build on the reefs but there are still barracuda mixed in with them and surprisingly we got on to a school of rays bream that were taking jigs in only 50 meters, first time I have ever caught these fish.
There are quite a lot of albacore out there but they are still scattered and hard to find. The first yellowfin was caught last weekend a great fish of 61kg, hopefully there will be many more before the season is over, the water temperature is well up now and there is plenty of bait out there so we should see a good game season with marlin and yellowfin.

Heath and bobby with a hapuku and bluenose caught in December

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