Pat with a trumpeter March 2000

March 2000

The big snapper continue to come ashore, latest reports of fish over 9kgs have come from Tolaga Bay wharf and by the surf club on Midway beach. It's been a great season for these big fish from the beach and the wharves, I've heard of about a dozen over 9kg with the best being a shade under 13kg. I suspect these are fish that have leaked round the cape and worked their way down the largely unfished coastline, growing on the plentiful tucker, till they finally encountered bait. There should be more out there and I would expect to hear of more being caught right through winter. The wharves have been producing quite a number of john dory, kahawai and in Tolaga gurnard. There have also been several big kingies hooked and one or two landed but mostly the lines they were hooked on have been light and the results inevitable. A couple of weeks of strong southerlies haven't helped with the boat fishing but when we have got out the fishing's been great. Terakihi are filling up with roe and starting to move out, any small rocks in about 100m should hold good schools. Kingies and hapuku are on their trail getting an easy feed and will follow along as they move out to spawn. Went up to Waihau Bay with a charter, howling southerly made it impossible to fish out of Tolaga. Trolled round to Matakoa point where many moons ago I used to fish with a character called Ron Waitoa, Ron used to reckon the best spot for hapuku was where the third black cow lined up with the lighthouse. The cows are still there but the hapuku have gone guess that proves cows live longer than hapuku. Spent two days up there for half a dozen snapper and a couple of kingies, marlin were there, but you had to put in the time with the lures which we weren't willing to do. Last day of the charter we came back to Tolaga and released about 50 kingies, 35 tagged, got 7 snapper, 8 terakihi and 2 yellowfin. How good is the fishing here? We've been seeing quite a lot of juvenile fish about this lately, got a 200mm long bass early in the month and in the last week there have been some very small kingies around 250mm hanging around the boat. Also caught what looks like juvenile bluenose on the surface, if that's what they are, it's possibly the first time they've ever been seen in this country. They'll be on their way to Wellington in the next couple of days for ID, let you know what they are next month.

April 2000

Robert with a snapper caught from Tolaga bay wharf April 2000

Another month when snapper from the shore have been the big news, several have come off the Gisborne beaches. I was at the Tolaga Bay wharf when one of the locals carried off a nice fish that looked to be about 6kg. Next day my son Robert was out on the end and got another, he did it the hard way walking the fish all the way down the wharf ( 600m ) to beach it in the surf, at a little over 6kg a real good catch. Gisborne Tatapouri Sports Fishing Club Easter snapper and kingfish contest managed to get a couple of reasonable days weather wise although the fishing was hard. Best snapper went 10.1kg and the top kingie 26kg. They were upstaged somewhat by a young fella who walked into the clubrooms in the evening and asked if he could weigh a snapper he had caught off the rocks at Mahia, went 12.1kg, would have won him a new Ford ute if he had got it in the contest.
Terakihi are full of roe and congregating on deep rocks ready to move out to spawn, the big kingies are following along and man are they fat, it must be an easy feed down there at this time of the year. If you find a mob of terakihi put down a live one and it won't take long and you'll be getting your arms pulled off. Hapuku have also moved out, some are with the terakihi and others well out on the edge of the shelf preparing to do their own thing. Lots of trevally on the Tolaga reef and still skippies and yellowfin at the end of April, quite a lot of kahawai and some schools of barracouta moving north to where all the shiny lip ornaments are. Still no news on the juvenile fish from last month, should get something soon.

May 2000

Today's officially the first day of winter and it sure looks like it out there, a poor relation to the calm weather we had earlier in the month. Water temperature out wide is still 17.5c and there are still a few skippies around although it shouldn't be long before they are gone. Hapuku are quite scarce although we still seem to be able to pick up a few each day, terakihi are localised , if you get on to a patch you do very well. They always seem to have some big kingies in attendance and a live one put back down will usually get a quick response. Snapper are turning up in good numbers on the closer rocks which usually happens at this time of the year as the water temperature close inshore drops, I would expect to be able to get some good catches in the next couple of months. There have been more makos about this month than I have seen all summer. Had one of about 80kg pick up a bait last weekend, it jumped then raced along the surface for about 30metres with it's head out of the water, never seen that before, very impressive, it was still heading for the horizon when it bit off.
Still more big snapper being caught of the beaches, Kevin Rickard of the Gisborne Surfcasters Club got a good one early in the month. There have been a few small schools of kahawai in the bay at Tolaga no doubt indicating the first of the whitebait arriving. Bit of luck it also means there is a recovery in kahawai numbers.

Damien with kingfish tagged and released in June

June 2000

The shortest day has passed and we're on our way back to summer but the water temperature will not bottom out till the second week in August. The longline boats have been doing real well on bluefin tuna lately, shows there's a fishery out there that we may be able to get into in the future.
Bottom fishing's been good but not brilliant, terakihi, some big kingies and a few hapuku in about 100m and some snapper closer in. Some days we've had a few big trumpeter, they come in small groups, five or six all at once then no more for the rest of the day. Beautiful fish, fight like David Tua and are one of the best on the plate, a real bonus. I would expect the small hapuku to be moving back in by the end of August, the terakihi to be spreading out again and the snapper to move out a bit farther. From the shore the big snapper have dried up although there should still be some about, try and find an unfished channel in the rocks with a bit of weed about, fish it at the change of light, might just produce the goods. There should be kahawai moving in as they follow the whitebait and if you're really lucky a couta and may be even a red cod. MoF are planning to remove the exemption that allows trawlers to keep kingfish under 65cm as part of this years fisheries management review, good news but not enough. They need to be made a non-commercial species like marlin. If you clubs out there haven't made submissions to the Minister of Fisheries on kingies, why not? Get off your lazy chuffs and fight for your share of the fish if you don't you will lose it.
July 2000

Not a great deal to report this month as the sea has been to rough to get out; we did however get in a couple of days. Terakihi are working their way in to the closer rocks the ones we have been catching are big and fat, great grazing. Small hapuku are also appearing, very early for them, I don't normally expect to start seeing until about late August-September. Some of them are very small, consider chucking the little ones back and give them a chance to grow. Drop them in head first, as long as they hit with a reasonable splash the usually go back down. There are quite a lot of good snapper coming in, nothing huge but well worth catching. Big kingfish are hanging around wherever there are terakihi, we usually pick up at least one for a days fishing. I haven't been out to any of the kingie rocks but I suspect there will be enough fish there to make a trip worthwhile. I doubt though if it would be worth using any lures at the moment as there are lots of barracouta feeding on what appears to be big schools of whitebait. I suspect it could be a very good season for whitebait this year so it may well be worth dragging out the net and having a go, not sure when the season starts, some time in August I think.

From the what's out there file.
A broadbill of 480kg trunked, that's headed, gutted and with the tail off, was brought in by a commercial longline boat, with the conversion factors used for those fish that makes it 620kg live weight. Almost 100kg over the present all tackle world record. Also landed a 42kg albacore 2kg over the all tackle world record.

August 2000

Another month when the weather has been the enemy, on the few days we have got out we caught some good hapuku but had to go out into 150m of water to get them. One day we had some real good snapper and another some big fat terakihi. We don't seem to be able to do a days fishing without getting pestered by makos, they pick up fish on the way up and usually bite off after a couple of good runs and sometimes a spectacular jump. We had a seal trying to take fish off the lines one day, made a real pest of itself. They must be increasing rapidly in numbers we never saw then a few years ago, bit of luck they won't get to the plague proportions they have in parts of California where they have taken over marinas. The water temperature will start to rise slowly in September, terakihi should be about in good numbers and the small hapuku should start to appear on the closer in rocks.
September 2000.

The water temperature for the first month of spring has been well up on average, we have had some good catches of terakihi, quite a few hapuka and some nice snapper. Most days we have got one or two early kingfish although the schools that are on the usual rocks are of mostly small fish and are well mixed with barracouta. I would expect the schools of small hapuku to shortly start moving in to the inside rocks, good terakihi will continue to be a major part of the catch in October. When the water rises another degree it will be worth towing a lure for an early albacore and better kingies will arrive on the reefs.
The first of October was the opening day for the rivers, from what I hear they are fishing well with good numbers and size of trout that are in good condition. If anyone is interested in a trip either fresh or salt water or a combination of both now is the time to start planning, with the NZ $ at its present low visiting New Zealand has never been better value.

October 2000.
This month has seen the start of spring fishing with the first of the small hapuku moving in to the close in rocks and a continuation of good fat terakihi, a few snapper and the odd big kingie have helped to fill the fish bins. Schools of small kingies have been around on the reefs but the bigger fish will still be down deep hunting on the bottom, once the water warm and the schools of pelagic baitfish arrive they will join the small fish on the reefs where we can target then. There have been a few mako and blue sharks making a pest of themselves, the blues are very lethargic at this time of the year when they get hold of a bait they can by wound in with little resistance. Makos are a different story, as corporal Jones says. 'They don't like it up em sir'. When they get a hook in they go.
November should see the water temperature rising, more small hapuku in close and if it warms enough possibly some early albacore.

November 2000

Spring fishing has picked up as the month progresses, great bottom fishing with plenty of fat terakihi and increasing numbers of hapuku has made for happy anglers. We have picked up a few snapper and one or two good kingies on most days. Water temperature has only risen slightly, it's been kept down by some strong southerly winds which tend to push a cold current up from the south, this current is usually close in, farther off shore the East Cape Current is starting to push warmer water down.
I had a quick look at one of the kingie reefs earlier in the month and there was sign of some good size schools on the sounder, I suspect there are still barracouta mixed in with them but they should start to disappear shortly.
Reports on the fresh water scene are that the rivers are fishing really well, one angler told me last week he had fished the Ruakituri River and got fish on every cast. The Waikaremoana lakes are very full and have been producing some great fishing, I heard of a 13kg, that's 28.5lb, brown taken from the Tuai lake, someone who saw it said it looked more like a tuna than a trout. Recreational crayfish season opens on the first of December, I've just pulled the pots out of the long grass.

December 2000
Water temperature is over 18c and the first yellowfin of the season was caught in the last week of the month. Albacore turned up mid month and there have been some very big makos about, they have been taking quite a heavy toll on gear sometimes getting away with three bottom rigs as well as the fish on the line. Bottom fishing is good with plenty of hapuku and terakihi but only the occasional snapper. Kingfish are about in the usual places, lots of small fish with big fish mixed in, kingie of the month is the fish shown. Caught by Ace Egawa on one of my jigs armed with a KS6/0 Black Magic hook it put up a great fight taking about an hour to land then swam off strongly after tagging. Estimated to weigh around 30kg or 70lb.
I would expect the water to warm up another 2 or 3 degrees in January and good numbers of yellowfin to be caught, the first marlin should arrive in the next two weeks. Kingies and bottom fishing will stay great and makos will continue to be a pest.
January has seen mostly good weather and lots of days on the sea the fishing some days has been quite hard but we have always managed to bring home a good feed. We have caught some very big kingies, mostly on the bottom where they have been hunting terakihi. There have been some big makos taking their share of the catch, one bit a 10kg groper off behind the gills then tried to eat one of the motors, it had the whole of the prop and skeg in it's mouth, got the teeth marks to prove it. Tuna have been about in good numbers with quite a lot of good size albacore, a few skipjack and reasonable numbers of yellowfin up to 35kg. There have been a couple of marlin sighted but none caught, we will be doing a bit of game fishing in February and March so hopefully will pick up one or two along with some yellowfin. Water temperature off Tolaga Bay is close to 20c and I would expect it to rise slightly in February.

February 2001.

Still great summer fishing around here with the water temperature around 20c, plenty of skipjack tuna for bait, some good albacore and yellowfin, plenty of yellowtail kingfish and of course the usual excellent bottom fishing. We entered in the two big contests of the year out of Gisborne, the first the Bay Bonanza we only managed one prize for the heaviest trumpeter. In the Tuna and Marlin hunt we did better getting the 1st and 3rd heaviest albacore, our winning fish went over 20kg. We also got the 7th heaviest yellowfin tuna, the top 10 were all within 2kg of each other with the best 30kg. A report on the huge mako which won the shark section is at 1000 POUND MAKO SHARK. Last week in the Nationals which we didn't compete in this year there was a 341kg blue marlin caught out of Gisborne the first blue weighed here, it was the heaviest marlin caught anywhere in the country for the contest. March will continue to see good tuna and yellowtail fishing, there will be a few marlin about and the usual great bottom fishing.

March 2001

At the end of March the water temperature out there is still 20.5c, warm enough for tuna and marlin, although none have been seen for a couple of weeks. Earlier in the month another blue marlin was landed out of Gisborne, only the second caught here, and others hooked and lost. There has been an increase in the number of blues caught around the country in the last couple of seasons. There have been plenty of big kingfish about and a few schools of smaller fish. We had secession on the fly rod recently. It's a great site seeing a mob of kingies chasing a fly, the splash of the take then the scream of the reel as the lucky one disappears into the depths with the fly. The fight they put us is way out of proportion to their size.
Terakihi are filling up with roe and have moved out to prepare for spawning, the hapuku have followed along and are mostly in 100m +. I would expect to see a few more snapper turning up for they move out as the close in temperature drops in April. We will have to travel a bit farther to get good bottom fishing but as I have compiled a catch record over several years we can find them.

April 2001

Fish of the month here in Tolaga Bay has been snapper that are moving out from close inshore where they have spent the summer. As the water temperature drops close to the land they move out where the water is warmer, this is a regular occurrence but is probably a little earlier than normal. Terakihi have gone out to the edge of the shelf to prepare to spawn, as have most of the hapuku. There are still good numbers of kingies around, we had a couple of great days with jigs and salt water fly gear earlier in the month. I would expect to be able to catch kingies for a couple of months yet and probably a few right through the winter.
Water temperature at present is 18c so there should still be a few yellowfin about, we have seen skipjack in the last week or so but they won't be here for much longer. Through May we will get more good catches of snapper and hapuku farther out and there will be enough kingies about to get them when we want them.

May 2001.
Snapper have been the fish to target this month, good catches have been taken from 20m out to about 80m, most are small fish of around a kilo with the odd one up to 7kg. We got a few hapuku close in last weekend and a good catch of terakihi, this is a bit unusual at this time of the year as most of these fish are out deep spawning.
There are still a few makos pestering us stealing gear and we tagged a reasonable size thresher shark last week. Heard a passing yacht on the radio saying the had caught a tuna on a trolled lure, probably an albacore or skipjack, so there must still be some about. The longline boats that are out between 40 and 50 miles are doing all right on bluefin, big eye, albacore tuna and broadbill.

June 2001.
Early in the month snapper were going really well then as the month progressed terakihi started to take over as the main fish in the bin. It's early for Terakihi to be moving in and this probably confirms what I had suspected that they gone out to spawn early this year. We've got a few hapuku close in lately and it will be interesting to see follow the trend of the terakihi and arrive early. There are still some small schools of kingies about but they are difficult to target because of the barracouta that are hanging around in the same spots. A good way to target kingies this time of the year is to find some terakihi, put on a live one a circle hook and drop it back down the bottom. Leave the rod in a holder, the reel in gear with a good strike drag and wait till the rod bends over. If nothing happens, no loss you can still eat the bait.

July 2001.
Snapper and terakihi have been the mainstay of our fishing this month, the terakihi are fairly small by our standards but still well above legal size. Snapper have been of average size of about a kilo or two with the odd bigger one. Most have been caught in around 100m of water where they seem to move out to as the temperature drops. We have had a couple of days when we have caught some good hapuku with one fish around 40kg.
Even though the days are now getting longer the coming month of August usually sees the lowest water temperature of the year and we will have to keep fishing fairly well out to get a good feed. That's not a problem as my data base now covers seven years of fishing and I can pick where the fish will be.
August 2001.
The weather hasn't done us any favours this month but we have still got in a bit of fishing. We have had a couple of days when the big hapuku have co-operated, these fish have been full of roe and milt so are in spawn mode. Terakihi seem to appear and disappear and there is still the odd snapper in the catch.
I spent the last week of the month in Samoa fishing the International Billfish Contest, love that warm, Our team managed to win the mahimahi section with an 11.6kg fish on 10kg line and we ended up 5th out of 23 teams. We tagged a small blue marlin and unfortunately dropped a sailfish after a two hour fight on 10kg. Not to bad an effort considering none of our team has fished there before.

September 2001
September has not been the best of months either for weather or finding fish. When we have got out we have caught some good hapuku, although we have had to go a fair way to find them, we had a hapuku of about 15kg chopped neatly in half by a mako last week, must have been a big momma. At the end of the month the terakihi started to appear on the closer in rocks and we got some nice snapper. October will see the small hapuku move in to where we can get an easy feed and an increase in the terakihi. I would hope to see a few kingies arrive, although I am really worried about the state of stocks as there has been a big decrease in numbers in the last few years. I suspect that if nothing is done to curb the commercial take catching a kingie will be a thing of the past in 5 years time.
October 2001

A bit of improvement in the weather has meant more days on the sea and some quite good catches. The hapuku have finally started to move in and we have had some good catches of terakihi and some nice snapper. The water temperature has never gone very low all winter and is now starting to rise, I suspect that by the end of November it will be close to 17c and then we can start looking for albacore and the first yellowfin. We had a couple of days this month chasing kingfish, the ones we got were small but both the numbers and size will improve as we get into summer.

Newsletter Spring-Summer 2001
Summer has snuck up on us again the water is warming up and it won't be long before we can expect the first albacore closely followed by yellowfin. Last summer was quite a good year for game fish in particular for yellowfin, we actually had a better season here than over the Bay of Plenty. There were two big blue marlin caught out of Gisborne and of course the !000lb mako in the Marlin and Tuna Tournament.
We fished 3 contests last summer, the crews all got on the prize lists with good prizes in the Tolaga Bay contest the heaviest trumpeter in the Bay Bonanza and first and third albacore and seventh yellowfin in the Marlin and Tuna Tournament. I still have a vacancy for the Tuna Tournament on 7,8,9,10th February next year so if you would like to be in for some great game fishing give me a call. Recently we had a hapuku of about 15kg bitten in half by a mako that looked to be close to 300kg, I have that one marked down to take the heaviest mako prize.

Robert with one of three yellowfin we caught in the Tuna and marlin contest

Fishing over the winter has been good the usual hapuku and Terakihi being the main catch with some great snapper fishing in June and July, there were several days when we got limit bags of good average size snapper. The small hapuku have been late arriving this season they only just started to turn up in mid November and then if you were on the wrong rock you miss out. Terakihi have very localised and it has needed pin point accuracy to get onto them, when we get the anchor in the right place there are plenty to be caught.
We got some good kingfish in late autumn this year and have had a couple of goes at them in the last month, we got mostly small fish but there were quite a few there. Numbers and size should increase as the season progresses.
Prospects for the coming summer look great with plenty of good table fish close in and bigger hapuku farther out. There will be enough kingies on the reefs to still make this the best fishing spot in the country and with a little luck another good game fishing season.
I had a local turn up at home last week with a beautiful big fat snapper to weigh, it pulled the scales down to 11.5kg.

December 2001
Strong offshore winds for much of the month have kept us in fairly close. Terakihi have been the mainstay of the catch with some good bags of hapuku and a few kingies, we have tagged a couple around a metre long and kept a couple close to 25kg.
The water temperature is up to 20c and there are good numbers of reasonable sized albacore out there, we have done very little trolling but when we have put a lure in we have picked up albacore. I would be very surprised if there were not yellowfin out there and the odd marlin, one day soon I will find out.
We've been pestered by some big mammas of makos, we had a couple of reasonable sized kingies chomped off behind the gills and a hapuku of about 15kg neatly nipped in half, saw another big one yesterday as we were coming home, very impressive beasts indeed.

January 2002

Great fishing for the first month of 2002, plenty of terakihi close in for a good fed and some big hapuku farther out. Big kingfish have been a regular catch when bottom fishing with some good schools around the reefs. Game fish have been quite scarce so far with only half a dozen yellowfin caught they have however been big all close to 50kg. There have been albacore and skipjack when we have trolled lures and we saw some big momas of makos early in the month. There have been a couple of marlin seen but as yet none hooked.
The water temperature is around 20c so February should bring more yellowfin and hopefully marlin. Bottom fishing will continue at the usual high standard and kingies are there to be caught.

February 2002

The stranding of the log ship and subsequent oil spill in Gisborne have had no effect on the fishing, rather the southerly storms that drove the ship onto the beach and delayed it's refloating have kept us off the sea.
The days that have been fishable have produced good fishing the huge black marlin taken off Gisborne has to be the highlight, see:
We had some good days targeting kingies, lots of small fish with a few around 20kg, hapuku have been quite hard to find but we have had some good size fish. Terakihi again are the main fillets gracing the plate at the end of the days fishing, a few snapper are turning up and we have seen some big trevally. There are some good schools of skippies for bait and quite a lot of kahawai just outside Tolaga Bay.

60kg bass

March 2002

Marlin have been the big news in March, the few boats that get out there and troll lures are getting action with strikes from black, blue and striped marlin. I suspect if as much time was put in targeting game fish by boats here as it is farther north we would see many more marlin landed. A couple of weeks back we saw the tail of a big marlin cruise past when we were bottom fishing. I get very few charters that want to chase game fish as most like the continuous action of bottom fishing and the resulting feed.
We have had some great kingie trips with some very big fish caught and tagged. One day we were plagued by big bronze whaler sharks that made a pest of themselves taking fish off the lines and leaving just the head. We put a couple of heads back down on a big rod and tagged the two three metre sharks that came back to finish their meal. Kingies will be around for a couple of months yet and possibly longer depending on water temperature.
The terakihi are filling with roe it won't be long before the start spawning, snapper are starting to turn up in the catches and we have had some big hapuku and bass with a huge bass of 60kg last weekend.
A couple of weeks back we saw a pair of very big hammerhead sharks that hung around out the back of the boat for a while, they wouldn't come in close but even 30 metres back they looked huge.

April 2002
A good month for both fish and weather has meant not only have we got out there, but we have returned with happy crews. The fish bins have mostly been filled with terakihi with a few snapper, hapuku and some very big kingies. The terakihi are starting to spawn some we are catching are running with roe, doesn't seem to be putting them off feeding. Snapper are moving out with the dropping water temperature and we should soon be able to target them in between 50 and 70 metres.
Hapuku are still hard to find and some days we have had to put up with terakihi and a couple of kingies.
May should produce more snapper, plenty of terakihi and good kingies, well worth coming for a fish.

Tolaga Bay May 2002

Snapper have been the catch of the month, as usual when the inshore water temperature drops the snapper move out and congregate on the rocks from 50 to 100 metres deep, this habit can make them quite easy to catch provided you can find the right rocks.
Terakihi have gone out to the edge of the shelf on a spawning mission as have the hapuku. Said hapuku have continued to be very hard to find and even when we go looking for them we are only picking up the odd one. We got some very nice trumpeter last weekend and two real big kingies on the bottom out of 120 metres of water. There are still some schools of kingies on the reefs and quite a number of small makos have moved north with the influx of cooler water that has been driver by some quite stroppy southerly conditions. There have been quite a few birds working on schools of fish in the bay, probably early whitebait being chased by kahawai, a good sign for the whitebait season in August.

June 2002

We have now passed the shortest day and are back on the way to summer, can't arrive quick enough for me. As is usual this time of the year weather restricts the time on the water, when we have got out snapper have been the main catch, nothing huge but good to catch and eat. Occasionally we have got farther out and picked up a few good hapuku, trumpeter and big kingies. The terakihi are still well out spawning and if you can find them there are always some big kingies in attendance. So if you do find terakihi at this time of the year drop a live one back down and it shouldn't be long before something large pulls on the end. Schools of early whitebait are moving in followed by some very big kahawai, these fish are underrated as both game fish and food. Bleed them and cook them fresh for a great feed.
July 2002

Not a lot of fishing done in July around here but on the few occasions we have got out we have found snapper and some terakihi in on the closer rocks, there have also been quite a lot of big fat kahawai taking the baits on the bottom. There have also been some good workup's in the bay with kahawai chasing whitebait, looks like it should be a great season for the bait.
Out farther the hapuku have still been scarce with only a few caught. Catches have been topped up with some nice trumpeter, terakihi and one or two big kingies that are living down deep no doubt following the spawning terakihi.

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