ATTRACTIVE FISH: Kawai off Mt Maunganui, New Zealand.
ATTRACTIVE FISH: Kawai off Mt Maunganui, New Zealand.

Fishing is good in NZ but Gladstone is blessed

TOP SPOTS: It's been a couple of weeks since Easter and since then Jen and I have been across the ditch for a wedding in Tauranga, which is in the North Island a couple hundred kilometres south-east of Auckland and about an hour north of Rotorua in the Bay of Plenty.

The bro-in-law had bought a new but second-hand boat and, to be honest, I was itching to get out on it and get into the vast numbers of snapper, yellow tail king, and hapuka (NZ groper) which the fishing programs out of NZ boast.

Let me tell you, it's not quite like that, and in fact the snapper are not easy to catch, nor are the yellow tail kingies, and as for the hapuka, if you don't mind fishing in 180m of water, then you might have a chance.

Legal size for a snapper in NZ is 30 cm, and more often than not the keep rate is about the same as here, where you end up keeping about 20-30% of your catch as the rest is just undersize.

You know, we are extremely lucky here in the Gladstone region, with its warm water and vast array of species which live in these waters.

Tauranga has warmish waters (20deg) with clear blue water, mangrove systems which are reasonably good, but the estuaries lack the muddies, the whiting, bream, king salmon, grunter, prawns and obviously barra.

The offshore side of things, while rich in the deep, doesn't have the shallow reef systems we have on our doorstep, with coral trout, sweetlip, parrot, hussar red emperor, along with many other species.

The pelagics are slightly better with Kawai (we'll talk about that shortly), yellow tail kingfish, a couple of different types of tuna, bill fish, being black, and striped marlin, and broad bill swordfish, which can live in depths of 600m +, while here, we have half a dozen or more species of mackerel, and tuna, marlin (2 species), sailfish, plus of course we too have yellow tail king and the big cobia.

Brent Barnes-Mayman, who has the Gladstone all things fishing Facebook page, got into a discussion earlier in the week, saying that the Kawai look very similar to the Australian salmon he used to catch down south.

Now these fish are not regarded as a table fish, but are certainly good sport.

We took a couple home and smoked them atop of hickory woodchips soaked in Jack Daniels and I have to say Wow!! Pretty blimin' good!

These fish are closely related to Australian Salmon, or perhaps the Australian salmon are, indeed, actually Kawai… hahaha! Just throwing it out there for some fun.

Easter certainly looked as though those who got out on the Sunday and Monday were treated to excellent fishing and excellent weather.

This past week has certainly put a halt to fishing out in the open and offshore, but this weekend it looks as though it's going to be a cracker with the new moon on Saturday bringing big tides, but the wind looks as though it'll drop out a little.

I love this part of the lunar phase as the fish are extremely active, maybe not in the middle of the tidal run, but certainly as the current slows up a tad.

Sunday looks the pick, with the breeze dropping down around the 10 knot mark from the east, around lunchtime, but there will still be a bit of a sea running, which could come up quite rough on the outgoing tide during the afternoon.

Best to monitor that.

For those looking to wet a line inshore, there are heaps of options with plenty of blue salmon moving into the region. Black jew are also moving into the harbour around some structures.

There are also some big grunter hanging around the gravel bars like upstream from where Southtrees joins the Boyne, and also up around Ramsey's and Black Swan entrance.

The barra will start slowing up a little from now until September with the water starting to cool off, but one thing is for sure: the hot water outlet at NRG Gladstone Power Station is one place where you can get a barra any time of the year.

I see that the boat ramp facilities are about to be upgraded at the NRG or Armstrong's ramp as well.

This will certainly help with the volume of traffic that uses this ramp.

Armstrongs have put their business on the market as they wish to retire, so if anyone wishes to capitalise on the location, have a chat with me.

Finally, the Boyne Tannum HookUp 20th edition is getting closer, and hopefully you are entered.

Fellas, if you have handed that responsibility over to someone else, then best advice is to check with them or go on line and check to see if you are entered.