Finally we are starting to see regular fine spells and the fishing has lit up accordingly. The local salt fly hardcore are getting numbers of fish daily from all around the harbor. You’d be hard pressed to say one area is fishing better than another – although those in the know have a few nuggets up their sleeves.
A group of killer whales a few months back had pushed the rays out of the channels and for about 10 days afterward we had good sightings of stingrays, often accompanied by the green backed thugs. Currently we have the same situation with all the holiday boat traffic, a blessing and a curse!
No particular food source is being turned down currently. Big numbers of piper around the zostera, with mullet schools and mini flounder also a common sight. Don’t limit yourself to the ray rider phenomenon either. It is amazing to pin them off the back of a ray, but if that’s all you’re searching for you’ll miss out on a lot more options presented – often at close range.
From what we’ve already experienced Tauranga is in for a big season. Most fish landed are over the legal size of 750mm with much bigger models sighted, hooked and lost! I snuck out for a look yesterday and was rewarded with a healthy fish from a huge ray, the smallest fish of the lot.
It pays to get your casting up to scratch as the fish will be less inclined to hit a fly at close range, although they will follow a long way off the ray before smashing a fly boatside. Mix your retrieves up with different flies to get them swimming well, poppers being the prime candidate for this.
Lastly, and I know we bang on about it. Please handle these fish carefully, don’t hang them by their tails when landing, keep them wet and return to the water ASAP. Watching a fish swim away strongly is a good as getting the eat and the grip and grin.
Now is the time so go out and enjoy it, we have many more months ahead of us.