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Major Tom Charters

Geoff Stone.
P O Box 163 ~ Russell ~ Bay of Islands ~ New Zealand
Phone 0274 377 844 ~ Home Phone/Fax 09 403 8553
E-mail....geoff@majortom.co.nz
Big Game ~ Sportfishing Safaris ~ Saltwater Light Tackle ~ Saltwater Fly ~ Cruising

Latest Reports     2005 Reports     2004 Reports        2002 Reports        2001 Reports

Geoffs' Fishing Report 24/12/03

We are managing the occasional trip out wide, and are still catching plenty of albacore, but no marlin sightings as yet. With water temps up to just under 20C, and more boats out on the water as we move into the holiday season, we should see some signs of yellowfin, spearfish and perhaps the first marlin over the next couple of weeks.

Snapper fishing is still very good, although most of the action has moved away from Whale Rock. The latest hotspot is the Capstan Rock, with huge schools of pilchards giving snapper, kahawai, kingfish and gannets easy pickings from Tapeka Point through to Capstan itself. Most of these fish are not large, but they certainly are plentiful, and as well as baits are taking jigs fished on the edge of the pilchard concentrations. We have also been getting good results on the rubble area out from Hope Reef.

Kingfish continue to be erratic, with best results still at 71M reef. Bird Rock has fished consistently but the fish are small. The complication with kingfishing has been the large schools of barracoutta which have hung around a bit later than usual, suggesting that while surface temps may be good, the water layers below are still a bit cool.

As always make contact at geoff@majortom.co.nz if you have any queries.

Geoffs' Fishing Report 9/12/03

With day time water temperatures now exceeding 20C, we are keenly anticipating the capture of the first marlin of the season.

Major Tom II has made two forays out wide in the last week, the first of which saw us hooked to a very large tuna (probably a yellowfin as it came out of the dolphins), which we played for 90 minutes on 15kg tackle, before it beat us. Both trips resulted in large catches of albacore of about 6kg, and a few large skippies. While there have been a couple of reports of marlin sightings, I am one of those "doubting Thomases"  who wants to see the fish first before I believe it. 

Bruce Smith brought Striker back across the Tasman from Cairns this week, and while plenty of Yellowfin showed on the Wanganella and other bank areas, he didn't come across any marlin on the way.

Snapper fishing has been pretty hot out at Whale Rock, with best results coming on the drift with staylines when conditions allow. Our
deadliest bait has been large slabs of albacore, which attracts many small bites form grey maomao, but provides an irresistible temptation to the snapper, which seem bent on denying the 'sweep' their free lunch. The advantage of these baits is that it is easy to feel when the bait has been stripped, but is only possible when plenty of albacore or skippies are available.

Kingies remain a bit hit and miss at Bird Rock and 71M, but occasional hookups on hapuka have compensated for the slow fishing.

As always, drop me a line at geoff@majortom.co.nz if you have any queries.

Geoffs' Fishing Report 21/11/03

Charter boats fishing the line from Redhead to the Nine Pin cracked the snapper schools last night, to provide evidence that the major run of fish has finally started. 

Snapper fishing over the last few weeks has been patchy, with some great but erratic action on the shallows around Tapeka Point producing a number of fish over 20lb, and the deeper waters around Mita's Foul rewarding anglers with some good catches of
'pannies', plus a few terakihi. The schools of fish located last night held large numbers of fish over 10lb, and we are hoping that most boats will follow the trend of recent years of returning unneeded large fish tomaintain the premium spawning stock. 

The large schools of grey maomao have been frustrating for many anglers, and if they are giving you trouble, try a large bait such as half a mackerel, pitched well behind the boat on a strayline.

Kingfish are proving elusive, and although the odd good fish is being taken from Piercy Island and 71M reef, the large schools that usually hang around Bird Rock from November on, have not yet shown.

Our hapuka trip yesterday, provided good results, though we had to work hard for our fish as they were well spread out on our favourite grounds around Main Rock

Water temps are rising to just under 18C, and although we have done little trolling out wide in the last two weeks, the tuna longliners have reported catching the odd yellowfin, and even a couple of mahimahi, but I haven't received any reports of marlin encounters in close proximity to our fishing grounds. Hopefully that will change soon.

As always, drop me an email at geoff@majortom.co.nz if you have any questions.

Geoffs' Fishing Report 27/10/03

Better weather over the last few weeks has allowed us to make a couple of trips 'Out Wide'. Trolling as far out as the 1000M line we caught some small albacore on both occasions. 

Our first trip, which took us due north, found extensive bird activity, including a lot of albatross off the Cavallis. The second trip, due east, gave a couple more fish. Indications from tuna long-liners working the area north of the Knights Rise indicate a reasonable population of big eye, and even a couple of yellowfin last week. Perhaps our next trip will see those fish having moved a little closer to shore. Max water temp on both trips was 17.5C.

Hapuka fishing has been about average, with some bluenose adding to the catch in deeper areas. A strong southeast set has made life difficult out to the 300M line.

Kingfishing has been difficult. Not only are baitfish shy, but barracoutta continue to be problem, especially at the Cavallis and Rocky
Point. Some good fish are available when fishing deep around 71M Reef, but the late spring, early summer schools that make Bird Rock so attractive have not shown yet.

Best of the fishing are the big snapper which have begun their usual spawning migration into the Bay. Best fishing seems to be from smaller boats close in to the shore, with Redhead being very productive when weather allows. Best deeper water fishing has been the 30M line at the western end of Roberton Island, the Whale Rock area, and around the Nine Pin.

As always drop me an email at geoff@majortom.co.nz if you have any queries.

 

Geoffs' Fishing Report 12/10/03

Wet and windy weather continues to dominate our days. Fishing is improving as the water warms. 

Temps in the Bay are reaching towards 16C, and although snapper are still erratic, some good fish are being caught, especially around Mita's Foul, at Cape Brett, and close in on the Longbeach side of Russell Peninsula. Most of the fish I have filleted are showing advanced roe development, and fishing will improve even further as more stocks move in from the deep water.

Kingfishing seems best around 71 Meter Reef and Cape Brett. We did take a trip to the Cavallis last Monday, but came back to the Bay in disgust as our baits were continually attacked by barracoutta.

The few trips out wide for hapuka that have been possible with the recent wind have yielded good results, but initially finding the
fish has been frustrating as they seem to be on the move, and concentrated in tight schools.

We expect to take our first trip out wide in search of albacore soon, so we will let you know the results from the 'blue water' once
this occurs.

As always, drop me an email at swordfish@majortom.co.nz  if you have any
queries.

Geoffs' Fishing Report 11/9/03

The mid-winter doldrums are finally coming to an end in the Bay, and some good snapper are being caught close in by both rock anglers, and small boats who can fish close up to the rocks. The action out deeper is a bit slower, but with most of the fish starting to roe up, we should expect a major influx of breeding fish soon. 

Our charters in the deeper snapper spots have also been producing some very good Tarakihi, and a few good kingfish which seems a bit strange, given that our kingfish charters have been a bit slow. Barracoutta are causing the normal problems for this time of year, and the schools which make Bird Rock such a great spring kingfish experience , are not in evidence yet.

Hapuka results out at the 200M line have been good, with all the fish in good condition.

Dave Arrell on Double Strike took a trip up to the Garden Patch during the recent calm spell, and was rewarded with some skipjack, but from the latest reports gathered from the long-liner fleet, it seems the few marlin that had been showing up North East of North Cape have moved further north. They also report little tuna activity off the Northland Coast at the moment, but this should change to allow a few albacore expeditions as the water starts to warm up.

At the recent AGM of the Bay of Islands Charter Fisherman's Assn, we had a disturbing report, that some tuna long-liners were netting bait in Whangaroa harbour, and that other commercial boats were also planning to install live bait tank facilities. I assume that these boats will have the appropriate quota to extract jack mackerel and other quota bait species, but questions must be raised about the effect of concentrated fishing effort in a small area, when the tuna boats start congregating off Northland once the Southern Bluefin Quota is filled each year.

As always, drop me a line at geoff@majortom.co.nz if you have any queries.

 

Geoffs' Fishing Report 31/7/03

With water temperature down to 16C options out wide are a bit limited. Our trip to Cape Karikari last week produced plenty of skippies around the 200M line, however, and at least one broadbill managed to slice up our baits during a deep drift, but didn't hook up. A night drift out at the 1000M line produced no signs of the big-eye we were hunting, but 4 shark bites resulted in two good makos being tagged and released. As the weather deteriorated, we fished the Kingis around Rocky Island, releasing some average sized fish, and catching one  which tipped the Russell scales at 26kg when weighed the next day.

The fishing closer to home has been difficult, with Barracoutta making mincemeat of any small live-baits on our usual Kingfish possies, and Snapper proving sluggish in the cooler waters. Thankfully some good schools of Terakihi have moved in to the 50M line, and John Dory are plentiful and fat.

The next month will be a quiet one for Major Tom II as we come out of the water for winter maintenance, but we should be back with another report once we return from holidays at the end of August.

As always drop us an email at geoff@majortom.co.nz if you have any questions

Geoffs' Fishing Report 5/7/03

Kingfish continue to provide most of the highlights around the Bay. The Cavallis have been a bit "hit or miss" with one of our trips earlier in the month producing 4 good fish over 60lb, but another trip just a few days later drawing a blank. Cape Brett has provided good action, and when sea conditions allow 71M has been very consistent with fish up to 15kg taking jack mackerel fished deep. 

Hapuka, and some good snapper have been a welcome by catch for those fishing these deeper waters.

Capstan rock has provided action for the snapper charters, with a by-catch of Trevally and Kahawai. Calmer days have allowed us to fish our favourite area out on the 50M line between the Whale and the Nine Pin, and Terakihi, Golden Snapper and some school Snapper up to 4lb have been keeping our charters happy.

Our blue water excursions have been put on hold while we wait for a better spell of weather, but we are due back out for a week or so before the end of July, when the boat comes out of the water for winter maintenance during August.

As always drop us an email at geoff@majortom.co.nz if you have any questions

Geoffs' Fishing Report 17/6/03

The game fishing season may be almost over, but it is certainly not out. Dave Arrell took his Charter launch Double Strike out to the Garden Patch last Friday, found water temps at 19.2C, and saw 3 tailers!! None bit, but there were plenty of skippies and some albacore around to provide potential light tackle action.

Almost all our activity over the last fortnight has been in the hunt for kingfish. Half day trips out from Russell have provided plenty of
action at Bird Rock, though these fish have been a bit small. Some good fish up to 18kg, have been available at 71M Reef, when fishing deep, and also around Piercy Island at Cape Brett. 

Last week's efforts centred on the BOI International Yellowtail Tournament, where our decision to fishthe Cavallis was rewarded with a close victory over Tagit, which also spent all 4 days fishing the Cavallis. Other boats joined us for the last couple of days, and shared in some exciting mid afternoon action around the Teapot, but we managed to hold on by a whisker thanks to two great catches by Graeme(Horse) Pritchard of fish over 40lb on 6kg line.

Best baits proved to be Kahawai, though with plenty of Blue Koheru available at the Western End, these became our main baits. We returned to the Cavallis on Saturday for some ultra light action on 3kg, and found some good action at the Western end, but the school of fish at the Teapot had moved on. Other boats were out fishing the Taheke Reef, and caught plenty of smaller fish on jigs and jack mackerel fished deep. 

While the rest of us have been chasing kingis, Hamish from Blue Seas Charters has been having some great snapper action close in on the shallows around Capstan Reef and Opito Bay. Some good fish up to 15lb have been coming aboard, and not all on the evening rise. Good condition pannies have helped maintain the action. Kahawai have also provided plenty of entertainment on the stray-lines. Tarakihi and golden snapper have provided the bonus for those who have moved outside the islands to fish the rock fringes around Kingfish Reef in 50M.

Major Tom II has some charter commitments around the Bay for the rest of this week, but we hope to head north next week, weather permitting, for another crack at the broadbill.

As always drop us an email at geoff@majortom.co.nz if you have any questions

Geoffs' Fishing Report 29/5/03

Although marlin have continued in good numbers through to the middle of May, only the odd fish has been caught on the Northland Coast over the last week. Plenty of medium sized albacore have added interest to otherwise quiet days, but for Major Tom II , most of the middle and latter part of May has involved continuation of the experiments we have conducted over the last three years with broadbill fishing. 

Over-fishing in most other parts of the world has left New Zealand as one of the few regions where anglers can still catch large "broadies". Murray Hansens 332kg fish, while fishing on Striker a couple of years ago, sent the first buzz around the world, and the fish we caught yesterday, to beat Murrays record, should heighten the awareness of NZ's potential. Jerry Garrett has been an almost constant companion as  Heather and I have indulged our passion for broadbill, and we have finally provided him with the fish of most angler's dreams!! 

Letting out his 37kg outfit, at 2.30pm on May 27th, Jerry's line went slack well before it reached bottom. He quickly retrieved the slack, felt a little weight, then the line slackened again. As he wound furiously, the thoughts became "hook-up" or "break off". Looking over the transom, I saw the Penn hi vis line racing under the starboard aft quarter. I did my Linford Christie impression to the downstairs station, and gunned the boat forward, then turned hard port, as the line passed the danger of the starboard propeller. Jerry was yelling to keep steaming, having already retrieved the 50M "marker" on to his reel, but I was thinking about having to retrieve over 500m of line on the other outfit before we could settle in to the fight. Finally Jerry came tight on the fish, and thankfully it slowed and sulked, giving us the valuable minutes to winch in Line.

With Line safely recovered, we settled in to an epic battle. We had set the drags at just under 15kg at the button, and Jerry was already there, with the fish sedately trotting along, like a Sunday morning jogger keeping an eye out for a tasty "squid sandwich". It may not have even noticed it was hooked!!!  I hate backing up on broadbill, as it takes the pressure off the fish, but this fish was different!! Sometimes we backed up, sometimes we followed with a belly out on our starboard side, but the fish just ambled along, seemingly oblivious to our presence. This was getting to be a bore. Jerry increased the drag, with the lever on top of the button, and the fish finally re-acted, increasing her pace and sounding, taking off a couple of hundred meters of line. We chased her, we led her, we put belly in the line, we generally tried every trick we knew, and a few extra ones we made up on the way. Night fell, freighters passed by. Jerry wound, or sat back pacing himself as the  fish pulled line. Heather turned the chair , getting colder and sleepier, and I rolled and smoked fag after fag, scratching my head and wondering what to try next.

After 10 hours( Jerry thought it was only 6), we were able to start leading the fish. Jerry was now past the button, and we later tested the reel to find out he was on 19kg of drag!! Slowly, ever so slowly, retrieving just inches down every second wave, the wind on came up to the rod tip, but the fish was too close under the boat. No chance to take the fish just yet. I eased the boat forward, just in time for the leader to pass the starboard transom corner.  Finally, and after 14 hours and 20 minutes, finally, the great fish surfaced behind the boat, just 15meters, within range of the deck-lights, First it rolled one way, showing it's belly, then it rolled the other. Jerry worked the fish closer, I reached for the leader. Heather gently nudged the boat forward maintaining pressure. As  I eased the leader in, Jerry wound it on the reel. With the fish within range, Jerry took the full pressure on the rod, and I placed a gaff behind the pectoral. The fish raced off on the gaff line, and thrashed at the increased pressure. We eased it back to the boat, and sank the second gaff. We had her!!!

But now we needed to get her in the boat. Jerry reached for the sword, and was promptly thrown back across the cockpit. He tried again, same result. After much struggling, plenty of shouting and cussing, grazed knuckles, rope burns and sheer bloody-mindedness, we had the sword and part of the head in the boat, but no chance of lifting it in. Heather stands just over 5ft, Jerry's a bit taller but is 65 years old, and I'm a bit younger than him but no Schwarzenegger!! We had a tail rope to make sure she couldn't slip back, a rope from the sword, to the forwrd cockpit cleat, and for a little extra security, a belly rope secured to the cockpit rod rack. At 6 knots we eased our way to Mongonui wharf some 28 miles away, where volunteers were on hand to admire our catch and help us pull it on board . Then it was a steam back to Russell, where the fish weighed in at 369Kg, a new world record!!!

This was Jerry's 15th broadbill, and 3rd for the season with us, and while all broadbill are good broadbill, this was really one to remember. As we cleaned up the boat back on the mooring, Heather was worried that Jerry had left his bag behind. She reminded him up at the Russell Clubhouse, as we celebrated that night. "I just wanted to be ready to leave again as soon as this Southerly goes through' was his response.

So Major Tom hasn't had much time for snapper and kingis in the Bay, but Hamish Faire on Baska Voda tells me he's catching some good snapper and a few Tarakihi out in the deeper water from Kingfish Reef, and on windier days is still getting good results in the shallows around Capstan Rock. Some very good kingies have been taken at the bottom end of the Dog at Cape Brett, with 71M Reef, and Bird Rock also giving good results.

As always drop me an email at geoff@majortom.co.nz, and I'll return the calls once we get back with Jerry's next broadbill!!!

Geoffs' Fishing Report 1/5/03

Predictions of a late game fishing season, seem to be coming true, with marlin still being caught regularly off the Bay, especially
around the Nine Pin Trenches, and the Clayworks foul off the Cavallis. Further up the northland coast, the back of Stephensons
Island through to Wekaroa, from around 140M to 300M continues to produce regularly, as do the Surville Cliffs and the 505.

Kingfish are continuing to provide plenty of action , with best spots being Rocky Point and 71M reef.  With fish of up to 20kg
present in these schools, the problem of being "bottomed" becomes very common. One solution is to move up to 24 or 37kg line, but my own preference is to stick with 15 or 10kg, but use lightweight 50lb trace, breakaway sinkers on 6kg line, and circle
hooks to ensure fish that do bottom out, have the best possible chance of survival. Using this rig, most of our beak offs result in
retrieval of the swivel, and a breakage on the trace, meaning the fish has only the small circle hook to contend with.

Snapper are becoming patchy as shorter days become the norm, but some good dusk fishing has been available at Capstan Reef, and consistent day time catches are available in foul areas over 50M, though few fish over 35cm are being caught.

 Hapuka fishing has been very disappointing, with fish hard to find, and barracoutta and sharks claiming most of the gear.

As always, drop me an email at geoff@majortom.co.nz if you have any queries.

 

Geoffs' Fishing Report 13/4/03

Although the season should be drawing to a close, there are still plenty of marlin off the Northland Coast. Water temperatures are holding up around 20C.

The 40 boats fishing in the Russell Fire Brigade Tournament at the weekend managed nearly 20 marlin between Cape Brett and the
Cavallis, including a 228kg Blue on Major Tom II. A few yellowfin were also taken, but skippies and albacore were not as evident as normal at this time of year. North Cape is still giving consistent results, but the fish seem to have moved closer to the 100M line off the Surville Cliffs. Most boats will be moored up at the moment, waiting for the very strong easterlies to ease.

Kingfish are still giving some great action, with our own charters catching fish up to 18kg, fishing deep on 71M Reef out from Cape Brett, and most other boats also reporting good fishing at Rocky Point, Taheke Reef, and off the western end of Stephensons Island.

Snapper seem to be mooching around the sheltered water from Deep Water Cove to Oke Bay, with some good fish also falling to small live baits while Kingfishing.

Hapuka fishing continues to be plagued by school sharks and spiky dogs, with Barracoutta also causing a problem, having moved out to the cooler water out deep. Guess we'd rather have them out there than bothering us with Kingfishing.

As always, drop us an email to geoff@majortom.co.nz if you have any queries.

Geoffs' Fishing Report 3/4/03

Boaties fishing from the Bay of Islands have heaved a big sigh of relief as the easterlies that have made life pretty uncomfortable over the last couple of weeks have finally abated.

Marlin numbers are still average, but are being supplemented by consistent catches of Yellowfin, though most of these are only around
15kg. Best of the fishing still seems to be around the Nine Pin Trenches, Wekaroa, and Cape Karekare, and although the Three Kings haven't fired, some great action was had by a small number of boats fishing 'The Hook" area north of North Cape.

Kingie action has been good off the Bay, and also off Stephensons Island, so with marlin activity a bit sluggish, many boats are dropping
a few livies for some early morning action on their way out.

Best of the Snapper fishing is on the deep reefs, with small livies fished for Kingies also producing some good Snapper.

As always, drop an email to geoff@majortom.co.nz if you have any questions, and I will tend to them as time back in Russell permits

Geoffs' Fishing Report 21/3/03

Most of the marlin action has occurred North of the Cavallis. Hot spots continue to be the area north of Stephenson's Island, from 140 out to 250 meters, the 505,  the Garden Patch, and North Cape. Some good action was also had by boats fishing north of North Cape during the Houhora Tournament, but strong easterlies are preventing much exploration of the Three Kings area. Practically all the action is from Stripeys, with very few blues. Multiple hookups seem to be the order of the season, so don't be too hasty to retrieve lines after the first strike, or try running back a live bait while the gear is being retrieved.

An interesting observation by Bruce Smith aboard "Striker" during the Nationals bears some thought.  A fish he tagged at the Surville Canyon, took some time to descend, so Smithy followed it, watching it cruise gently along. He then noticed it's white remora, move across to the tag, and start biting at the 'intruding parasite'. Many comments and explanations have been offered for the reasons behind a low tag return rate, but this is the first time I have heard or thought of remoras as a reason.

Kingfish have provided some great action on all the major reef structures in the area, but fish over 10kg have become a rarity.

Best of the snapper fishing has been on reef fringes in deeper water, while Hapuka have been an exercise in frustration, with
Barracoutta moving to the deep now the water has warmed, and spiny dogs and school shark waiting if the bait does manage to get past the 'razor gang'.

Although heavily committed for the rest of the season, we are managing a few nights back at home with the computer, so keep forwarding any queries to geoff@majortom.co.nz, and I will try to respond as time allows.

Geoffs' Fishing Report 23/2/03

The game season is now up and flying, but better late than never. 

Marlin hot spots so far have been at 150 from Piercy to Home Point,
the 200M line out from the Cavallis, 200 to 250 from Wekaroa to Doubtless Bay , the Karikari side of the "Tongue" at the Garden Patch, the gut inside the 505, and the Surville Cliffs area from 100M to 200M. The King Bank started well at the beginning of the month, but have been plagued by strong currents and cold water, but a warm patch seems to be moving west from the Surville Canyon area.

Blues are still scarce, but plenty of yellowfin have shown up in the northern area. Although some very big fish have been landed, there have also been a large number of fish tagged at estimates around just 50kg. 

Best lure colours seem to be lumo and green and gold, though our trusty Fruit Salad has also been taking it's toll on both yellowfin and marlin, as well as accounting for 2 spearfish. 

Plenty of small albacore  are available in the northern part of our area, with skipjack starting to appear out from the Bay.

Snapper have been tough going in the Bay though some good fish are being taken in deeper water and reefs around 70M. Best of the close in spots seems to be the Brampton.

Kingis are still providing some great action at Rocky Point, and around Bird Rock, with some very good fish also showing up at 71M Reef.

Major Tom II is home based for most of the next month, so updated reports and email answering should be more consistent than for February, when we were based from Whangaroa, so feel free to send any queries to geoff@majortom.co.nz

 

Geoffs' Fishing Report 31/1/03

The big game season is finally under way , with most of the fleet having at least one encounter with marlin over the last week. Best of the water is from Doubtless Bay up to North Cape, with the water in the Bay being quite green out to the 280M line. 

Skippies are still scarce, but as their numbers increase, so should the number of 'big fellas'. 

On bad weather days, don't forget the sporting action offered by the humble Reremai (Bronze Whaler). IGFA now recognise whaler sharks for world records, and we were fortunate enough to land one of 217.2 kg last week which is now a pending women's record on 15kg. This fish was relatively docile (until we hit it with gaff!!), but one Bronzie we hooked into on light tackle last year still had the energy to jump after 5 hours, and finally broke us off after 7.

Kingfish have been providing some great action, with the main aggregation areas being Bird Rock and Rocky Point. Small fish have been providing most of the action on poppers and jigs, but our clients yesterday tagged 4 fish over 10kg, using live-baits, and with plenty of
jack mackerel around, catching bait is pretty easy as well.

Snapper have returned to their normal erratic pattern, though Terry "Tinboat" on Island Water Taxi has been getting good results by making his clients start at dawn, and drifting the 50M area between Redhead and The Nine Pin. Brampton Reef is holding some good fish for the patient anglers, and Bird Rock has given results to boats anchoring a bit deeper. Tarakihi remain an easy option for a feed on the soft foul areas off Oke Bay.

Major Tom II is away from home for the next 22 days, so the next report is likely to be delayed, but should provide a more extensive
update of the current season. Keep sending your emails, and I will try and access a terminal somewhere in our travels.

Geoffs' Fishing Report 20/1/03

After an agonizingly long wait, the game fishing season is away to a slowish start.

Most of the Clubs on the Northland Coast have recorded at least one marlin, but the rate per boat and/or fishing days remains painfully low. Perhaps now, with the first yellowfin catches also recorded, and a scattering of spearfish also being taken, the season is about to take off.

Our own catches last week included two yellowfin and a spearfish, all  out past the 500M line and North of the Cavallis. We also caught a gumboot (blue shark), while on a broadbill drift, but despite our best efforts are finding makos a bit elusive. We are also catching a few albacore, but haven't had a skipjack since before Xmas. I did hear a report from Whangaroa that a boat had caught some skipjack yesterday, and am sure that once the schools of skippies arrive there will be plenty of makos and marlin with them.

The hot snapper activity around Whale Rock has fallen away, with the best fishing now available in the deeper waters off the Nine Pin and Kingfish Reef. Plenty of snapper remain in the Bay , but are mostly barely legal, though I have had reports of bigger fish amongst the schools around Brampton Buoy.

Kingfish action remains slow, but calm seas have allowed most of the boats to exploit some great hapuka and bluenose options out a bit wider. Some very large hapuka and bass have been brought back to the wharves, with our own largest being a 48.4kg bass caught in the Queens Buoy area off Cape Brett.

As always, drop me an email at geoff@majortom.co.nz if you have any queries, but please be patient for a reply as much of fishing for the next 3 months will be on stay away charters, well away from the computer and comfortable beds of home!!

Major Tom Charters
Geoff Stone P O Box 163 ~ Russell ~ Bay of Islands ~ New Zealand
Phone 0274 377 844 ~ Home Phone/Fax 09 403 8553 ~ E-mail....geoff@majortom.co.nz

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