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Geoff Stone.
P O Box 163 ~ Russell ~ Bay of Islands ~ New Zealand
Phone 027-437-7844 ~ Home Phone/Fax 09 403 8553
Big Game ~ Sportfishing Safaris ~ Saltwater Light Tackle ~ Saltwater Fly ~ Cruising

Latest Reports       2004 Reports      2003 Reports       2002 Reports       2001 Reports

Geoffs' Fishing Report 30/12/05  

A great spell of weather so far for the holiday season, and a few early gamefish to go with it. 

The first marlin of the season was taken aboard Target, skippered this season by Mark Nolan. The fish was taken at about 190M in the Main Rock area off Cape Brett. Bruce Smith, aboard Striker, landed a spearfish and a couple of yellowfin to the east of this area yesterday, with other boats reporting plenty of albacore and a few skipjack with the occasional marlin shot as well. 

There seems to be little aggression from the early billfish at this stage which means they have probably been feeding well. A good start which should be susutained as waters continue to warm.

Holiday snapper anglers have been getting some good results with the best area seeming to be to the north and east of Whale Rock. Good fish have been taken on both anchor and drift options. Terakihi continue to add variety to the bag when fishing the 50M line on the foul fringes, with the occasional kingi and small mako to add a bit of excitement!!!

Best of the kingi fishing has been around Bird Rock, though some late barracoutta are hanging around to keep the tackle shop owners happy. Most of the kingis are small and finding a fish over 10kg may take some patience.

As aways drop me an email at geoff@majortom.co.nz  if you have any queries and I will answer as times permits

Geoffs' Fishing Report 2/12/05

Although patchy, snapper excursions are providing good results around the Bay. Fish may not be as consistently large as last year, but fishing conditions are certainly better.

The Northern side of Mita's Foul out to the line from Black Rocks through to the Whale remains  the most consistent for those on the drift using whole pilchards on straylines, but if anchoring our best fishing has come from the area just inside Whale Rock and around the Nine Pin. These deeper areas also take us outside the worst of the mau mau plague around Tapeka and the Black Rocks. If fishing these shallower areas, and the 'grey nibblers' turn up, it's worth slicing one in half and using the head portion, with gut's in, as a large strayline bait. You may need some patience, but the 'big moochers' love them and it feels like poetic justice to turn the tables on the bait stealers.

 There's plenty of kingis around Bird Rock, though many of the fish are just 'rats', but 71 Meter Reef has become the gathering ground for hoards of barracoutta. Hopefully they will move back to deeper waters as the water continues to warm.

 Our hapuka trips are providing good returns from the foul areas around Main Rock, but the fishing in shallower reefs around Cape Brett seems to have dropped off. With water temps over 18C it's been no surprise to hear of a marlin taken behind Great Barrier Island, but as the angler was not a member of any Club all the awards for first marlin are still open.  Hamish Faire, fishing on Ika Nui reports large schools of skippies around Main Rock on a hapuka trip yesterday, so it's time to dust off the trolling gear and re-spool ready for another game fishing season.

 As always , drop me a line at geoff@majortom.co.nz if you have any queries, and those of you interested in our day time broadbilling methods may like to order the Xmas edition of NZ Fishing News, where all is revealed!!

Geoffs' Fishing Report 1/11/05

Action, action, action. The fishing has certainly picked up over the last week, and there's no need to steam mile to 'get amongst it'. Big schools, with plenty of large fish over 10lb have moved in to the area between Mita's Foul and the Black Rocks, chasing the even larger schools of pilchards.

Locating the feed is a simple matter of loking for the birds, then fishing the 'haystacks' when they appear on the sounder. Whole pillies, drifted down on a light sinker are the baits of choice, though we have also had some good kingies up to 15kg while fishing Zest jigs on the fringe of the schools. The smaller jigs have also been accounting for snapper. Bite times have varied,  but morning and evening and the top half of the outgoing tide seem to have been most productive.

With few barracoutta to worry about, some good days have been had at 71 Meter Reef and Bird Rock, though fishing the kingis amongst the snapper and pilchards inside the Bay has probably given better results.

Hapuka remain patchy. Although spawning has finished the fish are in good condition. A few remain schooled up around the Main Rock area, and finding one of these can still provide the 'mother lode', but most trips are requiring some patience and perseverance. Bluenose have started to show on the trenches outside Main Rock.

Water temps out wide are up to 17.5C, and the one trolling run we have done produced some good albacore up to 12kg along the 500M contour,

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

Geoffs' Fishing Report 28/9/05

August is traditionally a quiet month for charter boats in the Bay, and the time when Major Tom II is 'up on the hard' for winter maintenance. Now that we're back in the water, we've been able to cash in on some great hapuka action on our usual haunts around the 200M contour.

  Although some of the hapuka show signs of being at the end of their spawning run, about half are still fully roed to indicate a month or so of action still to come. Water temps out wide are low, at around 15.5C.   Towing the albacore lures between hapuka spots is yet to provide any action but they can't be far away.Reports from the commercial fleet place the marlin at just 50 miles north of the King Bank, so once the water warms we may be in for an early game season. Reduced prices and the cost of fuel are limiting longline action for both the NZ and Australian fleets which should help the recreational stock this season. We have already tagged one mako of around 150kg which had decided to snack on a couple of our hapuka, so perhaps we are seeing the first signs of reduced commercial activity after such a poor shark season last year.

Kingfish have been a bit slow, but Steve Butler from Earl Grey had a good morning fishing alongside the Dog at Cape Brett on Sunday. While Steve had no problem with barracoutta most of the other reefs are holding stocks of the razor gang to make life frustrating. We even caught one on a rapala towed at 8 knots while on our way to the hapuka grounds!! Live baits have been difficult and may take some patience.

Snapper are showing their tempermental winter attitude, but we are catching good mixed bags of pannies with some terakihi and plenty of john dory in 40M to 60M on the light foul areas in the middle of the Bay. Keep your eye on the sounder while cruising over the mud, as there are also some big schools of gurnard inside the islands as well, although not of any great size. The snapper we have filletted are already carrying roe, so expect a big early flurry once the water gets closer to 18C.

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

Geoffs' Fishing Report 29/8/05

August has been a quiet month for anglers in the Bay, with water temperature still down at around 15C and slowing the snapper activity. Some good fish are hanging around Capstan Rock, with best results coming from straylines on the top half of the ebb, or at change of light. Easiest fishing has been for terakihi, with good fish holding on all the rock/mud interfaces around the 50M line. Best baits are small skipjack cubes, fished hard on the botom with ledger rigs, and though grey maumau can be a nuisance, the occasional snapper, porae and john dory will make for an interesting bag. Barracoutta have become a problem in these waters, and I prefer to use plenty of weight to get to the fishing zone quickly.

Barracoutta are also causing problems on kingi trips. While the occasional good fish is being taken from Cape Brett area, the fishingly is mostly slow.

Some good hapuka, and even a few bluenose are being caught out wide, but results are patchy, with most of the action well outside the 200M line. The schools are bunching up as spawning season comes on, and this may make them hard to find, but once located it's usually for multiple hookups. As always we are trying to limit anglers to 2 fish each to help conserve stocks in the area.

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

Geoffs' Fishing Report 22/7/05

Cold, wet and windy!! Sitting in the Bay of Islands it's hard to believe that the skiers are hoping for a bit more snow!! 'Huey' has certainly been throwing his worst at us, and severely limited our fishing opportunities, but the pattern seems to have changed this week and allowed a bit more on-water activity.

 For those brave enough (or silly enough), to fish at the onset of the heavy rains, there was certain proof that some good snapper are holding up within the islands. The murky water seemed to bring on the bite for a few days, and good catches were there for the taking around Capstan Rock, and between Brampton Reef and Motoroa Island. Russell Point also fished well in this dirty water. The snapper action has settled now, as the fish become lethargic in the sub 15C waters, but some big terakihi have moved in around Onslow Rock to reward winter anglers looking for a feed. Our favoured rig is a couple of size 17 Tainawa hooks , baited with small pieces of skippie, with two 4oz sinkers to get straight to the bottom and avoid the worst of the mau mau. We always try to fish the interface of the foul and mud areas for best terakihi action.

Kingis have been a bit disappointing this year, but that could change quickly if a couple of schools of larger fish move down from open water to take up residence. We certainly have plenty of feed for them with large schools of pilchards and juvenile mackerel (both slimeys and jacks) within the Bay, and plenty of large koheru around Cape Brett and the Cavallis. 71 meter reef is holding very large numbers of small kingis, but our biggest fish of 18kg was taken with a small jack mackerel fishing the bait schools under the birds off Roberton Island. We have also caught a few good kingis fishing live baits on our John Dory rigs while snapper fishing. Unfortunately the barracoutta have also started to show up in the cooler waters which can make live bait fishing a bit frustrating, but at least it's good for the tackle shops!!!

The weather has limited our opportunities out wide, and conditions were difficult on the one trip we have managed. Fishing around Main Rock we caught a mixed bag of hapuka, bluenose, gemfish and school sharks - but the action was hardly fast and furious. The hapuka are still heavily roed, and should present some great opportunities as they school up in August and September.

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

Geoffs' Fishing Report 25/6/05

Wet, cold and windy conditions have limited fishing opportunities over the last couple of weeks, but from the few days available much is promised once the weather settles.

 The snapper action has been surprisingly good, especially around Onslow and Capstan Rocks. Ledger rigs have been producing around Onslow, and have also provided the usual winter mix of terakihi. Best fishing around the Capstan has been on the Roberton Island side, fishing in 20M with straylines. Next best option is the 30M line inside Redhead between Okahu and Motukeike Islands. While there are many small fish , most of the keepers are  around 2kg, although Hamish fishing on Baska Voda reports a few up to 9kg on recent trips.

Heavy seas have seriously limited kingfish opportunities, but the recent International Light Tackle Tournament proved that all the usual winter haunts are holding good fish. Catch rates were down by 60% this year, but mostly because heavy swells and high winds prevented all but the most 'adventurous' from fishing the 'hotspots'. As per last year, about 10% of the fish were over 20kg, and with big bait schools still evident, we're patiently awaiting a weather change to try out the ultralight gear at the Cavallis.

Two trips out to the 200M have produced good hapuka catches, with the fish all heavily roed up. Fuel price rises have made hapuka fishing a more costly option, but the rewards are definetly there with the fish in such good condition.

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


Geoffs' Fishing Report 3/6/05

May has been a curious month, with a good patch of marlin out off the Bay but few clients, and thus few boats out chasing late season 'beakies'. Water temps out wide are still up around 18C, but the cool southerlies this week has seen the water drop to 16.5 inside the Bay.

Despite the cooler temperature, plenty of 'pannies' are being taken by snapper fishermen, and a good patch with bigger fish has taken up station around Capstan Rock. Best fishing has been with straylines in water under 20M.

With June now upon us, much of our attention turns to kingies, with the Whangaroa Light Tackle this weekend, and the Bay of Islands International starting the following Sunday.

There are certainly plenty of 'rats' around, mostly outside the Islands, along the reef structures from 40M to 70M. Although few of these fish are takeable, they certainly provide some extra excitement to snapper trips, taking cut baits quite readily. Bigger kingies have moved in off most the usual spots around Cape Brett and the Cavallis, but huge schools of  blue koheru, trevally, and kahawai are keeping them fussy. Some patience is ceratinly needed, and live baits need to be in first class condition to tempt these bigger fish. Once hooked, the rewards are certainly there, with many of these fish tipping the scales over 20kg

Once the weather clears we will be able to start our usual winter hapuka trips, and hopefully we will be able to report on the hapuka prospects in the next report.

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

Geoffs' Fishing Report 12/5/05

Unlike most of the Northland Coast, the Bay has been blessed by a late patch of marlin, which had been focussed on Queen's Buoy, but which has now shifted to the area around the 150M line off the Nine Pin.

Best fishing action remains Kingfish which have taken up residence at all major locations, but are sometimes a little reluctant to bite. Smaller fish have been taking jigs and small jack mackerel, but with large schools of blue koheru available, feeding periods have been short for the larger fish. At least the live baits are having a barracoutta free chance to do their work, with the 'toothed ones' still out in the deep , as our midweek hapuka trip proved. Thankfully, we also caught a good bag of bluenose and hapuka, which bodes well for winter.

Large schools of anchovies have attracted the snapper back into the Bay, with some good school fish being taken along the 50M line from Whale Rock to the Nine Pin. The shallows have also been producing well, with good catches coming from Nobbies Point right up through to Pine Island above Opua.  The Russell locals have been having a ball off the Wharf, firstly with a school of solid snapper, and now with some kingis hanging around to give the Russell School team some early practice for next months Yellowtail Tournament!!

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

Geoffs' Fishing Report 15/4/05

Both the water and the game fishing along the coast have become very patchy. Marlin are definetly still with us, but some searching is needed to find the best options. While the Surville Cliffs have been quiet, a good patch of water has persisted off Parengarenga. The area out to 180M has been consistent off Berghens Point, and fishing inside the 200M line has generally produced the best results throughout, with plenty of skippies and albacore close in . One exception was a flurry of activity off the Bay during the Chartered Clubs Tournament.

Te Ariki Nui snaffled blues on consecutive days, and other boats got amongst some big yellowfin out at 600M. Waima Star tagged a double of stripeys in the same area a couple of days later, but the fish have moved off, and the weather since has presented few options for exploration.Most of the larger boats are now focussing on the Three Kings, with the Middlesex and King Banks starting to fire after being indifferent, and a bit cold until now.

The brightest light at the moment are kingfish, with practically all the normal haunts holding good fish, and plenty of blue koheru and kahawai attracting some big fish to hang around The Cavallis and Cape Brett. Best fish I've heard of so far is 27kg, with an enthusiastic report also coming from an experienced  free diver who reckons he saw a school at the Ruahine all over 30kg. With our focus starting to move to the light and ultralight tackle for kingis at this time of year, we're just waiting for the current low to clear the country.

Snapper around the bay have been a bit difficult, with rock hoppers having a very lean time. Plenty of kahawai and trevally have bolstered their days, but the best snapper action seems to be right out along the 70M line.

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

Geoffs' Fishing Report 3/3/05  

The 'Hot' stripey action in close during early February has dropped away towards the end of the month, but with boats ranging out to deeper waters some great blue marlin have been providing total excitement and chaos. Unpredictable, tough and explosive, NZ blues seem overcharged with energy compared to the blues we hooked in the warmer waters of Hawaii. Perhaps it's the lighter tackle, perhaps it's the cooler water, but the first 10 minutes of action from one of our local 'steam trains' has to be the most supreme adrenalin rush available to NZ anglers.of our local 'steam trains' has to be the most supreme adrenalin rush available to NZ anglers.

So far we've had 5 blue hook ups, with two fish pulling the hooks (one at the boat), one did a massive circle of the boat after hook up, and cut itself off on the props, and two were successfully brought to the boat for tagging. Fish size has ranged from about 180 to 350 kilos. (one at the boat), one did a massive circle of the boat after hook up, and cut itself off on the props, and two were successfully brought to the boat for tagging. Fish size has ranged from about 180 to 350 kilos.

The most significant catch over the last week has been by 10 year old Robbie Angus, fishing with Bob and Chris Ash on Target. His landing of a 227kg blue has allowed a claim for the Smallfry World Record, and is the largest billfish of any species caught by any smallfry, anywhere in the world. Bob tells me he fought the fish like a real pro!!

Although the striped marlin action has died off a little on the East Coast, I doubt they have gone far. The sounder is frequently revealing large aggregations of low density bait, surrounded by red 'blobs', down at 50M or so. With reports from boats catching stripeys that they are 'spewing' up squid, it seems logical to assume that they are feeding down deep and are focussed on squid. With the worst lull in action co-inciding with a full moon that draws squid activity to the surface, we are now experiencing an increase in action as we move into the dark period.

Yellowfin up to 35kg are providing welcome variety, as is the occasional spearfish when fishing out wide. No reports of broadbill yet, though the large cyclone generated easterly swells will have put a dampner on most efforts at night drifting.

Schools of smaller kingies have moved into the deeper reefs around Rocky Point and Bird Rock, but  Cape Karikari and the Cavallis are not providing their usual supply of big fish just yet, though with some good kingi action at North Cape and Spirits Bay, we have to assume they are on their way.

Snapper have finished their major schooling activity in the Bay, with larger fish seemingly relocated to the deeper foul areas out at 70M or back in close on the rocks,  The pannies are biting well, with our best action coming from Howe Point, and around the Nine Pin. Big kahawai are adding excitement to our snapper trips, as are a number of small makos that are attracted to the berley and activity.s,  The pannies are biting well, with our best action coming from Howe Point, and around the Nine Pin. Big kahawai are adding excitement to our snapper trips, as are a number of small makos that are attracted to the berley and activity.

Our stay away charters have provided the opportunity to try out a few hapuka spots up north, and all are providing good fish, plus some large bluenose.

As always drop me an email at geoff@majortom.co.nz  if you need some more info, and I'll respond as time at home allows.

Geoffs' Fishing Report 9/2/05

Blue water, blue marlin and no barracoutta. What a difference a month makes.

With water temps now over 20C a full range of game fish are back in our waters.The best striped marlin action has come from close in, with some fish being caught in less than 60M, especially around the Cavallis and up to Flat Island. The fish have arrived in our waters quite skinny, with even the most experienced skippers underestimating weights, and their hunger has bought them into cooler water close to shore, where food is more abundant.

 The last week has seen the first blues caught, with the heaviest so far weighing in at just over 280kg. Yellowfin, spearfish and mahimahi are adding to the mix, and with skippies and albacore starting to show at last we will soon be able to mix the days up with a bit of livebaiting.

Kingfish action remains a bit muted, with the best action seeming to be amongst the bait schools under the birds in the middle of the Bay. The most frequent catch is snapper and some large ocean kahawai but a few good kingis have been taken also.

Snapper action has been frantic over the last fortnight, with large schools only just completing their spawning runs, and although the action seems to have slowed a bit this week, big schools of bait are attracting some action between Onslow Reef and the Black Rocks especially on the evening bite.

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

Geoffs' Fishing Report 11/1/05

The game fishing season is up and running at last, with an as yet limited fleet generally managing to catch at least one marlin a day. There are often as few as 4 boats out, so the catch rate should improve as the season gears up.

The water is still cool, often dropping below 17C, but the marlin are being held by some large schools of English mackerel, especially around Donaghys Reef (About 170M north of the Nine Pin). Some warmer blue water is moving up from the east and south east, providing a steep temperature gradient at the 200M line off Cape Brett, and this area has also seen the capture of a few yellowfin. This water is moving out wider as it moves north, to provide another hotspot at the 400M line outside the Nine Pin Trench.

Most boats are sticking with lures at the moment, with green and gold and fruit salad patterns performing their traditional early season results. With no skippies or albacore showing up yet, and no schools of kahawai at the Cape, live baiting is restricted to large jack mackerel which are plentiful inside the Bay, and the English Mackerel which can be caught on medium and small silver jigs. My own preference is to keep a couple in the tank for drop back baits, and spend the early season towing lures to cover more ground. This also provides us with better chances of catching yellowfin, and to enhance this option I always run two of the lures with small, heavy heads to stay low in the water.

The barracoutta are finally beating a retreat from the snapper grounds, but are still a problem at Bird Rock and Waiwiri when kingfishing.

Best of the snapper fishing remains the early (very early) bite to the north of Whale Rock .

Although the barracoutta are making kingfish difficult, one of our Japanes clients had success at the Bird using very large jigs. The kingies are definetly there, and we should have some great action once the 'toothy' pests retreat.

Some good schools of bluenose are holed up in the trenches to the north of Main Rock, but hapuka are very patchy.

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

Major Tom Charters
Geoff Stone P O Box 163 ~ Russell ~ Bay of Islands ~ New Zealand
Phone 027-437-7844 ~ Home Phone/Fax 09 403 8553 ~ E-mail....geoff@majortom.co.nz

Latest Reports     2004 Reports      2003 Reports        2002 Reports        2001 Reports


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