Queens birthday weekend 2012…what a stunner! perfect kayaking conditions all weekend, Friday- kayak surf session…Sat & Sunday time with family, which led to today’s session hunting snapper at Army Bay, Whangaparaoa (North Auckland NZ). Its been a while since I have been to Army bay for a kayak, this spot is a very good fishing spot with plenty of structure, lots of current being close to a major channel and a relatively short paddle to some deeper water which is where the snapper end up this time of year. If fishing is not your agenda this is a great area for rock gardening in your kayak and on a day like this a paddle over to Tiri Island in a sea kayak would be fantastic… as I was setting up the kayaks I saw many members of the local Auckland Yakity yak sea kayak club heading over to Shakespeare bay side to take advantage of this weather.
Today my friend Mike joined me at Army Bay for an 8am launch with a 2km paddle, trolling lures for kahawai, to the edge of the channel where we planned to anchor and set some berley to create some interest at a time when the snapper are in winter mode and not as active… the tide is one its way out which will give us about 2 hours of fishing at this spot. I set the 10 hook kayak longline over the sand not too far from the area of reef we berley’d .. using fresh kahawai as bait. With the anchor set over the reef for the next 1 .1/2-2 hrs hours we tried a variety of techniques utilizing the constant berley trail, which did its job to bring in lots of bait fish… With little to no success using lures, Mike using Squidgy plastics, me using a variety of Zmans plastics and TT Blades there , we both switched solely to bait (squid & pilchard) which got hit almost straight away. I tried strayline, droppeer and snapper flasher rigs all with similar success. We fed more than we caught and aside form a couple over 40cm we landed small or undersized fish. There were several other kayak fishers out enjoying the great weather and from what I could see none of them where catching more than smaller fish.
We had plenty of “helpers” around to pick up any scraps…the Shearwater birds really have no fear and where chasing my baits all the way to the bottom , how i did not hook one is beyond me. After very little if any interest in my Zman soft plastic (tried a variety) or the With couple of fish each to take home Mike and I made our way back after collecting the longline, which other than a stingray hooked, all Baits remained untouched . Winter fishing in this area can be hit and miss at the best of times, I think perhaps an incoming tide would have produced better results…or getting a rod in the water before sun up. That said it was great to be out on the water and to see so many others out there in kayaks enjoying the morning with many others heading out as we came back in after lunch.
To top off a great morning on the water in perfect conditions we ran into a large pod of dolphins playing and feeding among the reef…Mike and I followed them around with the cameras, GoPro and Lumix FT3, for the next 30-40mins and got some spectacular video (photos not so good as in my haste I did not see the lense of my Panasonic Lumix was dirty) … the dolphins were really putting on a show leaping all around, swimming under the kayaks and they were talking to each other so loud we could here them as clears a sif we were under the water ( they were sometimes only in 2 meters of water)… fantastic Day in our piece of paradise.. thanks Queeny for a great birthday!