Pukerua Bay Fishing

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Looking back towards Pukerua BayWe went out fishing yesterday at Pukerua Bay as the weather was very calm and sun shinning. We haven’t had great luck in the past with Pukerua Bay mainly catching lots of small undersized fish, however this time we were equip with our new Garmin 300c Fish Finder. We were quite excited to see the bottom contours of Pukerua Bay and especially keen to try anchoring on the sand just off the reef and attempt to bring fish out. Due to the low tide we decided to launch our little Zodiac of the beach rather than try the boat ramp as this was deeper water. I think you need alot of local knowledge to dodge the rocks, often hidden just under the surface of the water.

We headed out slowly and started to see the obvious reef bottom with jagged reef structure and obvious seaweed on the fish finder. However there wasn’t much sign of fish. After driving around for about 20mins we decided to find a spot just of the reef with sand bottom. It was about 13m of water so we burlied up the water using cheap cat food and waited. And waited. We didn’t get any bites for about 30 – 40 mins however we did see quite often fish at about 5m and even bringing our lines to this height didn’t bring any takes. So frustrated we moved in closer and onto the reef. As soon as we dropped our lines we started to get nibbles. The first fish we brought up was a small Snapper, which was undersized and therefore released. Soon after we got several more of the undersized Snapper. Once these smaller snapper stopped biting we started to get undersized Blue Cod. Though a bit annoying at times it was good to see such a healthy abundance of smaller fish, I would have imagined Pukerua Bay must have got fairly depleted in fish when netting was allowed – especially around these precious reef areas and it’s good to see there is a ban on, with only hand lines allowed.

Small Pukerua Bay Snapper

Small Pukerua Bay Snapper

Pukerua Bay Snapper

Pukerua Bay Snapper

After an hour or so of this type of fishing another boat came by and asked how we were going, telling them we hadn’t had much luck they told us they had caught 4 Snapper at about 20m deep and also they had caught two large eels, obviously they didn’t like catching the large eels by the sound in there voice. Getting a little bored with this spot, plus the fish stopped biting, we decided to drive around and have a look at the contours a bit closer inshore. We saw several Kayakers out there who seemed to be having quite a bit of fun paddling around the rocks with a line out the back. We were quite surprised how flat the bottom showed up around by where SH1 comes into view and at a depth of about 9m. We decided to head out after a short time exploring and parked up about 18m. It felt like we were right in the middle of the ocean as you have to travel fairly far out before reaching this kind of depth, almost outside of the bay. Well we sat there for about 30 mins without any takes and also very little sign of fish, so again we moved on.

Our Garmin 300c

Our Garmin 300c

We headed around to the left of Pukerua Bay (south) and tried our luck there. Just around the corner it was more rough as the swell was starting to build. We had tried this area on a previous occasion and hooked onto something really large however this was in 50m of water and this time we were just checking out the shallower area closer to the rocks. The depth we checked out ranged from about 9m – 20m and the bottom contours were more extreme with small drop offs and holes. We first tried a spot which had a large pinnacle as we had heard this was the type of bottom to look for when fishing on reefs. This Pinnacle was quite extreme going from a depth of 13m to 5m and was located straight out from where the car park ends on shore. We had some great fish signs down there and a school of fish must have come through at one point (thought we didn’t catch whatever they were) as our fish finder went crazy, however again all we caught were parrot fish and the odd undersized blue cod. After sitting there for an hour or so we decided to move and try and hunt for obvious fish sign. Interesting we didn’t see any sign at all and we started to think that to be successful at Pukerua Bay you need good local knowledge. It seemed no matter where we parked up all we caught were smaller fish. There were several boats around however we did notice that they would park up for 20mins then drive off around the corner or off down back towards Paraparaumu Beach, so maybe the fishing just wasn’t that great. The swell was getting abit larger and the sea was starting to get rough so we decided to head back towards our first spot where we caught the undersized snapper and cod.

There was some great action here, again catching the undersized blue cod and parrot fish but also we got some larger takes. By this time the tide had switched so we were keen to see if the fishing would change. My brother did quite a large strike on what he thought was another blue cod, however it was solid. We initially thought that it might have been a large snapper as it was keeping down, however that changed to maybe a shark as we saw the shape and dark body. But it turned out to be a HUGE conger eel, this must have been the same type of eel the people earlier in the day had caught. We brought it closer to the boat preparing to release it and I got a couple of quick photos. My brother grabbed his 80lb leader and pulled it closer to the boat and that’s when his line snapped. So we would have to estimate that eel to be around the 80lb mark, either way that was the largest eel I had ever seen.

Pukerua Bay Conger Eel

Pukerua Bay Conger Eel

grabbing the leader just before the line snaps

grabbing the leader just before the line snaps, you get an idea of how thick this eel was

My brother also got a barracuda which snapped his line and I also caught another conger eel which I had no chance of pulling up on my light gear. All in all it wasn’t a bad trip checking out what Pukerua Bay contours look like and even though all the fish we caught were undersized it was still a great sign to see so many. Perhaps the populations still need time to grow and recover from the previous netting that use to go on, or maybe we just aren’t very good at reef fishing (this was probably only our second time out on a reef so it’s all learning). We did go home empty handed however nothing the local Raumati Fish and chip shop couldn’t fix…

I do like Pukerua Bay however when I look at how many legal size fish we catch just of the beach at Raumati and Paraparaumu (you are almost gaurenteed Kahawai) I think we will wait awhile before heading back down there. Living up in Raumati it does take some time to get everything in and out of the car down there, so you really need to make a decent trip out of it. I think Pukerua Bay does offer reef fishing especially for smaller boats like ours who can’t get to Kapiti Island. Our biggest issue is that we need more experience in finding fish on a reef and also the types of techniques to be successful. However the big difference I do notice at Pukerua Bay is that you are always catching something – even if it’s undersized. Fishing on a beach you can spend hours without even a bite.

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4 Responses to “Pukerua Bay Fishing”

  1. Jayson davis says:

    Are you aloud to surf cast at pukerua bay

    • Fishing Coastal says:

      You can fish in Pukerua Bay by hand line only, so yes you can Surfcast within the restricted areas. We have done a few trips but generally it’s very rocky unless you can get around a bit towards Wairaka Rock or get far enough out, or do some shallow slide baiting

  2. Rakesh Raman says:

    Hi Korin,

    Is there a ramp at Pukerua Bay? I have a 13ft trailered boat.. I always thought pukerua bay was a marine reserve???


    • korin says:

      Hi, yes there is a ramp there however it can be dodgy launching if you don’t know where to go, there is quite a bit of hidden rocks just under the surface, even out towards the bay there are some pinnicles which could get you in a low tide. We came back from fishing out there early last year and it must have been a very low tide, anyway there was a wall of rock blocking the boat ramp so there was no way you could get a larger boat in if that happened… you would have to wait till high tide… with our small boat we were able to just go around more towards wehre the beach was and land in there….

      The bay itself doesn’t allow netting and only hand held lines, so yes there are restrictions to fishing there if say I guess you are using long lines or nets – thats not permitted…. you can however use your rod … I have not caught anything there worth keeping, however some of the blue cod are almost legal size…. again however i’ve only fished it a few times – i’m sure there would be good fishing somewhere around there…. The boat ramp there isn’t in the best of conditions, i would think you would be better off launching from say mana and driving around there in your boat… however i think theres some great spots around mana aswell… i’ve never been out around there…

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