DESTINATION: THAMES COAST

The Thames Coast offers great fishing and boating access from Thames up to Coromandel Harbour, with a gateway to the wider Hauraki Gulf.  Editor Matt Hewetson recently visited in spring to find hot fishing action and welcome hospitality from the locals.

Thames is a sleepy small town that reminds me of my own home town in Northland, it is also close to good fishing grounds in the Firth of Thames and up past Coromandel Harbour and it’s surrounding islands.  In close proximity, are the famed mussel farms that offer fish refuge and food, with thousands of anglers drawn to the area each year to fish amongst the mussels for snapper, kahawai and kingfish.

The mussel farms in the Thames-Coromandel coastline are the main interest to Godzone anglers, but there is also some excellent work-up fishing to be found in the shallows of the Firth and further out in the middle ground off the coast.

Good Te Puru Locals

Writer Scott Cushman and I recently experienced both red hot action catching good snapper to 5kg in only 5m of shallow water and in 50m out deep.  The first work-up we came across was when we had just left Thames and came to Te Puru and witnessed hundreds of diving birds just off the coast!  We simply couldn’t keep driving so we looked for the nearest boat ramp and found the Te Puru Boat Club ramp.

This is however a shallow water ramp and suitable for boats up to 7m by launching with a tractor.  It was early Sunday morning and with no-one yet launched, Scott and I looked longingly out into the Firth with all the diving birds creating havoc on baitfish.  They were so close to shore and yet we couldn’t launch the Ultimate 16SC as the tide was dropping.

Our long, pining stares out to sea were obviously noticed by local Jenny Greenan who came wandering down to the ramp and asked if we would like to use the club’s tractor to launch our boat?  Would we!  Thanks to Jenny and in no time she had us out with the tractor.  We told her were would only fish for 2 hours or so as the wind was forecast to pick up and we were planning to launch up the coast at Te Kouma to hide behind the islands.

The boat trip out was quick, less than 5 minutes as we stopped amongst the hundreds of gannets, terns and shags that were simply everywhere.  As soon as our softbaits and jigs hit the water we were on!  At first it was kahawhai after kahawhai, as they spat out pilchards at the boat as we pulled them on board.  There must be snapper under all this amazing activity, we drifted away from the kahawhai smashing pilchards on the surface and started to find them.  I cast out a Zman Red Bone PaddlerZ and was hit by a good fish that took off on a powerful run, no kahawhai this, but it wasn’t nodding like a snapper?  I called it for a rat kingfish as it went on a few more strong runs, taking line easily.  Soon we could see a flash of white and red through the murky Thames water and were surprised to see a fat 5kg snapper.

Scott netted the fish and we continued to catch a few more, nice pannie snapper as the work-ups started to settle down.  It had been a great morning and the wind had now started to rise and as we came back into the ramp and the tractor came out to greet us, the wind had started to blow harder.

Grab the latest Nov/Dec issue to find out about the fishing and launching options for this part of Godzone….