The Bay of Islands, on the northern shores of New Zealand’s North Island, is well known for its history and natural beauty. This stunning area offers an abundance of wildlife, and particularly marine life, which makes it a prime location for fishing.
This guest article is from Mark Armstrong. Mark is from Kayak Guru – A site dedicated to all things kayaking, including tips, tricks, guides and reviews. The site also looks at canoeing, fishing, stand up paddle boarding and other water sports.
With 144 islands, there are plenty of opportunities to get out on the water and discover your own favourite spots to fish, but before you do you might want to check out our guide to fishing in the Bay of Islands, for some insider tips.
Where Are The Best Fishing Spots?
With so much coastline, narrowing down the best fishing spots in the Bay of Islands can be tricky so here are a selection of some of our favourites.
Just north of the picturesque seaside town of Russell, you’ll find Tapeka Point. This beautiful area is home to fine sand beaches and is surrounded by nature. Tapeka Point Beach can be a great place for launching your kayak, as well as for swimming.
Once you’ve paddled around to the other side of Tapeka Point, a world of wildlife awaits you, including dolphins, whales and penguins. This can be an ideal area for catching game fish, including marlin. Snapper and crayfish are also popular catches around Tapeka Point and you can even fish from the rocks.
Camping and hotel accommodation can be found in and around the town of Russell, so you can spend a few nights and allow yourself more time for fishing. There are also more accommodation options to be found in Paihia, which can serve as a good spot to base yourself if you’re looking to explore more of the coast around the Bay.
Being the largest of the Bay’s islands, Urupukapuka Island is also a protected recreational reserve. One claim to fame the island has is that back in the 1920s an American writer and adventurer set up a fishing camp, from where he would launch deep sea fishing trips to catch prize marlin.
There are lots of beaches and bays where you can launch a kayak, and you can even rent kayaks on the island. Cable Bay, at the south end of the island, is a sheltered spot that can be a great place for fishing, kayaking and camping.
There are also two other campsites on the island, as well as a restaurant near where the ferry from Paihia docks at the beautiful Otehei Bay.
Te Puna Inlet
This northern inlet can offer plenty of opportunities for fishing. You can launch a kayak from the beach at Te Tii and explore the inlet out towards Moturoa Island, where you can catch a range of fish, including flounder.
It’s also possible to launch a boat or yak out of Opito Bay, where you can access the Kerikeri inlet, as well as the waters around Moturoa Island. You’ll find plenty of accommodation in Kerikeri, from campsites to bed and breakfasts and hotels, as well as boat charters and outfitters.
What Can You Catch?
One of the most popular catches in the Bay of Islands is snapper, which can be caught pretty much all over the Bay. Kingfish are also a staple catch in the area, as well as trevally and kahawai.
You might find it easier to catch snapper, kahawai and trevally from December to June but yellowtail kingfish are usually in abundance all year round.
Striped, black and blue marlin can all be found in the Bay, but the best time for catching them is usually during February and March, so this can be a good time to head out to the deeper waters of the Bay.