Top Fishing Spots in New Zealand's Bay of Islands

Whether you are just visiting or are a seasoned fisherman - with 144 islands in the area, New Zealand’s Bay of Islands is a top fishing venture.

With 144 islands in the area, New Zealand’s Bay of Islands is spectacular from air, sea, and land.
Sheltered waters, a 450 berth marina, comfortable climate year round and a large variety of sea life make this the perfect holiday destination for water lovers. This beautiful cluster of islands is thought to be the birth of New Zealand when Maori first arrived many hundreds of years ago, followed by sightings from European settlers in 1642.

With four flights from Auckland to Kerikeri every day, getting to the Bay of Islands is simple. From Kerikeri Airport we can greet you with one of Far North's reliable, affordable vehicles so you can start your Bay of Island fishing adventure straight away. If you prefer to take your time there are many charming towns dotted along the way from Auckland to the Bay of Islands, they always have great food and coffee to order and are full of history.

Kids can swim with the dolphins, fish from the Paihia wharf, swim, waterski, snorkel and explore the bays by kayak. For adventurous types, there’s parasailing, diving and jet ski hire. Paihia, Waitangi, Opua, Russell, and Kerikeri are the main towns and are easily within reach of each other by car, bike, ferry services or boat.

But we’re here to talk about fishing. So let’s get to it.

New Zealand Fishing World’s presenter Forsyth Thompson has fished New Zealand waters from the deep south to the far north and kindly shares his favourite Bay of Island spots with exact coordinates here.

For a more recent account of where to go and what you’re likely to catch, check out Reports and Weather from the NZ Fishing World website for safe fishing conditions. The Bay of Islands is known for its calm waters, but we urge you to never take the weather at face value – it can change and change quickly.

If you are new to the area or don’t have access to a boat a chartered fishing trip is a great introduction to the area. The captain will take you out to successful stretches of water – and the scenery is not too bad either. Fishing trips include lakes, rivers, streams, salt water and game fishing.

Charter fishing tours usually operate around Poor Knights Islands, Urupukapuka Island (the largest of all the islands) Cape Brett and Rawhiti. There are even kayaks for hire which you can fish from around the Cavalli Islands.

If game fishing is your passion or something you’ve always wanted to try, the Marlin season is between February and March, a small window of time to secure the big ones! Charter boat trips are equipped with everything needed and their local knowledge will save you time when it comes to catching the striped, black and blue Marlin.

Light tackle fish include Kahawai (great for sashimi and raw fish salad), Snapper, Trevally and Kingfish are your main catches. The Kahawai, Snapper, and Trevally are plentiful from December until June, while Yellowtail Kingfish are available all year round. Hapuku and Tarakihi are at their best from June until February so fishing enthusiasts have something great to catch for dinner throughout the year.

Snapper is easily the most popular fish to catch in the Bay of Islands. If you’re not sure how to cook it, Paihia has a few eateries in town who will cook it for you at a minimal cost. Coupled with home cut chips and a glass of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc you have a meal fit for royalty.

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