One of the best ways to enjoy the beauty of this coastal destination, alongside the Pacific Ocean, is to jump on a boat and go fishing.
Reef fishing, game fishing and diving are all popular pastimes in the Bay of Plenty and a range of day and overnight charter experiences are available. The region’s warm, settled climate makes it the ideal location for these activities year round.
When fishing around the offshore rocks and reefs, the catch of the day often includes snapper, kingfish, tarakihi or kahawai, otherwise known as Australian Salmon.
These are all excellent eating fish and you won’t disappoint friends and family when you return home with this for dinner.
There are distinct seasons to target specific species. The colder water of autumn and winter is suitable for deep sea fish such as hapuku (groper) and warehou. As the ocean currents start to warm up, snapper, kingfish and marlin are popular with sport fishers.
Arguably one the most exciting fishing events in New Zealand with up to 1,000 entries is the One Base Fishing Tournament organised by the Tauranga Game Fishing Club. This annual event usually takes place in early March with prizes for snapper, kingfish, yellowfin tuna, shark and marlin.
Also based in Tauranga is Bonze of Bonze Lures. Apart from building a reputation as a master craftsman of game fishing lures, Bonze was awarded the ‘Overall Top Atlantic Release Captain 2009’ by the prestigious Billfish Foundation for tagging and releasing marlin.
Whilst other winning skippers from the northern hemisphere were arriving to the awards ceremony in private jets, Bonze’s ticket to Miami was funded by the generosity of his fellow kiwi fishing writers who were determined to get him there to accept his trophy.
Divers can explore shipwrecked vessels, local reefs and island outcrops in popular spots like Tuhua (Mayor Island) and the Astrolabe Reef.
For an absolutely unique experience divers can take to the waters around New Zealand’s only active marine volcano, White Island. Diving here is world class, offering clear waters, prolific fish life and volcanic terrain.
People gathering shellfish such as pipi and tuatua along the long stretches of coastline at low tide are a common sight.
Snorkelling for delicacies such as Paua (a type of abalone), rock lobster, kina (sea urchin) and green lipped mussels are also very popular.
To experience any half day, full day or overnight fishing expeditions, simply check out www.bayofplentynz.com or contact the friendly staff at the local i-SITE Visitor Centres who can supply options for charters and accommodation.