The middle of the Gulf is still firing with limit bags of snapper coming from most trips. The water is still a warm 20+C and every now and then you cross from the usual green to a rich deep blue colour.
The fish are just about every where out here and drifting is the best way to get amoungst the better sized ones.
Anchoring and burleying works too but you tend to get a lot more small fish using this method although if you have a good burley trail you may attract some of the other species, especially the kingfish that are moving around with the schools of kahawai and snapper.
The bait schools out here in 50m are huge and plentiful....I guess the easterly wind trend we are experiencing is keeping the fish in and the water temps up.
Closer in it is patchy. The Tiri area is not fishing that well at all and apart from a lot of small fish with the odd better one or two getting caught i would suggest just pushing that little bit further out onto the sand behind the island and into 40+m. Along the bays and the Whangaparaoa coastline there is an abundance of kahawai...easily spotted by the hundreds of terns diving and wheeling about. We stopped the other day as gannets turned up hoping to pull a few snapper out of the work up but all we managed was a dory and a few kahawai on the jigs and baits. These kahawai are in pretty good shape and some of them are fat...full of whitebait and anchovies.
The back of Waiheke (Onetangi through to the Gannet) is also woth a look at the moment. Stories of gannets dropping into kahawai work ups and good snapper being dragged from under them have been coming in especially from those keen fellas in small boats doing the change of light in the area. Down into the Firth is fishing well too. Aim for the area in line between Kauri Pt and Shag Rock (just north of Coromandel Harbour) in about 34-36m. Drift with ledger rigs, running rigs and SPs.
No doubt the Auckland channels are also having their moments with, from all accounts, the Rangi area being best.
The change of light in here would be my pick or drift during the day with baits and soft plastics.
Speaking of soft plastics or soft baits, we have been running soft bait trips with huge success.
Trialing new products is a heap of fun and we had the chance to trial some cool new stuff from Asia and along with those and the soft baits we get here already we have been doing very well. It sure is a useful addition to the arsenal when the fish don't want to eat a conventional bait.
Check out the website (www.charterconnection.co.nz) for upcoming trips.
The new Jig Star jig heads with the split ring in behind the head are great and come with a lead grey or lumo finish. Attach a worm hook directly to split ring or run an assist hook from the ring.
They're great with a large SP like a 7"Gulp in lime tiger colours or one of the many other larger SPs like Basstrix and Squidgies.
We have also run a few "Kingfish Jigging" trips too with mixed results. There are alot of Kingfish around and when it's hot ...it's red hot! Jigging is really interactive and "reef hopping and dropping" is a lot of fun.
Some trips the fish just haven't played ball and we have struggled all day to get a fish of any size to bite but when they come on it's one after the other!
The last trip we did saw us off Little Barrier in 50-60m and getting plauged by rats (small kingis). We must have caught and released over 50 fish opting to keep only 1 respecatble fish each. These fish don't breed until they are about 90cm long and keeping the just legal ones is poor practice even though they put up a good scrap. If you are getting a lot of small fish it pays to move to another part of the reef or relocate altogether and start again.
Never give up or at least while you can still wind...this mechanical and speed jigging, especially all day, can be taxing on the arms but it makes the beer taste good!
We are leaving the Gulf for 8 days to take DIVERSITY north gamefishing this week. I shall put a report out when we get back and we have just loaded the upcoming dates including overniters to Great Barrier, soft bait days and jig trips on the website.
Take care out there.
Damian (Damo) Clayton - Charter Connection...Where fishing is catching!