Despite the fine hot days, the wind is starting to get right up my nose as a lot of the days I am out guiding, the time we get away and come back are out of my control. I am not a happy camper when fishing wind against tide in anything over 15 knots.
This is the time of the year where I find the best fishing is at dawn and dusk, especially on an incoming tide. From the good news department, there are more snapper arriving in around the inner gulf and up into the shallower estuaries by the day. Reports I have had from mates is that Gannet Rock and Hooks Bay (Area 6, Spots 12, 13, 14 in Hauraki Gulf Fishing Spots) are producing some mighty fine snapper, as well as a few decent size king fish. Fresh baits such as butterflied jack macs or big slabs of kahawai are doing the damage. If you have the time, go close into the shore at Hooks Bay and catch some fresh piper. If they are not in close on the beach they will be lurking close to the rocks on the northern end of the bay. Nose hook one and cast it close to the rocks at Hooks Bay. Let it drop down near the bottom, then slowly wind in a metre or so of line and repeat. If the kingfish don’t grab it, a big snapper often will.
Having a few days off from guiding, the plan is to head to the bottom end of Waiheke and fish a range of spots around Ponui, Pakatoa and Rotoroa Islands as this area has a heap of places that you can target in any wind or tide. I’m certainly looking forward to not having to rig baits for others and to be able to relax and have a cleansing ale or two.
Closer to town, there is a distinct lack of snapper lurking in the Rangitoto channel. I have had about six trips out where there are only small patches of small snapper here, so it appears they have now moved into the upper harbour. Try around Kauri Point and North Head (Area 1, Spots 1, 3, 4).
Due to strong winds and opposing current, I have had to fish around Motuihe Island a few times, once with two different groups in the same day. The earlier trip had lighter winds and with a heap of ground bait and berley, there were plenty of average pannies. Despite very strong winds that evening, the change of light saw the average size of the fish increase to the point that we were releasing snapper up around the ten to twelve pound mark. If you want to target kingfish when it’s too rough to anchor around Crusoe, try the reef at the end of Snapper Bay where you will get a bit of shelter in a southwest to westerly wind.
My picks, subject to the weather on Waitangi Day, are: East Bastion Reef (Area 1, Spot 3); Browns Island (Area 2, Spot 7); Motuihe Island (Area 2, Spots 13, 19); the western side of Motutapu (Area 3, Spots 14, 15, 18); the area between Billy Goat Point and Otahuhu Point on the eastern side of Motutapu (Area 4, Spots 10, 14); around Motuhoropapa Island (Area 5, Spots 14, 15); the southern end of Rakino Island (Area 5, Spot 17); the northern and eastern sides of Waiheke, including Gannet Rock (Area 6, Spots 13, 14, 20) and around Rotoroa and Pakatoa Islands (Spots 7, 17, 20 and 23).