Out for a morning or evening constitutional has been the best time to witness some extraordinary surface activity along many shorelines around the gulf, whether close to the big city or not.
It usually starts as a squint, a checking and blinking of the eyes as the sea surface seems to shimmer more than usual, even giving the effect of a stunning sunrise or sunset lighting up the sea surface in ambers and burnt orange colours. The sea seems to move and when the eyes track in the right direction, suddenly birds hugging the sea surface at high speed, thousands of petrels all travelling the same direction materialise – they're on the hunt. Just subsurface are their tiny baitfish prey, which in turn are being chased by mackerel and kahawai in similar numbers. Some areas of activity are vast, with countless numbers of birds and fish a spectacle and a half. Then just as the appearance was sudden, everything vanishes, dissolving in a blink.
Landbased or perhaps the speed and ease of a kayak works well for these daily scenarios, and all sorts of methods can provide a thrilling fish or two, on saltwater fly perhaps? Or maybe a micro jig on ultra-light tackle? Shore-casting a Lil' Squidwing? Using tiny darting lures is the key to imitating the fleeing morsels.
There are all sorts of fish factions at the start of autumn, from mackerel to marlin, and it is usually an opportune time to experience different fish species and new ways to catch fish. Going to a seminar can be a great way to kick start new adventures and check out the latest and greatest. There has been less tidal movement this week and will be a gradual increase next week. This past week's slower tides coincided with some super calm weather and sea conditions, the bite was likewise soft a lot of the time, which meant either searching far and wide or changing tactics, target species or a combination, but changing tactics can easily mean the difference between very few fish and a binful.
Shallow water is still providing some great snapper on soft-baits and micro jigs. Similarly, the shallows of Little Barrier and Great Barrier have seen some excellent snapper caught, when many in the middle ground of the gulf have struggled to get a bite. The tide changes coinciding with early morning and evening have helped significantly. Similarly, the 'shallows' of the mussel farms have seen some good fishing lately.
Workups have been changing in their nature a tad, the ones flirting with the cable zone out from Tiri have been mainly mackerel, with not a lot of snapper there, but lots and lots of mackerel schools, and some skipjack although the latter have been rather sparse. The workups more towards the top of Coromandel have had better fish in attendance.
And marlin – well, the season is only just getting underway.