Finally, the equinox winds have dropped off a bit, allowing everyone to get out for a fishing fix and by all accounts, every man and his dog have been catching fish.
Those willing to travel a bit are finding a lot of snapper, kahawai and a few decent size kingfish bellow the workups between Tiri and Kawau Island. It's not hard look for the birds and, if they are not in flight, zig-zag into the current around and look on your sounder for small blue dots (snapper) that are hard on or just off the bottom. Jigging soft baits and ledger rigs are all working but if there is no work ups, anchor and drop a wobbly pot of berley to within 1-2 meters off the bottom. Follow that up with a Black Magic bait flasher rig halfway down to catch a few jack macs for fresh bait. Ledger rigs are best in this depth, but a lightly weighted jack mack cast well behind the boat will have a good chance of being nailed by a kingfish or a john dory on the way to the bottom.
It's great to see a vast amount of snapper have moved in closer, both the Rangitoto, Rakino and Crusoe channels have seen several schools running through. Again, soft baits and jigs are proving deadly whereas closer in around the islands bait is out-fishing soft baits.
A good example of this was on Wednesday morning I was out around half a mile from the Rangitoto lighthouse waiting for the tide to turn with just a slight breeze - only just enough to move the boat but that is all you need. Casting out pilchards that were cut in half on an angle and left to slowly sink it didn't take long before the first bait got nailed – then both the other two rods went off.
One of the tricks I learnt that always seems to catch the biggest fish is to cast an unweighted cut pillie out to one side but slightly ahead of the boat so by the time the boat gets square to where it's landed, it is on the bottom. Drift fishing like this is only possible for the first hour to hour and a half before the drift rate is to fast, but it can be a hell of a lot of fun as you often get nailed but big horse kahawai and the odd bronze whaler.
Other spots I have fished in the last two weeks that have fired are all in my new book Hauraki Gulf Fishing Hot Spots (see more info below). There are: Area 5, Spot 18; Area 3, Spot 4; Area 5, Spot 13. What with all the kahawai, snapper and kingfish lurking about its not hard to catch a feed but please remember that every fish taken now is one that will not get to breed, limit your catch to feed the family and then you have a good excuse to shoot out for a fish a few days later. -- Finally, after four years my new book Hauraki Gulf Fishing Hot Spots has hit the book and tackle store shelves! This is a book that has 150 well-proven fishing spots from west of the harbour bridge (Kauri Point) to the bottom end of Waiheke including the Noises, Rakino and the Ahaahas. For ease of reference, the book has been broken into seven areas each with 20 spots with the exception of Waiheke and the bottom end which each have 25 spots. Each spot has the GPS coordinates a photo of the spot plus a full description of how to fish it: wind, tides, rigs, baits, it's all there! Best of all, each spot has a screenshot taken from my Furuno TZ touch sounder/chart plotter which shows bottom discrimination (bottom type-rock, sand etc) as well as where the fish are both on the sounder as well as the chart plotter.
What is even better than that is when a fish goes directly through the middle of the transducer beam it then is displayed as a fish symbol both on the sounder and the chart plotter showing the actual length of the fish. The Accufish feature is outstanding in helping you see what I see and no other sounder can do this. This feature helps you learn to see where the fish are the size and depth they are in, I thought I knew the Hauraki Gulf like the back of my hand having fished it for the last sixty years but with a Furuno TZ touch with Accufish and bottom discrimination I have now learnt even more so am happy to share my knowledge with others so they can get out and enjoy the wonderful Hauraki Gulf as I have had the privilege.