Snow falls in summer this week down South and snapper caught in Otago on the Lil' Squidwings no less! With everything wind wise from variable to thumping Sou'westers, predictions of 20-30kts quickly turn to nudging 50kts in the outer gulf lately. Not the place to be fishing at the time, but times for fishing there have been, and many more are to come.
Out over the open areas of the gulf, the sea life continues no matter what hits our computer headlines, and surprisingly good snapper are over the general 'paddocks' for this time of year. 40-50m depth drift fishing has turned up some good schools of snapper and not necessarily under any real surface sign. By real surface sign, I mean gannets, dolphins whether active or passively milling around between bouts.
As you motor along or scan around the boat visually take note of the surface life. There have been lots of terns and petrels flying around chasing each other with purposeful flying – these ould be the food-chain party starters. Hence, it's worth a drop of a prospective lure (the genuine Freestyle Kabura is a good choice for this scenario).
Note what the sounder says, what is it telling you? Perhaps mid-water blotches, potential bait, and what's on the bottom? Anything? Often some small surface activity can point the way for a whale of a time fishing. Take time to ascertain what's going on; after all, it is a loosely linked food chain all of the time out there. If you see any sounder sign at all – drop that perfect little prospector lure.
Shallower areas of the gulf and harbours are fortunately doing quite well. The general wind speeds have meant forays wider have been limited. The number of skis and kayaks now getting onto surprisingly good fish in the sheltered inner areas is impressive. Meanwhile, the rest of us sit and just computer fish "cos it's too windy!" Well yes, out in the open, but what about in the lee of some of the gulf's many islands and coves? Lots of choices. They're all fun and productive, especially at this time of year, and a new area provides the added adventure factor.
There have been some thumping, nerve-tingling workups halfway between the North Shore Bays and Rakino over the past few days. These are a great place to target kahawai, gurnard and snapper.
There are now both east and west coast tuna (YFT, albacore and skipjack), striped marlin and black marlin (a massive one caught this week in the Bay of Islands) in our waters. We've even seen YFT caught out the back of Great Barrier – a perfectly reasonable day trip from Auckland if you pick the weather.
The full moon is bright and cheerful with the tidal flow increasing rapidly over the next few days (watch the wind against tide scenario, it'll get choppy) and there's the usual day or two over the full moon of calmer winds, great news for those chasing tuna. With the outgoing tide predominating the weekend's fishing time, there should be some excellent fishing sessions. Try fishing the inner channels first thing in the morning just before high tide, perhaps flicking a softbait around?
Perhaps venture out over the worm beds between Rangitoto and Whangaparaoa Peninsula with an eye out for a workup? Head out into the mid-gulf to look for a thumper of a workup east of the cable zone east of Flat rock, or go little further and drift for an hour or two and pick up all sorts of varieties of fish?
The choices are many, and they are all yours.