Skipjack missiles of 5kgs plus are now right in to the 30m area of the Hauraki Gulf and they have been tricky at times to catch - typically tuna. To get to them to bite can take trial and error, trying u a few different approaches.
This week's winner style was a micro-jig on very light leader on the drop or a very slow-pitch style retrive. Other methods such as casting and retrieving of soft-baits, or trolling lures ended up in emphatic 'just say no' attitude. No doubt this will change, who knows when?! Fun fish.
If you're out in the Hauraki Gulf the following method(s) have been surprisingly effective when things are on the go-slow in general. And what you'll catch is any one of a variety of fish.
Slowly jig a lure, for example the allrounder – Squidwings - in the 30 -50m zone. If no strikes in a couple of minutes, put the rod into Rod Holder's capable hands with the lure one wind off the bottom.
Relax for 10 and have a cuppa while you drift and enjoy the view. If you haven't already hooked up then start your engine and gently accelerate to about 6kts. Now you're covering many bases - jigging, trolling mid and top water - with a squid. As mentioned, most the skipjack we caught this week were on 25gm micro jigs, along with some solid snapper and the odd kingfish too. Not too much success on the troll, not cast, not soft, hard or in between – simply present the micros on the drop and that's it. Mind bogglingly frustrating to be watching the tuna down in the crystal clear blue water, darting around with so many yeah-nahs on strike. But once on, WOW! 5kgs of nitrous oxide explosion.
Skipjack can make snapper of the same size quite lethargic in comparison. The little tunas blistering outright speed is intense fun on the right gear. If you happen to be out within easy eye sight of Little Barrier, this would be an excellent place to use this technique as there are good snapper out there on the bottom, kingfish midwater and skipjack mid to topwater.
Kingfish – well more and more people are enjoying the various ways to catch them. The mid-Gulf bait schools are highlighted by surface birds endlessly squawking, accompanying kingfish which are are always nearby somewhere. Have a mechanical jig to raise the kingfish up (and catch one), and throw out a lure for that surface eruption on strike. Top water bliss, get into it!
For this time of year workups to the eastern side of the cable zone out from the Noises have held some snapper, not heart stoppers, but fairly productive all the same. Further out good patches of snapper can simply be found on the drift over open areas. These are not massive fish or in large quantities, but producing pretty good action nonetheless.
The mussel farms in the Firth of Thames have been consistent producers of snapper recently.
Getting close in for those with a bit of cheek after the snapper is providing the icing on the cake. Crazy spots for sure,but it's very much about habitat, not much required either since many snapper are now milling around inshore looking to feed before they head back out into deeper water for winter.
For instance the Gulf Harbour environs, usually filled with high speed traffic coming and going in all directions,has produced some good snapper to 16lbs caught this week close in along the Peninsula reefsshallows. No doubt this is being repeated in similar areas all around the Waitemata at the moment.
Mackerel galore are all around the open plains between Rangitoto and Whangaparaoa Peninsula. Most days there are two bites when kahawai, mackerel and smaller baitfish meet - fun fishing times!
Sharks? In a word yes. Lots of bronzies, makos and more, a dozen big two-metre plus sharks were quite happily feeding around the boat this week, smacking the hull in loud booms as they chased their fleeing lunch, captivating to say the least. This time of year is subject to high tax rates. You can't argue so just enjoy the spectacle of the Terminators.
Autumn fishing means great air temperatures for us humans, and great sea temperatures for many fish species too, perfect fishing weather.