I have just finished a two-day charter to Great Barrier Island with a regular crew of enthusiastic and skilled fisherman. This meant we were able to fish all the way out there, then fish around Barrier one day, then fished the Colville and top of Coromandel before heading home on the second day. We covered a fair bit of the gulf and what it has to offer at the moment.
On the way over on Friday 15th, we fished areas around Horn Rock and the eastern side of Little Barrier. Horn was quiet with lots of skippies, so we tried the 50mtr areas just east of Lil Barrier. While the fish were there, it wasn't fantastic fishing, so we moved towards the Craddock channel to look for workups and big snapper. The dolphins were there rounding up bait, and the gannets were following them around and diving every now and again but it was not hot fishing.
I spied a lot of gannet activity in close around the broken islands, so we headed in there. This was a great decision as we found gannets working anchovies in the bay and lots of nice kelpies making the most of it in 10mtrs. The boys are keen soft baiters, so they caught these great shallow water scrapers on light soft bait gear. It was three hours of fantastic, barrel-like, workup fishing with gannets hitting the anchovies right under the boat as we fished. The snapper fishing does not get much better than this style of fishing!
With full bins, we headed into Great Barrier Lodge for the night where they cooked our fresh fish for us, while we enjoyed some refreshments.
The next day the boys turned up bright and early, and we headed to the fishing grounds. The plan was to get some live bait in the bay and then head to Colville for a fish (maybe it would be better than the Craddock the day before)? Well, the Colville was OK with a few fish coming aboard but not hot like we expected. Next stop was Channel Island to swim some livies and throw some stick-baits. Again, it was quiet, and the fish were lazy and not really on the bite, so we headed to the top of Coromandel and the barges area. The first drop on the 300g mechanical jig got young Tim a nice fat moocher. We then got more snapper and a couple of kingfish, so the day was getting better!
As the bin was slowly starting to fill, we decided to head back to Gulf Harbour and see if we could find some workups on the way. It was another good plan, and we found them about halfway across towards Tiri Matangi. We finished up here and called it a day heading back to the marina to feed our livies to the resident snapper kingfish and rays in the marina.
It was a great two days on the water, and I look forward to more overnight trips to this fishing heaven!
I look forward to seeing you out there. Or come out with me and enjoy my playground and learn a few tricks I have gained over the years!
Nik Key is a tutor, guide, lure tester, author and charter skipper
Capt Nik (Snap) - 021 596 074
"Nothing ventured nothing gained"
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