Skipjack tuna are providing thrills and spills and point towards bigger gamefish along the coastlines of the North Island. Out in the Hauraki Gulf, the tuna are still patchy and can be very single-minded with what they will bite a lot of the time. If you can troll in the same direction as they are travelling this can help hook up rates. I recommend having at least one lure – whether a reverse rigged micro jig, or the go-to Lil' Squidwings – well out back of the bubble trail if you're on a boat. If on a kayak, well you'll probably have the lure out every time you're travelling along no matter what depth, so that's sorted.
Marlin are steadily being caught as they head further south down the North Island to Taranaki. There are lots of competitions on at the moment, so if you haven't done this style of fishing, and you think you'd like it, now is the time. While having all the gear, riggers and more helps, keeping it simple can work wonders too. Whether you're a Westie or an Eastsider, marlin are within reach (and yes some kayakers are getting into this too) – as soon as this full moon passes and the high winds pass over, the bite should be very good.
All it takes is to be out there merely trolling a lure or two out the back as you cruise along enjoying the scenery at 7kts. All the gear, or keeping it simple, either way, a marlin or two is readily achievable on a single day trip from Auckland City for instance. This happened just last week, a jig rod trolling a couple of 200gm Squidwings out near Great Barrier resulted in two marlin hooked up and one caught on a six-metre trailer boat. Simple and effective.
Sharks are having their fun in the sun, and have easy pickings from all the obliging anglers out there presenting fish kebabs - struggling, restrained fish on a line ready for eating. If you're a shark, these are good times. If however, you are an angler, be prepared for more than your share of shark tax.
When it comes to chasing kingfish, it is great to see so many people focusing on these big beautiful green machines, and getting their fix from their chosen style of fishing. The topwater scene has been on fire with stick baits like the Scythe getting smashed on the first retrieve. The usual hangouts like Anchorite and Channel (the sharks know about these) have been fishing well, but there are also plenty of greenbacks among the kahawai schools out from Little Barrier (fewer sharks). If you see surface or even sounder sign of kahawai school, think kingfish! When the kings are biting well it can pay to change out the two treble hooks that most jobs come with to a single rear hook. A quick trick is to take the assist hook of a kingfish jig (like the Joker or Double Trouble) which fit and work perfectly on the Scythe, simple fast and highly effective.
Snapper has been on the menu for many, the inner areas still a great place to snapper fish. Out from Bastion Point, Chelsea, and the bottom end of Waiheke have all been providing the goods to small boats and kayakers. This is the time of year to fish these areas, and even when it's too windy out in the gulf, many of these areas are perfectly sheltered ready and waiting. It's soft baiting heaven!
Out wider in the Gulf, within a few miles around Anchorite, there has been some reasonable snapper fishing, whether you cotton-on to a workup east of the cable zone or not. Great Barrier has been consistently providing steady snapper fishing, out from the Pigeons and around to the Broken Islands, a great place when there's a nor'easterly wind prevailing.
Full moon jitters are subsiding, so it's time to think fishing, and go!