Hauraki Gulf Fishing Report - 22/02/24

Clouds of anchovies providing a feast

Whether you love or loathe eating anchovies yourself, they are the fish of the day to almost all others out there right now! Worth taking the big hint from Mother Nature so your (local) fishing success can flourish.

Anchovies were in their thousands along Auckland’s North Shore this week – has someone given these little fish a marine chart app so they know where to stay in the no-fishing zones? When venturing out of these areas, it has been an ideal time for the smaller watercraft - kayaks, dinghies, and skis - to whip out not far offshore and enjoy those wonderful grin-inducing hookups on lightweight spin gear. Kahawai, mackerel, and some keeper snapper have been in amongst the dark clouds of anchovy schools moving up and down, looking more like a cloud’s shadow with barely a cloud in sight. Glorious summer fishing weather. Will there be kingfish perhaps?

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Yet more shorelines near and far are producing the better-conditioned snapper right now, habitat providing food no doubt. More than a few have ventured to Great Barrier for an overnighter lately, and they’ve done well with snapper along the edges, rather than out deeper. Softbaits have proven their weight in gold there, as well as at the top of Coromandel. Throwing down a variety of sizes has been worth it, too, from smaller offerings to the big boy burgers of 10 inches when the snapper are on the hunt for a more sizeable meal.

10" livies with a double hook rig - a prime snapper in great condition for the table.

First thing in the morning and later in the afternoon have been the better times to be casting around for snapper. And if you are out by Channel Island/Barrier, don’t forget to target a king or two - some good arm-stretching ones have been encountered, mainly mechanically jigging. Keep a keen lookout for the odd whale feeding around the top of Coro, fast ‘n furious stuff when the afternoon dinner gong has sounded.

Anyone else getting into the kahawai lately? Eating them as sashimi or smoking them is such a wonderful way to spend a summer evening. In some areas, these fish are chocka full of anchovies; in other places you’d expect the kahawai to be in huge numbers, there's not one to be found, leaving the anchovies to do their thing.

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In amongst the mussel farms is a wonderful place to see the anchovies, at the south end of Waiheke. Also on the north side of Whangaparaoa Peninsula/Big Manly, there have been some epic-looking clouds of anchovies swirling around, with the delightful ‘Coke bottle’ sized kahawai hunting them, gorging themselves silly, and a few similar scenes dotted back around Army Bay judging by the terns in attendance just offshore. This is perfect kayak fishing territory for sure.

Another great catch from Jack Henry - a healthy snapper on the livie softbait.

This week’s tackle picks:

1.    Big 10-inch livies , double hook rigged for snapper, well presented on lightweight jigheads (see link below for how to do it).

2.    And almost at the opposite end of the spectrum – teeny tiny 7gm Pocket Rocket (Tungsten) microjigs when fishing in and around the shoreline anchovies (so much fun!)

Not sure how to double hook rig your softbaits? Here's how> How to double hook rig softbaits

Overall for snapper – fish the edges/shallows/closer to land for better snapper, and softbaits are the go!



Captain Espresso

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