Hauraki Gulf Fishing Report - 22/03/24

Fish where the fish are!

Catching fish or just going fishing? I tackle this issue head-on in the latest NZ Fishing News magazine (March ’24) – enjoy a little bit of time out, and some perspective on what many consider sacred ground and only talked about in whispers…

King hits and king tides are subsiding. Last week was one of the biggest tidal movements of the year, with extremely high and low tides, huge currents, and lots of inshore and shoreline fish action as a result. Kingfish with dorsal fins out in water so shallow, chasing kahawai and anchovies – reminiscent of, ‘There was an old lady who swallowed a fly’. Heart-pounding stuff when these big kings are literally at your feet snaffling the kahawai you’ve got on the line that’s just hit the nitrous! Yes, indeed yellow tails mean tales of excitement and woe.

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Happening all around coastlines right now, here one day and we’re all a hero, but the next – all moved, and we come up zero. Only the prepared are the victors – so be prepared, like ‘The last Boy Scout’, easy enough with a multi-piece rod and spin (easy casting) reel, typically a nice lightweight softbait setup. No need for massive tackle bags and an over-abundance of tackle either, but you may need a good reliable lure – yes even when the kahawai are feeding in a frenzy they can be very one-eyed. After several different, normally ‘easy-to-catch with’ spinners, trout lures and vibrating trolling lures, there have been lots of looks and follows, but no solid hookups, even the 20gm microjig was hard work to get a good solid take. Anything bigger was just frustrating casting practice even though the water surface boils with fish… scrambling around, fingers shaking and back to the number one go-to – the 7gm Pocket Rocket. As soon as it splashed the surface – whacko! Match the hatch.

If you’re keen – also have go for kingfish, as finding out the hard way on the light gear is devastating. Battling away with a kahawai charging around the place doing its best to bust off on the rocks, when all of a sudden it hits the nitrous button – top fuel! Incredible – but what’s going on? Kingfish, that’s what. A solid kingfish, well legal, made its move attracted by the struggling kahawai, then several seconds of an amazing scene. My tiny jig, the good-sized kahawai (mentally already prepared with ginger garlic and home-grown honey on the BBQ), and a big king. Needless to say, I needed re-rigging shortly after. Definitely a small pocket knife to a gun fight.

So, get sorted now (it’ll last a little while yet) with rod/reel/jig in the car… see the terns, and throw out that anchovy jig. The birds don’t need to be working hard out or right there by you, the fish are still swimming around looking for stragglers in the area – so give ‘em one, a little tungsten one. The tungsten helps you cast much further as it is denser/heavier than lead, it looks like a miniature baitfish, with perfect graphics, a big red bleeding eye, and the panicked erratic action with wounded fleshy/flasher on the hook trailing behind. Personally, in this scenario I prefer to reverse rig it, by that I mean tying the leader to the jig itself at the opposite end to the hooks, so when retrieved it swims better/straighter more predictably, so fish can bite it readily. Using light braid helps casting distance with smaller/lighter jigs, as well as light leader –10lb works wonders. The kahawai are in roe so if you’re into caviar, smoked, fresh, or fried, now’s the time.

There are lots of opportunity for fishing fun and thrills like this whether opportunistic landbased angling or heading out somewhere between the North Shore/Rangi and Whangaparaoa Peninsula areas and many more under 20m (avoiding the no-fishing zones of course). There should almost certainly be the telltale surface signs of a few birds flitting around a lot of the time – go there and enjoy. Look after your catch well and you’ll be fine-dining on beautiful kahawai, mackerel, and perhaps snapper all caught on this one setup – inshore fishing nirvana.

Terns are your spotters, see these stunners and instantly learn from them what’s going on and where – one of the best fish finders there are.

Had enough for the day… no need to blast back at warp speed, troll the same setup enjoying basking in your day, and you may just hear that reel scream a couple more times. Wonderful stuff in the backyard as it were.

What about the Auckland channels? And who left the fridge door open!? The snapper look like they’re making moves – some good snapper fishing right under the Harbour Bridge last week, and a few big snapper (over 60cm) caught around the Waiheke Channel and surrounds this week. Perhaps a sign of the bigger fish starting their autumn feeding in preparation for winter with many of them heading out of the Gulf along the fish highways. Expect the gulf workups to start upping the volume, that drop in temperature will have a positive impact, at least on the fish.

Cheers!

Captain Espresso
www.catchfishing.pro

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