Winter fishing is at its best now! Not only are there vast pilchard workups with masses of kingfish and snapper, but last week, huge amounts of anchovies pushed into the top of Coromandel. The gannets are raining on the pilchard workups around Great Barrier while there are thousands of shearwaters, terns etc scooping up anchovies at Coromandel. There is also good fishing in close off areas like the East Coast Bays, Rangitoto Channel and the inner islands!
The fantastic weather has meant Great Barrier has been an option most trips in the last month. Even if the workups are not happening you just need to find an area where the fish are holding and waiting (close to the recent action) and do a long drift. It is good if this long drift coincides with a good bite time as well. Once you find them the go back up your track and repeat in areas of action.
I am finding both the 200 and 240g Kabura style slow jigs in yellow and orange colours with a hint of brown (and bigger skirts) doing best. In saying that, one of my clients had a good size white lumo inchiku style the other day and that was the most attractive lure for both kings and snapper. Every day is different and you need to keep trying different things to nail those big ones!
Underneath the green and silver brutes, if you can get past them on some days, are good size snapper! We got four legal kings before we got a snapper last time there!
The top of the Coro has gone off over the past couple of weeks as well wit the huge anchovy influx getting smashed by small birds and kahawai. Soft-baiting (matching the hatch) and big ugly lures are both working well in this area.
If you're fishing these areas, I suggest you move away from the kahawai smashing the bait in these situations and drift between the birds to get to the snapper. Sometimes I will move to the fringe (the edge the bait is moving away from) and the snapper are there but the kahawai are chasing the bait ahead of it.
So 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"