“Well, here we go again!” I can already hear you saying about me bleating on about the weather, but it is probably starting to get to a few keen fishos who might risk pushing the boundaries – remember that no fish is worth risking a life for!
Yes, the weather over the last couple of weeks has been very frustrating for everyone, and even I have only managed to sneak out a few times, but the good news is with all the intel I get from mates that have been out, the fishing in the Hauraki Gulf is great.
Closer in, from the Rakino channel around the Noises and Waiheke, there has been a lot of surface activity with workups of kahawai, mainly smaller spring fish but there have also been a number of small kingfish giving them a hurry up. Below these workups are snapper, albeit they are spread out. Drifting with jigs and soft baits has been productive.
To the south and northeast of Tiri, the snapper have come in and are grazing on the open sand. They’re still in spawning mode and are not aggressively hating soft baits, so my advice is the most productive fishing is to anchor and chunk up ground-bait and slowly release it over an hour or so. As the current takes the ground-bait, spreading it across the bottom, snapper snap up these scraps and follow the trail back to the boat. Lightly-weighted straylines with smaller baits cast well astern of the boat and then allowed to sink slowly are very effective, especially if you are using freshly-caught jack macs or strip-baits of kahawai. The trick here is to watch your line and not be tempted to strike until the line straightens up at the rod tip, which has then taken out any belly in the line affecting a solid hook-up.
With the snapper now slowly working their way up the various channels, spots like 9 and 10 in area one, are now constantly producing fish – nothing stunning, but good solid pannies – a great place to fish without having to break the fuel budget. In Area 2, at the western end of Waiheke, spots 16,17, and 18 are starting to fire, but you have to have a bit of patience as the snapper move through the area fairly quickly on the incoming tide.
Running out to the Noises, take a straight line from Rangitoto light to the outside of Billy Goat point, keeping an eye out for small workups, but also on the sounder, as there have been a number of fairly concentrated schools of snapper lurking about under the schools of bait fish getting monstered by some good-sized king fish.
Everyone loves fishing Area 5 – the Noises and Ahaahas – as there are so many options no matter which way the wind and tide are. Mates have done well on Spots 3, 14, and 6, just to name a few. There are plenty of jack macs and kahawai to catch for fresh bait, which is ideal, especially on Spot 3.
The northern side of Waiheke, out in around 14-22 meters, has snapper spread out across the sand. The best fishing has been on the change of light but during the day a bit more effort is required with ground-bait and berley to bring them to the boat and on the bite. Look at Spot 19 as it's not a spot that can be fished often due to it being close to shore in a very exposed area, but if conditions are right, go for it as it holds some very good fish, as well as some very large kingfish. Spot 18 is great if it’s a family day out; drop them off on the beach in Garden Cove then you can go out and fish the foul within sight of them. Drop a livebait and drift fish, if conditions allow, as I have seen one of the biggest kingfish in my life on this foul. Although I haven’t had a chance to have a look yet, by now there should be schools of baitfish and snapper showing up at Spots 13 and 14. Spots that have fished well are 7 and 20. Have a popper or stickbait on standby for the kingfish that lurk around the rocks.
With the Xmas break now upon us, it’s time to kick back after such a shitty year. There is nothing better than spending quality time on the water with family and mates, but please just take what you need for a feed and play it safe out there,
Cheers and a safe, happy Xmas to one and all!