Hauraki Gulf Fishing Report - December 3rd, 2021

GAME ON! - Gamefish arrive to party early

Both yellowfin tuna (YFT), a shortbill spearfish and several striped marlin have been caught recreationally ‘up north’ this week, out from BOI and Tutukaka with more sighted further down the coast.

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The New Zealand’s ‘marine heatwave’ is unfolding with coastal temperatures already up 1 – 1.5c, it’s significant alright the early stages of the La Nina effect, so while global warming has its downsides it has some serious upside at least in the interim here in NZ fishing-wise.

This game season is looking extra-good right now so if you haven’t already got your act together, ACT I SCENE 1 is already underway. It is time to put on your game-face and play your part – someone has to!

How about Albert? Albies, the chicken of the sea – the stunning and delicious albacore tuna, are also awaiting your presence and chilly bin. Fresh or smoked albacore, such a mouth-watering taste sensation. You know if you have, but if you haven’t – you have to try it, and if you caught it, triple bonus points. @JoshSullivan was right in amongst them this week out off Mayor Island feeding friends, family, and gym - how good is that, A+!

Others in the Far North/BOI have been quietly enjoying some superb freshly caught albacore as well. And after enjoying the thrills and colourful delights of catching mahimahi on occasion ‘out the back of Barrier’ in previous years, especially on light tackle, come on down I say – the more mahi the better!

Snapper – will soon be needing a bit of a rest, so by Christmas, there’ll be a noticeable drop in snapper activity in general. But that’s so far away right? Just a few short weeks. Then the tactics of inner areas with micro jigs and sneaky soft-baits really comes into its own – great news for more inshore anglers, tiny tinnys, kayaks from a beach launch, and landbased sessions too. Drifting the inner channels is coming on stronger every day. The mid ground in 30-45m is still a great place to be consistently catching good snapper, no real need for workups there’s plenty of grazing snapper in the open gulf to simply drift and catch great fish. The Freestyle Kabura changed the face of fishing in New Zealand when Catch Fishing brought it here from Japan and it is still one of the most effective fish catchers there are. The Beady Eye is also notable extension of this slow jig. With these lures the weight you choose is not particularly critical (unlike soft-baits, jigs, etc), there is little action to these truly slow jigs, so when in doubt go bigger and heavier – particularly on the drift when they really do shine. While my Rule of 2 applies to most jigs, the kabura can be upped to 3 e.g. in 30m x 3, a 100gm Kabura works well, out in 50m a 150gm Beady Eye – brilliant. The extra weight doesn’t deter the fish strike – they are striking at the skirts in general, and it keeps the kabura down in the snapper strike zone better (a metre or two off the bottom), and more vertical.

So, if in doubt go bigger and heavier with all your kaburas, and keep those skirts looking good! You won’t have to use a torch out there fishing to get these kaburas to light up in the depths, sunshine on them as they are being rigged up is plenty, our big glowing orb in the sky provides more than enough radiation in just a few moments.

There’s a fair bit of surface activity out towards Little Barrier this week, but maybe they’re having a siesta after feeding so much – lots of good sign but a soft snapper bite.

Can you remember your first kahawai? Not sure about you – but I can remember the first kahawai I caught (landbased Westcoast with my Dad on my Mum’s split-bamboo rod), the thrills from those humble beginnings have barely diminished after many decades. The kahawai – a lot more fun to catch than snapper perhaps?

Worth a significant consideration when thinking of going fishing – especially while on vacation. Treated well they are great to eat sashimi, smoked, ceviche style, and so many others, or netted and lure removed to be returned relatively unscathed back to the water to continue its life cycle. A brilliant fish, quite easy to catch in comparison to many, except those days when even they just say no! And that’s fishing.

Cicadas are starting their chirpy sing-songs, tuis chasing wood pigeons just for kicks - aye a good kiwi summer is upon us, one to enjoy, fishing if you can…whether simple pleasures in life with kids on a  jetty somewhere, exploring new adventures in a tiny tinny, or chasing the dragon – whichever fish that means to you, snapper, kingfish, tuna, marlin – whatever spins your reels.

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