Hauraki Gulf Fishing Report - Espresso - 23/03/23

Find the anchovies, find the fish! 

Tiny, tasty anchovies are on fire! Here, there – back there, way over there - one minute everywhere, then suddenly gone, but where?  

Whether you like them to eat yourself or not, the fish fraternity goes bonkers over anchovies. It pays to keep your softbait rod and a handy tackle bag always ready, especially at this time of year.

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Easy to spot, white terns are often diving after these tasty, fast-moving morsels although sometimes just a big blackish mass that looks like a cloud shadow will give their presence away. Seeing kingfish dorsal fins lurking the coastlines seeking out the anchovies huddled into areas like Army Bay, Browns Bay and Gardiners Gap gets the heart racing.  

Inshore, offshore – an anchovy school can be hounded for days on end, with periodic skirmishes out from shorelines popping up all over the place. Birds are usually with, near or diving on them – even if they’re just sitting on the water you can be sure anchovies will not be too far away.

Anchovies have been the stimulant for some hot action in the Hauraki Gulf of late, with anglers ‘matching the hatch’ with small micro-jigs. 

Expect kahawai – small, medium and large – along with snapper and kingfish in tow. The kingfish are often the smaller ‘rat’ models,  but on light gear, they are simply the best thing since bait-free fishing was invented. Some big kingies are lurking on the north side of Whangaparaoa Peninsula, around the reefs mainly. 

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Even kahawai can be frustratingly one-eyed when chasing anchovies, so fast, easy hookups are not a given. At times any offerings can be completely ignored as was the case earlier this week, accompanied by incredulous looks from the fishermen lined up along the beach throwing out all sorts.  Whole and half pilchards, big treble hook rigged trolling lures, and even soft baits were all virtually ignored, the exception being the anchovy-like micro jigs that were doing the business. 

Such a brilliant anchovy imitating lure, perfect for this style and aji fishing – the renowned Pocket Rocket saw those anglers casting them hooked up repeatedly. Being denser tungsten, they’ll cast that extra distance often required to get right in amongst the action as it moves around. It helps to tail rig your microjigs, tying your leader to the jig itself at the opposite end to the hook. This leaves the hook trailing behind the lure, so your speed retrieves work even better. Check out today’s reel on Catch Fishing Facebook.  

The 25gm Pocket Rocket is ideal if you use the almost standard 20lb leader and braid, but going lighter to 10lb you’ll be able to cast the tasty and ultra-tempting baby anchovy 7gm option further than ever before! You’ll catch a lot of fish.


Captain Espresso

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