Things are slowly picking up in the gulf with a few more fish starting to come in from fishing the shallows stray lining big baits or flicking around softies, to using slow pitch jigs on structure out in the deep. The shallow water fishing has been a bit hit or miss as of late, areas like Orere Point have been producing some good quality fish but have only been fishable for short periods of time, usually only getting a few hours of quality fishing before it eases off. However, the deeper water fishing has been pretty productive, fishing pins and drop-offs around the bottom end on Waiheke out towards the 40m mark, with slow pitch jigs, sliders, micro jigs, and also the gulp king shrimp pepper prawn and the gulp eels have been picking up some solid fish.
Fish are sitting in good numbers, with lots being caught between Beachlands and Waiheke, averaging 40 - 45cm and are in great eating condition. We have found great fishing in 6-8 metres of water and out to the noises on an incoming tide, deploying a big berley and stray lining back whole pilchards lightly weighted has been the go recently. Wide variety of Sliders and Kaburas in orange and pink are working well around shag rock at the bottom end of Waiheke in the deeper water, producing some lovely fat fish!
According to one of our locals, Scott, the fishing has been good for winter carrots behind Waiheke. A few other locals have been sitting in the 30-35m mark east off the Durville Rocks and north of Waiheke using smaller 3/0 and 5/0 Tasman Tackle Flasher rigs and soft baits with fish over 40cm – 45cm for both snaps and gurnard. Landbased soft plastics has been rewarding for three of our young locals who walk the footpaths along Eastern Beach with kahawai, the odd snapper over 40cm and a couple of john dory being caught. Slow jigs have been hot and cold, but the baits have been consistent with fish being bigger during the last few hours of sunlight.
The landbased fishos are still at it locally with the usual Army Bay/Shakespeare area proving slow but steady. There’s still plenty of good fish being caught but numbers by now are certainly down. The northern coast up around Waiwera and Hatfields is still going good for both snapper and trevally. Those surfcasting are finding pully rigs with shellfish for bait best when targeting the trevs, while the rock fishos are finding the typical big berley and stray lined whole baits best for snapper. When looking for a new landbased spot the key things to look for is current, structure and baitfish. Generally speaking if you can tick two of those three things off, there’s a good chance it’s a spot worth fishing. Out over the mud there’s still plenty of gurnard kicking around. This is the preferred time of year for targeting gurnard as by now there’s far less small snapper around getting in the way! Small ledger rigs with bits of squid, mullet or bonito seem to be working best if you’re looking to target them.
The kingfish are hanging around Tiri again with a fair few fish being taken from the usual rocks. Shag and Shearers have plenty around the 8kg mark with a few better fish pushing a meter. It seems the hardest part is finding bait at this time of year. If your launching from Gulf Harbour try the 10m mark on the first point to the left of the ramp. If you can’t find any mackerel here, another reliable place to try is the yellow buoys on the shore side of the Tiri Channel. Once you have a dozen or so you’re in with a shot. Big schools of snapper are still out in the middle ground. Areas of interest have been Anchorite and ‘the squiggles’, Colville and Cradock Channel and the 40m mark right off Takatu Point. There are a few work ups around so keep an eye out for gannets heading one way. Kabura’s and inchiku’s are still working their magic, claiming the majority of fish over the sand. Softbaiting around Motuora and Kawau has been good with plenty of pannies coming from sub 15-meters. There’s normally a few bigger fish up in shallow around this time of year so don’t be afraid to fish where you can see the bottom. This also counts for straylining especially as those fish are only up in that shallow to feed. The waters about as cold as it gets in the gulf at the moment so it’s only a matter of time before it starts warming and those fish start feeding like crazy.
Well, it rained and was windy but the days are getting longer which means we are on the downslope of the dark winter and heading in to the Spring work ups we all know and love! The spot of the week had to be the firth of Themes, with 45cm fish being pulled from there fairly consistently. Most charters seemed to be fishing around that far end of Waiheke, up as far as just north of Gannet Rock when the wind wasn’t blowing too hard. The Gardeners Gap area north of Rangitoto still seems a little patchy but the well versed can pull fish from there on the right tide...or day. Squid fishing is still going off all over the coastlines of Auckland. Orakei wharf is stained with ink as usual for this time of year, a good sign there is still squid hanging around. Takapuna boat ramp and near the Harbour Bridge on Curren Street in Auckland CBD are also fairly easy spots to get to and fish, try get out for an hour after work before they start moving back out, which will happen soon so get amongst it!