This is the first report I have been able to write since before the lockdown. The good news is I have some great updates from the Hauraki Gulf!
The pilchards have arrived big time since we were locked down. They seem to be moving in through the Jellicoe and Craddock channels, and slowly reaching further into the Gulf. We have been fishing the pilchard schools on both the western and eastern side of the cable zones. The dolphins and gannets chasing the bait seem to move every day but are in the same general area between Kawau and Little Barrier, and straight out from Omaha Bay. The first trip I did in late-May, the fish were smaller, but now the average fish is around 45cm, and we had no throwbacks last trip!
These areas where the workups are happening have lots of current, and even on mild days without wind, we are finding the heavier kabura heads (200-250g) are working better and getting the better size fish. In saying this, we are also finding the knife-shaped tungsten jigs in 150g are doing the trick as well. All colours are working, but when it gets a bit quiet, the orange and green combinations seem to be doing the best.
The next area we will be concentrating on is the Craddock Channel as the whales move in to feed on the abundant pilchards. These workups often contain lots of legal kingfish (90cm- 1mtr), and they are so thick sometimes we can not get through them to the snapper waiting below (a bit like when the kahawai are thick). Talking about kahawai, we are very happy to see them make a huge come back after disappearing for a while?
The top of Coromandel and my secret spot X should start working soon (late June and July). This area did not have the bait like over Great and Lil Barrier, but there were some XOS fish here feeding on the abundant shellfish and crustaceans in the contour lines. We use dull coloured lures to catch these bigger fish (browns, greys, mustards and golds) and drag the lures along the bottom.
In closer, the inner islands like Rangitoto, out to Noises are working well now for change-of-light strayline bait sessions. A friend of mine got a 75cm snapper in Gardeners Gap last Saturday and quite a few 50cm ones.
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."