The Espresso Report May 21, 2020.
It’s feeding time for so many fish. With both air and water temperatures plummeting, fish need to feed and store a little extra before the big hibernation hits. Right now, the relatively shallower areas around the inner islands are prime targets for good-sized snapper. The many spots around the Noises and Ahaas have been doing well this week, with lots of little current areas holding snapper. The islands south of Kawau have also provided solid-sized snapper and some shelter from the wind. Soft-baits have been the choice and are working well. 1/4oz Stingaz jigheads are plenty heavy enough as the tidal current is moving but not very fast.
Out further there are lots of beautiful pan-sized snapper for tables, friends and family, and they’re easy to catch too. Drift fishing slowly with slower lure movements has been highly effective, even when the bite seems non-existent. The Freestyle Kabura has been the top performer. When fishing Catch Kaburas (or new Beady Eye), pause them on the way down before they hit the seafloor, then let their uniquely buoyant skirts do their thing. As you stop the lure, the skirts flare and float up looking alive. Hold it in this position for a second or two then drop it a metre, stopping to flare those skirts again (i.e. do nothing), and then repeat this process until you reach the bottom. Let it puff down onto the muddy seafloor, wait a second or two, and then slowly wind up. The snapper will be following the lure and will often feed remarkably high up in the water column. The 40 metre mark at the moment is simply easy pickings for snapper when lures are presented well.
Bubbling kahawai schools have been frequent right around Tiri and the Noises this week. Check your binos and you should see terns hovering like in the attached picture. They’re keen on picking up a tiny morsel of baitfish, and there are lots of tiny smelt-like baitfish around these areas. Even Kahawai can be picky so work with them, and go with the flow, literally. Troll something like a Lil’ Squidwings or a microjig (have the hook trailing the lure) at around 5kts from well behind the school, then troll around and up alongside the fish rather than through the middle of it or in the opposite direction. Lures trolled in the same direction as the fish are moving will get struck a LOT more!
Scattering the birds, fish and whatever they’re feeding on also upsets the buffet cart – which can halt the feast. It’s also worth putting out a BIG ol’ lure – kingfish may well be hanging around. The 200g Squidwing setup is perfect – and it’s first one out
(https://www.facebook.com/catchfishlikeapro/app/349313058487732/ ). And who knows what else? It’s a food chain after all.
Slow trolling an imitation live-bait (LIVIE curly tail soft-bait) on a worm hook, weighted with a sinker a few metres in front to get it subsurface (just as you would a live mackerel) may be what gets you that big one!
Workups moved quite a way out for a few days, maybe just getting herded that way away from the chill of the SE blast. This is okay if you have the vessel to get out and back safely. Beware of the morning wooing though i.e. when the wind is with the tide. It’s tempting to keep chasing out past Anchorite and even further where there have been some good action stations – lots of kahawai and some good snapper – but make sure you can get home safely. Be wary of afternoon wind against tide and the earlier sunsets.
Lining wind and tide up with old school straylining? Great! But remember topwater – try casting a lure out to the side, not just straight behind your berley trail, as there are often big boys waiting patiently for a lure to be thrown their way (stickbaits and Squidwings will both do the job).
Enjoy your autumn fishing. There are lots of fish and lots to see and do out there – the time to enjoy it is now! Wrap up warm and unwrap your favourite lures, and get out there!
P.S. The Espresso LIVE series is on Catch Facebook covering ‘How to?’ Lure fishing techniques, demonstrations and Pro tips. Check them out (there’s a new one every week). Next up this weekend will be ‘How to choose the right rod for you and where you fish’.