The temperatures have dropped on land, yet the sea is still 19-20 degrees. I love it when this autumn change happens as it’s the forerunner to some amazing weather and fishing out wide. The pilchards will start moving through the Colville, Jellicoe and Craddock channels now into deep areas from 50-70m plus. The whales and dolphins will be amongst it and making the most of this massive annual sea bounty!
We fished the entrance to the Craddock and the north and west side of Little Barrier a few days ago in pristine conditions. We saw dolphins, kahwai, skippies, anchovy and gannets working the area. Even though it was only 2kts of wind, the heavier 200g kabura style lures were getting the best fish in 50-70mtrs (I tried small knives, inchiku and the old Zman swimmerZ with 4oz Cyclops head, which all worked). We caught our feed of 45-50cm snaps with some bigger ones thrown in up to 74cm (orange 200g kabura). The best fishing as usual was on change of light when the snapper turned from a tentative bite to smashing all lures on the drop!
Workups – yes we love them! I haven't been fishing them lately but I have heard from good sources that they have been happening over the top of Coromandel and across towards Little Barrier (big area so take your pick and hunt them down). We also found workups about a week ago in Omaha Bay with whales and dolphins gannets etc. On this day, we fished three mile (for kings and got one) and both sides of the cable zone for lots of pannies on kaburas.
If you can’t find workups it’s not the end of the world and sometimes searching contours and areas that just look like they will hold bait will reap better rewards!
In closer at this time of year we would normally fish the 42m area in the middle ground (middle of the straight line between Fantail Bay and Gannet Rock). Outgoing tides seem to be the most productive in this area. Look for contour lines and give it 15mins before moving on if it’s quiet. The great thing about this spot is that you are in the middle of an area where gannets roam a lot, so with your handy binos and interval searches you can very likely find birds working!
Sorry I haven't reported for a while! As I have moved up to Northland now, I am only doing charters every second or third week in the gulf. I am, however, fishing quite a bit up here (Tutakaka, Ngungaru, Taiharuru, Ocean Beach and the Bream) and finding good autumn fish. I hope to post some current local Northland reports in the near future. As with my charters and personal guiding in the gulf, I will be offering guiding services up here as well hopefully very soon (hunting the fish down using lures only).
I hope I have shared some useful information and look forward to seeing you out there. Or come out with me, 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"