October was inconsistent compared to previous years. I'm not saying the fishing was bad, as we had some awesome days with the average fish size being really good – but the day following these hot bites would often be extremely slow. We also found that workups with all the ingredients there (bait, gannets and mammals) did not hold the fish we were expecting.
The good news is that this seems to have changed now. The last four trips we had over the past two weeks have been outstanding! This might means the spring fishing will push into summer like it does some years, with spring workups staying in close right up to the end of December.
There are a few areas that have been working over the past week. We have been concentrating on an area east of Kawau/Flat Rock on the other side of the cable zone in an area we call The Crack. Bait gets balled up here every year and the workups seem to produce better fish than the ones in closer. We were doing long 3nm drifts through this area, with workups and without, over two days and had a constant bite. The average pannies were 45-50cm with the odd 60 and 70cm fish thrown in.
Another area that has been full of bait with big workups and good snapper is over at the top of Coromandel and east of Anchorite. I have not been going that far but have heard of some amazing fishing from other charter operators.
This last Sunday we had an amazing day’s fishing and hopefully this is a sign of things to come. The night before it blew like a bugger with lightning strikes and heavy rain from the NW (I spent the night on the boat and it was pretty wild). The next morning the wind had dropped and we headed out alone from Gulf Harbour. When we got round the corner we realised the wind was still up and the seas were still huge from the night before (at least there was no one else there).
We moved through the Tiri channel and saw thousands of birds working a huge area towards Kawau. After two drifts dropping 250g Kabura jigs, we had our limit of fish. We started around 8.30am and had a fish coming on board every minute until 9.30am. The average size was 45-50cm again and we got a few 60s as well. I was going to stay out and anchor up in a sheltered bay for my customers as it was only 9.40am, but they were quite happy to go home (it was still quite rough and one of them was a bit sea sick). We were back at the ramp at 10.40am as the wind died off, so an easy day for all!
This amazing fishing can be put down to that wild northerly weather pushing the bait and fish into the bay, leaving the bait with nowhere to escape (it happened three weeks earlier last year in the same area)!
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 worked out 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"