The equinox winds are starting to get right up my nose but the good news is there are a lot of fish to be caught locally if the wind is to fresh to head out wide. The upside is the warmer water is being driven in closer to the coast and spawning is full on hence the snapper are now moving into the inner gulf in big numbers.
Overall reports I am getting tell us that the eastern side of the Firth from the Happy Jacks south there are good numbers of snapper in 20 to 30 meters of water. There have not been a lot of big work ups but just look around when you see birds on the water.
The bottom end of Waiheke on the southern side of Hooks Bay (Area 6, Spot 12) has been firing big time, most snapper are in the 35-42 cm range but big slabs of kahawai or whole jack macs have resulted in some snapper up to eight kilo. It’s well worth covering your bases at this spot with a live bait set close to the bottom for a kingfish but more likely you will nail a few nice john dory as well. I recently saw one of the biggest john dory ever caught at the spot. If you are down that way and struggling to catch a feed there are two spots in Area 7 that have been producing good size pannies particularly late afternoon and on dusk. Spot 16 you only have to see a few marks on the sounder get the wind and tide right and lightly weighted stray lines will do the damage. Spot 6 you do need to have the wind and tide all going in the right direction but this is a spot that I have never in my lifetime failed to catch a feed of snapper.
By all reports the Noises have been firing close in on the rocks around the Zeno Rock area but you will find a lot of snapper holding on the edge of the surrounding drop offs in 15-25 meters. Targeting the fish on the drop offs is best done by doing a slow drift with a ledger rig in the rod holder and then fire out soft baits either side of the boat so you can cover a lot more ground.
Rangitoto, Rakino and Motuihe are all holding fish but at times you will find that where they were a few days ago they have moved so move up the edges of the channels and onto the more flat ground, here you will see they are now more spread out than bunched up in a school. On the flat sand you are best to use soft baits to allow you to cover more ground.
The worm beds south of Tiri (stay well clear of the cable zone) are holding a lot of snapper up to 4-5 kilo, either drift with soft baits or if the wind and tide are all in the right direction anchor up and get a solid burly trail flowing. Drop a string of bait flies (keep them at least a meter off the bottom so not to catch baby snapper) for fresh bait, a whole butterflied jack mac is irresistible to the larger snapper.
I know I say it over and over but please just catch what you need for a feed and give the rest a chance to breed.