Flash mobs of boats and birds have been captivating the fishing action out there this week, a welcome respite from the slow fishing. That moon and southerly really put the shiver on most fishing, and the sea state. A 30kt southerly wind against tide made for a slow bite for several days. However, there is some good news: the bite returned this week. There have been widely scattered action stations around the gulf, and they are set to continue in the short term – so what does this mean for our fishing? The winter chill is still very evident over most of the Hauraki Gulf. There are vast areas of seemingly no fish at times, yet hot spots pop up with sudden flurries and fast fishing with dolphins, gannets, petrels – and lots of fish all joining in on the action. The spectacle can last for a while, or not, so you need to be prepared if you are going to make the most of your fishing adventures. There are a few easy ways to do this. The best approach is to keep changing your menu items (lures) and their action – the difference can be staggering in terms of results.
The Firth returned with a good bite despite the lack of tidal current, with good resident snapper feeding around high tide. A large Bryde’s whale has been hanging around in there too. The bottom end of Waiheke? It’s had similar patterns as out wide again this week, with local hotspot workups popping up with gannets diving and good fish underneath.
The kingfish seemed to vanish briefly – although I suspect over the next several days when they pop their heads up and come back on the feed, their energy will be high. There are big fat pilchards to be hounded down, which means this week coming will be a good time to target the king of fish. Maybe the schools out wide of the Barriers will head in closer. There’s already been a particularly large whale along a temperature break south of Little Barrier – the next big thing/area? Likely. There’s lots of suspicious-looking activity bird/bait around there – future Sign ‘O The Times.
There have been blissful cauldrons of dolphins gorging themselves on pilchards just wide of both Barriers, with gannets simply ducking their heads under for a pillie beside them with no take-off or landing needed. Utterly amazing scenes. You’ll find constant water swirls beside the boat as dolphins come to check on you, racing in for a quick eyeball, before heading off to do their own fishing.
As per previous Espresso Reports, the workups further north along the coast are seemingly Hauraki-bound. It looks like the spring action is not too far away. It’s not here yet, but we’re under starters orders – a week or three perhaps? Skirted lures have been the go by a noticeable margin this week, rather than hard body/metal jigs. Inchikus and slow jigs (e.g. BossSquids and Beady Eye Kaburas) have been absolute stand-outs. However, there have also been some complete blitzes from solid fish on the big jigs – suspiciously sharknado-like.
There have been some quiet times for a lot of the open gulf for sure – it feels and looks like winter out there right now, but when the fishing is hot, it’s hot alright. It’s best to be out there in amongst it. Enjoying and appreciating what we have right here on our doorstep is the best form of social distancing therapy.