Hauraki Gulf Report – Bruce Duncan - 04/05/23

Run of bad weather unprecedented –play it safe out there 

Just when you thought it could not be worse, in comes another bad weather window that will last over a week.  

Never before have I seen weather patterns forming on both the east and west coasts that have generated a river of rain and wind streaming down from the tropics. In the last two weeks I have only managed to get out on the boat twice, and for both days conditions despite the forecast were a bit marginal. 

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Getting old, you don’t like getting beaten up with shitty seas and wind constantly spinning the boat all over the place, but desperate for a fishing fix you gotta go when you gotta go, even if it’s only for a few hours. 

In my book Hauraki Fishing Hot Spots, there are a lot of locations where you can fish in relative comfort and safety, so with just a few hours recently, I shot out to Bean Rock ( Area 1, Spot 8). With an easterly wind and incoming tide, the stern lay reasonably well to the reef. With it being so shallow and the boat swinging on the anchor, the trick here is not to use sinkers. Floating baits are less likely to get snagged, but the downside is being unable to keep an eye out for bites. This is where fresh bait pays off big time. A jack mackerel cut in two and hung on the hook forces the snapper to get more aggressive on the bite, whereas defrosted pilchards just get chewed off without you knowing.

As well as kahawai being fun to catch and a firm bait when fresh, and looked after, they are a great table fish. 

The only advantage of a boat swinging around is that burley and ground bait get spread over a greater area of the reef. Having been busted off by a couple of big fish and with three snapper around 35cm, I headed back in.  

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Despite the weather being very average up at Omaha, my new Penn combo kept yelling at me “Take me fishing!” – who am I to argue? Safety first, I snuck my nose out the entrance then up the lee of the headland somewhat out of the wind and swell. The downside is that with the wind coming down off the cliff and hitting the water hard, the boat was in breakdancing mode, but  I could put up with the challenge for a couple of hours. 

Again fresh jack macs and slabs of kahawai were the only baits that would stay on the hook long enough to produce a solid connection. With a boat spinning around doing dancing doughnuts, I held back and only fished two rods. I seldom use rod holders, but in conditions like this, I cast each bait far back and slightly apart. With one rod in the holder, the wind keeps it from dragging the bait back towards the boat, By holding the other rod with the tip close to the water, there is less windage, enabling you to see the line and be in touch with the bait.

Anchor for safety rather than having found fish on the sounder, it took ten minutes before the first rod went off with a snapper around 38cm. Re-casting, both rods hooked up again with snapper up to 48cm. Wanting to put the new Penn to the test I rigged a whole kahawai head, not even hitting the bottom it took off like a freight train with big head shakes.  

What I love about fishing is the unknown, and knowing this was a snapper it all changed with a massive run putting the new Penn through its paces. I called it for either a kingfish or stingray till it started doing big head shakes. Working a fish like this in a small boat in these conditions is a bit of a challenge, but it proves the value of having good gear. Seldom if ever do you see a big snapper tearing across the surface like a kahawai, unless it has an angry bronze whaler trying to nail it. This time I paid my dues to the taxman, ending up with just the head. 

With a bin full of snapper for the smoker, it was time to take the beaten-up broken-down old body home. But as the wind and tide were perfect for fishing inside the harbour, I couldn’t resist a wee fish just for market research. Dropping the anchor in 1.6 metres, I cast back into a hole at 2.3 metres, I thought I would have a bit of time for a clean-up. How wrong was I, as every bait was nailed within minutes with fish up to 40cm keeping me occupied. 

Remember, no fish is worth risking a life for; they will always be there, so no matter how badly you need a fishing fix, play it safe out there. 

Check out the?Bite Times?for your favourite fishing spot?here.

Captain Swish
Bruce Duncan

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