Autumn has turned out to be better than summer with crisp clear days and lots of bait and fish around the Gulf.
I have been fishing both the Gulf and its direct neighbour Bream Bay/Hen and Chicks and surrounds out to 200 metres. Fishing both areas, I am seeing the bait as it moves down the coast and into the Gulf.
Last week we fished for both kingfish and snapper. There are plenty of very good-sized kingfish in the Gulf at the moment and we are even finding them in large numbers over the sand, where there is mid-water bait!
The only problem is that there are huge numbers of bronze whaler sharks lurking amongst all the bait. We hooked eight good kingfish last Saturday and didn’t manage to get one unmolested to the boat, just a few of their heads. Sunday I went solely snapper fishing as the kingfish were too hard!
But then midweek, I moved to another area on the other side of the Gulf and we managed a few for the bin after snapper fishing.
Some of the better snapper have been caught mid-water on livebaits and jigs dropped around the bait schools.
For the kingfish we were mainly using live baits dropped mid-water into the bait or 200-300g jigs worked mechanically. We are also having success trolling Rapalas at about seven knots with the customers holding the rods with little drag. Once the fish comes on we simply get them to raise the drag lever slowly to sink the hook. This is a great way to try to keep the kings away from the sharks, but you really need to work the fish hard to get it in quickly!
The snapper are everywhere in the gulf at the moment (in close and out wide). We have been heading out to a major snapper highway from the Colville Channel and in past Coromandel over the past week on charters.
We are using 200g kabura style slow jigs with an assortment of skirts including squid-like ones and traditional rubber tails. The most consistent coloured skirts have been yellow/brown with the bigger fish falling to the squid style in pink and orange. The 200g heads ensure they get straight up and down in the big tides/currents.
We have also been catching quite a few of the better snapper mid-water as they are chasing the bait. This has been both while dropping livebaits and jigging. Amazing how even the smaller two-kilo snapper will take a big livebait or 300g jig!
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