Inner Gulf Fishing Report - January 13th, 2022

Not the start I was looking for!

Welcome to 2022 – it was not the start I was hoping for yet, it’s still good to be alive and living in the best part of the world.

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No matter how much preventive maintenance you do during the year Murphy is going to have a crack at tipping you upside down. Day one saw the alternator, replaced just 12 months ago, die. No power equals no fridge freezer! Fortunately, a mate had a portable generator which we hooked up to a battery charger, giving enough charge to chill the food and drinks,  so to catch fish we had to catch fresh bait.

With the wind blowing a constant 20-25 plus knots the boat was swinging all over the place, and with dodgy battery storage to fish back onto rocks would be foolish. Our only option to fish put us on the open sand. It didn’t take long to use the little bait we had as the fish on the sand weren’t biting aggressively and with the boat swinging so much straying in touch with the business end was near impossible.

In conditions like this the only way to hook a fish is to use big fresh baits – the bigger the better. These baits get chewed on by small fish without being hooked - I use 7or 8/0 hooks - leaving enough of a morsel for the bigger fish to devour. Fishing close by for the same length of time was a mate who came back into the bay fishless, whereas I stopped fishing having caught on fresh bait four nice snapper, enough to feed both boats.

It now looks like it could be a bit of a windy summer this year, so cover your bases with fresh bait, dropping a sabiki ledger rig – I use a heavy sinker to keep it close to the boat in the burley trail as well as it then will not  get tangled with the other lines. Let it hit the bottom, then make sure you then wind it up till it is at least a meter off the bottom to prevent hooking small snapper.

I will either cut the baitfish in two, slicing them on a 45-degree angle but will also rig jack macks as big as 20 cm on a single hook. This way you know that it will only be well legal fish that get hooked.

Leading up to Xmas it seemed strange that there were very few undersize fish being caught but now there is a plague of smaller fish back in close and most are fully roed up, so again it is a reason to use big baits and hooks so as not to damage them.

Locally the snapper that have been coming up the channels are moving through quickly with Park Point being the only spot that has had good numbers consistently showing each time I have passed it [ area 6 slightly west of spot 1 ]. Both the Noises and Rakino have been producing good numbers of snapper during the day but the best fishing has been at the change of light on a rising tide [ area 5 spots 8, 14 11, 3 ]

Good numbers of rat kingfish are lurking about close to the rocks but be prepared for the odd big fella as a mate of mine found out when he got spooled. From the  ‘believe it or not file,’ a mate who has done a lot of game fishing claims he had a mahimahi at the back of his boat inside Administration Bay which is on the north-western side of Motutapu Island. I have seen skippies in the area years back and know of marlin taking a kingfish live bait at Gannet Rock, so maybe it is a sign of things to come?

Those who are back to work or can only get out on the water for a short time you don’t need to go far as snapper have moved right up past the harbour bridge the Tamaki straight [ area 6 spots 3,4 ] and even along the beach like Cheltenham [ area 1 spot 19 ] and Takapuna, in water as shallow as 4-8 metres. Again, the best catches are on the change of light at dawn or dusk.

This is the same I am finding up at Omaha where most people fish from 30-50 metres with jigs and soft-baits on the drift, catching a lot of smaller fish and throwbacks whereas and my old beaten up body is past rolling around and I am happy to sit at anchor without the risk of any spillage of rehydration liquid in 8 -12 metres - basically just out from the surf club -  straylining catching and mostly releasing fish up around the 5-8 kg mark, Again fresh bait and the change of light, especially if it coincides with a rising tide, is producing the best fishing.

Wherever you go play it safe out there as no fish is worth risking a life for and only take what you need for a feed.   

- Bruce Duncan

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