Inner Hauraki Gulf
With the Hutchwilco NZ Boat Show now done and dusted for another year, there are a heap of fishing rods, reels, lures, and rubbery bits people are just busting to get out on the water to try.
It may be mild at the moment, but it is winter, and the fishing will be a bit tough, especially when there are bad moon phases and small tides.
With the high fuel cost, you don’t want to be charging all over the ocean looking for fish. Now more than ever, you should be setting a game plan to target one spot over the whole run of the tide. Over time, your knowledge and fishing skills will be significantly increased. Knowing how, when, and why a spot fishes will put you in the 20% group that seldom ever come home without a feed.
Having come down with the dreaded Covid, I have only been out the once since the boat show, and to be fair, it was a pretty dumb thing to do as once I got underway, I realised just how second-hand I actually was and would only last an hour or so at the most. This is when I draw on my past knowledge of where I can anchor with the easterly wind, on an incoming tide, within ten minutes of the breakwater at Okahu Bay.
The snapper on the cover of my book Hauraki Gulf Fishing Hot Spots was caught at Bean Rock, where there is a massive reef structure for the resident winter snapper to feed on, not that I was after big fish. I needed three 35-42 cm snapper to feed the troops.
With an incoming tide and an easterly wind, the game plan was to fish Area 1 Spot 8; all the info you need to know on how to fish each spot is described in the book. Long story short, I got busted off by a couple of big snapper but managed to land three nice fish and was back on the dock within a couple of hours. The one thing you will now notice is the change in the snapper’s colour and condition. The dark markings tell you they are currently feeding close to the reef, making them prime eating fish.
Talking to several mates that have been out, it is only when there is a fair bit of current running that are they catching fish on the sand about a mile to the east of Tiri. It goes dead once the current slows, which is typical for the winter months.
Targeting the foul both in shallow and on the deeper structure at the Noises and Ahaahas has been producing a lot bigger snapper, but looking at the upcoming moon phase, I would suggest that close into the shallow foul will be the place to go.
Area 6, Spot 16 in the vicinity of Waiheke consistently fishes well for snapper and holds a fair few john dory. Again, you need to set a game plan, have patience, and stick to one spot.
Looking at a chart, you will see an area of foul running out from Billy Goat point – Area 3 spot 20 – a location I tend to target on very small tides. Again, this is a spot to set a game plan that should include setting a berley bomb halfway to the bottom where the scent is dispersed over a wide area. Chopped up ground bait added to the mix will slowly sink to the bottom further down current. Due to the small tide, I will not use a sinker as just the weight of the hook and bait will slowly take it to the bottom, well back in the berley trail. Big slabs of kahawai, mullet, or best of all, freshly caught jack macs hold on the hook longer than soft-baits such as pilchards. Left in free-spool, you soon see line movement as smaller fish have a go at the bait but don’t be tempted to strike. With big baits staying on the hook, when it is just the skin left, bigger fish will pick it up and move off. This is what you wait for – watch as the line starts to straighten out and only strike when it comes up taught on the rod tip. If you catch a few jack macs, it’s well worth putting one out as a livebait, as over the last few years, I have seen a lot bigger kingfish lurking on this reef area than in the past.
- Bruce Duncan