Inner Gulf Fishing Report - November 18th, 2021

Inner Hauraki Gulf

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Play it safe out there



Every year it’s the same with the strong gusty equinox winds racing across the Tasman making plans to head out a bit dodgy at times.

Just remember no fish is worth risking your life or more importantly your boat. Play it safe out there do the right thing - let Coast Guard know where you are going, then sign off your trip report on your return.

Over the last couple of weeks, I have snuck out a few times both in the inner gulf as well as Omaha with good catches each time.

In the inner Gulf the snapper are now moving past Tiri and onto the worm beds. The latter is just the generic term we use for the area from Rangitoto light up to Tiri then across to the Noises. The bottom in this area is just flat, featureless sand with no structure to hold the fish. Think of it as a hundred-acre paddock where you see the cattle in small groups spread out with heads down grazing. Note the cattle generally face into the wind when feeding and the worm beds are much the same, snapper are spread out or in small schools facing into the current when feeding. Reason for this is they are feeding on crabs, shellfish and worms all of which must be pulled out of the sand which kicks up silt. By feeding into the current the silt is not going to be lodged in the gills.

I am as surprised as many of the people who are commented the lack of kahawai and bait fish schools. Fresh bait really pays dividends when snapper are feeding on the sand as they are grazing and not really competing for food. Baits such as pilchards and skipjack don’t last long as the snapper are just mouthing crunching them down without moving, just as they would when feeding on crabs and the likes. Remember a small bite may not be small fish. By using a very light sinker directly above the hook rather than using a trace, it allows you to see and feel any movement of the line. Cast the bait as far out from the boat as possible then slowly let out line so the sinker and bait remain together as it sinks to the bottom. Slight line movement or taps on the line indicate a fish is mouthing the bait, lower the rod tip so its pointing to the water strike hard and wind at the same time to take out any line stretch. Invariably the fish is just lip or jaw hooked and for some reason I can’t work out they start swimming towards the boat, often you only realize the true size of the fish is when its halfway up.

One of my preferred eating fish is gurnard and it is only recently have I bothered to target them and out on the sand at the worm beds is their ideal habitat. Black Magic have pre-made flasher rigs which when simply baited, dropped to the bottom and left in the rod holder, do the trick while you are focused on stray lining for snapper.

The snapper have still been a bit slow and thin on the bottom in the Rangitoto, Rakino and Motuihe channels whereas there are good numbers holding to the east of Rangitoto light in around 12-13 meters, an area that has been fishing best on the incoming tide. Area 3 spots 7 and 6 have been producing some awesome fishing and again action has been from the slack water then for the first half of the incoming tide.

Sheltering from the strong south-west wind on the eastern side of Motutapu [ area 4 ] and stray lining back to the rocks at spot 6 has produced a good feed of pannies and there are a few rat kingfish lurking around the reef.

Area 5 spot 18 has always been one of my go to spots in both winter and summer and is holding some good fish. You may need to sound around a bit to find them depending on the strength and state of the tide. Spot 1 is my next target area when the weather allows as there have been reports of good numbers of snapper and king fish holding on and around the southern end of the structure.

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