Inner Gulf Fishing Report - October 21st, 2021

Never take your freedom for granted!

Never have I taken the freedom of being out on the water fishing for granted, but like everyone else, locked up for five weeks sure makes you appreciate this great little country we live in.

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With the forecast for light winds, I headed out on the turn of the tide just as the wind started picking up, putting my planned destination out as the wind would be opposing the tide. Obviously, the wind was only going to strengthen during the day so I was forced to target the area on the southern side of Rangitoto.

Closely watching the sounder, I made my way up the eastern side of the Rangitoto channel, very little sign of snapper or bait fish was showing on the open. First stop was the “barges “  [ spot 9 area 1 ] even when there is little sign, I always pick up a few snapper and baitfish in this spot yet apart from a few undersize snapper it was devoid of life.

Desperate for a feed of fresh fish now is the time to draw on experience and knowledge, if the snapper are not out feeding on the sand they had to be in close or on isolated bits of foul.

Slightly to the south of the Rangitoto wharf the chart shows a smallish rock, both wind and tide direction would allow me to anchor ahead of it and stray line back towards the foul. First four snapper we just over legal and released, keeping two reasonable snapper I moved as the wind picked up and the swing of the boat made hard to focus on the bite.

Slowly moving to the east again, very few fish were showing on the open sand  till I got to spot 20 area 2 where there is a small, isolated rock coming up two meters off the bottom. Being a smaller structure, you must anchor so the stern is facing the rock. This a bit of hit and miss operation with so much wind swinging the boat around. First two baits got hit hard yet failed to hook up. Changing to small half-pilchards the next two bait got hit with solid hook ups producing good size snapper.

With the current dropping right off next stop was at spot 5 area 2 where I could cast un-weighted baits to the edge of the reef and isolated rocks in the area. As often is the case with early season snapper on the foul they are not aggressive feeders,  they just pick up the bait and crunch it up rather than move off with it. Small baits again got a far greater hook up than whole baits. With enough fish to feed the troops, it was off to have a wee look at other spots close by so I could get a greater understanding and overall idea of where the fish are and why.

The following spots were unfishable due to the wind opposing the tide but if you don’t take the time to look you never learn a thing, it’s all about building up a mental data base and history and it is only by looking and thinking about the conditions at this time of the year, can you get an idea of what’s happening to hopefully take out a bit of the guess work for the next trip out.

Moving to the east towards the foul of the entrance to Islington Bay again [ spot 3 area 2]little sign on the flat open sand till close to the isolated rocks just outside the main reef, across the whole reef there were patches of fish with the best sign showing as expected at the southern end where the bottom drops away and the current is stronger.

From Islington Bay right up to West Bastion reef is flat open sand and again mostly devoid of fish, sneaking in close to the foul at both spot 7 and 8 area 1 there were more fish showing close to the structure than I had expected.

Lessons of the day given the conditions; most of the boats that headed out wide where back in the lee of Rangitoto looking for shelter within an hour . Taking a close look at the sky, height of the clouds, wind direction and chill factor,  I believed the wind was only going to pick up despite what the forecast predicted. By making a call to stay close gave me more time fishing and if the conditions improved, I could still head out wide rather than heading out only to have to come back in wasting valuable fishing time.  

Obviously, the snapper have not turned up in the channels in any numbers yet and the resident fish are still feeding on and close by to structure. Smaller baits are getting a far greater hook up rates than the big baits. This makes sense when you think about their food source – crabs, shellfish and the likes all need to be chewed with the hard shelly bits spat out.

Take time to look around, everyone seems to straight line from one spot to another rather than spending a bit of tine just scouting, a lot of the spots I have in the book are small, isolated bit of structure unmarked on the chart which are my “go to “spots where it’s one of those hard days out on the water.

What has surprised me is the number of gurnard and john dory coming into the harbour feeding in the shallows such spots as Kohimarama, St Heliers and Takapuna beaches.

Having just come off the boat to do this report I can tell you there are not a lot of snapper showing on the worm beds directly north of Rangitoto light, they appear to be holding further towards Tiri and out to the east.

Just to the north of Rakino there are a few work ups with the school snapper in around the 20-metre mark.

Most of the snapper I kept were females with very ripe roe sacks, please bear this in mind to only take what you need for a feed rather than a limit as every fish we take is one that will not get a chance to breed.

The ‘spots’ referred to can be referenced in my guide to the hot spots of the Hauraki Gulf. 

Tight lines,


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