Inner Hauraki Gulf Fishing Report - 30/05/24

Fish in the shelter of the coast

Now that winter has truly set in, if there is a gap in the weather window just go for it. Remember no fish is worth risking a life, so if in doubt, stay out.

In the last couple of weeks, I have only managed to get out a few times but on each occasion, the weather has been marginal limiting the options as to where I could safely fish.

----- Advertisement -----

When looking for a safe fishing spot, high cliffs will help, but ideally look for steep cliffs that have heavy vegetation, trees bushes, and even long grass that will suck a lot of the energy out of the wind. Even when anchored under a cliff, the boat will spin around at anchor making it damn near impossible to stay in touch with the bait to feel and see what’s happening – a critical aspect to hooking up.

When fishing under a cliff in only 2-6 meters I do not use any weight at all for several reasons:

•    The weight of the hook and bait is enough to get to the bottom.

•    Big snapper will come up from the bottom to take the bait and without a sinker they feel no resistance allowing you to feel and see the line straighten out. 

•    Sinkers (no matter how small) tend to snag in the kelp and rocks. 

Conditions like this are challenging so you need to be totally focused. Once the bait has been cast (do not let any more line off the spool) and the bait hits the water, drop the rod tip right down to the water’s surface. The lower the rod tip, the less windage, hence you will see when the bait is being taken. Before long you will need to wind in and re-cast just to be able to stay in touch with the bait. As frustrating as it is constantly casting out baits, the upside is what I call “prospecting“ – by placing the bait at different distances and angles to the boat you can cover some ground.

Patience is key! Often it may be an hour before you get a decent bite but ground bait and berley will in time bring the fish in and on the bite. You do tend to go through a fair bit of bait due to small fish and not being able to get the strike right but that all adds to the berley trail and often brings the bigger fish closer to the boat.

Don’t be afraid to use a big bait. One of our recent crew had always wanted to catch a big snapper so I rigged up the whole head of a kahawai and literally tossed it over the side for it to sink only a matter of a few meters astern. All snapper are scavengers, and the big head of a kahawai attracts a lot of attention from smaller fish nibbling at it but they can't swallow it. It’s the action of smaller fish ripping at it that gets the attention of the big snapper that swoop in to grab it and take off. Big hooks rigged correctly in the bait will set the hook in the jaw nine times out of ten allowing it to be released unharmed.

Big fish in shallow water take a bit of skill to land. Keep the rod tip high when the fish does powerful runs. This lifts the head keeping it from getting into the rocks. Wind down slowly keeping the rod tip bent but only to shoulder height – any lower takes the lifting power away and it will take off again. As the fish gets closer to the boat use short strokes to lift and tire out the fish, and have the landing net in the water so the angler can lead the fish into the net. I have seen many fish lost when over-excited people chase the fish with the net causing bust-offs at the boat.

I would bet you my last bottle of the finest rum pretty much every bit of the coast – from rocky shore to sandy beach – that there will be a few big old boys lurking about. I have caught and released a hell of a lot of big fish (10kg-plus) over the years from places like St Heliers Bay Reef, Rangitoto, Motutapu, and even the upper harbour in a few meters off Narrow Neck.

If you don’t try you will never know, so use what I call a lazy line – 10kg mono, a couple of 10/0 hooks and a bloody big bait, tossed over the side with just a light drag set while you focus on your other rod.

Obviously, with wind gusting up to 35 knots few have fished out wide and even the worm beds would be marginal. A few mates brave or silly enough to fish the Noises and got some good fish but even those who stayed closer in pulled some good fish out of the shallows in the inner harbour.

My picks for the next couple of weeks are to stay in close, berley up, and strayline, but don’t risk your boat or a life – the fish will only be bigger and fatter when you do get out.

Spots to try from my Hauraki Hotspots book:

•    Area 1; Spots 2, 5 and 6 (Little Shoal Bay; Harbour Bridge East - North Head; Bastion Point - North Head)

•    Area 2; Spots 3, 9 and 16 (southern Rangitoto - Islington Bay; Motuihe; Motuihe - Waiheke Island)

•    Area 3; Spots 6,12 and 18 (northern Rangitoto; western Motutapu)

•    Area 4; Spots 1, 11 and 13 (Billy Goat Point- Otahuhu Point)

•    Area 5; Spots 11 and 15 (David Rocks; Motuhoropapa Island)

•    Area 6; Spots 12, 17 and 19 (Hooks Bay; Thumb Point - Owhiti Bay; Te Whau Point)

•    Area 7; Spots 5, 10 and 20 (Ponui Island - Ruthe Passage; eastern Ponui Island; Pakatoa Island - Rotoroa Island)

This big snapper was caught (and released) right beside the shore in 7 metres of water. 

- Bruce Duncan

Bruce’s Hauraki Gulf Fishing Hot Spots Guide has 150 proven spots including information on tides, weather, rigs and how to fish each spot. Get it here. 

----- Advertisement -----

Rate this


Post a Comment

Required Field

Fishing bite times Fishing bite times

Major Bites

Minor Bites

Major Bites

Minor Bites

Latest Articles

Bouillabaisse with Winter Vegetables Recipe
June 2024

Bouillabaisse with Winter Vegetables recipe from Everybody Eats... Read More >

XBraid Review
June 2024

Grant Dixon reviews XBRAID's new X8 braid - casting distance and sink rate were impressive.... Read More >

Snapper Fishing with Bait and Berley
June 2024

How to catch snapper using bait and berley in winter... Read More >

How to Get the Most from Your Filleting Knife
June 2024

A quality knife is within reach of practically any budget, and here are some key things to look out for.... Read More >

How Does El Nino Affect Fishing in New Zealand?
June 2024

Sam Mossman discusses the influence of El Niño on fishing.... Read More >