We’ve had a real mixed bag of weather over the past few weeks but when the fishing is as good as it’s been, it’s easy to ignore the bad days and look forward to fishing those five knot variable weather windows.
The 30-50m area out off Leigh has been producing a lot of good snapper, terakihi and the odd good kingfish. Although there aren’t huge numbers of diving gannets or bait in this area, a good look around with the sounder, especially over the little pockets of foul, will reveal large amounts of snapper and small wide spread schools of terakihi. The snapper out here respond well to pretty much any jig or lure but one of the more effective ways of targeting both species at the same time is with a small jig. The ‘weasel’ from Ocean Angler has been seeing some great catches recently. Zman soft baits in New Penny, Bruised Banana and Bleeding Banana on the drift will get you into the snapper and can handle the reef fish picking away at them. Just make sure you use a jig head suited to the depth you’re fishing in.
This time of the year sees huge numbers of snapper pouring into the Hauraki Gulf. Limited predators and a huge variety of food sources see the larger male snapper turn up first and feed aggressively prior to spawning. This is happening right now and they are attracted to the numerous food sources in the gulf. This basically means you can find them anywhere and most people would be surprised to find where they end up!
Work up fishing is a no-brainer, as the fish are generally both a decent size and easy to catch on just about anything. Just remember to be courteous and keep other anglers in mind. Don’t drive into the work ups. Instead, fish the edge or the ‘exhaust’ of the action, which is anywhere the work up has been. Try to approach the action from the up-wind side. Turn your motor off and let the wind drift you through the mayhem.
South of Kawau is starting to fill up again and the pilchard boats are working this area. This is a fair indication that the season is well underway and the snapper are in there feeding on the bait schools and other abundant local fodder. Try the 30-35m area east of Motuora Island or closer to Whangaparaoa in about the same depth. Dawn and dusk with a good burley trail will get you a big fish in here at the moment so don’t go under gunned. Salmon burley is a winner due to its high oil content but any good grade of burley will do the job.
The Tiri Channel has had its moments lately too, with some big snapper coming from the edges of the channel and from the shallows in the evenings. This has been bait and burley fishing mostly and the oily baits seem to be getting the best fish. Bonito belly strips, mullet and bullet tuna have been winners.
East of Tiri and north of the Noises will see you right for the work up fishing. This is an almost daily occurrence out here at the moment. Just about anything will work but it’s hard to go past the tried and true Kabura and Inchiku jigs.
The Top of the Firth and across to the Happy Jacks is still fishing pretty well and will do so for the next few months too. Long drifts will get you onto the snapper schools if you don’t happen to stumble across a work up. Keep the bino’s handy out here too as being so close to gannet colonies can often mean work ups will just come out of nowhere.