Kawau Island has been on fire! It’s holding the bait schools; the dolphins are there and the gannets are diving. When there are offshore breezes, it is generally calm around the island and out on the sand in 30-35m. This is where most of the big fish seem to be getting caught.
Closer in and along the 20m contour line around the island and in fact right across the bay has been good too with sporadic work ups and plenty of hungry fish. There are a couple of likely spots in the channel between Motuora and Moturekareka and also along the 20m line just south of Motuora. In the evenings or early morning try in close to the island as the big fish often move in closer to the reefs late in the day.
East of Kawau in 50m has also been consistent with good numbers of big fish being taken by rec fishers drift fishing with jigs. Around Flat Rock in the early morning has been good too. Further south along the Tiri to Kawau line in 35-45m has been good too, so it would be well worth keeping an eye out for the working birds along here or try just drifting through the area. Recent reports suggest you’ll get onto them quickly.
Out in the gulf there are work ups and plenty of sea life to indicate where the fish are likely to be holding. East of Tiri and in about 45m is a good place to start having a snoop around. Watch for fast, low flying gannets or circling gannets in the sky and dolphins heading purposefully in one direction. Chances are they will lead you to fish.
Try to aim for a wind with tide scenario for your bait fishing. Ensure your berley is near the bottom but not on the bottom use a good berley like salmon, pilchard/bonito or shellfish and kina to attract and hold the fish in your area. There is some good GoPro footage floating around of fish holding in a berley trail showing just how effective it is. Baits like pilchards, squid, mullet, and bonito are very good choices during the spring madness where the fishing action is full on.
Stray line rigs with a light weight or flasher rigs work well in most cases and variations of these too.
Some have been targeting gurnard along with snapper using Black Magic or Tasman Tackle terahiki rigs with a small sinker and laying them along the bottom for these bottom fish.