Full moon doesn't stop the hot bite

November 28, 2015 by Damian Clayton

Trip Info


The full moon can reduce the catch a little but it didn’t seem to make much difference this past few days. One thing I did notice was that the predicted bite times were a long way out and we had our best action hours before the bite time.
Another thing we found was that we had bigger fish when we didn’t use burley (yes on this trip we were anchored). The wind and tide played apart in the that decision and there was no point burleying back to front. I had been using a pilchard burley from Fishing Direct in Silverdale Village and found it to be very good with a high oil content. The warming water (17.5C) melts the burley away fairly quickly but there is so much fish around that I only carry one for when things get a bit quiet.

We have been fishing in the Motuora area again but as I pushed up that way on this trip the ever increasing boat traffic had me turn away and head out deeper to where we found some good sign in 44m south of Flat Rock.
It took only a few minutes before there was a constant stream on snapper coming aboard.
We were using New Zealand pilchards (again from Fishing Direct) and these were basically cut in 1/2 and used on flasher rigs and ledger rigs with 4-6oz sinkers. We had wind against tide so had to wait a few hours before we could strayline baits back down the current or use our “Flat Rock Special” rig effectively.

During the session we caught a few mackerel and kahawai too some of which were also used for bait when the tide turned in our favour. 1/2 and whole pilchards, along with these fresh baits were being smashed by the hungry snapper on every drop until the tide eased. It was then we started picking up the gurnard. Its great to see these tasty table fish back in better numbers in the Hauraki Gulf and I guess the decrease commercial pressure is the reason they are making a come back.

To target these we switched to circle hooks and smaller baits. We did have to catch and safely release a few small snapper in the process but it was worth it to get a dozen gurnard to top off the day.

Kingfish are also showing up and we had a few smaller models (less than 1m) chase up hooked fish. Just for the hell of it we floated a few lightly weighted baits back to them and hooked them on each cast, but there is no point harming loads of fish for no reason. After a couple for our new anglers we topped up the bin with snapper and headed home early again.

There is a bit of onshore wind this week so areas worth fishing without getting knocked around out in the open would be:

Motuora - yes the place is busy on the weekends but not so bad during the week and the fishing has been good. I did a little stop on the inside of the island a week or so ago and caught fish so it could be starting to fill up in the lee of the island again by now.

Kawau - if it comes in from the north then the southern side of the island is well worth a shot as is further south into Whanga bay. There is stacks of sign all through the area and on one day last week I counted 10 other charter boats in the area!

Tiri Channel - we had to work for our fish in here during the last easterly but we are seeing a lot more sign as we head out each day now. Out off the wharf area and around the coast should be worth the effort.

The Worm Beds - in between Rangitoto and Tiri there is a vast area of worm beds. Stay out of the Cable Zone though and look along the contour lines where they dip and turn. There is typically good numbers of fish all through this area and no commercial activity in here too. Not so great in an easterly but alright in the northerlies.

Home Bay - the area of flat ground out from Home Bay (Motutapu Island) can hold large schools of fish. I’m seeing many of the Auckland City charter boats heading further north so it may be a little early for in here yet. My suggestion would be to spend some time taking a good look around and fish in the current to get onto them. Also try the Rakino Channel which can really produce very well at this time of the season..

We are back out there again now and will update on our facebook page - It’s catching On
Drop by and check it out

Captain Damo

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