Snapper, Kingfish and overnight trips
Bute spell of weather we are having! Light winds (mostly) and calm seas means pretty much endless options in and out of the Gulf.
Game fishing pundits are either in search of the last few marlin along the northern coast or deep dropping and night setting for broadbill, whilst those interested in snapper and kingfish can enjoy the feeding that goes on as these inshore fish put on condition for winter.
I’ve said it before…it’s a late season. I see it being about 6 weeks behind so don’t go getting any ideas that the inshore fishing is winding down. Quite the opposite! The snapper schools are slowly making their way out of the harbours feasting on the bait schools and bottom feed as they do and further out in the Gulf there are more and more little bursts of mammal and bird activity.
Here’s what we’ve been up to…
A few windy days last week saw us fishing in Whangaparaoa Bay and to avoid the rampaging kahawai schools on the Tiri – Kawau line we fished in a lot closer. 18m seemed to be the magic depth and working the area from Waiwera through to Kawau proved, on most days, to be fairly consistient with good average size fish with the odd bigger one thrown in. Soft baits and micro jigs are working really well through here and our mate Wayne (aka Pie Boy) managed 12 good snapper off 1 Gulp Nuclear Chicken! We were using some Zman paddle tails with a little squirt of Secret Sauce on them and had trouble enticing the bite on just about any colour. The little 3.5” Motor Oil grub has been good through here too and being fairly shallow you can get away with a 5/8 or 1oz jig head even in a bit of breeze. Bait fishers have been doing well on the Salty Dog NZ pilchards and on the imported Californian squid. (See Fishing Direct up here in Silverdale)
In closer here we found that it was predominately a morning bite so best to get on the water early to catch that sunrise through to 10am.
When it has been calmer we have pushed out deeper and been enjoying good catches in 50m and deeper. The area between Little Barrier and Colville has good numbers of fish feeding. Long drifts through this area have been very productive when the tide is running and it seems to be the end of the outgoing tide that is producing the bigger fish. This is happening on just about every trip and with such regularity we could just about predict it to the minute! I’m not sure why this is happening but it’s good to add that to the knowledge bank or keep in the back of your mind if the bite is a bit slow.
Sliders and Jitterbugs really come into their own out here with the huge variety of weights and colours. Often it’s just a simple change of colour or changing the weight of the jig that will spark off a hot bite. We have been finding a real swing towards pink in both styles of these jigs. Pink is always a “go to” colour anyway and with the recent successes of the orange jigs still in mind we have been mixing up colours and styles (and scents too) to entice the fish to feed.
Technique too comes into play here and just because it’s a “slow jig” doesn’t mean that technique is the only one that will work. On a recent trip we found the fish to be very keen to hit a dropping lure after it had been rapidly pulled off the bottom with a long sweeping motion. On almost every drop this change in technique won us a good fish. They were shadowing the jigs as they were worked along the bottom, followed them up and down then smashed them on the drop!
We have started our overnight season too taking groups of 4-6 away for either a 24 hour mission or on our 2 full days and 1 night away trip. These are a lot of fun and there is plenty of fishing time at various locations around the Gulf. We have had a few great trips to the Cape Colville area, Great Barrier and Kawau. With days spent fishing and the evenings around the BBQ refilling the live bait tank, it sure is a great way to spend your time out on the water. Diversity sleeps 6 + crew in comfort and has a full galley but the real benefit is the large cockpit with only 6 anglers on the drift or stray lining a pumping burley trail. Room galore!
We have also been trying out some new tackle over the past few months and a busy charter boat is a great place to put tackle through its paces in a variety of situations.
Daiwa J Braid is multi-colour braid that we have found to be light, strong and durable without the colour washing out of it. It is an 8 ply weave with a smooth round profile that sits really nicely on the spool (important for charter hire gear) and if you don’t want multi-coloured line then it comes in plain colours too.
The Okuma Azores spinning reel comes in 5 different models but they all boast some pretty good features. Now I will honestly say that in the past Okuma may not have been a brand I would consider for the fishing tasks I ask of our gear but it’s clearly obvious that significant changes have been made to the range and that the multi year engineering review they have undertaken really shows!
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