Crazy warm May fishing
It seems kind of crazy that we are rocking around in shorts and a singlet on the boat most days. Typically this time of year it is a lot cooler, a little wetter and the fish in the deeper parts of the gulf would be residing in the foul. However, due to it being a late season (possibly about 6-8 weeks) we are enjoying a very productive transitional period where the snapper have finished spawning and are currently putting on condition for the cooler months. Here is what we have been up to:
Anchorite to Horn Rock
Loads of skipjack tuna in this area! Accompanied by flocks of shear waters and the occasional diving gannet. It seems the further east you go from this line the better the fishing gets. For us, long drifts using a mix of bait, soft baits and jigs is a successful formula. Time and time again the first few fish come in on the baits and then the bigger fish seem to be coming on the Jitterbugs and Sliders with a smear of Secret Sauce (anchovy/garlic is my favourite). Other slow jigs are working too. Especially with a smear of Secret Sauce on them and the same applies to the unscented soft baits. A quick squirt of Secret Sauce and you are away. Once the fish come on the bite fully you won’t need any additives to your jigs or soft baits. When it comes to scented soft baits we are seeing that the good old Gulp Nuclear Chicken are the business too. Obviously you need some reasonable conditions to fish this area reasonably and safely. The bigger tides this week on the windier days have made it a little uncomfortable and requiring a little more weight to get the jigs and soft baits down. We are using 80 and 100g jigs and 1oz jig heads in about 50m.
The reefs here are still producing a few kingfish although we have noticed a size drop and a little fewer in number. Last night we fished well into the dark with a good burley trail and good quality bait. NZ Pilchards, Californian squid and baby blue macks had the fish in a feeding frenzy right up to when it was pitch black at about 8pm. The bigger tide again dictated that we use a little more weight to get whole pillies and whole squid along with other baits down into the reef. We were fishing in about 25-30m in a wind and tide together situation. The fish seemed to bite quite well in this area when there is a light northerly breeze and an incoming tide in the evening. Kingfish were also taking baits.
The Bottom End:
A couple miles NE of Gannet Rock had us watching whales, dolphins and gannets feeding. The snapper are here too but there is a chance that you will be plagued by good sized kahawai which makes it difficult to get down to the snapper or keep a bait there long enough to entice the bigger fish. We did however find that moving further towards Fantail Bay on the Coromandel was more productive even though there was less mammal and bird activity. This is still a very good option at this time of year. Out off Hooks Bay and down towards Shag and Ponui in about 20-30m is also worth some long drifts using soft baits, slow jigs and drifted baits.
It is no secret that the pilchard boat takes out tonnes and tonnes of pilchards from this area in the spring. The bay is rich in sea life and it’s a great haven for spawning snapper, kahawai, trevally, john dory and typically has quite a bit of bait at all times of the year. On a few windy days we have fished inshore here in about 18-22m using micro jigs, slow jigs, soft baits and bait. I especially like a half pilly as a drifted bait in this area and I use the Salty Dog brand of pilchard as they are caught right here in the bay. Pop into Fishing Direct in Silverdale for your salty dog pilchards, mackerels and lolago squid.
We have started our “overnighters” and these are a lot of fun. Our 24hr trip departs at 4pm and returns at 4pm the next day. We get an evening fish, have a BBQ and a few “lemonades” and then up early for the other change of light. These are from $240pp. Our 2 day trip starts at 7am on day 1 and returns at 5pm on day 2. We are typically fishing Kawau, Little Barrier, Great Barrier and the Colville area on these trips. And as well as being a lot of fun they allow us to target numerous species. These trips are from $400pp.
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