"Nate Fountain" Washington, USA (Pink crew) with a great snapper from Auckland's Waitemata harbour aboard "Cygnet II".
"JR", and some of the crew from the recent PINK BEAUTIFUL TRAUMA TOUR enjoyed 3 days of great spring snapper fishing with us on their days off between shows in Auckland last week.
26 June Update: BIG REDS IN SHALLOW
Some really nice sized snapper can be hunted at this time of the year. The pilchard schools have arrived and so the lure fishing with bugs, sliders and softbaits is really thrilling. We have tutored hundreds over the last 8 years on how to rig and use these methods and whether using our gear or their own purchases we have endeared many who had not tried or given up for lack of success, once given the fine points they have flourished into multitasking fisher people. Often we are loaded with success on bait and our crews have been keen to mix up the outing and learn after a meal or two each is caught. Personally I get the biggest thrill seeing individual success in this area.
The bait fishing in the outer reefs is still firing, often we encourage the trip to leave a little earlier to get the change of light.We are happy to work with groups keen on this when requested.
Our winter trips are often born from enquiries from small groups We usually off a generous discount and take the smaller group out, resisting the option other charter operations adopt of 'party boat booking'. This is a regular complaint we hear. Obviously the price is reflective of this but a quality experience counts.We adopt less crowding and fishing with your own company at a good price.Once having that experience many of our charters return soon after.Try it , you will like it.
19 June Update: WINTER FISHING SEASON OPEN!
We are right in the middle of winter fishing mode right now. Break out the woolies and thermals and get out there on the best fishing playground that is on the doorstep of a cracking city. Enjoy the space and luxury that fishing away from crowds can offer. Most days it seems to be just us charter boats out in the open, no one chasing and crowding around when the action starts, a welcome change to summer. I do not generally post many giveaway spots and advice over the summer months and make no apology for this. While I have no problem with sharing good fishing or a spot that is firing ( comes from creating SPOT X literature and maps for publication) it is sooo disappointing having bunnies screw up our fishing with their inconsiderate pushy behavior. You can share without imposing yourself, simply drift quietly by or anchor to the side, no worries. Most good fishers I know share the ground rules , fish considerately and show respect for those who are there first.
If you are keen on straylining it is prime time in June July and August. Hitting the reefs and gutways with light rigs and big baits is a whole lotta fun. We are doing well at the Noises both in shallow and on some of our light foul spots. The John Dory are good too. Kingi action has been good on some days for those who have ordered it, this time of year leaves the bigger ones around so the occasional trophy rules.
13 November 2017
The fishing has really come up to speed with the snapper schools moving up the inner gulf much earlier than last year. Out on the worm beds we are scoring some big catches with fat snapper up to 60cm, some gurnard and john dory to add. The sea temperature is climbing steadily so this should continue for the next few months. Last year we had to work harder to get a feed but it has been common to catch a limit bag without having to move much, meaning more fishing time for customers and often a quick turnaround between groups, something we need in order fit everyone in during this busy period. Evening trips are very productive with the dusk change of light marking a frenzy at times. With the coming month into December we will see our schooling action move into the channels, Rangitoto already has produced some stellar catches and is with some relief to have this positive turnaround on last year. It is often not necessary to do the whole day trip as we often get bag limits in the half day trips.
If you are interested in securing a chance to take your work group out for something different for the end of year, don't delay, we are running out of time, or maybe make a booking for next year when the rush is over, this is becoming a popular choice.
17 August 2017
Winter fishing has been a bit of a mixed bag . August is really the coldest month but we have seen lots of activity indicating that spring is not far off. Some large kahawai and plenty of them are out in the middle grounds anywhere from 30 to 45 m, often smashing our baits from the surface to the bottom. Among them are some gurnard in increasing numbers and size. The The snapper are moving in a bit with some good catches behind the sunken barge as well as down off Gannet Rk. The size is varying from just legal to some nice ones around 5kg. Kingies have been a bit scarce with small ones in the harbour still but larger ones out on the Coromandel side. Over the next month we are looking along the outside worm beds and the light structure in the middle grounds, as well as accommodating those who enjoy a good big bait down the burley trail at a favourite reef or gutway.
Don’t leave it too late to organize your work group for a gulf outing this year before Xmas, our available dates are disappearing fast!, especially at the end of week, evenings and weekends of course.
25 November 2016
Nice to report that as well as the snapper spring action that is in full swing we are also specialising ( when requested) to chase kingies that are getting back into the inner gulf. A nice one here for Shin’s customer at Kiwi way tours that took a charter to chase kings specifically. We often do a bit of kingi fishing to break the monotony when the snapper are too cooperative! Give it a go.
24 November 2016
Good day trip today with most fishers happy with their bag. Best spot was west of Rakino in 24 m with the fish playing game for a good steady run over the incoming tide. All fish are full of roe and this is much better than this time last year when we had to truck out to 40m to really get any action. Still a few evening trips available before christmas but get in early .... there is not many vacancies left for your company end of year, suspect what slots are left will be gone by the end of the week.
21 November 2016
Over the weekend was a mixed bag with some trips doing well and some not. Will put that down to the big crazy moon at the moment. Lots of customers ask about my opinion on that, must say we have had good trips on all moons and pay more attention to wind and tide combinations. Still some trevally around and lots of big kahawai chewing right up into the harbour.
14 November 2016
The evening trips have been a good choice even though we are often fishing locally we are getting some good hauls in the Motuihe channel. Further out the workups are taking shape and the lure fishing is coming on.
6 November 2016
The start of the schooling season has kicked off with some reasonable catches of snapper with small roes coming from the Firth of Thames and some nice fish around 50cm amongst them. Darren here shows what fresh bait does.
9 November 2015
Snapper schools arrive at last!
With the great weather we have been having over the last week we have had a busy start to the snapper schooling season. Our customers are enjoying plenty of bent rods with fish around 40cm plus and some really nice ones at 65cm coming from some regular spots as well as a few new areas we have spent pre fishing over the quiet months.
Out on the Tiri worm beds there are good runs of snapper and further north up off Waiwera has been good to go as well. The baitfish are moving in and the gannets are working all the way up to Billgoat Point. Rakino has been a bit slow but I am getting some good reportd from further out and down that way so wont be far away I bet. Even the trusty old mussel beds around A bouy are starting to fire with a lot of male fish starting off.
Over the next month we are busy with company groups coming out to enjoy an end of year get together and 'loosen up' out on our fabulous harbour. There are a few evening and afternoon spaces left between now and Christmas but these are getting booked fast. Make sure you book soon before it is too late. Tight lines and enjoy our beautiful Hauraki Gulf like we do every day.
25th August 2015
Early signs of Spring are showing in the Hauraki gulf. The gannets are beginning to flock up out in the middle grounds between the Noises and Coromandel, heralding the first signs of workups that start the ball rolling in this area.
The inside bank of the Colville channel has been fishing well for many of the trips that have chosen an outer gulf option but the terakihi have been a bit scarce for those trying in this patch that is normally productive.
Straylining has been good at the Noises and around the Ahaas with fish mooching in the kelp patches. Some reasonable trevally are also coming from these foul areas, the use of bonito or shellfish is worthwhile if targeting trevs with mussel berley being a real asset.
Harbour trips are still reasonably productive, many visitors to Auckland on a short time restraint are still catching some nice fat snapper in our sneaky shallow spots, a bit of guidance with straylining techniques can reward even novices with a good catch. The Motuihe has been firing well in particular, the Emu point foul and next to the red bouy.
Over the next month during the change of season will find us chasing fish out in the gulf under workups (weather and time permitting) or tucking in around the islands and reefs lobbing baits into some well proven spots, doing our best to crank up the action and bend those rods!.
Don’t forget to pack some treats for the on board BBQ, our cooking lets you carry on with the fish catching action, all part of the service on our trips.
We are looking forward to catching up with our regular customers from over the years as well as meeting new groups savouring the great fishing out there on our doorstep in Auckland, city of snapper.
With the end of daylight saving now, the evenings are shorter making it a little difficult to sneak out after work. The good news is that the harbour still has some great fishing in April. Some of the biggest school snapper have been in the Rangitoto channe , some up around 60cm and often in good flurries to keep the action going. While there are still plenty of small fish, it seems that another late run has come through to end up the school season nicely.
The upper harbour is cooling off a bit but there have been some good catches off Mechanics Bay along the breakwater and out from Narrowneck. The holes out from Matiatia are going well on the tide turn but the Motuihe channel has really slackened off for us on the last attempts. Out at the Noises there has been enough going to keep strayliners busy, an added addition is the kingfish that start to move in there as the water cools and clears up a bit. There are rat kingies around Gannet Rock but some bigger ones can be found around the bottom end points of Waiheke.
Further down in the Firth the reports are reasonable with snapper moving onto mussel beds and light foul in the shallower reaches over the next month. This is typical at season change, some fish end up in shallow while others move out onto deep foul, the middle depths become a bit vacant.
Out on the 50m contour the feedback has been positive, the Colville channel starts to fire soon. Some nice snapper and occasionally terakihi can be found on the inside of the cape. There are plenty of mackerel to catch for bait in the harbour at the moment providing one of the best baits you can get for targeting larger fish. This goes for harbour fish as well as bigger targets out wide.
Over the next month it may get a little harder to score schoolies, they are moving off the soft bottom onto the foul. Be prepared to fish onto the islands points and passes, use a favourable wind and tide and fish into your chosen spot. With the water cooling there will be a better range of fish to catch, trevally and john dory can be added into the bag. The Noises and Ahhas become favourites but there is plenty of foul on the front end of Rakino and the front of Motutapu to venture into.
The Auckland snapper season continues to run on a late schedule with the school fish still running up the Waitemata. The upper reaches at Hobsonville and Beachhaven are still proving to be good performers in March much to the delight of dinghy fishers. Along the harbour holes and banks the fish are holding up and some of the shore based fishers are taking their best shots at the moment, the Wagon Wheel at the Tank Farm has been a hot spot and the Devonport Wharf.
In the harbour the fish are in good patches, some around the 40-50 cm range and up to 60cm, a nice size for the table. There are a lot of smaller fish as well. We encourage the use of large sports circle hooks and always provide them free to our customers. Many are converted to the convenience of them for the speedy easy release of the small ones. I can imagine that with the amount of the small 27cm fish at present that the upcoming school season will be even better, here's hoping.
In the channels it has been a bit up and down, the shallow patches around Rangitoto at Flax Point and around off the wharf have been good at times. On the Motuihe side the hole has been a popular spot and the Motuihe channel itself has been fishing a bit better than last month. The kingies have slowed down in the harbour but the points around the islands at Waiheke particularly down the bottom end produce some nice kingies around late March.
Out in the Firth it has been steady by all reports, the workups have been good down off Gannet Rock with lots of rat kingies climbing onto slow jigs and messing it up a bit. Across over toward Coromandel their have been some mega workups, outside the Happy Jacks in 20m was the last good smash up with snapper running into 5 kgs.
For the upcoming month it is still reliable snapper fishing right up in the harbour and the buzz on the harbour slows down. Fall is the best time for bigger kingies locally and even more so around the inner islands. The smaller snapper will start their outbound migration and residents will stay on and move into the areas with foul and weed.
It has been a bit of a topsy turvey summer on the fishing front around local waters. The school run of snapper has really been a bit spasmodic with patches of nice sized fish turning up in unusual places and not really hanging around very long. There has been a record amount of juvenile fish to contend with as well, calling for the need to drift fish whenever possible to avoid over accumulating the little buggers in one spot.
The inner harbour is fishing well around Devonport Wharf and the Naval Base but it is hard to avoid turbulence from ferry and general boat traffic. The snapper are in the main channel and are still flowing through at time of writing, positive for a good Autumn locally.
There is a lot of bird activity on lively workups that are mostly kahawai but often are small kingfish. It has been a bit of a challenge to get legal sized fish to the hook before the greedy rats swallow everything. The Rangitoto Channel has started to pick up with fish out under the Takapuna cliffs and around the lighthouse. As with the inner harbour, it is best to drift over patches because the bigger fish are responding to the moving baits.
Speaking of baits, it is really paying off to use fresh caught stuff like mackerel fillets. Over in the Waiheke channel it has been fairly good with a mixed bag coming out of the holes between the island and Crusoe rock. There seems to be usually a john dory or two along this stretch of coast. Not much has been said of the flats up inside Waiheke and into the coast but I think everyone is using the nice weather and getting out to the islands.
Out in the gulf the word has been that there are plenty of dolphins with some good activity around Gannet Rock. There have been some reasonable kingies in this area as well. Up the coast into the Tiri Channel and the school snapper are still hanging in there with the inside of the cable area being a regular spot for some charter boats.
As we move into March we may see some of the small fish moving out and the larger tier in the schools tolerate a drop in sea temperature more readily. Fishing the edges of foul will come into play when the fish move off the mud and shellfish beds.
The Waitemata Harbour is in full on snapper mode with the upcoming month typically producing the largest snapper catches of the year. The harbour sea temperature is up around 20 C and the fish have moved right through to Birkenhead. Good catches are starting to come out of the Bayswater hole and under the Harbour Bridge but it has been more consistant around the corner at Narrowneck and out off the hole at the barbers pole.
There are a lot of snapper just under the new legal minimum of 30cm and it is typical at this time to see plenty of juvenile fish moving with the keepers. It is a matter of targeting larger specimens with technique.
On the Motuihe side we have had our best success lately in the hole off the wharf and over at Emu Point, both spots working on the tide change. Further out it has been steady in the Tiri Channel and some really good snapper as well as some nice John Dory are to be found around the 25m mark out from Rakino toward Matiatia.
With the shallow water so warm it can be challenging to score bigger snapper around the islands but they are there, just extremely hard to coax. Good fish are in deeper reef with the Anchorite reef system worth a look and the kingies can pop up out over the top of this foul anytime over summer.
More reliable are the points further up in the Firth, Scullys Reef and Shag Rock are favourites with the Pakatoa Reef a good standby option. There are lots of reports of 15kg kingfish all up toward Orere Point and Kawakawa Bay, a good time to score a nice kingie in a small boat or landbased right now.
Over the next month it is good to avoid the high sun and fish the start or end of the day. The inner harbour will continue to fish but it is best to be mobile or drift fish where possible to avoid being mugged by juvies. Sometimes it takes only a small move to get onto some good ones. Fish will be found in shallow at low light and the holes during the middle of the day now more than ever.
The schoolie snapper season has had a bit of a bumpy start but the real run of fish has begun. Last month we had to scramble around at the 40m mark but there are now good schools around 15 metres north of the Rangitoto light and also over on the other side in the hole out from the Rakino wharf.
The Rangitoto channel has started to fire up as well, with the fish moving up and down on the banks. The area around #5 and #7 buoy has been really good but really moving around sounding them out is the best option. The harbour has had loads of kahawai around and being the small ones have made them top livebaits for kingies and strip baits for snapper.
Gurnard are also coming through on trips out in the East Coast Bays and it has been worthwhile targeting them on some spots. In December the snapper schools will start to bunch up and spawn and during these love fests they can be hard to get a bite, hang on because when they spread out on the bottom it is all on.
The schools will be moving in to the inner harbour holes at Bean Rock and under the Harbour Bridge in due course. At the time of writing this has not occured but by the end of the month we will be pursuing them there on short trips.
Landbased snapper fishers can now start realistically catching nice fish at the spots around Westhaven, Wagonwheel and Underbridge are good to go. Orakei breakwater and Musick Point are also good options with the high tides being best.
Out on the reefs at the Noises there are some kingies starting to show but once again, the cold start to summer has their numbers down. January should be better. The guttways around Maria Island are still producing the goods and I hear the Ahhas have been working well with the 14 metre pin being a favourite. Workups out in the puddle are going steady but some big kahawai are making things a bit messy. The light foul off Anchorite is a consistant spot.
For the upcoming month it will be peak hour out on the Waitemata, sailboats ferrys and ships will be amongst the fishermen so keep a watch out and be considerate. Fish your feet first because the snapper have come to town and some good local action is to be had.
After battling the spring wind and squally weather we are now settling into some solid fishing. The school snapper are roaming though the gulf and meandering into the Waitemata Harbour in waves.
A recent wander over to Channel Island had our visitors awestruck with the fishy activity on the surface with solid schools of kahawai being marauded by kingfish. Down towards Square top island on the Coromandel we were treated with more activity with kingish busting up baitfish. Coming back across the puddle on the inside of Coromandel the gannet workups were consistant and healthy patches of snapper up to 5kgs were eating most lures and bait that were presented.
A similar pattern is coming from the patch between Tiri and Kawau along the 40 line with snapper moving through. And the commecial boys are woking pretty hard in the hot areas early in the season.
It is interesting to read industry reports by the government stating fisheries observers on board vessels recording "often a similar quantity of snapper are returned to the amount kept on some sets". What is also amazing to see on the film shown was the amount of john dory that is taken on trawlers, truly a serious resource that is barely touched by line fishermen.
The worm beds are starting to fish better with snapper now feeding over the soft bottom. The hole off Waiheke and Rakino are filling up and the Motutapu passage is good with a strong westerly. Tuck in behind the island at either end.
The Rangitoto Channel has had its beginnings to the summer with schoolies along from Browns Bay to Takapuna as well as off the spoil past the lighthouse. The channel really starts to ramp up in late November and it can sometimes only be a matter of a week or so and the spawners will be heading up the river towards the Harbour Bridge.
Over the coming month it is a matter of getting a heads up if you can, watch for boating activity and fish to the conditions, wind and tide and so on. Snapper are really moving around but their food range is really what is convenient and shellfish is definitely high on their minds so the soft muddy bottom is good, and this is something that can be dialed in on a good sounder. If you see a bunch of boats fishing in a crazy spot, don't overlook it. Also we are getting workups right in the Rangitoto Channel with some really nice fish to match. Fishing beats driving around looking for them!
The change in season shows out on the water with the extra buzz that the snapper migration into the inner gulf is truly underway. By all accounts it seems early this year and this shows with female fish in the Rangitoto channel with roes already and many with the bright red costume showing their readiness to begin spawning.
Further out in the gulf, particularly in the northern end, there is solid schooling activity between Tiri and Kawau around the 40m line and this is stretching down to the back of the Noises. The fish are becoming more aggressive towards lures as the season progresses but bait fishers are doing nicely as well with fish in the 40-60cm range the norm.
Down in the Firth there have been some reports of school fish but not as regular as up north. Having said that a recent stopover on some school sign out from Maraetai produce some great fish to prove that those fish are well on their way in.
The harbour channels have just started to perk up in the last few days with good school fish sighted along the channel edge on the bays side from Takapuna to Milford. The inner harbour is slow still with a few fish off Devonport and Orakei but not really firing yet.
On the Motuihe side it is picking up as we move along but the best hauls are coming from the Matiatia hole and on the middle bank towards Rakino. I have not been around the center islands (Noises and Ahaas) for a little while but comrades report all is still going nicely and as well as snapper the big kahawai are schooling under the terns.
Kingi fishermen know that the inner harbour is slow at this time of the year but medium sized kingis can be found in large schools in the center of the gulf at this time of the year and crashing surface baits will give them away. Keep those stick baits handy.
For the upcoming month we will see the schooling run fattening up with fish moving into the harbour in pulses. The charter fleet keeps a track on this hence we are sometimes seen working a patch. The fish often run in group sizes, definitely we are already seeing schoolies in the 30-35cm range and then a bunch around 50cm - healthy fish that make the new bag limit respectable.
It is pleasing to see signs of the beginning of spring in the gulf just recently. It is most noticeable further out with a little more bird activity, mainly gannets moving back in and working out from their roosts on Gannet Rock. The southern end of the gulf is livening up with some schooling action around the 40 meter mark both down the bottom end and also out from the top end of the Noises. There are also schools of slimy mackerel that are an early sign of things warming up. Out off Channel Island has been good for deep snapper sorties but it has been notable in this area for kingfish schools passing through and when they are on the move through the Colville Channel it is really impressive.
Closer in to Auckland on the Waitemata it is still a matter of fishing the edges with the channels a bit vacant, waiting for a warming influence. The wreck out from Rakino and the shallow patch outside the Haystack have been reasonable with the Noises still reliable as ever. The trevally are still around on the foul out around the inner islands but they usually move on with the snapper taking over.
Rangitoto reefs have been a bit slow on recent visits but over on the Motuihe side it has been more consistent. Emu Point and Station Bay have both been good producers on the day. Special mention can be made of Cuvier Island which is famous for big snaps in the early spring. I don't know if it's because this place gets a rest for much of the winter with the weather and all but some of the fish that come out from there are exceptional, several each season are well north of 10kg.
For the upcoming month keep an eye on those birds but remember that lots of schooling fish move around down there without surface evidence. Use your sounder on maximum chart speed and roam around a bit when you start to see any sign. Snapper will start to funnel through the Colville Channel as well as coming down through the the top of Little Barrier during mid October. By the end of the month our beloved worm beds will be filling up with a steady flow of healthy school fish as the warm current pushes them towards the harbour.
Casting around the inner harbour has been hard work over the last few weeks. It has been a matter of covering all available options with weather and the shorter days at this time of the year.
The local spots around St Heliers Bay reef and Bean Rock can fish well and have been outperforming the other side at Rangitoto and the inner shoreline. Up along the bays at Castor Bay and Milford I hear there have been some good catches of snapper in on the foul and rubble. The Rangitoto channel has also been sporadic with it being a long wait for action on recent visits. On the Motuihe side, things have been better with the mussel patch firing off the top point along with the old water tower fishing on the rising tide. The bottom end of Waiheke has been producing for a while now with Scullys Reef and the Pakatoa shoals producing plenty of reasonable sized snapper, trevally and a few john dory to mix it up. The Noises are still in full swing with the inside foul at Zeno Rock and around the main island going well often enough to make it worth a look on the way through. Just over at D'Urville Rock has been good too with some nice snapper up to 8kg but this is a notoriously tough spot to get wired to.
Out in the puddle it has been a bit of a turbulent month. The Colville foul can fish well on a small tide with a good variety of species including hapuku available. It is also a prime time to get on a mussel farm charter with these guys often cranking up the snapper after a rope clean up.
August is the best month of the year for trevally and john dory as well as for squidding. The jd's are really on the boil and are best targeted on the middle depth foul like at the back of the Ahaas and on the Seven Mile reef. There are a few in the Waitemata but they seem to stay out of the current in Auckland for some strange reason.
For kingfish action the word has been around the Waiheke points and in particular at Thumb Point with some steady action on livebaits and some on the stickies. In the harbour there are a few locals playing hard to get but a bite from these is all the more rewarding.
Over the next month we should expect the same with cool water and fish running hot and cold. The larger snapper are really deep in the foul so keep plugging with straylines and berley to work them up.
Winter is rolling along with a typical mixture of the most glorious calm days (a few) mixed amongst a barrage of cold fronts and mini weather bombs. This has made missions out across the Firth less common but nonetheless very productive. Out off the tip of Coromandel and in the Colville Channel there has been some good snapper fishing and so far the barracoutta have been at bay. The deep foul and ledges out from Channel Island are a favourite area to target big reds in early spring because the area has usually had a rest over the wild weather season. The Colville Channel is no place to be in when it's howling!
Excursions around the outer ends of Coromandel harbour are also making news with snapper and still good kingfish numbers coming from the points very close in. The action over in the middle of the Firth and south of Gannet Rock has been very quiet but comments are still positive about the middle grounds from the Ahaas up to the Northern end of the Noises in anywhere between 30 to 40 metres. It has also been regularly good just behind Maria Island under the kahawai schools and very popular with the terns and muttonbirds following all the action up and down there.
In the shallow guttways at the Noises and likewise along the north side of Rakino the snapper action has been very consistant. Classic straylining with the tide running gets the snapper pumping through the many passes and the size continues to get a lot of respect from our customers. There are a lot of trevally in there around the 35cm, not large but very zappy and a lot of fun on light braid.
The main channels are still pretty quiet but the margins and foul on the size are fishing steady. Most outstanding is the point out from Station Bay, the inside of Emu Point and my old favourite, the water tower on the Motuihe side. There are still some kingfish to be had on livebaits with a recent trip reported to me enjoying some shallow water tussels with no shortage of kings in the 12 - 13 kg bracket along the inside edge of Motutapu Island. All of these backup spots are at their finest in winter cranked up with berley and a little bit of scratchy weather can make the backup spot a satisfying main course.
Over the next month look out for those nice weather windows to probe out into a big snapper hunt on a deep reef but don't despair if the weather doesn't co-operate. There is a lot of action to be had in a shallow corner close to home. Jjust scale the tackle down and enjoy!
We are launching into winter now and the sea temperature is dropping steadily. This will mean more clarity in the water and an exodus of the small juvenile snapper out to the warmer depths of the Hauraki gulf. This leaves us with larger resident fish each season that winter over amongst the foul and weedy areas around our islands and any rocky foreshore.
Rangitoto's southern shoreline has many mini lava flows that have dribbled out into the mud, all the way from the wharf around to Needle Rock at the lighthouse. Locally this is one of the best close areas that hold fish over winter and so far this has been the case this year. Our own promotional video on our web page demonstrates this.
Other local spots close to boat ramps that are ready to go right now are the foul out from Kawakawa Bay and the Takapuna reef. The benefits of fishing close are obvious, fuel saving, short trips with more fishing time, safe comfortable return trips and no nasty gear munching barracouta to fight off. I know you will probably miss out on real horse snapper but there are more fish around 5kg and some bigger than you might expect on some of these local spots.
There are also so mighty kingfish in close over this month. Last week a 5lb kahawai that was tossed over the side was engulfed and swallowed by a monstrous kingfish while I was cleaning up the boat at the end of a trip. I was tied up in Westhaven Marina for goodness sake! Some really nice kingies have been coming from the bottom end of Waiheke and the Pakatoa Reef. The harbour has slowed down on kingies with only a few rats left.
Out in the middle of the puddle there are still a lot of kahawai work ups and snapper action is well spread out. Luke from Yeehaa Tackle reports consistant action just north of Gannet Rock with good snapper keen on slowjigs, particularly the orange Kabura outfishing most. It has also been good on the eastern ledge behind the main rock at the Ahhas with some nice trevs mixing up in the berley trail on the last visit. Mid winter is prime trevally time and spotting big trevs swerving in the berley trail is awesome. Try a loaded cube of skippy on light trace in the cool clear water if you find them fussy.
June and July are also primo months for squid sortees. The Tamaki spots like Musick Point and even the Stanley Wharf are beginning to fish well.
Check out some of the latest jigs at the good tackle stores, Some of the homemade portable lights are getting elaborate. This has to be the best fun on the foreshore around at this time of the year, take the kids out for some real fun before their bedtime - sure beats staring at the idiot box!
We are heading into winter fishing mode now but lately you could fool me that the season has barely changed. The Waitemata is still holding schools of rat kingies, large kahawai and anchovie schools that all point toward a slow season change. The kingfish and kahawai are in the Rangitoto channel and on the calmer mornings are boiling up with the fairy terns in hot pursuit. It is a good time to go for livebaits and hit the points and passes out in the gulf islands for the prime kingfish that are still about. The points at the botttom end of Waiheke and the Noises are still holding fine specimens around the 15kg and a few bigger.
The snapper fishing has been a lot better over the last month. Fewer small fish and some nice ones averaging 40 cm are about in schools in the harbour, the banks on the Rangitoto channel and the lighthouse reef system are worth a look as well as the shallow foul at the water tower and the Emu Point reef at Motuihe. The best activity has been a few miles out from the Noises and over on the 7 Mile Reef with snapper underneath the feeding kahawai. The gannets are not so prolific but the terns are our fish spotting agents at this time of the year so do not overlook any of these signs.
The Coromandel haunts are fishing consistantly and the mussel farm charter boats are in full swing with the hungry snapper and trevally pursuing the harvesting vessels. Ask for approval before getting in close to the operation is a consideration to make when joining in the action, courtesy pays here.
For the upcoming month it is good to get into strayline mode. Plenty of berley and smelly bait can turn the action on while working weedlines and gutways. All through the Noises and the back pf Rakino are tempting locations to work. Likewise the micro jigs and softees can be worked on the drift with polarised glasses and the clearer water allowing accurate lure placement.
The deeper foul around Anchorite and the Colville Channel will start producing fish and any livebait transferred from local water over there is in trouble. Some real horse snapper come from the Coro grounds at this time of the year, often having fed on soft crayfish.
The Waitemata Harbour and in particular the upper reaches have had a recuperation in the last few weeks with catches of snapper around 40cm regularly featuring for fishers off the Meola Reef, Te Atatu banks and around Hobsonville. The settled weather has seem some concentrated effort in weekends all around the inner harbour with most missions coming back with a reasonable feed.
The Rangitoto Channel has taken a hammering from the dredge working around #12 bouy to deepen this stretch for larger container ships into the port of Auckland. Several days after this activity produced some sterling snapper action around the disturbed seabed in this patch with snapper around 50cm. The area on the bend has been fishing very consistantly with the charter fleet stopping over on the trips in and out to secure a feed of nice eating size fish for their clients.
The kahawai that were in last month have moved out with the whitebait they were pursuing. We are finding them out in the middle grounds toward Coromandel along with some reasonable sized kingfish on foul at Anchorite and the deep foul in the Colville Channel. The Ahaas are producing some respectable snapper on the 21m pin and some nice fish are coming from D'Urville Rock both in the shallow and off on the weed line.
With the water just starting to show its cooler colour we will start to see snapper moving out of the channels toward the deeper areas of the gulf and also some moving into local foul ground especially those areas with weed beds. It continues to be a disappointing sight to see gillnetters in local waters of the Hauraki marine park, often in as close as the Rangitoto foreshore, setting nets and splashing out local fish into their long nets. This has been going on for years and raises no concerns when reported to MPI. This would be a conservation area worth some attention by the ministry.
Over the next month the small snapper should thin out in the harbour and you chances of your bait lasting for a bigger model will improve. The foul around reef systems like the Noises and Ahaas and the outside of Rakino come on with fish moving through onto deeper foul. Berley starts to play a part and moving with the tide will help put fish in the bin. Keep the livebaits going with bigger kingfish that are hanging on in the post spawning phase before they head out deeper. Work ups along the 40m line behind the inner islands should not go unnoticed and lure fishing is great on calm Autumn days.
Harbour fishing continues to be a mix of challenges at this time of the year. The school snapper are hanging on in the upper reaches with some fish still coming from Bayswater and up around Beachaven with the smaller tides of the month helping with the strong current.
The real battle is beating the juvenile fish that seem to be everywhere and this is best done with either drifting or using solid baits. The Rangitoto Channel has had runs of kahawai through regularly but they are frustrating to lure onto a hook. The foul along the southern edges is holding the occasional snapper around 50cm and a few larger ones but a lot of bait has to go into reaching the bigger ones. Around the lighthouse has also being fishing well with some trevally showing up occasionally to make up some variety.
There has been a solid run of large female bronze whalers on both sides of the Rangitoto Channel and some take to the air for a bit of a show for those looking on. The Motuihe channel has been a little slow for us lately and talking to fisheries officers the report has been mostly complaints about too many small fish. With the change in the minimum size for snapper coming up it is a good time for fishers to practice the careful release of undersized fish to maximise their chance of survival.
Out in the middle grounds it has perked up a bit with lots of pesky mutton ducks hovering over the school fish. There are a lot of really big Kahawai around the Ahaas and down the front of Waiheke Island and it can be a battle to keep away from them. The good side is there are some really nice kingfish (by Auckland standards) with the kahawai and some are over 20kgs and very willing to take livebaits and crankbaits. Hopefully this will continue over the next month while the sea temperature is at its peak. This can coincide with skipjack tuna that are sometimes mistaken for a kahawai school with some getting down toward the Ahaas last season. If you are swinging out wide it pays to watch for these guys blipping on the surface and score yourself some top snapper bait.
For the upcoming month it is a good time to target kingies in around
the headlands and over the midwater pinnacles around the bottom
end of Waiheke or the Ahaas. Snapper will be moving out and passing
over any foul patches or moving under the baitfish activity so watch
for birds. There is still enough local activity on the channel banks
in the Rangitoto precinct to get a feed and slinging out a hard
bait could be the clincher.
This summer continues to roll out a mix of weather and fishing that has been so far a bit of a contrast to last year. With continuing coldish weather and very few days so far with any sea breezes, the harbour water has been clear and a little cooler than last year.
The school run of snapper has turned around and the common conclusion from the other charter operators and the fishing public has been that the bigger fish did not really congregate in numbers anywhere near the upper harbour like last year. It has been noticeable by the lack of boats anchored within view of downtown above Queen Street, the Bayswater hole, Cheltenham and Devonport have been redundant.
The Rangitoto channel has been a bit of hard work. There are masses of jack mackerel, small kahawai and even trevally with lots of birds working. Sometimes the schooling snapper are nearby but it has been a bit of work getting bait to them. The other phenomena has been the rat kingi population in the Waitemata Harbour. There are lots of fish in the 50cm range all over the channel and they are a bit of a nuisance at times. Here's hoping that in a few years they will congregate locally and provide a more favourable challenge.
Some of the better locations locally to catch a feed of snapper have been the channel edge out from Narrowneck and the hole out from the Bean Rock lighthouse. The routine seems to be drifting around the change of tide with as little weight as possible or with a scented softbait. The kayakers are reporting favourably from these two popular haunts as well.
On the middle grounds there have been some reasonable catches around Rakino and the Noises which are also fishing well for medium sized Kingis around the sunken reefs. Trolling livebaits has been a good angle of attack with this month and next usually the best. Consider that this is the spawning time for kingfish so take only what you need.
Holiday makers have mostly returned to the city now and some good stories are coming in from those that have stayed on holiday trips over at Coromandel. Both good snapper and kingis have been found from the bottom of Waiheke and over the reefs on the Happy Jacks. Often it has been the earlybird that has struck success in these areas.
For the upcoming month we are still plagued with the consequent
flow of juvenile snapper in the harbour so a variation in your fishing
approach has to give the larger fish an opportunity. Fish shallow
or move and drift with hard baits or lures over the light foul or
contours on the channel fringes. Fishing early out from Kawakawa
Bay, or along the Rangitoto shoreline is viable but be prepared
to move and this is the time of year when I actually prefer not
to burley for snapper. The offshore reefs hold fish but the bigger
ones will be foraging on the shady side of the islands or patrolling
dawn and dusk. So should you. Nice long evenings and less crowds
can make February and March the best months for after work sorties
on the harbour. See you out there.
The summer is in full swing with the Waitemata buzzing with boats of all sizes cruising and fishing with gusto over the holiday break. The upper harbour around Birkenhead, Meola Reef and around Watchmans Island has been at its peak with the school snapper run well and truly moving up the harbour. It would be fair to say that at this time last year the schools were more solid and the fishing that we experienced in the downtown precinct was better last year, but most would agree that was exceptional. There have been plenty of pan sized snapper and better off Bayswater and the Devonport wharf and the shore based fishers are getting their best shot right now with snapper regularly landed at the wagon wheel at Silo Park and off the Orakei breakwater.
The harbour channels are holding plenty of fish as well, drifting the channel banks around #10 and #18 buoy have been really good but the fish are grazing around and wander a bit from day to day. The Matiatia hole is still producing as well as the channels on both sides of Crusoe Rock. The harbour has been plagued with small rat kingies that are following hooked fish up to the boat or just nailing any bait near them. Not sure if this has to do with the big release of fish farm stock into the inner gulf a little while back but this looks good for the upcoming years.
Out in the gulf the snapper are still schooling in some distinct patches, the 30 metre line between Tiri and Kawau is still producing well like it did last month, as well as the shelf behind Gannet Rock with some fish up around the 5kg mark coming from both of these areas.
This month will see the continuation of snapper in the warm harbour water spawning all the way up to Greenhithe. The channels are full of fish but you will have to pick your way through the increasing number of small fish and target larger fish with bait size and drifting when possible. The kingies will carry on with best catches in February coming from the gulf and the Waiheke points. Livebaits are in good supply with Kahawai plentiful at this time of the year.
The Waitemata harbour continues to be on the up with a solid influx of school snapper migrating through the Rangitoto and Motuihe Channels. It is fair to say that the movement has been later than last year and at this stage the numbers of fish are down on last year. Tthis will hopefully catch up in the near future.
The Rangitoto Channel has had a lot of smaller fish recently but there are some fish around the 60cm range amongst the bunch. Flax Point and the guttway out from Needle Rock at the lighthouse have been solid performers.
At the time of writing the worm beds are doing well with an increasing number of gurnard adding to the bag.. The best spot of late has been east of the bend in the cables and over toward Rakino but it is usual for these spawning snapper to roam in patches and some of the action has also moved over to Rakino.
With the jack mackerel schools over the snapper you will find a ready supply of the best bait you could use. The John Dory are also around and some real dinner plate size JDs are out there right now.
In the outer gulf there are work ups going on all over the place one day and very quiet the next. It seems that the whales are the best fish finders so look out for those steam spumes and have the inchius on the ready.
Wish I could say something positive about the kingies at the moment
but it is fair to say that you have to look for them and our charters
lately have been full on for snapper. The occasional incidental
kingie has taken livebaits set for JDs almost all over the place
so they are there.
Kingies begin to hunt in shallower around the headlands and channels, top of Waiheke and the Noises are renown summer spots where they can be seen chasing baitfish.
For the upcoming month switch the sounder on when you leave the boat ramp because hopefully, if it is like last year, there maybe schooling action downtown at Silo Park, Kauri Point or at Mechanics Bay. If you get a day with a good forecast you can beat the seabreezes by getting out early and cruise the 30m line out the back of the islands spotting workups or just scanning with a good sounder and work any action that pops up.
It is fantastic that we have this beautiful harbour and island gulf environment to enjoy good fishing in, take a short trip out and take someone who has not been out there like I do almost everyday and share their delight in the experience. This makes Auckland a special big city in my books.
We have been blown about a bit over the last month of fishing in Auckland with the seasonal westerly winds and the barrage of fronts sweeping across the isthmus making for changeable conditions. When we have managed to move out over the worm beds and the middle grounds the snapper have been in good numbers. They tend to move over the soft mud where the staple diet are the pink sand worms and small shellfish. Commercial fisher used to call these 'pipi snapper'.
The hollow out to the east of Rakino has also been a favourite spot and the hole off Matiatia has had a lot of traffic for good reason. Further out on the 30m line in front of Waiheke has been working well on many days with some dolphins in there working bait.
Slow jigs are becoming ever popular and the dropper rigs are very successful as well. Some excellent reports are coming from over on the Coromandel side with snapper and kingfish mixing up outside the harbour entrance.
In the Waitemata we are still getting schoolies along the coast bays and on the Rangitoto points but to date there has been nothing of note inside North Head. It is hoped that the influx of spawners will move on in later in the month and judging by the size range we are catching, there are plenty around the 45cm range to make this school season another good one like last year.
The channels are improving with the fish settling into the hollows when the tide is running. Using long traces or drifting these areas can be a good tactic. Takapuna and Narrowneck are still popular areas to search in.
Over the next month we will be running out to the worm beds and middle grounds when conditions allow, meanwhile the channel banks will not be overlooked. The large schools of jack mackerel are moving in and the school snapper are there with them. The kingfish are not thick but on the usual points on Waiheke and the bottom end start to fish more steady while we move into summer. If you like your flounder there are plenty to have a poke at in Hobson Bay and out from Te Atatu I am told.
Remember to share the fishing respectfully with others over the upcoming busy season on the harbour. There are plenty of fish all around and finding your own fish can be an advantage. See you out there.
The Waitemata Harbour has started to show some promise of quality spring snapper fishing with schooling fish through the Rangitoto Channel. At this stage there has been no movement past North Head but there have been some excellent catches taken recently right up to Rough Rock and along the cliffs from Narrowneck up to Takapuna. With this activity so early in the season we are keeping our fingers crossed for a healthy summer of snapper in local water.
Over in the Motuihe Channel there is a similar story with some activity starting at the entrance to the channel and over the basin toward Waiheke. Those picking a low flow tide are scoring fish in the Seargents Channel before the current sweep gets to overwhelming. Out in the middle grounds on the stretch between the Ahaas and Crusoe Rock the schooling activity is ramping up. A mixture of 30cm snapper are joined by solid examples around 3kg and some larger. At this time it can be a matter of being there at the right time of the day to see the surface action as this is often the key to finding the roaming snapper. The afternoon trip is sometimes the flip side to the morning trip with things buzzing in the same patch that was dead 4 hours earlier. That's fishing!
With the scallop season now open we have seen some movement around the traditional beds at the bottom end of Waiheke and the Noises. The shellfish are still a bit skinny but usually by November there is a lot more meat per shell.
November is a good month to chase the bigger snapper aound the Hauraki Gulf. If you are hunting bigger fish getting a lure or big bait into the wash around the Coromandel headlands or over some shallow foul at the Noises and David rocks will be your best bet. If you are out deeper on foul like Anchorite, there are schooling Kingfish in Spring so a few crank baits will be a good investment in your arsenal.
The upcoming month should see those schoolies bunching up over
the mud out on the 20 - 30 metre line over the north end off Rakino
and down toward Matiatia. Keep your eyes peeled on the sounder while
in transit, you may be driving right over your target any time.
If you only have a few hours the channel edges on Rangitoto and
the East Coast Bays will do fine, or if leaving from south try the
Motuihe off Emu Point over to the Northern end of Motuihe. And a
reminder that the new snapper regulations on minimum size and bag
limit take effect in April. A lot of customers are unsure of this
The local Auckland water is at its clearest at this time (barring rainfall) and it is a great time to prospect in the shallows for this very reason. Mooching around spotting the dark patches of reef and fishing into them can be a productive plan of attack. Some great fish are being taken in some skinny water and this is testament to the old adage of fishing your feet first.
I was given a few hours for a rush charter booking last week for overseas visitors here for a trade conference and duly took my chances on the foul around Bean Rock. This paid off with a lot of berley and insistence to hang in for the onslaught (a positive outlook is prerequisite to being a charter skipper after all). With snapper of this quality (see pic) in sight of the Sky Tower it is no surprise our visitors keep reminding us how good we have it here in the shaky isles.
Other local hangouts include Flax Point and the Takapuna Reef all sharing the common ingredients of tide flow, some foul and the seaweed cover. If you are over these weed spots on the change of light it is timely to try for squid at this time of the year. It is well known that over the coldest months they are spawning on these grounds and shore anglers have good access as anyone over the rocky points. A favourite has been at Torpedo Bay but you have to get in early before the crowd on a nice evening.
The kingi action has been slow but there are the occasional visitor smooching your snapper on the way up. Keep a lookout in that clear water and pop an offering out when you spot him cruising like this. We have seen them at the Ahhas and down the bottom end of Waiheke on the last trip there.
Out a bit further has been on the up too. Around the middle grounds to the east of Rakino there has been improving sign with mackerel schools building and more gannets moving in. Some of the snapper are beginning to roe up but it is the males with their dark chins that are the first to step out into traditional spawning locations over the soft mud banks.
This is when the lure fishing is starting to heat up and the selection of tackle for this season is even greater. We are having success with a new lure (not in the shops yet) that combines the rubbery effect of soft plastics with the wavy tails on some of the inchiu tails, and it swims as well. Isn't it fun testing the unknown with a different formula, another example of how spoilt we are when we know that there are lots of fish out there and we can play with our methods.
Over the next month we shall see the schools forming into a solid area of fish to target. October generally sees some fish movement into the channel areas but too early to have the masses of fish in the Waitemata under the bridge and so on, you are going to have to wait for that.
Every season we see a year class of fish come through, a predominance of a certain size in general. Last year was excellent with schoolies around 35cm very prevalent and I suspect the next year class of 40cm making up a good part of the balance. While we also see a large amount of "just legal" fish and last year was no exception, this should be taken as good news as last year's small ones are next year's breeders and this needs to continue. Worship and protect those small fish, they are not rubbish but our snapper children!
It sure is pleasing to see some early signs of spring out there in the Hauraki Gulf. Out in the middle of the puddle we are seeing some activity associated with some fish movement, hopefully an early start for the upcoming schooling season. It is really a good time for targeting large snapper around the foul. A recent trip out in the gulf saw some awesome snapper up to 12kgs and no shortage of them either. The key was fresh bait drifted in shallow water over weedy patches. Outer gulf islands such as Channel, Flat Top and even closer reefs like the Noises really come on right now. The reefs around the David rocks are also famous for kelp dwelling moochers and working under cover of darkness can be a good plan.
The trevally are also around at this time of the year and the waterfront landbased spots like the Tamaki Yacht Club, Beachlands and Orakei are good areas to prospect. There have been recent schools of whitebait in the harbour so this should carry on a bit.
The Rangitoto Channel has been pretty slow to be honest, working the usual spots out from Flax Point and further up toward the coastguard bouy has been ok but we are really having to work and the fishing windows have been short. The Motuihe has been the better pick of the two but as always there are snapper hanging on the foul around the points on either foreshores. Out from the ferry lane at Emu Point on the foul we have been getting snapper fairly consistently. Lots of berley and some patience should produce the fish.
For the upcoming month we shall keep an eye on the middle grounds,
30m along the front of the Ahaas either up or down and the workup
action should start to build up. It is typical for August to be
a bit inconsistent, but with those signs I mentioned it looks like
we have turned the corner from what has been a relatively mild winter
and NIWA predict a warm spring to kickstart things out there. That
is not to say that in closer is no good, we got amongst the gannets
and dolphins with a visiting family from the UK and had a ball just
inside Rakino the other day, all the action we needed right there
on our doorstep.
It has been an interesting time over the last month on our local waters. The Waitemata Harbour has settled into the winter chill with the sea temperature a lowly 14C. Snapper are particular feeders in this colder environment and can be very picky, some days showing up as stimulating sign on the fishfinder but then they are slow to start feeding. Given an hour or so with berley and the lights can come on with sizzling runs and catches that make the pannies from summer look a bit smallish in comparison. You have to enjoy the solid fillets and the fat they contain to carry them through the winter, very nice on the plate aren't they?
If you are having trouble in the harbour you may have to start reading the water. The lava flows out from Flax Point and around the lighthouse still fish well with a running tide, the foul around rough rock has been good too. The local spots off Kawakawa Bay are also really good over winter with some nice fish also coming off the Maraetai flats.
The anchovie schools are running up the channels and the Motuihe in particular has had them over by Motutapu and in the Rakino passage. Drifting through these when the conditions allow can produce snaps up to 4kgs last week with anything from inchiu to ledgered baits doing the business. An added treat can be the trevally that are schooling and chasing these schools along, a definite winter treat in local waters. The johnnies are also in the outer ends of the harbour entrances as well as around the drop offs out from the Noises and around the lower end of Waiheke Island.
Associates have been reporting those kingies still at the Ahaas and David rocks with some being taken to the cleaners on a regular occurance. It is jungle warfare around these posts with some ferocious boat handling making the difference. We commonly are seen backing out with our angler braced on the bow leveraging these buggers out of a knarly guttway, or beating them around a rockface to lead them into the clear water. Lead or die!.
Out in the Firth things are in motion with the mutton ducks moving up and down and the big black boats dragging round and round. The school fish are hanging out in pockets on the contours and chilling on worms and mud dwelling stuff in the middle of the puddle. Moving over them and finding the intense spots is the key. We return to yesterday's action and move from there when we are fishing in this mode. The shelf off the back of Gannet Rock has been pretty consistant but some good reports are coming from east of Tiri as well, so it can be a bit of a dice roll on some days. One thing is for sure, you've getta get a line in to win.
Winter time brings out the some of the best fishing in Auckland. We have always caught our best kingies locally over June and July and some have come from the most urban locations you can imagine. Using livebaits around points and passes at Rangitoto, Rakino and Waiheke will produce solid fish to 22kgs and some even bigger. The locations are often really shallow so some good dustups can ensue ending in tears. There is something about big yellow tails in the air when these hoodlums start smashing a surface set bait. Apart from the inner Gulf it is a good time to launch an attack on the top of Coromandel.
Fantail Bay and Flat Top Island have both been consistant producers of winter kingies over the years, but don't overlook the points around the Happy Jacks and the mouth of Te Kume.
The snapper activity has really moved over onto the foul. For local action it is the old trusty Rangitoto lava flows, and up the bays at the Black rocks are good too. The Noises and Ahaas get a good going over at this time of the year and the John Dory are on the drop off out from this area. Lots of Trevally are still moving around on the points in the David rocks and the softbaiters are enjoying a tug with these light tackle burners.
For the upcoming month it is good to keep a look on the drop off and around the Seven Mile Reef for birds sitting. The coutta are starting to show up a bit but with a bit more weight and hard baits or dull lures you may get through to the snapper below. Some customers of mine resort to tying their braid straight to the lure to beat the mono shredding teeth of the razor gang.
The harbour snapper are still in pockets right up in the shallows,
the running tide and dusk or dawn is when it is at its best. Lots
of messy bait will get things going, I have a freezer full of skipjack
ready for this.
The winter chill has begun with a dip in the temperature sending most inshore fish into migration. The harbour channels have held up right in to May with school fish on the mud but the action has moved over to the foul areas. The points around Rangitoto are fishing still with Flax Point and the area behind the lighthouse holding fish on a regular basis. On the Motuihe side you can do well under the water tower and over the mussel beds on the northern corner and there have been solid school fish action right through the Crusoe passage and around Park Point.
Reports are also coming that the hole out from Matiatia has been firing. The inner harbour has slowed right down but the bonus is that the pesky bait thieves have moved out and the occasional really nice snapper can be worked out from around the shallow reefs. 5 and 6 kilo fish are around and the kayakers are showing their worth out there.
Out at the Noises the fishing is hotting up. Trevally are showing up in good numbers as the water clears up and there are some local kingies on the points that are better in size than last month. Crays are moving in shallower around the Ahhas and the the foul between the Noises has had some good diving while the visibility starts to clear over winter.
Trips over to Coromandel and Channel Island are usually worth the effort over the next few months. Stopping on the workups on the way over can be an option worth taking, or setting drifts at either end of the Colville Channel can produce solid snapper on the light foul, blue cod (that are legal sized) and a few red cod. There is the occasional school shark to deal with and some are quite large.
Over the next month it is a continuing theme of fishing ground that has structure to hold fish, with shallow or deep options largely depending on the weather. A mid winter stay away trip to the outer gulf islands can be an experience overlooked by too many, but the fishing is generally all better if you have the time. Be prepared with all options, slow drifting is fantastic for lures but pack plenty of bait and berley with spare tackle if you get pushed behind an island by the weather.
The endless summer of 2013 is finally ending and it would have to be one of the best on record with a snapper schooling season setting new records. We are now chasing snapper out in the middle grounds but the Waitemata will hold pockets of fish around the islands. The foul running out along the southern tip of the volcano (Rangitoto) produces fish all year long, along with the a similar area of rubble under the water tower on Motuihe. At this time of the year some berley will often make the difference. Recent action in close has also been recorded out from Narrowneck and the Takapuna cliffs. Softbaiters are having better success at the moment than was achieved over the height of summer, possibly fish are more aggressive again due to their appetite urged by the need to put on fat to fight the cooler water temperature that is winding down at the present.
Some nice fish are being taken out between Rakino and the Noises under the anchovie schools. The big kahawai that were prevalent last Autumn seem to be remiss but this has made it easier to get down to the marauding snapper that are sweeping up debris from these workups. There have been no shortage of kingies in the gulf but finding the bigger ones has been a bit of a mission. Out at the cape off Coromandel has been good by reports but the ones in close have been only barely legal.
There have been some xos john dory caught in the harbour, nearly always on a livebait. During the winter months the jd's are more common in the inner gulf and can be targeted out of the current in behind the islands, Rakino is a favourite of mine.
Fishing on the eastern side of Waiheke has started to perk up and with the Autumnal westerlies starting, this is a good area to head to. Down the front side toward Onetangi holds a plethora of pins and ledges that hold fish. There is very little current to fish with but floating baits can rule down this way.
During the upcoming month it is good to get into strayline mode, several charters recently have had a hands on demonstration of how changing from a 4oz pyramid sinker on 100lb trace can be traded into light gear worked away from the boat producing quality fish. The fish are not all out in the deep and the catching can be a lot more fun. At this time of the year start hunting ffor your fish over spots. Fishing the foul at the Noises, or working the deeper foul out in the ditch becomes a better option, but if the weather is not good, follow your nose and fish the conditions on a corner close to home.
The Waitemata harbour continues to produce schooling snapper at this time of the year with the main problem actually being the shear volume of fish of all sizes. February had a better ratio of pannies around the 40cm mark to throw backs. This trend will (hopefully) reverse as in previous years when the harbour waters start to cool down and the smaller body mass of the little fish cannot cope with the change and they migrate out. The masses of small fish are an indication of favourable spawning conditions in the last season and bodes well for future stock levels.
The best results for the bigger schoolies have come from a mixture of the channel banks and up on the flat areas. The flats out from the channel bend out from Narrowneck Beach and the cliffs at south Takapuna have been regular producers on local trips. There are still fish further up the harbour, out from Chelsea and Hobsonville but this seems to be slowing down by reports and there were more misses than hits lately.
The Motuihe side is cranking along with many of the party boats sitting in the holes off the wharf or around the corner in the Crusoe passage. At this time of the year it starts to be a reversal of Spring when the fish are flowing through the middle grounds on the way out to the Firth.
Out in the puddle in the Firth it has been noticeably quiet above the water, i.e not really that much bird activity to chase around but the sounder often proves different especially on the spots with light foul on them. Fish are moving around but the traditional holding spots on our GPS keep the action going. The JD's are wafting around out there too and we are getting a fair share on the softies set clear of the bottom.
The feeding patterns of fish are changing and the success of different methods will reflect in the catch rate. Inchiu lures outfish bait on some days, while a flasher can be just as deadly. We are drifting with the right tide/wind combination or running baits out in current when the situation arises, those prepared to adapt will score.
For the upcoming month it is still worth hitting the channels for snapper up to 50cm, the yakkers are bragging on their forums and proving how stealth can make wealth in the catch stakes. Straylining at the reefs like the Noises and the northern corner of Waiheke will always produce snapper and be sure to float a livie out anywhere near a point or pass at this time of the year. The kingies are at their peak numbers in the inner gulf with baitfish nearly everywhere.
Mid summer brings a host of opportunities for fishing around our local waters, the best variety of fish species and locations that the year has to offer. Pelagic species, particularly tuna can be targeted with skipjack and albacore available. From February til April schools can be found from Kawau down to Waiheke along the 40m line with some caught just 2 miles out from the Ahaas last year. There is also rumours of marlin nearby where these schools are and I have seen some convincing photos of jumping marlin taken with Onetangi in the background.
The snapper fishing in the upper harbour is still good with pockets of fish around Chelsea Sugar Works and Birkenhead Point. Boats leaving from Westpark and Te Atatu are quickly into some fine fishing with the bite coming on at the top of the tide. Other spots to note are the hole at Bean Rock and alongside the Devonport Wharf.
The schooling season is cranking along nicely but it is common for the fish to move around a lot more when the harbour water reaches its maximum temperature and you have to really hunt around as the fish graze from in the holes out onto the flats with the tide and then recede back to the depths on low water. There are a lot of landbased fishers on spots like the Tank Farm and Orakei and by all accounts they are doing well with snapper lying on the channel bank in close to these points.
The Rangitoto channel has been a bit slow but the marker buoys have rat kingies on many of them. On the Motuihe side things are a little better with the hole at Motuihe wharf going well and the flats around Browns Island holding fish. Further out there is the usual straylining at the Noises but the attraction out there has been kingies around 12kg patrolling up and down the outside if the main islands. The reports from down in the Firth suggest the same with Shag Rock usually firing at the end of the month and the Pakatoa Reef likewise.
Reports from further out at Anchorite and Channel island have been slow with enough action in close to keep us busy, but with snapper beginning their movement back out we will see some concentrated effort going into chasing snapper out in the middle of the puddle.
Over the next month it is worth looking around in close and using
hard baits, freshly caught jack mackerel fillets are choice. If
the lures and softbaits are slow, try sweetening them up with something
and see if it makes a difference. Snapper may be found tailing over
an inner harbour mu bbank on the top of the tide, or cooling down
in a hole waiting for your bait to slide past their nose.
There has been plenty to talk about on fishing around the Auckland traps. The holiday boat traffic has settled down and it looks as though more effort has gone into chasing snapper in the downtown precinct than in past years. The herding instincts by fishers has been noticeable, causing the odd near miss with drive by tactics at speed adding to the mayhem with boating club members the worst culprits. Aside from this the fish seem to be oblivious to this comotion and feed on with some of the best catches coming at the busy times.
The popular inner harbour spots have been off the wagon wheel at Silo Park, out from Bayswater Marina and the hole under the harbour bridge. Snapper are feeding around the tides and often the sign is phenominal, for little result until the tide starts to race the other way. The channels are fishing well with the Rangitoto holding lots of fish along the Bays side. As the month goes on there will be an influx of smaller fish so selective methods of fishing can improve your chances of scoring the bigger fish.
On the Motuihe side the fish are scattered between the hole at the wharf over to Emu point in good numbers but it is the same old story at this time of the year, when the small ones start it is time to move on.
Out in the Firth the reports are of mixed bags with the workups busy one day and then blank the next. There seems to be more large kahawai invading the pillie schools mucking things up a bit but there has been some good action down off the Pakatoa banks I am told with snapper around the 50cm and bigger.
Kingies are starting to show up with a few nice specimens coming from the Rangitoto points on livies. Over the coming month it is primetime for landbased and boat fishers to chase kingies, the usual spots at the Noises and Ahaas fire in February as well as the platforms down the bottom end of Waiheke, well known for the light tackle folk for the kind terrain that this demands.
Get out for a quick fish over this month and keeping it local can
be the key, also moving around to keep ahead of the bait thieves
wiil pay dividends.
We are well and truly into the holiday season and it is often at this time that I am told by fishers about their holiday fishing away from Auckland with mixed results, many remarking that they were in remote locations in country that looked fantastic but the catch was disappointing compared to their local catches around Auckland waters. This sounds unlikely but if you factor in local knowledge and accessibility as well as the fact that snapper are actually migrating effectively to the shallow urban harbours like the Waitemata we are probably heading away from the action when we go on holiday. Another reason I suspect is the "social" fishing hours left to enjoy fishing with the family, mainly during the middle of the day to accommodate all members of the group in the activity.
The harbour has certainly perked up with schooling snapper now up in close around Bayswater and out from Orakei in reasonable numbers, at this stage it is a couple of weeks behind what we were turning over at this time last year which is reflected in the summer warm temperatures running late. The channels have also improved with the dusk trips ticking over good catches on the usual spots, most outstanding have been the White cliffs at Takapuna point and in towards Rough Rock. A bit of a mix is coming through with medium sized kahawai and the occasional john dory thrown in the bag. Moving up the coast a bit there have been snapper moving down the coast out from Castor Bay and also out from Billy Goat Point on the old mussel bed bank. On the Motuihe side the hole out from the Wharf has improved with the middle of the day often proving fruitful, perhaps the fish are cooling their heels in the deeper cooler water? It has been popular around Crusoe Rock over the last month, holiday fishers often pop into the beautiful bays along the the northern side of Motuihe for a break and beach stop to keep the family happy. Watch the eagle rays patrolling the edge when you come into these bays is an added bonus.
Out in the middle has been a bit of a mixed bag, most reporting that the work ups have not really been much to talk about, some were going on in front of Oneroa but have not really been as exciting as the action we had last month out from Whangaparaoa. The kingies have been prevalent in some of these workups and it can be prudent to go up a leader size so you can handle them carefully for release without your favourite lure disappearing with the golden culprit.
Over the next month the inner harbour starts to really come on and following the patches of fish while they move up onto the flats is worthwhile. Some respectable locally caught fish are around 50cm and good fun on light spinning gear with lure or bait. Fish can be schooling in the most unlikely spots, recently we ran into a serious school in only 5 metres of water in Mechanics Bay while in transit, 1 hour later they had moved on to goodness knows where. Landbased action starts to peak now and getting to the head of the queue at spots like the landing and around the harbour bridge can be a challenge. A trip out of town to Orere Point or northward to Whangaparaoa in the right conditions is a great family outing and you can bag a few fish if you can work an evening or early tide.
It is that time of the year when we can dust off the winter chills and move on our anticipation of spring time snapper fishing in Auckland. Our recent trips have been a mixture of local short sessions in the channels mixed with some prospecting out in the big puddle behind the Noises. The channels are showing much better signs than a month ago when I reported that the edges were fishing but only satisfactory and the holes like Bean Rock were on again and off. It has been a brighter picture out at the 25 metre mark on the northern side of Rangitoto and to the east of Rakino which are both traditional holding area for early season snapper. It is not that these areas fish any worse later on, more a reflection that the snapper schooling in the Waitemata Harbour over summer has been so good over the last three seasons we have not had to go that far out. I hope this situation continues for future seasons.
The quality of fish out in the work up zones behind the islands has been very good so far, but it has been noted that there have been less gannet activity to date and a lot of the schools have come from blind spotting them on the fishfinder, sometimes a bit of a hit and miss affair. The schooling has been very good in particular for us in the area further north towards Tiri but we can assume that schools will spread out through the Firth between now and Xmas.
The Motuihe channel has been a bit slow but there have been some good hauls coming off the mussel bed out from the north reef marker. The ditch between Rakino and the Noises has also been firing but this area is also renown for spotted doggies that can overtake the snapper at times.
For the upcoming month we should see some solid snapper schools rolling up the channels and once they start it can be a bit of a stampede. Mixing it up a bit with lures on the slack tide and the bait on the running tide can be a good plan. Keep a lookout in the holes around locally, and any of the landbases points, Tank Farm, Stanley Point and Orakei will become better as the snapper move in to town. Heading out to catch the setting sun if the day is hot can be a good plan, the change of light can be like a switch to snapper in shallow water.
October 2012We have kicked off the snapper schooling season with a good start from some of the traditional grounds out in the middle areas of the gulf. The 30 metre foul out from the Noises has had some consistent workup activity over the top and snapper have been regular amongst this action.
The other area of note has been west of Rakino in about 25 metres with huge shoals of jack mackerel over the top of some fairly extensive snapper marks. This is very early for this amount of sign and I hope it bodes well for another bumper inshore snapper frenzy like we had last year, fingers crossed!.
The big boys are still around and it common for October and November to produce some really large snapper males that are active in shallow water. The 8.5kg specimen taken recently in only 5 metres of water at the Noises is one of many catches taken in local waters that would make any fisher proud.
Closer in to Auckland we are catching good bags in some of the local spots, the hole at Bean Rock has been the best of the pick but the other patches around the edge of the Rangitoto channel that have light foul, typically hose mussels, can be holding fish and the school sizes are improving all the time as the water temperature rises and encourages the inshore annual migration of these fish up into the harbour to spawn.
I did get a report of a bag taken on a party boat of 72 snapper in an afternoon trip just around the corner at North head. It is about that time when we do need to ask ourselves if the bite is hot, a voluntary minimum size relative to the fishing action is a good practice, we are often on a 40cm quota to reflect this.
The kingies are still a bit slow and hard to find but we have seen a few around the piles downtown and the land based guys at Stanley Point and Torpedo Bay have tangled with some nice ones. We had to gaff one for a chap while we were loading a charter the other day so our timing was appreciated. I was a little unsure if I was supposed to record this in our Ministry of Fisheries charterboat catch report as part of our daily catch!
Over the next month it would pay to keep an eye on the birds and probably, and predictably, lookout for the charterboats, we have a bit of a tab on what was happening the day before. The kayakers getting into the action while it heats up inshore, the channel drop offs out from Tamaki Drive is popular and so is the flats out from Narrowneck, nice areas in a westerly.
Please respect the shipping lanes and ferry lanes as well as the cable area out from Takapuna to Tiri. With all the new gear going into the tide it is a good time to lend a fellow boaty a hand with their new equipment at the boat ramp. It is a good time to share and care out there.
Hauraki Gulf September 2012
There are some very positive signs for the upcoming schooling season around the Gulf at the moment. The work up activity has been a little slow with the bulk of the birds and snapper sign that we have noticed on our own forays coming from north of the Noises in about 35m.
The other patch that has been consistent has been around 25m to the west of Rakino, with some bright snapper up to around 60cm coming in reasonable numbers. This is very positive and I would hope by the time this goes to press we will be seeing this as a frequent occurrence.
The jack mackerel schools are also stacking up in these areas and it is true that they are often schooling over snapper. I had a few calls from last month reaffirming my comments on the good fishing at the Ahaas but there were also good vibes coming from shallow water strayliners around Maria Island getting into the action around the guttways.
The trevally are still plentiful around the points there and the kingies are coming up in the berley often, small schools and some are barely legal but good to see. Down in the Firth it has been a bit touch and go but the banks out from Pakatoa can fill up with spawners on an early season occurrence so this might be worth a shot.
Around town there have been some reasonable snapper plucked out of the shallow reefs for those persistent and quiet about their business. Kayakers stalking the shallows are having some successful raids around Bastion reef and Bean rock, snapper around 50cm are not that uncommon and are scrappy.
On the Rangitoto shoreline it is similar, small pockets of fish that need a lot of patience and encouragement but it is satisfying. The upcoming month should see some definite patches of school snapper forming, Rakino hole and Matiatia will be kept an eye on as well as the birds out on the 40 line. Anything might work on the day, inchiu, softbait or hard body lures will become attractive to aggressive pre spawning male snapper, or the traditional flasher and bait, its great to have a choice. Make them pay!