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Bruce Duncan's HQ Fishing Report | October 2023

Bruce Duncan's HQ Fishing Report | October 2023 | Haines Hunter HQ

Every year, through to the end of November, we get the equinox winds, which normally kick in around 10 in the morning or at the change of tide. So far this year, it’s the same as we would usually get 20-25 knots; we have had a constant 25 up to 50 knots.

When planning a trip out, you need to watch the isobars, looking for a small gap with a change of wind direction. It's when a change is about to take place that you can get out for a couple of hours before the wind really kicks in. Be careful and keep an eye out when fishing, as the change and increase in wind can quickly spring up. I should have bailed earlier, but the fishing was hot, so I got caught out. My Haines Hunter SF485 just ate up the conditions, but I will admit my hair (or what's left of it) did get wet.

Out in the gulf, a lot has changed for the better, with numerous small workups appearing from Little Barrier across to the Coromandel and into the waters around Waiheke. These workups are mainly small to medium kahawai with the snapper below, plus the occasional rat kingfish lurking close by. The snapper are hitting jigs, soft baits, etc., more aggressively but tend to go off the bite during slack water.

Closer inshore, the snapper have moved in, and now is the time to target spot 2 and 3 in area 5. Every year, a run of big buck snapper comes and lurks around the Ahaahas for a couple of weeks before dispersing.

Stray lining around the Noises and David rocks has produced some really good fish in the last couple of weeks for those few boats that have managed to sneak out on the few nice days.

If the wind gets up a bit out in area 5, if you can tuck in close to the rocks in spots 19 and 20, casting unweighted baits back to the foul, you have a good shot at picking up a few good snapper and kahawai. It is worth putting out a live bait, as a few very legal kingfish have been seen in the burly trail.

Closer to home, if the weather is only going to give you a short time on the water, take a quick blast out to Area 4 and have a look at spots 6, 11, and 13, where you will get a bit of shelter.

Even closer to home, in Area 3, I have been nailing some nice pannies at spots 6, 13, and 19.

Right on our doorstep, in Area 2, spots 14, 20, and 4 are well worth a shot. But even though it's a bit early yet, swing by spot 13, as at times, snapper coming up into the inner gulf can lurk around the low for a few hours.

Now, if the wind is going to kick in, one can always sneak in close to Rangitoto for shelter and cast a few baits around spots 16, 10, and 11.

Up at Omaha, I had some outstanding fishing early last Sunday before the wind got up. Straight off the beach towards the southern end, you will see two tall Norfolk pines. Scoot around in 8-10 meters, looking for red or blue dots hard on the bottom. With just a very small ¼ or 1/8th sinker, cast a pattern of baits well away from the boat. Cut up a few pilchards into small chunks and toss them astern as they will slowly unwind and spread across the bottom. Within half an hour, I got the first hits, but you need to let the line straighten out before striking, as mostly the fish are just mouthing the baits. The gurnard have increased in size and numbers, so drop a gurnard line (heavily weighted so as not to tangle with other lines) directly below the boat.

Well, team, play it safe out there, but remember the fish are coming in to breed, so every fish we take is one that will not get to breed. Just take what you need for a feed.