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HQ Fishing Report with Captain Swish | January 2023

HQ Fishing Report with Captain Swish | January 2023 | Haines Hunter HQ

With the windy weather over Christmas, it confirmed my decision to purchase a Haines Hunter was the right one. With the tropical cyclones restricting the times we could get out for a fish due to wind and swell, the times I managed to get out when fishing out of Omaha the wind, big tides, and ground swell conditions although safe to fish, were not that flash. Some people say I have a wicked sense of humour and I have to admit there were many a time I watched various boats coming out of the estuary entrance crashing all over the place while a Haines Hunter would go past just tossing out a bit of spray. As they say "the secret is in the ride".  

Starting off with the fishing out of Omaha.

With the snapper now having spawned they go into recovery mode to rebuild their body fat to carry them over the winter months. What I have found is that on average, for the next month they tend to just laze about slowly grazing, but once the water temp starts to drop they go into a full on feeding mode.

Having good bait is the key to getting solid hook ups at the moment as when fishing on the sand the Snapper tend to just mouth and slowly chew, fresh baits Kahawai, Mullet, or fresh Sprats we catch in the estuary out fish all other baits. 

Heading South East from the entrance across the bay abeam of the surf club there is a bit of a squiggle on the contour line, from around 12 meters I start to zig zag heading out to sea till around 14-15 meters. Rather than going in a straight line I cover more bottom by zig zagging. What I am looking for is just tiny blue dots hard on the bottom. Most people are looking for fish marks or hasps and simply dismiss these blue dots not realising that they are actually Snapper. Its just the way they show when spread out on a sandy bottom. This area is best fished with a strayline rig, being only 12-14 meters deep just use a tiny ¼ oz sinker and when the tide is at the end of its run a "floater" (no sinker just a hook at the end of the line) will out fish every other line. Use smaller baits, let the fish suck the bait in and only strike when the line straightens out in a direct line from the rod tip.

Recently I have been moving out into deeper water finding the Snapper to be a lot bigger than those in close. Look at the change in contour line shape out to the North of the Southern end of the marine reserve. You are well outside of the reserve and again, as in the previous paragraph slowly look around for blue dots. Even when there has only been a few dots well spread out, I anchor up drop a burley bomb to within two meters of the bottom and toss over a handful of ground bait every ten to fifteen minutes. For some reason the current always runs back to the South, so again lightly weighted strayline rig with just ¼ - ½ oz sinker cast well astern, then slowly let down so the bait is in the burley trail. Often I drop a ledger rig and catch good size Gurnard but in the last month, I have on a soft bait rod been dropping a very small (½ inch) metal jig with a tiny bit of bait which has caught Snapper over 45cm but most important of all some very good size Trevally for sashimi.

With all the rain we have had over the last month, the fishing has been far more productive on the Eastern side of Motutapu out to the Noises where the water has been cleaner.

Area 4 spot 14 is well worth a look, often fish will hold in here to rest up out of the current. Spot 1 at this time of the year you will generally find more fish to be in the area at the change of light dawn or dusk.

Area 5 spot 18 fishes well year-round but now there are also Kingfish lurking about so it’s well worth putting out a live bait while Snapper fishing. On the slack water try casting poppers or stick baits along the shoreline of South Island or close around Awash Rock. Spot 6 is Zeno rock but note the shape of the contour lines to the South, drifting over the face of the drop off allows you to fire soft baits out both sides of the boat. On the slack water you often see more fish on the flat sand rather than on the actual drop off. Spot 4 is just a small piece of low foul that can fish well at this time of the year and best of all I see very few boats fishing it. Spot 1 D ‘Urville Rock is holding good bait fish Snapper and Kingfish, best to target the shallow reef area at the Southern end.

Area 6 spots 21, 20 have been producing good fish at the change of light dawn and dusk but can be slow fishing during the heat of the day. Area 12 at the bottom end of Waiheke is firing for those putting in the time and effort with ground bait and burley.

Area 7 spot 22 and 23 have some low small pieces of foul, with a lot of bait fish in the area now is the time to target the Kingfish that lurk around the structure.

The key to life is that "you can’t take it with you as you never see a hearse with a tow bar so get out with your family and mates and enjoy the great New Zealand way of life".

Cheers team and don’t forget to play it safe out there.