Welcome to the first bi-weekly fishing report. The team at Haines Hunter HQ want you to enjoy your time on the water, increase your catch, and find some of the stunning bays to spend quality family time.
Snapper are close to spawning and now moving into the inner gulf as the water has warmed. The schools of snapper are fairly small and you will find they are either just males or females in the school.
I have written a book (available from Haines Hunter HQ); Hauraki Gulf Fishing Hot Spots, which has 150 spots from the top of the harbour to the bottom end of Waiheke. Each spot has the GPS coordinates, a photo of the area, as well as a screen shot showing the bottom, type of fish, and where they are on the chart plotter. Each spot has a full description on how to fish the spot – from rigs, bait, tides and wind direction. In these reports I will refer to Spot XX, Area XX so you can then look these up. Easy!
Snapper depending on the water temperature mainly move in from out in deeper water moving down from the top of the Coromandel towards Anchorite rock then spread out towards Waiheke and up the Firth of Thames. On the other side of the gulf, vast schools traditionally come in, spending time on the southern side of Kawau between Motuketekete Island and Tiri, then moving out onto the worm beds.
In saying that, a good number of snapper have already moved into the inner gulf joining up with the fish that stayed around the local rocks and reefs over winter. What will make a big difference is the weather, cold southerly blasts that we are presently getting affect not only were the snapper move to but also the way they eat.
Presently the worm beds have been a bit hit and miss, look for any sign of bird life to the south east of Tiri then slowly work your way towards Rakino closely watching your sounder for any sign. Don’t expect any great schools to show up as they are fairly well spread out just grazing on worms and shellfish.
There have been some reasonably good numbers of fish starting to move down the Rakino channel but I have found the best catches to be closer towards the Noises. Just to the south of Zeno Rock on the edge of the drop off is where a lot of good fish have been caught in the last few weeks. Further out when the wind and tide allow stray lining back into the rocks at the Noises has really fired at the change of light.
Closer in Administration Bay (Area 3, Spots 17, 14 and 12) there are schools of Kahawai with the odd King Fish lurking close by, one spot that has consistently fished well all winter is Spot 6.
For those short on time needing a fishing fix I have had some excellent catches of Pannies close to the city (Area 1, Spots 9, and 16) as well as in Area 2, Spots 3 and 7.
A lot of my fishing over Winter has been out of Omaha which I now call 'Haines Huntersville' as by far the majority of the boats I see at the ramp are Haines. I have caught some massive fish right over winter from directly out from the surf club, you will see on the chart a squiggly contour line in around 12-14 metres of water.
Stray lining smaller baits like half a pilchard or best of all fresh baits of Jack Macs. Big baits are not as effective due to what and how the snapper are feeding. The bites are light taps, most people would naturally think the fish are small, it is only when opening up the gut cavity you see its full of smashed up crabs. These fish are on the open sand area, well spread-out, and grazing…just picking at the bait as they would on a crab. Ground bait and burly will draw these fish back towards the boat and it's then that they become competitive and will smash bigger baits. It’s well worth dropping a ledger rig as the Gurnard are right in close and ready to spawn.
My best effort so far is from the ramp to catching a limit of snapper plus a few Gurnards and back to the ramp is one hour fifteen minutes where as my mates went half way to little Barrier to come home after a full day’s fishing with half the number of fish.
The Northwestern side of the Hauraki Gulf is an amazing playground so bring the boat up to Omaha or Sandspit and launch from there.
Don't forget to RSVP to the Hunter Gatherer series next week as Bruce shares his expert knowledge.