Officially winter, as if we couldn’t feel that!

Mackerel – fun, food and much more – the 7gm Pocket Rocket does it again!

Autumn was more about weathering extremes to say the least, a lot like the fishing fortunes, however those that have been out have been rewarded with good supplies of spread out pannie snapper over much of the gulf, mostly well conditioned, perfect table snapper gracing many of the keen’s home fires lately.

Aji, or mackerel abound, the sea surface bubbled right around Tiri at times this past week, quite a sight to see as the sea surface ripples and splashes into life, fish, birds and more. And why is this good news? The food chain, and where each participant lies on it. Other bigger fish like snapper and kingfish are after them, also bait fishermen, and those in the know about how good these fish are to eat themselves, and mackerel can be caught in all sorts of places. The new tuna? Landbased or on the water, ultra-lightweight tackle and tiny lures with a steady retrieve work wonders – mackerel can be picky at times like any fish, so a variety of offerings helps. The little 7gm Pocket Rocket pictured (rig with a trailing hook rather than jig style to the solid ring of the assist hook) works well. Being tungsten metal the Pocket Rocket casts a very long way even if using heavier tackle than ideal, but it’s much smaller in size so an easier target more suited to catching this size of fish. Soft mouths require a gentle approach and provides great fun fishing.

Gannets and dolphins are doing what they do around the gulf, west was best last week. The wonderful world of workups – the northern areas of the gulf and further up the coast toward the Hen and Chicks still seems to be holding more baitfsh, and therefore more mammals (not just humans), especially the big guns, whales, so workup fishing up along the coast is still pretty full on, inside the gulf the deeper 50m areas have been the go. When you’re in amongst the pumping action of workups – it’s not a place for slow jigs, tiny hooks, light line, or small softbaits and lightweight jigheads. Go big or go home as the saying goes. Why go big? You’ll catch a lot more kingfish, bigger snapper usually, far less kahawai on the drop, waste less time on light line caressing your lure back with a rampaging ocean going kahawai hooked up, circling the boat…and what’s all that bad language from your fellow anglers, ah, braid knots and tangled lines, more prized fishing time gone. Inner areas 30-40m have been great for simply enjoying an easy day of drift fishing with your secret weapons 😉 . Even if it takes a bit of a thump to get out some days, setting up the drift with drogues/sea anchors calms things down on board a lot, and an hour or three of very enjoyable drift fishing usually follows. Simple, effective and fun. Take your tackle boxes and throw down everything, including the kitchen sink, and simply enjoy your day, and dinner. Don’t just stick with what you know or are ’comfortable’ with, why not try new things, a new style or approach, a new spot that might have fish (by land sea or air 😊 ) target different species and come home with a variety of fish, flavours and set up a stunning dinner table.

Thanks to each and every one at the Hutchwilco Boat Show, it was busy! The Catch Fishing stand was pumping all 4 days and with so many happy people enjoying their lure fishing, bait free – the positive vibe palpable. Thank you to a all those returning familiar faces and friends, and to the newly introduced anglers to bait free fishing, enjoy! Speaking of which – YES YES YES! Lure coaching seminars are coming up…North Shore Auckland, East Auckland, Tairua, Bay of Islands, Whitianga/Coromandel and more, stay in touch for dates and venues. July 11 is the next one at Fish City Albany – LADIES NIGHT!


Great inshore, kayak, small boat, landbased and longline fishing – still, despite the weather tantrums! Those tiny anchovies relentlessly hounded by all and sundry from the tasty little aji (mackerel) and hard

Kahawai at your feet!

charging kahawai to some snapper and even the odd kingfish thrown into the mix of possibilities fish-wise. Those immaculately dressed little white terns are your airborne spotters, spy them dabbing the sea surface and you’re in with a grin. Yes you can chase the often-fast-moving school(s) of fish underneath the birds or wait as the hubbub meanders back and forth. Often on an incoming tide the anchovies end up literally at your feet some days, beaching themselves in an effort to avoid these predators hot on their tails. Madness, mayhem and thrills for any angler, novice/seasoned/young/old with rod ‘n reel or longline, so many ways to enjoy an hour or three. Happy Autumn days can occur at any time, anywhere, just keep that ever faithful 2-piece rod in your car/close at hand, a couple of microjigs and you’re 100% sorted for the next pop-up fishing thrill. It’s worth checking those tides – incoming is awesome. Small, medium and large predators abound, solid chunky monkey kahawai are marauding around within casting distance. The lighter your line, the further you’ll cast. North Shore Bays and Whangaparaoa Peninsula have seen their fair share of inshore action this past week.

Further out, not many out – boats that is, due to the consistently high winds, higher than forecast at times, so with the increasing tidal range/current up to that big bright looney-tune full moon on Saturday, things will be stirred up out there. So when the weather is good – great go out and get into it, but more likely it’ll be stormy, so sheltered inner areas can often be a real and new thrill, ajiing, shore jigging, night fishing…lots of options when you don’t get stuck in a fishing rut.

Do you PITCH – slow, medium or fast!?

Slow pitching tackle and techniques are going ballistic, and rightly so, keen to know more? While watching what happens to the actual jig in water, you can see the rod and reel actions that create the ideal slow pitch jig drops – it really gives a great view of different ways to make jigs work their magic…the new video, a simple, quick and easy watch is now up on Catch Facebook and Instagram.

Yes indeed, the showcase of NZ fishing and boating and all that goes with it is imminent. Catch Fishing will be there of course with a big bright stand, NEW products, pick ‘n mix or complete ready-to-fish setups so you’re good to go, 100% from the show onwards. Time to make up for lost time, see you there: The Hutchwilco NZ Boat Show | NZ’s #1 Boat Show for over 65 years.


Excellent fishing has been on the menu in and around the mussel farms on the western side of Coromandel, solid snapper, and kingfish hounding those

Another fine fish falls to the Dominator microjig!

kahawai relentlessly, while further out in the Firth of Thames some good workups for those chasing the dragon. Either scenario using slightly larger 7” softbaits and those magic micros have been the go for both kingfish and snapper. Aggressive shallow water takes, raging battles gaining and losing line, epic stuff with great fish. Sheltered from the recent thumping easterlies too. Orca have been feeding beside the coast road, quite a spectacle. If you’re over there in Coro, call in and see Rob at Fish, Dive & Hunt Coromandel, tell him I sent you – he has the inside scoop on the latest going’s on there 😉. Out in the middle of the Hauraki gulf some great snapper signs are all over the show, but the technique to get them to strike sure does vary – there have been some frustrating times with good sounder sign of snapper, but very little interest in striking…until the action they were after was discovered, ridiculously long slow winding retrieves, BOOM, fish on! And again, and again – while the various other tried and true methods simply ignored a lot of the time. Yes indeed, Let The Fish Be The Judge rings true. A video reel to show what these fish are doing and how to catch them is on the Catch Fishing Facebook page and others now, worth a good look as it shows in real time just how far and high snapper can follow before striking, making the difference between plenty of fresh snapper for dinner, or frozen sausages.

Over the eastern side of Coromandel the Longshore Marine Lure Coaching

seminar held at the Mercury Bay Game Fishing Club was fantastic on Monday night, so many keen anglers of all ages and stages of lure fishing came along and enjoyed seeing how little movement can be used effectively with softbaits in the display tank, slow, medium and fast pitch jigging techniques learnt, watching world-first videos of snapper in their natural habitats (5m-55m down!) stalk and strike lures – teaching us all what snapper actually do in reality. Then adjusting our tackle and how we present lures so they can’t resist, and we can target those better fish. With new and hands-on information to use, look out big fish in Coromandel! And here’s a little gem of a place to visit – Kuaotunu, on the way from Coromandel over to Whitianga, definitely worth a stop at the General Store – excellent for a scoop or two of good ol’ kiwi ice-cream, a flat white coffee and any last-minute tackle and intel, as literally on the doorstep is good in-close snapper fishing.

Winter lure coaching seminar dates are filling fast – if you, your club or local store want to enjoy one of these informative and entertaining seminars, please get hold of me right now, so we can make it happen and not miss the opportunity, time is of the essence.

Espresso out.

Facebook: Grant Bittle (Capt Espresso)



Tiny tasty anchovies are on fire! Here, there – back there…way over there. Then suddenly gone, where? Whether you like to eat them yourself or not, the

Anchovy – delicious nutritious

fish fraternity goes bonkers over anchovies. So it really pays to keep your 2 piece softbait rod and a handy tackle bag always ready, especially at this time of year.

Easy to spot, white terns are often diving after these tasty morsels (although sometimes just a big blackish mass that looks like a cloud shadow – but not). Seeing kingfish dorsal fins lurking the coastlines oh so near anchovies huddled into areas like Army Bay, Browns Bay, Gardners Gap…gets the heart racing. Inshore, offshore – an anchovy school can be hounded for days on end, periodic skirmishes

out from shorelines (and further out), all over the place, like pop up flash mobs. Birds are usually with, near or diving on them or perhaps just groups of birds sitting waiting around – there’ll be anchovies somewhere near. Expect kahawai small medium and large, snapper are also in tow, and kingfish.

Pocket Rockets – anchovy lure, tungsten too!

Yes often smaller kingi models, but on light gear, simply the best thing since bait-free fishing was invented. Some big kingis are lurking on the north side of Whangaparaoa peninsula – by the reefs there.

Even kahawai can be frustratingly one-eyed when chasing anchovies so fast easy hookups are not a given, in fact being completely ignored with incredulous looks from the fishermen lined up along the beach throwing out all sorts earlier this week (like whole and half pilchard, big treble hooked trolling lures, even softbaits) all virtually ignored, except the anchovy-like microjigs, fish on, fish on!

Landbased kahawai with a diet anchovy – the renowned Pocket Rocket

Such a brilliant anchovy imitating lure, perfect for this style, ideal including Aji fishing – the renowned Pocket Rocket . Being denser tungsten they’ll cast that extra distance often required to get right in amongst the action as it moves in and around. It helps to tail rig your microjigs (probably the best lure to use in this situation), tie your leader to the jig itself at the opposite end to the hook, having the hook trailing behind the lure, so your speed retrieves work even better. Have a look at today’s reel on Catch Fishing Facebook – it shows all.

The 25gm Pocket Rocket is ideal if your using say the almost standard 20lb leader and braid, but going lighter to 10lb and 10lb leader you’ll be able to cast the tasty and ultra-tempting baby anchovy 7gm Pocket Rocket further than ever before! You’ll catch a lot of fish.

Get ready right NOW for your next fishing thrills, Catch 2 piece softbait rod, your shoulder tackle bag, simply match the hatch with a Pocket Rocket  and you’re on!


The Espresso Report March 9, 2023

John S with a prime Autumn snapper

 Grade ‘A’ Autumn with A+ fishing!

Feel that change? Cool and clear early mornings, the change right now is just the best. Inshore channels and shores, kayak and land-based fishing is doing well, much lighter weighted 5” softbaits slowing descending are working their magic in the shallows, places like just out from Kawakawa bay among the terns/petrels low-flying the area in large groups for instance. A little further out 20m or so all around the inner gulf, both softbaits and different shapes of microjigs (using the action from different shapes of micros gives you more strike triggers to use). Out in 40m – easy money, drift and pannies everywhere, again microjigs (but you may be better with ‘heavier’ micros like the tungsten Pocket Rocket to get you down to the bottom if it’s not 5kt variable, for ultimate thrills hook-ups and solid snapper, right now.

50m and further – epic. Schools of solid snapper grazing around and keen on a snack dropping down from above. Out here it pays to have both non-aggressive lures (e.g. Beady Eye kabura) and the maximum-avoidance, maximum panic lures like the inchiku BetaBug ) and slow-pitch or a hybrid that combines both like the Boss Squid which has been notably outstanding.

Big game striped marlin are just through those Hauraki gulf gates – Cuvier, the Mokes, Arid, a day trip on a cracker 5kt variable, with you holding onto a raging marlin. And with that 200gm Trolling Squidwing out (long rigger or shotgun) you have the perfect temptation for both marlin and those superb albacore tuna too!

Water thick with kahawai, kingfish lurking for sure

Many gannets have been out by the Mokes, a bit far for most of us to be chasing the dragon of workups (although a few nice ones between Channel and LB). The smaller workups back in the gulf, some just out of from Waiheke have seen the gannets barely getting airborne, just enough to flop-dive and get their head down a couple of feet where baitballs are rippling the surface pushed up by predators underneath. The most exciting lure catching these fish? The 45gm Pocket Rocket plunging down fast towards the waiting kingfish and snapper on light spin gear – too much fun! There are more schools of kahawai over the western side of the gulf, in and round Flat Rock there are some monsters. A few of these kept for a big smoke-up? You’ll suddenly have a lot of friends 😊

THANK YOU – what a great crew and fishing club at Stables Sports Bar Whangaparaoa and Fish City Albany for hosting the latest lure coaching presentation, a thoroughly enjoyable way to share great fishing information. There’re a couple more coaching sessions on bait-free tackle coming up in Coromandel NZ, stay tuned for dates and venues. And if you want one – message me, let’s get into it! 😊

NEW Catch tackle is coming…yessss, very cool too, watch this space.

AND lastly some myth and mind-blowing fishing video has just been captured, it’ll definitely change some long-held beliefs about snapper, with several snapper fishing ‘facts’ shattered, in a good way – coming to a seminar near you, so you can see for yourself.

Are we there yet, are we there yet? Summer, and fishing that is?

Well surprisingly the waters around the edges of the gulf have cleared very well

Rod Holder, Squidwing on the drift = nice pannie snapper lurking near the anchovy school!

during the last few relatively calmer days, some are crystal clear, the full moon has passed, snapper kingfish and more should be well on the bite! Yes indeed water clearing after a storm or two often means some excellent fishing to be had, and with yet another wild weather event imminent, the fish will be feeling the need to feed right now.

For those keen on inner areas – that line between and dirty water run-off and clearer waters, within a few hundred metres of shore, some within landbased casting distance is a good place to be casting around a nice little 5” softbait or microjig. Low tide early morning and late evening – a nice time for a discovery style stroll along a shoreline with some lighter landbased approaches – a microjig or small softbait, even a micro-stickbait (25-35gm) can be surprisingly effective. If you’re wandering along a shoreline with overhanging trees, pohutukawas etc – nice spot to throw out a surface splash (imitating a dropping cicada for instance) lure around that deadly shadow/sunlight zone. Midday high tides all good for this over the next few days.

Yes those anchovies and other tiny tasty morsels are schooling all over the show now, out deeper, in closer (like Gardners Gap) – and no matter where they are there are usually some bigger fish eyeing any weaklings up, or simply waiting for the magical flick of the switch bite time.

So make the most of Mother Nature’s signs pointing you to the fish – surface birds, surface splashes, a misinterpreted ‘malfunctioning sounder blocking out’ (anchovy school) and cast around your offerings on the drift, troll around for a while and see if kahawai will strike your lure, super fun on light gear with reverse rigged microjig (tie leader to the lure with the hook trailing behind). If the action seems to be moving along fast, here there, then way over there, here’s few things to try. Don’t chase the leading edge just drift the area as the schools move around you, the bigger predators are often it tow and simply hanging around looking for their opportunity – your random lonesome lure, woohoo easy-money for the snapper or king. Have a bigger lure being looked after by Rod Holder alone while you cast about, something like a big 100-200gm Squidwing semi-dragging along behind (half to one wind up) looking like a spent squid, a soft easy motion = lurking snapper.

Kingfish are ready and waiting, jigs, topwater, livebait, trolled bibbed divers – all highly effective in their own right, it’s only up to what you want to do – and of course what the kings are after at that time, find the fish then tempt them with your best and simply ‘Let The Fish Be The Judge’… and DISCO, hold on tight!

Keen on getting even more out of your bait-free fishing – here’s an opportunity:

The Stables Sports Bar 5/707 Whangaparaoa rd, Arkles Bay

Ph 09-424 2266 STABLES or

FISH CITY ALBANY Ph. 09 476 4282

Tuesday February 21st, 6-7pm

Learn the 2 top techniques, the 2 essentials for fishing success and see what fish actually see as you move different lures and softbaits in the water tank on display.

How to choose lures weights and a whole lot more!

There’ll be jigs, lures and softbaits available on the night too.

Our shout, it’s FREE! See you there. Captain Espresso

Summer fishing it is! Typical wild changeable weather

The famous Pocket Rocket tungsten microjig bringing home snapper, when the fish aren’t biting!

means you really need to pick your day, but when those winds abate, the snapper are surprisingly accommodating and with the right approach, fresh snapper is on the menu. The snapper are lethargic in their bite a lot of the time now – so take their hint and slow your lures jigs and softbait action right down, make your offerings easier to stalk and eat for those less-aggressive fish. Lots of inner area action between Whangaparaoa Peninsula and Rangitoto, and still some good steady drift fishing out from the Noises, Ahaas and across the top of Waiheke, no need to go far for fresh snapper. Check out the Espresso Report video today on the Catch Facebook page for the inside running… Beady Eyes, Pockets Rockets, and Orca!


A very warm and welcoming Merry Christmas to you, what a year 2022!

From epic sights David Attenborough would be proud of – multiple whales of several species including a rare baby Humpback feeding on big bait-balls in the local gulf with more cruising around up the coast to the Hen and Chicks makes for idyllic life experiences and fantastic fishing to boot. The big game season was a cracker and this next season is already underway with short-billed spearfish, albacore, yellow fin tuna, mahimahi, striped and blue marlin all being caught this past week in the North Island! No wonder – sea temps are still well up above normal and not just surface temperatures, down to 200m it’s 2 degrees warmer and has been for the past 2 years. This year looks like similar temperatures will prevail so expect the changes seen over the last couple of years of fishing to continue wherever around the country you are or are wetting a line.

Snapper fishing this Spring has been turning up a lot of good size fish,

some have been in below average condition and with breeding the next topic on the agenda for them you can expect a general slow-down in overall bite, but inshore areas are perking up big time, good tidings. The inner harbour shallower areas are slowly but surely filling up with snapper, great news for softbaiters and microjiggers getting in amongst some exciting snapper action, including those wonderfully cheeky spots like under the Auckland harbour bridge (watch out for those bungy jumpers), the boat-busy Tamaki strait, and more inner areas providing surprisingly good snapper fishing. An effective goto technique in these areas is dragging a softbait or microjig along with the odd lift behind your ski/kayak/boat… a surprisingly successful method to catch snapper over the next month or so.  That giveaway ‘smoke’ trail of mud, a flailing barely alive softbait just gradually moving along presents easy pickings for snapper with their noses down grubbing around for morsels like little aquatic kunekune pigs in the mud. You can fish a long way out the back of the drift like this. Smaller 5inch softbaits and micros up to about 20gms are ideal. Don’t forget – the better your menu selection, the more fish will strike whether they’re after a big meal or just a little after dinner mint 😉, they’ll soon let you know.

Further out into the open gulf it’s business as usual – simply superb days when the bite is on, the ‘rest’ periods are stretching out a bit now but wow some epic snapper and kingfish battles to be had whether simply out drifting the 35-45m depths (birds overhead or not) or targeting some of the reefs around southern Flat Rock, Tiri tiri, Happy Jacks and eastern Waiheke.

So did you reach a goal or two in your fishing this year? A personal best perhaps or simply enjoying fishing for good food for the family like the excellent kingfish, gurnard, dory, kahawai and mackerel. Whether you’ve already added a tick or not – what’s on your fishing list now? In terms of tackle – will it be some self-Santa or potluck under the pine tree. What adventures are in your sights…land based off the mighty 90mile amongst crashing surf

Ben Tupaea night fishing big kings, stick bait of choice – handmade Catch Mahogany. Awesome!

and salt spray ready for whole snapper over a BBQ, or deep drops into the lightless abyss for truly the outstanding taste of bluenose, bass, puka, swordfish? Maybe a troll around for albacore YFT, mahi and marlin, how about freshwater fishin’ fly time or a little jig, or how about more MMA with almost hand to hand battling big kings whether topwater or jigging – every which way is all good. Inexpensive thrills no matter what the experience or age level with catching kahawai too – what magic memories have you yet to make?

Coaching seminars on softbaiting and slow pitch were a massive hit, various in-person and online presentations were almost overwhelming this year – the knowledge sharing, the crazy-good buzz on the night, the learning and individual application, genuine information put to immediate use judging by the pictures received after each venue! And isn’t that what it’s about, getting more out of lure fishing by catching better fish. Thank you for the amazing and positive receptions around the country with hundreds-thousands of people learning, sharing and progressing their bait free fishing – thank you so much, truly gratifying. There’s more coaching planned next year with several already in the pipeline, and why not let me know if you’re keen to host one so we can make it happen in a format tailored specifically to you. Some of the passionate people and places around the country supporting our fishing habit in a good way: Smart Marine, Trev Terry Marine, Smart Marine, Wanganui Marine Services, Waikato Sport Fishing Club, North Shore Kayak club, Fish City Albany and Hamilton, the continued and much appreciated support from real deals like Manukau Yaks, Yakazulu Kayak, the always enjoyable NZ Fishing News and NZ Fishing World online, the Hutchwilco Boat Show, and many more.

Stuck for Christmas ideas: here’s the Catch CATALOGUE to help you out with ideas.

Have a fun and safe time over the holidays, fish ‘em when you can, and if you see me out ‘n about whether on the water or not, do give me a wave and say g’day.

Cheers, have a very Merry Christmas.


Snapper City – just out there not far away from the human city, and December it is which means the aquatic metropolis is a much better place to be, anytime

this month really. The festive fervor has started for humans with the ‘must be finished before Christmas’ catch phrase in full swing, particularly among the all-important tradies – and what with the windy November most jobs shouldn’t be running too far behind schedule from occasional (fishing) days offsite. Similarly, the snapper annual life cycle is in full effect – aggressive feeding preceding the breeding slowdown around our official holidays, so between now and Christmas Eve is ideal to head out and enjoy the local paradise – before packing all and sundry and heading off to holiday destinations at various points of the compass – with new fishing grounds to explore?!

Great news for kayakers and tiny tinnies as the mid Hauraki gulf action has spread out with good fishing all around, and inshore hot spots bursting into life bottom end of Waiheke, Tamaki Strait, out from the northern North Shore bays (especially the last couple of evenings), as well as the gulf’s edges further north. Kayakers and some land-based anglers have been doing very well, numbers of fish and solid snapper sizes too as a result of fishing in the lee. Softbaiting and smaller jigs (micros) around the inner areas have both been working well after the recent rain runoff clearing. Perhaps the Orcas delighting us up and down the coastlines got the message and are into the same sort of hunting mode, in just waist deep water. Stunning to watch. Of course, when the top predator is in town, fishing usually goes really, really quiet! Unsurprisingly. Best to kick back and enjoy the intensity of the experience, and once they’ve cleared the area – successful fishing gradually resumes.

Further out into the greater gulf, it’s a wonderland of whales spouting off in 50m, dolphins perfecting their aerobatics with birds of prey flying every which way at times – spoilt for choice of buffet some days.

A bit like a healthy-looking tackle box – lots of good choices for you and more importantly the fish you’re targeting. While there are good times to be had out there, fish won’t feed all day every day, so that menu approach is still key to ensuring you come home and don’t have to speed-dial a pizza delivery for dinner. Lots of skirt laden lures or softbaits when the going is relatively quiet, then pump up the volume with heavy metal, and few if any tassles/skirts/flashers – if you intend to target the bigger snapper and fewer kahawai.

The new normal. Randomness I call it. For instance, getting a small lure priority couriered to Melbourne from Auckland took 10 days, a standard courier from China the size of several large tackle bags..5 days. The previous way of thinking that you can buy what you want, when you want it is not so unfortunately, so if there is a fishing item you have your eye on (whether for you or someone else) best get it, there is a lot of tackle that will (and is already) being bought with no chance of new stock arriving this year, perhaps for quite some time.

Windy, changeable weather is still good for inshore fishing mo

st days, and while there is no shortage of interesting things going on (how about the Waikato Field Days for a day of discovery?), somewhere there is Spot X to fish in shelter, calm enough waters in relative safety. This first week of December is the lead up to full moon for the month, so while that may throw a curve ball or two for a few days, it should be plain sailing and good fishing at least right up to present-opening time! Carpe diem, seize the day!



Slow pitch strikes on camera, coaching seminars, kayak fishing extra, hot bite and when it’s not – what to do and more, this week’s Espresso Report via video definitely worth a good look!

BTW regular mid-arvo inshore workups south side of Whangaparaoa peninsula for the past few days around 3pm, and solid kahawai hounding shorelines on the northern side as well, must be something going on! I would expect action to increase very soon south of Flat Rock in the very near future, think gannets, dolphins and snapper, keep a watchful eye on the sky there.

So much is on in the lead up to Christmas with more fishing competitions and better fishing weather means great fishing is on the menu, check out the video on Catch Fishing Facebook today for the lowdown.