Extremes of weather combined with a feast or famine fish bite this past week has meant more of a shotgun approach to catching fish has been required rather than only being prepared for one style of fish catching action. Big and small, aggressive and passive lure fishing have all been required, all on the same day – to come home king of the jungle!

November is simply an outstanding

month to be fishing, from gurnard to kingfish and all those in between, most are keen to oblige with a strike or three! Gurnard

are being caught in all sorts of depths like the open areas of 30-45m but also right in by the Noises and Firth of Thames, a fantastic fish. Gurnard will take on surprisingly big lures at times – but the main thing is to keep your lure in the bottom few metres, with smaller, gradual actions, allowing the gurnard to stalk and pounce on your offering. With the anchovy schools getting hammered well above, a lure resembling a tasty little morsel like that is ideal. Pictured is just one of the stunning gurnard caught this week with the new 45gm Tungsten Pocket Rocket out in 46m. Snapper and Kingfish were awesome ‘bycatch’!

Tungsten Pocket Rockets – Catch Fishing

Mid ground has provided productive pannie fishing, steady Eddie stuff. Drift fishing and  enjoying your weaponry, ammo and arsenal of lures and gear – a great time to be trying all sorts of jigs and lures, you’ll find out what triggers the fish alright! If the wind is up, a drogue or two is essential to slow the drift, allowing most lures to work vertically helps increase strike rate significantly.

Workups – good producers are popping up all around the gulf, lots of smaller pods of dolphins around making for smaller faster workups. So be prepared for moving around a lot, fast n’ furious stuff, great fun if you’re into the chase, anywhere from 30m out really.

Have a look at the Facebook LIVE on Catch Fishing Facebook page this week filmed at Smart Marine Glenfield – there’re a few more tips and suggestions in there too worth considering if you’re out fishing over the next week or so. And if you’re in KeriKeri or thereabouts next Tuesday, Dec.1 come along to the Kingfish and Lures seminar 😉

Fishing is ON!


Rollercoaster rides of fortune have been the norm out fishing the Hauraki Gulf lately, from simply superb to scratching

of heads – Where’s the Fish!?

Great fishing for several days on the trot while the entire food chain rattles has been experienced for many during the past week and this excitement can be expected to continue. Inevitably following such feasting is a bit of a lull, some good old RnR and general aquatic activities other than feeding on other fish. It just depends when you decide to be out there fishing whether not it’s all on with big jigs and big snapper/kingfish, or a ‘Kabura and microjig day’ i.e. a slow bite but you still want to catch fish.

Whales have been enjoying the pilchard schools out in 50m, long may they remain as a vital link in the entire food chain.

Workups have been spread far and wide from the Firth of Thames out to Anchorite rock, some great activity also out at Gt Barrier, but most will be happy chasing action in and around the 40-45 metre mid-gulf mark. Even if the gannets aren’t showing you the way, the mid ground has plenty of snapper to keep you entertained, just drift with your best lures.

Hey hey – the inner areas have also been getting some good supplies of snapper the past few days – out form the North Shore Bays, the Rangitoto channel, Rakino, yes there have been surprisingly good numbers of pannie snapper, as well as some great looking little grunters, gurnard. Soft baits and microjigs are the go in these sub-20m depths.

Kahawai seemed to vanish for a few days, however these fish are charging around all over the show – so a few of these fish for the smoker of fresh are on the list. How you catch them can be the best part of the day whether light tackle, or trolling whatever takes your fancy.

Spring fishing is ON!


The Beady Eye Kabura does it againFast and furious fishing with frantic feeding action abounds there –  all over the show. What an intense fishing week yet again, wow!

Kingfish have been providing lot’s and lot’s of thrills and spills – whether the visual excitement of top water, or the hookup intensity of jigging they have been very obliging most of the time. When they are on, they are on! All the usual haunts around the gulf seem to have come alive with the big green machines, from inner harbour market buoys to outer gulf pins and baitschools. It is definitely the time to go and get yourself hooked up on one of these hard charging freight trains.

Snapper have been on the chew – it does pay to double check the Catch bite times to help with your approach. There can be very soft bites, very tentative stuff outside the bite times – remarkably quiet despite all sorts of surface activity and fishiness on the sounder. What’s working? Well on one day for instance this week you could use anything you like, as long as it was a Kabura or Beady Eye – the tentacles being the main ingredient. The next day…no way, microjigs far outperforming any other lure, kaburas included! It really does pay to be more than a one-trick pony out there – take and try a few different lures, even if just simply drifting the 40-45 areas, you’ll catch good snapper, no need to workups or secret Spot X’s. The inner channels like western Rangitoto have nice pannies – using a little softbait like the white smelt LIVIE is easy pickings really. If you see any petrels or terns over the surface – throw down your softbait and with little movements along the bottom – snapper time! Perfect softbaiting scenario, and perfect table fish.

Lots and lots of workups are on to keep the adrenaline junkies amused, gas up as they are moving around the entire central and eastern middle areas of the gulf, typical for this time of year. No real concentration in particular of late as the dolphins and gannets have been covering wide areas chasing down their favourite – pilchards. The whales, several of them have also been feeding all over the gulf, exciting stuff to witness, Brydes whales and possibly a Pygmy Blue have been gracing the big buffets out in 45m, what an incredible privilege to witness in person.

Time seems to be speeding up with the run-up to Christmas already well under way, both on the water and back on land. The early fishing season indicators are looking good, very good, no time to waste – rely on good tackle and great lures, you’ll have an adventure and a half awaits you, see you out there!



Pictured: The Beady Eye Kabura – what a lure!

Better weather, better fishing, better be out there! What a great start to the season over Labour Weekend with hundreds of boats enjoying the Hauraki Gulf including the armada of yachts up and down the coast along with most of those that could – out and about getting into their fishing.

Good activity and some excellent catches of snapper, kahawai, kingfish, John Dory, some gurnard too. A slowing down or tightening of the bite time could be on the cards as the full moon effect comes into force over the next few days. However there is good fishing to be had for sure. The overriding urge to feed is strong right now and there is plenty of bounty waiting.

Workups are on all over the gulf, Firth, east of Flat Rock, Kawau, GT Barrier, Whangaparaoa bay, Colville and open area drift fishing is productive and in close is also good – inner areas like the Noises, Crusoe and the harbour channels have seen some good snapper caught, good early stuff!

Big game hunters are on call – slender tuna have been caught recreationally BOP, Coromandel Far North and out of Whangarei, bigger predators must be hot on their tail fins.

There’s not much more to add to your current fishing fortunes, you know what to do, as you know you can’t catch fish at home. November is traditionally one of the most intense fishing months of the year in the Hauraki Gulf and it starts this weekend. Good fishing and good times directly ahead!

If you’re not sure what lures to use, that’s easy and save money too, a Catch Value Pack is a hand selected range of well known high performing lures in a waterproof box, for you, your fishing mate or family fishing fanatic to enjoy. So the next time you’re out there, you’re ready, locked and loaded for fishing action and capturing those magic smiles holding a great fish, making memories for a lifetime.

Microjig Pack Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NXhgj0QWmXM

Snapper Pack Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ixj6OfEOSaY

Kingfish Pack: https://www.catchfishing.pro/product/kingfish-value-pack/

Softbait Pack: https://catchnz.wpengine.com/product/softbait-value-pack/



Pictured: Another prime snapper on the Engine Oil LIVIE on the Stingaz jighead.

The Espresso Report – Where’s The Fish?!

Better weather, increasing air and water temperatures albeit slowly, add in the inevitable need to feed – and of course to breed, all signs point to the planets aligning for an enjoyable and rewarding day out Spring fishing, it’s about time we get into it don’t you think?!

The Firth of Thames has had the most attention lately and has been a pretty good bet. The visuals of gannets diving is always a thrill, best to just fish the general area however, rather than chase those short-lived fast moving flurries over the wide mid-Firth area, particularly while the common dolphins are much further out and absent from the Firth lately. The Catch bite times have been right on the money, worth checking when planning your day out https://www.catchfishing.pro/bite-times/ .
Great Barrier/Outer Hauraki Gulf fishing – yes a good steady supply of snapper, but choppy waters and windy weather has been the main dampener not the fish. The dolphins have been out and all about, deeper 50m stuff so if the weather allows, the hunt for pilchards – the catalyst for some truly epic Spring workups, is on. Something special to experience.
The recent flurry of activity of good pannie snapper and kahawai between Tiri and Flat Rock dropped right off as the hotspots charged around the place. Some mighty big kahawai are around – definitely worth keeping, looked after properly and enjoyed to the maximum in so many different ways.
Quick Tackle Tip: Most damage to your beautiful new lures is done by storing them in the wrong tackle box. A small purpose-made tackle box is a faithful companion for years, with your favourite lures safely inside ready for instant deployment when they get their call of duty, and the protection can be tailor made to your style of fishing and tackle, here are a few good examples: https://www.catchfishing.pro/product/tools/. Terminal tackle is the ONLY thing your target fish sees and is interested in – make sure it is the real deal of tried and true terminal tackle, there is a difference – evinced by the fish bin at the end of your day. Remember lures are probably one of your cheapest part of fishing… boat, rods/reels, gas/food and beverage. And what are you showing to the fish to bite? All that time, energy, stories, everything – make sure your menu item will be as irresistible as possible, particularly when it’s slack tide or outside bite time. It’s often not what you did catch, moreover what you didn’t.
Now the only thing missing out there, is you? See you out there, tight lines.Espresso.
Picture Insert: Snapper, hooked on Squidwings

Nirvana-style workup fishing tales abound but sometimes early

advice can be a bit of a red herring. Diving gannets doesn’t necessarily mean loading the bin with monster snapper, it does mean gannets are trying to eat baitfish which is usually a great start.

A workup without dolphins to round up and hold the baitschool can be ’empty’

for instance (among other reasons) particularly at this time of year so yes there are workups, and then there are WORKUPS! Fast furious stuff out straight east of Kawau, and just out north of Waiheke – as I say, fast paced

workup activity, lots of movement, can mean ‘no fish here’ said the fisherman, and possibly the gannets, and dolphins – happy baitfish, for a while at least.

Dolphins have been on the charge, big pods making a lot of splash while jostling for position around the gulf, quite eye catching but usually it means they’re not likely to feed. Perhaps the occasional fast food stop off, like when on a road trip to the Far North for monster 25lb snapper say! Brief stop offs along the way only, on a mission style.

Full moon threw its curve ball again, some did well, most had to put in the big effort, lucky ones were rewarded. This reaction was well observed over much of the eastern coastline of the country this past several days, right up and down the coast, some good, many thoroughly challenged. Out wide some big snapper have been caught, except the exceptions e.g. Firth again this week, a stonker or two along with a fair bit of head scratching to find fish too.

50m is doing well, including fish variety from kings to cod, solid snapper and the occasional sea-monarch the beautiful gurnard.

Colours – can make the world of difference, but that can change too. OK so the darker coloured Engine Oil LIVIE for instance is easily a go-to favourite particularly in Northland for BIG snapper, yet orange softbaits like the Glowing Gurnard are prolific fish catchers the majority of the time, similarly smelt-white softbaits have held 1st place on many occasions. Working out which works for you is half the fun.

Not sure whether the bite is on or off? A good inchiku lure with maximum flutter and rocking motion on descent, erratic skirt flick, luminous parts to attract in the depths- particularly flickering, strong twin stainless steel hooks, with high speed of deployment = ideal! The Boss Squid hybrid inchiku for instance designed and developed in NZ is a unique and highly effective lure design – tie them on the night before, with the leader to the lure itself onto the big head end (not the solid ring of the hook) 20lb fluro is a good starting point. If out in 50m expect kingfish hookups even when fishing for snapper – the rocking motion does the trick on the drop usually. Like most inchikus let it freefall to the sea floor, be ready to strike with any sudden speeding up, or slack line – hit it! The action is largely up to you, vary your rod lift in terms of speed and height, small flickers, then more slow pitch style, then a steady retrieve – always be ready! Have a look at the “How to fish Inchiku” link here for a minute. A well designed inchiku lure is highly effective, very economic and so much fun to use, particularly when primarily targeting snapper!

Inchiku – how to fish them: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_WH1-ebYXcQ

All signs are good, in true Spring form if history repeats is the second week in , tik tok, tik!

No lockdown, all signs aligning, the wind swings to the east over the next few days  – Spring action could be a van Halen like Eruption. If the weather doesn’t ring true for you, later in the week looks promising. Fortune favours the bold, be bold, go fishing and enjoy living the adventure whatever fishing fortunes unfold.


On the cusp of change we all are – daylight saving kicks in this Sunday, the equinox (equal length of day and night) this week, the birds ‘n bees are shifting into top gear, Spring is doing it’s best for us even the tidal current slows this week which should mean less surface chop and even more opportunity to go out and enjoy some good fishing.

Weather forecasting is a bit of an art at times and with the very local vagaries of wind speed around the gulf general forecasts can mean excellent opportunities can be missed when say the Firth of Thames is 5kt variable at the same time Tiri is gusting 26kts (as per this week). It pays to get all the reliable information about weather you can, MetVuw, Swellmap, Coastguard app (VHF live wind speeds), Windy.com, Metservice and more, all well worth spending the time perusing a few days before any planned fishing adventure. The weather changes FAST – both to bad, but also to GREAT!

Snapper – mainly pannie city right now, easy Freestyle Kabura stuff or the Beady Eye Kabura (https://www.catchfishing.pro/product/beady-eye-kabura/) pictured, with an occasional stonker (at least one near 20lber caught in the Firth this week) but mainly it’s still winter style pannie fishing over most of the gulf, to be expected in the very short term. Steady stuff and great for using smaller lures and lighter gear, this week a softbait only just sinking down through the water column when there is little to no bite can be the panacea to fishing a day’s doldrums – an easy bite of a stray little baitfish look-a-like, fish on! Baby Pilchard and Kahawai LIVIE softbaits have been the go-to not surprisingly (https://www.catchfishing.pro/product/catch-livies/).

Kahawai – north of Noises has seen some solid areas of these fish of various sizes, and also the mid to lower Firth, some biggies too! Breeding and feeding is on in earnest for these prime fish. Similarly the gannets are nesting and requiring ever increasing fish supplies. The gannets have been lining up for mackerel south of Gulf Harbour, loosely spread right across to northern Ahaas at times, hounding both the kahawai that are hounding the baitfish, and the baitfish. This all gets resident snapper interested, sometimes only very briefly with long slower periods. If too many kahawai for your liking – try a 100-200gm jig without skirts or a lot of flasher material, fish the jig with only one turn of the handle and a rod lift i.e. within 2 metres of the sea floor. You’ll drastically reduce the number of kahawai, and target snapper hard on the floor more. The Double Trouble (https://www.catchfishing.pro/product/double-trouble/) and Deep V slow-pitch style lures (https://www.catchfishing.pro/product/deep-v-slowpitch/) are perfect for this situation. The Firth workups have been fast n’ furious, mainly kahawai based. Further out in the gulf the action has been suspiciously just out of reach (wind speed and sea conditions), some big pots of gold to be had out wide when the wind allows a Barrier adventure!

Some lazy days fish wise this week with the more winter style of fishing prevailing, in the short term, but the unstoppable change of seasons is upon us and building momentum, bring it on!

All signs are excellent for a major upswing in fishing fortunes, the workup activity out off the coast, north of the Gulf has been epic to see, no doubt the gulf will turn it on too, oh so soon.

Enjoy your fishing.


Snapper can’t resist the Catch Beady Eye Kabura, but then again, what fish can?

The Espresso Report 17 September 2020

Hey – check out the Facebook LIVE update at Smart Marine or on Catch Fishing Facebook pages on Tuesday morning, a great snapshot and update of what is and what isn’t happening in the Gulf.

Early breeding signs are loud and clear with kahawai getting those little bruise-bite marks and starting to roe-up. Also gurnard and John Dory are starting their roe-ing, evidenced this week in a number of these stunning fish.

Workups are primarily out wide of the gulf, some good looking ones west of both the Barriers and they are ready-set for major performances in the gulf coming up. Nice to see some inner areas like bottom end of Waiheke and mid Firth of Thames still faithfully firing up many days at least for an hour or so. Snapper are in and around these fast moving workups but not always – targeting other fish like kahawai and kingfish is a great option rather than being too blinkered on just ‘snapper’. When the snapper are half interested or more though whether in a workup or not a good Inchiku lure is probably one of the best all round styles to use, the BossSquid (pictured) has been a stand-out success in this regard.

Inshore areas are perking up too – morning and evening softbaiting the shallows, whether a quick flick from the shore, or lurking along on a kayak or similar close to the shore e.g. western Rakino/Rangitoto. There are still a lot of cautious strikes happening in the cold water – making good presentation and good rigging (a 2nd stinger hook is ideal) essential for solid hookups and eliminating the frustration of dropping good solid fish.

Mid ground of the open gulf has been quiet, to be expected, but also to be expected is a steady flow of pan sized snapper when you’re out there, use those little microjigs, or have you tried softbaits on a deep water rig (see video)? Most of the time and you’ll catch some good fish along the way, snapper, gurnard and perhaps a John Dory now and then too! Sometimes slow and steady wins the race.

Kingfish just have to come back on the bite after their recent hiatus, and with a huge increase in tidal flow this week and a reasonable moon phase, expectations are high, oh yes time to target the big green machines out there. I would suggest having a few options to tip them over the edge if required, poppers, stick baits, long fall mechanical jigs, slow pitch jigs and even microjigs 😉. Can you feel that next kingie hookup and run..!

All the signs are pointing upwards – everyone is under starters orders, poised, are you ready-set to go?

Enjoy your fishing, you can’t catch fish at home so get your good gear together and get out there in amongst it, don’t miss out! See you out there.