The winds of change, every 4th year we get that extra day, 366 this year, leap year and a full moon thrown in – now that made for some fishy stories over

Preparing your snapper

the past week or so! The season of Summer is changing to Autumn awesomeness, and fishing can really kick into gear around now, perfect timing.

Here’s some absolutely fantastic food motivation from local legend fisherman Anil Nathoo showing not only some great ‘how-to’ preparation using the entire fish, but a mouthwatering way to cook and serve snapper – your taste

Sizzling snapper – oh the aroma!

buds are in for a thrill: fish for dinner .

Espresso articles are also coming right up over the next few issues of NZ Fishing News monthly magazine covering a variety of fishy topics, so keep your eye out for the new issues, out soon before it goes quarterly. And the big annual Hutchwilco Boat Show is not far away as well.

More inshore fishing activity, antics are keeping us amused – fish school detection easily spotted by the little white terns’ flitting about close and ‘not quite close enough’ for landbased.

Landbased light gaming 

Gannets too getting into the inshore action, in just a few meters of water off the shorelines, bombing in but requiring shallow diving – hammering these little kahawai that are after the anchovies. Birds battling the wind, terns getting sent fluttering backwards with strong gusts making for a difficult and tiring meal for them some days.

Ultralights are gaining momentum, big game still going strong marlin and tuna, and the good ol’ goto – snapper and mussel farms, they just go together right now right around the gulf. The edges of the big bay being the place to be for snapper just before the turn of season really kicks in. Good supply in terms of mussels but also the little anchovies too for snapper meals in the farms, so yes a very good place to be to put a few snapper in the bin, whether drifting and flicking a softie, or burleying up a storm getting the semi-sleepy snapper into the groove. An excellent time to be using all sorts of tackle not just the ho-hum always done approach, which can lead to frustratingly empty chilly-bins at times. Snapper feeding so close to the surface their dorsal fins are making waves – sight cast a baby 25gm stick bait and you’re topwater fishing for snapper, truly exciting stuff, a grin a mile wide, and good solid snapper takes you can see.

Savour the snapper flavour – delicious!

Or use a barely weighted (say 1/4oz jighead) and no-weighted softbaits, go big if they’ll take them, 10inch jobs. When they’re feeding aggressively try a few high casts, getting your softbait to slap down on the surface like a pilchard dropped by a bird – snapper when feeding high in the water column will sprint up and smash ‘em, simply thrilling visual ways to catch snapper. If they’re not that aggressive, go down in softbait size – but again really lightly weighted, cast and retrieve smoothly, not too fast, the snapper sees this as the lone lost anchovy caught out away from the school, exactly what it wants for lunch, give ‘em a taste. Smacko! Get out there and get into them.

Workups out further by top of Coro, the upper Firth ones have been OK but not too outrageous in terms of snapper numbers and quality though.

That seasonal change is upon us, of the good news kind, you know the days are getting shorter, and you can feel the air temps are starting to drop…big fish, small fish and everything in between, it’s action stations.


Pictured above:

Landbased opportunities abound right now, see the terns – cast the micro, at hand in the car: 7gm Pocket Rocket, 2 piece softbait rod and S3000 reel, always be ready 😊

Anil Nathoo snapper prep and cook link:


Whether you love or loathe eating little anchovies yourself, they are fish of the day, to almost all other out there right now!

Big 10″ Livies catching the prime summer snapper, @JackHenry and John (pictured) out there and into them!

Worth taking the big hint from Mother Nature so your (local) fishing success can flourish.

Anchovies in their thousands for instance along the shore, the North Shore Auckland this week, uncanny – has someone given these little fish a marine chart app so they know where to stay in the no fishing zones!? When venturing out of these areas it has been ideal times for the smaller watercraft, kayaks, dinghies, and skis to whip out, not far offshore and enjoy those wonderful grin inducing hookups on lightweight spin gear with kahawai, mackerel and some keeper snapper in amongst the dark clouds of anchovy schools moving up and down looking more like a cloud’s shadow, with barely a cloud in sight. Glorious summer fishing weather. Kingfish perhaps?

Yet more shore lines near or far are producing the better conditioned snapper right now, habitat providing food no doubt. Venturing to Gt Barrier for an overnighter? More than a few have lately, and they’ve done well with snapper along the edges, rather than out deeper. Softbaits have proven their weight in gold there and also over at the top of Coromandel, the softbaits have been king of the ring. Throwing down a variety of sizes has been worth it too, from smaller offerings to the big boy burgers of 10inches when the snapper are inclined and on hunt for a more sizeable meal. First thing in the morning, and later in the afternoon have been the better times to be casting around for snapper.

Another prime snapper on the Livies softbaits for Jack Henry, very nice!

And if you are out by Channel Island/Barrier way – don’t forget to target a king or two, some good arm stretching ones have been encountered, mainly mechanically jigging. Definitely keep a keen lookout for the odd whale feeding around top of Coro, fast ‘n furious stuff when the afternoon dinner gong has sounded.

Anyone else getting into the kahawai lately? Sashimi and smoking them is such a wonderful way to spend a summer evening. Some areas these fish are chokka full of anchovies, other places you’d expect the kahawai to be in huge numbers – but not one to be found, leaving the anchovies to do their thing. In amongst the mussel farms what a wonderful place to be and see the anchovies, south end area of Waiheke – primo place to be!

Also north side Whangaparaoa peninsula/big manly there has been some epic looking clouds of anchovies swirling around, with the delightful ‘coke bottle’ sized kahawai hunting them – gorging themselves silly, and a few similar scenes dotted back around Army Bay judging by the terns in attendance just offshore, perfect kayak fishing territory for sure.

This week’s tackle picks:

  1. Big 10inch Livies , double hook rigged for snapper, well presented on lightweight jigheads (see link below how to do it).
  2. And almost at the opposite end of the spectrum – teeny tiny 7gm Pocket Rocket (Tungsten) microjigs when fishing in and around the shoreline anchovies, so much fun!

Not sure how to double hook rig your softbaits?

Here’s how: How to double hook rig softbaits

Overall for snapper – fish the edges/shallows/closer to land for better snapper, softbaits the go-go!


Ristretto, short ‘n sharp – but make mine a looong weekend 😊

Monday and Tuesday look primo Waitangi Day ‘n all, in fact most of next week looks good for some excellent fishing times.

The NEW acrylic trolling SQUIDWINGS!

We’re past that frenetic full moon fortunately, the tidal current is good but not too strong, primo, let’s go! Certainly good to be out after the big game – old favourites and new hot looking lures in tow. Even the wind and tides line up a lot of the day for those fishing in closer to shore.

Anchor ‘n burley session anyone? And why not do the same but out away from the basking beach-goers, glorious wide open spaces of 30m and more, anchored with burley down, a heavy one of the collapsable metal pots would be good (or add a rock to your sock), or tie a burley down off the anchor warp so it’s near(er) the bottom flowing back under your boat and away out the stern. Then dropping straight into a super session with microjigs!

Alex #jig_creek_fishing with a fish-delicious dinner, catch ‘n cook, piper! Fun for all ages.

Ridiculously good fun laughing away as you hook up on your lightest gear. Snapper, gurnard, dory, mackerel…who knows, probably a kingfish lurking around too, checking out what the commotion’s about. A great way to spend a calm sunny summers days out there, doing something a little bit different surprising yourself with what you can catch. The pick of micros – that famous little 25gm Pocket Rocket, or the beauty of these little 20gm microjigs, simply lift and drop the rod allowing the micro to freefall on the drop – even letting it hit the sea floor – vary this and see what’s working at the time. Or the partial-wind slow pitch approach, then a slow-ish gradual retrieve, tag tag – strike and hook up! Hilariously good fun 😊. Mackerel (more are showing up around shorelines all over the show at the mo’) love the diminutive 7gm Pocket Rocket, again it can be like too much fun

Microjig magic – the tungsten Pocket Rocket

nice light drag settings and if you’re anchored the jig will get down no worries, use your lightest possible setups. The deeper you’re anchored the more vertically you can fish the micros, even very lightly weighted softbaits too – like the nice ‘n tasty looking 5inch Livies 😉.

ICE your fish, in cold slurry as soon as you’ve iki’d it aboard, the degradation of the fish flesh will be rapid in this heat, within minutes.

Snapper are on holiday a lot in this heat, like many of us, no problem – target a few of the other fish out there waiting for you, and you can be eating some of the best tasting fish dishes there are on the planet. Check the stunning and mouthwatering dish above, @Alex Bender ( #jig_creek_fishing ) showing how it’s done catch ‘n cook. Piper no less! And what we can do with mackerel and other fish is amazing. The NZ Ajing and light game Facebook page has many more delicious and fun fish to catch. While snapper is great, they’re taking a well-earned summer vacation, so can we, embrace it, go light – there are a lot of other fish to fry. Imagine the tasty flavours from around the world from such simplicity, and the lifelong memories created for the younger generation on a catch ‘n cook day of their very own, school is just barely clicking into gear for the year. There’s no better time than now.


When the smile says it all!

Full-Moon-Friday it is, so what should we expect? Sluggish snapper slowly feeding a lot of the time i.e. kabura time, and that always useful goto of burleying up and targeting the bigger fish in your trail with softbaits/microjigs, a great option for windy weather. Inner channels, and reef areas like the Ahaas i.e. shallow water stuff is the go, in the channels themselves but also along the sides e.g. the banks of Waiheke channel when the tide runs will often hold fish when the main channel is busy with boats or fish just don’t seem to be there. Check out the area off the north end of the channel itself, worth a flick around with a little 5” softbait (try the dynamite little Jack Mack 😉 ).  Wind against tide can be a bit choppy but your drift is slower, these smaller more tempting softbaits and micros can used more effectively, keeping them in the snapper bite zone longer. Don’t forget your light leader and perfect presentation, 20lb leader can be too heavy, the lighter your braid the better – again even 20lb can be too much. Light gauge hooks is popular for big game, and with summer lethargy and full moon, applying that approach to snapper and kingfish will get more hookups stealthy easy-eat options are key right now.

Nova Walsh and her Big Blue fish of a lifetime!

What about this fish of a lifetime! @NovaWalsh and her big blue marlin of 200+kgs! Huge congratulations on the mammoth time, effort and skill required along with the supporting Catch Fishing legends aboard @strikercharters too, yes truly the fish of a lifetime Nova after an hour-long battle on stand up gear! Epic fishing.

At the other end of the size scale, yet oh-so-tasty as well, lots of mackerel hanging around Tiri and out

towards the end of Whangaparaoa peninsula – dolphins and gannets have been onto them, so perhaps the mackerel Livie softbait the go here too for snapper and a kingfish. Only one way to know! And for a bit of extra fun, the little tungsten 7g Pocket Rocket – perfect for the mackerel themselves. The tungsten weight/size ratio of the jig helps it get down to the fish without getting push horizontally by current or drift. Scaled, skin on, hot chilli sauce or a spicy rub onto the skin, seared on high heat on the BBQ, snapper or mackerel, absolutely delicious!

House guests and fish go off after 3 days I’ve was told many moons ago, add this hot humid weather and it can make us short tempered and go off even quicker – a lot like fish. Here’s great link on why and what to do about keeping fish fresher, for days and days, a good quick watch with great info. from someone who knows their stuff. Keeping fish FRESH


2024 lure coaching workshops

Getting the best out of our limited and very valuable time fishing is even more important these days, what with windy weather and work. Learning to maximise the effectiveness of technique and tackle the key. Watching what fish react to (and not!) for yourself and bring your own gear along – get some help with that, it’s time to really get a lot more out of our fishing passion pastime. Whether you’re part of fishing club, a favourite store or keen to have a couple of dozen mates or more around…let me know, let’s put something together right now.

Catch Fishing and the BIG BLUE

There are still a few seminars possible this year to schedule, whether covering a wide variety of methods like softbaiting/slow pitch/speed jigging/inchiku/microjigging or going in-depth on a selected method. The aim is to help everyone enjoy catching fish even more on lures. Let’s do it, make it happen. Contact details below.

Stay in the game with good gear and good tackle, prepared and presented well = fresh fish.

Cheers ,

Facebook: Grant Bittle (Capt Espresso)



Whales ‘everywhere’, but in terms of fantastic fishing as the normal and expected result more akin to ‘water water everywhere but not a drop to drink’? If the whales are simply frolicking around, perhaps feeding on krill-like

@JohnPauly catching another monster snapper on the new Paua Power Double Trouble, beautiful!

morsels and not feeding on baitfish they are a wonder of the world, but for fishing – nothing doing down below! From the outer and more eastern areas of the gulf and down into the Firth of Thames, the surface activity has been prolific, many wonderful sights and sounds with whales, dolphins and various seabirds all into the early summer swing of things. The fishing? Well as per normal, some good and relatively easy times, and some ‘had to work for it’ despite the gulf being ‘alive’.

Chocka-block boat ramps on a gloriously welcome calm Saturday morning with the gulf being enjoyed in so many different ways, kayaks, boats, skis, paddle boards, you name it, the wonderful world of fishing was in full flight, woohoo! Eyes are all on that forecast for the next calm.

Snapper are keen on the inner warm areas for breeding, now right through the summer holiday period. Often surprisingly good fishing is to be had in what I term the ‘cheeky’ areas. Drifting close by the harbour bridge for instance, hearing the odd toot-toot from a slow-moving motorist above, while striking and hooking up on a snapper is priceless, and with using lightweight gear, a 2500-3000 sized reel on a 7ft softbait rod is ideal, with say a smaller 5″ softbait is a good bet. When the tide is running it often provides a lot more interest from snapper, so does casting in all directions working the lure back to the boat, with not too aggressive action can work wonders. Including simply letting the softbait drop close behind and semi-dragging the lure, with smooth lifts of the rod and lure up to impart a bit of life, then allowing the snapper to swim over and such the softbait in tail first, strike time! Good straight rigging and presentation of the softbait gets a lot more attention, and a stealthily rigged twin-hook will hook and land many more fish that simply take a tentative hit at the tail area only, and it’s not just the tiddlers that do this either. It can get busy boat-wise in the Tamaki strait and other high traffic areas (both snapper and boat traffic), so ensure you know the give way rules. And even if you are the stand-on vessel, be vigilant and ready, not all boaties know how to give way and operate safely.

Out further past the north areas of Waiheke and Tiri it’s an open field of discovery, one day an area can provide hot fishing, the next not. A simple and effective way to enjoy the day fishing, especially if you are out to enjoy not just catching fish but time on the water with friends and family, some hot food and refreshments…troll along with a lure out for kahawai, stopping now and then and dropping a Freestyle Kabura particularly if the drift speed is nice and slow. Drop your kabura to the sea floor, one wind up and into the rod holder while you enjoy some lunch? Remember to back the drag off so when a fish strikes and runs (the tiny hooks set themselves) it avoids the almost inevitable broken rod when the fish hooks up and heads straight back under the boat, tip-loading the rod with that telltale sound of snapping and swearing to follow.

Landbased kingfish catching machine @BenTupaea with his secret weapons, 10″ Catch Livie Softbait – WhiteWarrior at Spot X. Outstanding stuff off the rocks!

Kingfish – don’t forget the mighty green machines out there. Whether you are into jigging, softbaiting, (use the big 10inch versions, big white warriors are the goto at the mo’ 😉) or slow trolling live-baits, kingfish can be found around the edges of most islands and headlands (and not just the North Island), and of course in the areas where workups are on in the local gulf, also where one of their favourite foods, kahawai, are congregating. There will be rippling surface areas, and obvious sounder sign of kahawai schools – fantastic to catch in themselves, but also think kingfish, because they will be there somewhere nearby!

Have a great Christmas and New Year, wherever you plan to enjoy the time, and whatever fishy business you get up to. R ‘n R time I hear. All the best to you, your family in ’24, thank you for your feedback, input, pictures, stories and sharing of fishing knowledge, the lure-fishing seminars have been epic around the country this year again thanks to you and your support, I trust the knowledge shared has been rewarding too.

Time to go fishing…




Evolution of softbaits – your advantage.

KP Marine Wellington seminar, packed!

During a presentation last week, the past, present and future of softbaits was discussed and shared afterwards at length with some very knowledgeable anglers in Wellington at KP Marine.

Past SBs were often ‘one-hit-wonders’, materials used back then have progressed massively, now resisting bite-offs 10 times what they used to back in the old days of even just a few years ago. No stretch, basic in design and function they often were…fast forward to present day and we have surface contours and moulding just like, or better than the real thing. Colours and contrasts, shapes, sizes, species and more. Not only that, but the ways of presenting a SB have improved vastly with even better lifelike action and movement, and where and when they can be used effectively. Light tackle softbait rods and reels are still an excellent choice for shallower waters, but now using SBs to target fish never even considered, in depths like never before. Bass, hapuka, kingfish, bluenose are all now on the menu for softbaiters – by adjusting the tackle used, like using heavy deep dropper rigs, surfcasting gear, drone fishing the list is only limited by our mindset. Also, the concept that it’s not about SBs vs bait vs whatever but having different options to counter the different fishing conditions and fish feeding preferences the day and time you happen to be out there. Far less fishless stories, and more fishing thrills with rewarding looking fish bins at the end of the day.

Sick of snags when softbaiting from the shore or in amongst prime snapper

Monster 25kg Kingfish on the 10” Catch Livie softbait, another epic catch by @Kai_Machine

territory of kelpy weedy areas – here’s the fix, use a weedless rig, and what’s more the design of SBs like the Catch LIVIES incorporate a small but significant design feature to help SBs glide through this gnarly fish filled terrain, and catch out those moochers. Rig your softbaits simply and effectively to help prevent the hook of a softbait getting snagged on weeds and rocks. The narrow top-slot on the Livies is a perfect example of a specifically moulded SB design for this rig, certainly an option for when you are fishing landbased, shallows or anywhere snags can be a problem. See the video on Catch Facebook for the insider-info. and how-to rig it 😉.

Believe it or not, December traditionally can produce quite a slowdown in snapper feeding around NZ, this of course remains to be seen since Mother Nature rules and she will decide all in good time. Right now, is the traditional time to be fishing those inner shallower channels with softies and micros,

Help stop snags with this Livie weedles softbait rig.

the main highways are just that – the main in/out and snapper areas to target, Rangitoto, Motuhie, Sergeants, north channel Kawau, even the downtown Auckland Tamaki Strait. All good areas to target, maybe a good place to use the weedless rig mentioned above? So right now, is perhaps the time not to whiz straight past prime snapper territory in the channels, certainly a good option to be considering when looking at the weather as well.

Big barrels of tuna have already been caught out off the BOI, the start of the big game chase, marlin anyone? Get you game face on. Either marlin or tuna, the 200gm trolling Squidwings is an epic lure to have out – rigger or shotgun it’s ideal straight runner, with its distinctive surface water splash, an easy to eat option for fish to eat while trolling and hear that reel howl!

Christmas awaits, what’s on your fishing gear wish list?

Good ideas browsing through in the Catch Facebook Catalogue.




Busted off…again! What can you do? Perhaps simply a hangover of previous below-average advice (poor line, leader, drag, technique and more), or following ‘traditions’ that no longer apply, ‘fishy facts’, ‘Fakebook facts’? Lighter leader is a well-known option for catching fish, but why not use HEAVY LEADER, like 300lb for a softbait?

What! Sacrilege surely. Don’t get stuck in a rut, adapt to your territory and fish target. (See video on Catch Fishing Facebook and Instagram).

Evolution of Softbaiting – past, present and future.

Improved rigging techniques, the latest softbait options, using SBs in new places, new and better methods of presentation, deep water SB, more effective rigs, straylining your softbaits, so many options.

There’s a seminar at 12noon this Saturday in Wellington at KP Marine’s Open Day covering all this, one not to miss.

The Bait-free fishing competition pre-seminar

hosted by Longshore Marine Whitianga at the Mercury Bay Game fishing club last week was absolutely fabulous! And check out the cracker snapper caught by

Mitch Anderson and Longshore Marine on the Catch 7”

Sunrise – perfect timing, well done Mitch Anderson!

Livie Softbaits – such a superb lead-up to the lure-only comp., congratulations and all the best this weekend.

Workups in the Hauraki Gulf abound, here there and way back over there, Spring it is and while there are whales appearing just around the corner off the Mercury Islands, with thumping workups to boot, the Hauraki Gulf is seeing its fair share of heart pounding adrenaline style fishing. Many are occurring closer in now, about level with Flat Rock across the gulf, some thumpers

Another big red to Mitch!

further out with the whales, but closer in, good thrills and reasonable snapper along with some kingfish in attendance. Also, the action at top of Firth has been an excellent choice of where to start chasing the dragon of workups, a good go-to at this time of year. Milky fleshed snapper? While not 100% accurate, but holding a snapper horizontal and looking down on it, just behind the head/shoulder/gill area on the upper back is where the main fillet/muscle area is. The milky snapper are a lot skinnier and the muscle just isn’t there, if this shoulder area is skinny, going in towards the spine rather than flaring out with the normal muscle and condition you can see and feel – could well be a snapper with skinny milky and unappealing flesh, put it back if it’s good-to-go.

Rather quiet around the inner areas this past week between Whangaparaoa peninsula and Rangitoto, but expect that to change very soon, any day now.

Thank you for your continuing support of Catch a 100% NZ owned business, it’s products, the educational seminars – continuing not only to bring you the latest information and techniques, but also leading-edge lures, rods and reels to enjoy your fishing with, bring on a great summer and fishing. .

Cheers, Espresso.

Full Reset. Spring does this, by land sea and air the upheaval of seasonal change is inevitable yet still surprising, year after year. CAUTION  Loch Ness monsters by are out there! Fully, semi and barely submerged

branches, trees and other major debris is lurking ready to cause havoc to your wonderful day of play out there. Keep a wary eye out, particularly along tidal current lines, some of what lies just below the surface is very ‘Titanic-like’. From an elevated vantage point this week a tiny tail poked out above the surface not far out from an Auckland shoreline, with an ominous dark shape just below the surface it looked just like ‘Nessy, half a pine tree will do that.

Another BIG Northland trevally – on the new Catch CURLY TAIL softbaits!

Seminars: Whitianga bait-free competition with the helpful addition of a pre-comp seminar of what to use, and what not is on next week Tuesday Nov. 7. The following week in Wellington/Plimmerton an epic open day is being held at KP Marine, with a softbait specific seminar at 1pm, past, present and future softbaits – are you up to speed or are you missing out? Find out, easy, and free.

Excited by the fishing season ahead? We all are, and our choice is wide not only in what equipment to use, but where and how to catch fish. Overwhelmed by information? Usually that’s more of a function of social media opinions, not so much fishing facts. So perhaps with the seasonal change, some changes to your fishing are in order? Adapting to what can be fished, not just what you currently do, or have done for many years. What’s your ideal fishing day? A bit shallower water fishing, some sneaky land-based sessions more often than not? The challenge of catching ‘even’ a kahawai on a blustery ‘non-fishing’ day – can be a thrilling new personal challenge, or the challenge and adventure of a flounder on a softbait , or a kingfish on a softbait (big 10inch 😉 ), even fishing a softbait as a livie under a balloon, or those marvellous mackerel overlooked by many New Zealanders. Lots of ideas and ways to enjoy this Spring/Summer of fishing, have a browse on for ideas and expanding your bait-free fishing thrills. Have you tried the new Curly Tail softbaits? Almost too good with their action in water, a heap of bite triggers built in, check them out and their incredible vibe action, epic stuff and a great addition to your fishing prowess (see video on Catch Facebook/Instagram).

Kawau Island – has good solid snapper in the shallows (curly tail softbait territory?) – with more than one angler sheltering and catching well-conditioned snapper over the past two weeks – fatties too, nice. More good snapper to be caught in an around the top end of Waiheke/Ahaas right now as the Spring rush into the Gulf and Waitemata harbour is well underway. This area northern Waiheke area is great for fishing with lots of habitat

And that’s a big YIPPAAH! Marty from BerleyPro/Tasline travelling the world with Catch softbaits.

welcoming the incoming snapper (and a few kings) and a great place to shelter in calm when there’s a bit of a SW wind. Some well-conditioned snapper to be had in and around here.

Nesting time it is for gannets, the need to breed and feed is paramount, similarly with a lot of the wildlife out there in Spring, it’s all on November is THE month of the year to get excited and head out fishing, try new tackle, new techniques, new fishing.

Fishing reset – the world is your new season oyster.



Pre-Competition seminar!

Whether you’re in it to win it, to simply enjoy the festivities or simply want to learn and apply more bait free fun to your fishing in general, it’s a great to place to make it all happen:

100% Bait Free Lure Fishing Seminars:Whitianga Longshore Marine Lure Competition coming up with a Pre-comp lure specialist talk, Tues. Nov 7, 6pm. Wellington KP Marine open day – Softbaiting then and now at 1pm, Saturday Nov. 18

Bait-free competition, with preceding seminar for the inside running…get the good oil.

Joe Burrell this week with another stonker of a gulf snapper on a favourite Jack Mack Livie softbait . @joe.burrell01

Heard of it, but do you, do it? Light leader, the key to a many angler’s success, whether they’ll tell you or not, just dropping from say 30lb to 20lb can be night and day in terms of snapper strikes, going down further to 10-15lb on those quiet/soft bite times – can bring home fish when otherwise it’s baked beans on toast for tea. Particularly when fishing in clear water over relatively open ground, light leader can give you the much-needed edge. Similarly with kingfish, depending on where you fish 30lb leader can be plenty! Especially on light gear out over open ground like most of the Hauraki Gulf for instance – if there are kingfish around hounding those bait schools, they’ll be keen on a well presented/light leader lure (of many kinds not just speed jigs) mid water, good times are guaranteed. And what about those days when the fish are there but not biting, maybe a SE wind just prior to full moon?

Light leader time can change your fishing fortunes like Lotto. Catch Fishing Facebook page.

Local Hauraki gulf hits and misses. North and NE of Tiri to Kawau area has been really good fishing, lots of birds generally milling around the area just outside the cable zone to point the way, general area snapper fishing no real need to chase the dragon. Similarly eastern gulf birds are active but flying over wide areas, stop drop and hookup under the Moehau range. Softbaits are doing very well, including the big 10inch versions to target the big boys, and yes there are some big thumpers lurking around there, check out Joe Burrells snapper this week pictured. Dolphins periodically visiting around this area and along the Whangaparaoa peninsula, with the odd foray down along the bays too – family hunts and captivating sights for the humans along the coastline to view.

Using your lighter leader for those wary fish (full moon at the end of this month for instance) is a great way to change minimal or soft tentative missed bites, into hook-ups and landed fish. The inner channels fishing your thing? It’s time to start some worthwhile prospecting, grubtail softbaits are perfect for using here and here’s a great approach to try, particularly with light leader, say 10-15lb. Literally grubbing your softbait along in the inshore mud/sludge, tail up is a dead giveaway due to the inherent buoyancy of the grubtail, add a small jerk of the rod to puff up the mud signal, then pause and let the snapper swim over, suck the wafting softbait in – strike time. Noises, Rangi channel, Motuhie, even the Tamaki strait – time to be prospecting. Further out, play time – baby dolphins flipping around, whales puffing away in the distance – aye a great place to be when the wind drops enough, and the whales can find enough baitfish. Hopefully some epic action between Flat Rock and Little Barrier is on the cards.


Christmas. There, I said it. Yes, the new normal means many things we may be wishing for or planning to get, don’t wait, there are already fishing supply chains that will be empty this side of Christmas. If there’re those things you want for yourself, or for others, best to do it now and avoid that inevitable disappointment when the fishing trips and fun in the sun is well underway .


Facebook @GrantBittle (Capt Espresso) . Instagram #EspressoFishing

Fish just don’t seem to care! Wind, rain, hail – pfft, meaningless to those a few metres below the surface. So some inshore fishing has been the go, and many

Straylining softabaits – have you, do you?

have been doing alright catching aji, squid, kahawai and some snapper, stray-liners doing rather well. Adjusting your fishing to what is available is key rather than doing the exact same thing, month on month, year after year, reducing and eliminating so much pleasurable fishing. There’re so many different species and ways to catch them, why not dare to try something out of the ordinary? Usually, a lot of fun and adds another string to your bow at least.

With all this wind and expect more a simple solution despite strong winds is lining up a nice little possie, which doesn’t have to be far away, anchored or land based with that wind overhead helping align you with the tide current, habitat, and fish. Burley pumps up the mosh pit and further back there are usually a variety of fish coming through and around you for the next few hours, perfect. So in your vicinity, not necessarily all at the same time there can be snapper, gurnard, mackerel, squid, kingfish, kahawai, john dory and a few more. All within casting distance. Using lures while in a typical strayline setup can be exciting action-packed fun – using all sorts of rod/reel combos, as well as tasty temptations especially soft baits.

Check out the what the ultra-buoyant Livie soft baits look like on a running ‘strayline’ rig, there’s a video up on the Catch Facebook page in the next day or so. It’s amazing to see how well they can be presented. The sinker used is intentionally highly visible – say either a Beady Eye or Freestyle Kabura. The main reason being that the huge eyeball, luminous, UV coated kabura head acts as an advertisement, an attractant to a fish to investigate at close range, and disco! A hapless, defenceless ‘live-bait’ (soft bait) wafting wounded, looking absolutely perfect to attack for a feed. Using say the big 10inch Livie version with a small 1/4oz jighead (like Stingaz ) the soft bait has almost neutral buoyancy, i.e. you can cast it way out the back where the bigger fish tend to congregate watching the baitfish feed on the burley trail, waiting for their opportunity.

Catch 10inch Livie softbait bobbing around under a balloon, the future of fishing is here!

Cast this big beautiful, delicious looking Livie that gently wallows around, only very gradually sinking down (great for the shallows). Or go heavier and have the jighead plant the softbaits head on the seafloor, but the inherent softbait buoyancy makes the soft bait come alive, looking like it’s feeding, or similar on the sea floor, again helpless and presenting itself perfectly for a strike.  Twin hook softbait rigs (just like you would straylining a pillie with a keeper hook) work well in this situation. Simply brilliant. Just keep using the same SB over and over, and you can change to different species of with colour, size shape, weight, o you can get strikes and hookup even when the fish aren’t hungry.

Why not put a Livie (softbait) under a balloon! It’s crazy good how alive they look – and they align perfectly where you want them, they DON’T keep swimming back under the boat/tangling the prop/hiding from that kingfish swimming around looking for exactly that – a livie bobbing, struggling under the surface – ready to be snaffled. Best to be prepared for this and go up in gear – not your lightweight set, a proper jig rod/reel would be ideal.

So, adjust the lure type and size,

Landbased stickbaiting (Catch Handmade) a mighty kingfish!

targeting different fish as they come through and see what new adventure sessions you can enjoy, no need to be grumpy at home exchanging endless txts moaning about ‘the weather’ or traffic, or politics. And when the wind drops as it will – you have the gear that really opens up your options for any day, whether anchored, drifting, jigging, straylining.

The choices you have with fishing are far and wide, it is merely a matter of adapting to your situation and throwing down the fish-gauntlet.

Enjoy Spring fishing, it’s on!