Great weather for ducks as the saying goes, however not so great for fishing the past several days with heavy rain and much moisture in the air, 50kts/90kph

wind speeds are more the norm than the exception. Fishing offshore pushed pause and the inshore areas have been challenging to say the least with lots of murky, silty waters and turbulence to continue the suspension of sand, seaweed and muddy run-off. Once the murk clears though…!!

Most of the country is experiencing the current feisty attitude of Mother Nature and her various fast-changing moods, although out off the rugged eastern Bay of Plenty coast there may be an early opportunity for the mighty Southern Bluefin tuna. This area is not a place to be taken lightly for a day’s outing, it can be one of the most inhospitable and dangerous sea states around. If the stars & planets do align though it can also be one of the most productive

Aaron Sargent and Flyn Jack with ‘Puka from the depths on the Giant Squidwings.

and exciting fishing zones to be in – those Bluefin tuna can’t be far away, and the bottom fishing for huge ‘Puka is legendary. Of course battling with almost unstoppable kingfish is ‘common’. With the likely prospect of truly big fish real preparation is an absolute must, not just the boat and safety gear, but the tackle you choose to use as well, generally speaking light tackle is not the go! Successful charter operator Captain Aaron Sargent at Coastal Fishing Charters sure knows his stuff with results that are simply outstanding and speak for themselves, using the rod/reel combos aboard like the Catch JGX5000 on ProSeries Acidwrap 400 are the goto, serious tackle for landing seriously big fish with the Giant Squidwings being a consistent big fish catcher. BTW there’s a new Catch gimbal just out (which has both a pinned and non-pinned attachment!), perfect for this sort of fishing when hook-ups are usually brutal. Equipment made for the task is absolutely essential, there’s no room for a moments error or your fish of a lifetime simply laughs and leaves you wondering what happened in the blink of a fish-eye. Landing these gigantic fish will be imprinted on your memory forever, there is nothing like it.

Back in the Hauraki Gulf the fishing out further has been very rewarding at times, mainly out in 50m+. Drifting over the ‘squiggles’ is providing good consistent pannie snapper for the table, out past Little Barrier there’s been more workup action with snapper, kingfish and of course the odd shark ensuring your tax payments are right up to date. Worthwhile to head out to the western side of the Barriers recently.

In and around the islands of southern Kawau there are some good snapper holding, you may have to move around a little, some good snapper sign just says no, others are on the chew, usually only several hundred metres away, so have a nudge around and you should get onto the feeding snapper.

With a couple of days to re-leader, re-spool, re-gas… it sure pays to stay on top of your state of readiness to go fishing, the weather fronts are flying across the Tasman so the ‘perfect calms’ can arrive a day or two early – you’ll need to be ready well beforehand to make the most of them, as half-days only might be the go, but the fishing should be very good, those water temps are hanging in there! Just like The Last Boy Scout – be prepared.

Espresso

And just like that, winter chills! Officially winter isn’t until next week but we’re already switching to winter mode and associated adventures for the next 3 months, coming ready or not!

Solid kingfish on the NEW Black Label LIVIE softbait!

Murky waters have predominated over the past week as have high winds, high seas and extra-high tides with that huge tidal current that peaks over this weekend then drops away. The 2m swell is dropping thankfully, water temps too which are still holding OK but the inevitable slide of several degrees has started.

Inner areas are definitely shifting into more winter mode although good snapper are still being caught in the fish highways – Motuhie channel, around the Noises, Tiri channel and similar. Good feeding times are to come with the waning blood moon along with those clear crisp winter days (still sunburn at times) with beanies and visible breath. The recent tumult out around the kelp beds means seaweed gatherers for winter gardens are in luck, lots of luck – many beaches are full of prime seaweed, free.

There will be areas close to shorelines that are (almost) glassy calm in the lee of the wind direction as it wanders around the compass, ideal times for a nudge around with soft baits, over sandy areas for snapper and kahawai, drop-offs from rock ledges – again good snapper territory and don’t forget kingfish! Many kingis will be cruising the edges of the gulf looking to pick up a stray ‘baitfish’ whether real or imitation. Kingfish prefer a hapless struggling baitfish to most cut or dead baits, they love the chase. Softbaits, poppers and stickbaits are ideal for these shallow water green machines. Go exploring, try a new spot or perhaps one so obvious that no-one fishes it – like just around the corner from so many ramps.

Best of all… ***Join in LIVE on Facebook this Sunday (NZ time) 09:30 Catch Fishing***  for the next level of soft baits BLACK LABEL LIVIES. Watch and see exactly how they look in the water, how the fish see them when you fish! How to target and catch bigger fish with them, better than ever. Find out first hand how to give your fishing a massive boost, see you Sunday morning for a coffee with these exciting new soft baits (after the 08:30 MagicFM radio Sunday Café) !

It’s also good time to a quick look at those hours clocked up on boat engines, and other bits of critical machinery, prevent a Coastguard callout with some basic servicing. Reels and gear suffer from neglect if not at least semi-stored properly, there’s nothing worse than gear failure – you’ve spent all that time energy to fish Spot X only to be let down by a nick in a rod guide, a sticky drag, a corroded reel handle, not refreshing that leader that ‘looks OK’ but was used on several fish last time.

The main hindrance to catching good fish? Warm duvets. Carpe Diem, seize the day.

Espresso.

 

Buzzing with that positive vibe every way you turned – this year’s Hutchwilco Boat Show held the latest boat and fishing tackle innovations, ideas, creations and more, the show was exciting to be a part of after a 2 year sabbatical and learning new things is always a good when it comes to enjoying fishing and all it has to offer. Presenting Masterclasses each day on ‘Catch Bigger Fish 100% Bait Free’ creating a snapshot of what so many are already thriving on, lure/jig/softbait fishing while catching bigger and better fish than ever before, a massive thank you to Hutchwilco.

One of the most enduring aspects of the boat show is meeting fellow anglers in person (you). The number of young families, old ‘forever bait’ men, hard core fisho’s, complete novices…all doing their thing, a wonderful cross section of our society who all have the joy of fishing in common, and it showed at the show.

The Blood Moon of the year looms, changing the current low-current tidal movement to a strong powerful flow within a few days as the planets re-align, this should really stir things up! The winds of change are loud and clear. The lower part of the Firth of Thames quietened down a lot last week, although some good snapper and even small workups were active in the mid to upper zone. There’s lots of good gulf action still within eyesight of Little Barrier, right around it pretty much. From the shallows for softbaiting snapper particularly the eastern side, to the reefs just off it at various quarters – kingfish. Further away from the island just a few miles…east are good workups with all sorts of fish species keen to feed, west has lot’s of skipjack tuna and presumably marlin? Only one way to find out and that is to be out there getting in amongst it wherever you choose to fish. This sudden big airborne chill will certainly hurry the changing of the guard out there, the sea temperature just dropped a degree gulf-wide. Winter mode fishing is heading our way but we have a bit of time yet to enjoy some Autumn thrillers out there.

Seeing the new Black Label LIVIES with their ultra-realistic action goes to show that improvement, innovation and technological progression is a never-ending process of development and the results can be eye-opening. If you didn’t get to see the new Black Label LIVIES in action on the Boat Show there’s a 30second video of them on Catch Fishing Facebook and an expose’ of the ‘Espresso Double-Tap’ action – it’ll blow your mind. A new dimension to lifelike wriggle ‘n shimmy and fish catching triggers show how sensitive and lifelike the new softbaits really are!

What wonders does the rest of the year hold for you and your fishing adventures? We certainly have many choices, landbased, drone, kayak, jetski, boat…but what fish are on your short list, targeting them with your choice of fishing tackle and lures? All the best in your quests.

Espresso

Giant Squidwings work their magic down DEEP!

The Hutchwilco NZ Boat Show in Auckland is in full swing, and with the blustery weather I suspect a prime Spot X is at the show! So much to see, whether familiar or completely new, after all it has been 2 years since the previous show. Catch Fishing is there with the Catch crew in attendance, stand #258 to help out fellow anglers with their fishing quests, and at the Master Class presentations on how to fish even better 100% Bait Free. It’s an awesome place to be.

Deep sea anglers who made the most of the last big ‘H” over the country made gravy, big ‘Puka and other tasty deep fish from the deep coming up and gracing decks. The Giant Squidwings has now established itself as a must-have and goto when dropping for these denizens of the deep. Your fishing 100% of the time your line is in the water – no losing (or worse being unsure) of a bait hundreds of metres down. Light sticks are often used – but the Giant is already lit up with it’s glowing ‘Eat Me’ look and tough skirts. Using them over and over again is both effective and cost-effective. The motion of the boat combined with the lure design works in harmony perfectly, making the lure swim and pulsate like a big tasty looking squid – delicious to all those residents down there. The huge 15/0 circle hook makes landing the fish a near foregone conclusion. If you go to the boat show, check these out in person, impressive.

Speaking of the dark depths, have you checked out the new BLACK NINJAS in the Double Trouble and Beady Eye range of lures. WOW!

Good water temperatures all around the gulf seem to be in holding patterns, the outer general area past Anchorite holding kingfish, snapper and some solid gurnard too. Further out and around the Barriers still holds patches of skipjack, no doubt along with their predators too, awaiting your presence and presents in term of lures – once that wind drops again.

Good feeding from fish is still on the cards, it’s only Autumn not winter yet, so given half a chance it’s the perfect time to be out getting in amongst the action. In terms of the gulf, further out past 45m is good for more consistent snapper, but there a many well legal snapper to be caught simply on the drift using well presented lures. The only thing the fish sees is your lure, so how important in your fishing line-up are they? No. 1. It pays huge dividends using professional designed, refined fishing tackle, you’ll often only have one shot at that fish – make it hit home.

See you at the boat show.

Espresso.

 

Absolutely Awesome Autumn!

Almost speechless, spending the last several days fishing and filming the Hauraki Gulf and its surrounding paradise-islands of Little Barrier, Great

BOOM! 20kg Kingfish tamed temporarily on the Catch JGX5000/Pro Series Acidwrap400.

Barrier, Mokohinaus and more is absolutely gobsmacking –  the sheer beauty and intense fishing adventures we are so fortunate to have, right here. Massive Brydes whales spouting around the boat, spraying pilchards high in the air as they engulf literally thousands of them many spilling out of the gaping mouths of the behemoths, with contingents of highly organised dolphins frantically communicating – rounding up said pilchards as best they can, tag teaming as they contain the bait-ball and taking turns at having lunch. The birdlife manic as they enter the fray headlong determined to be a part of the bounty, so many types, the cacophony of sounds is mesmerizing. Awesome autumn it is, especially in the outer gulf gateways.

The kingfish are back on the prowl taking mechanical jigs but they’re also worth targeting with Slow Pitch jigs that descend much slower (e.g. BOSS or Double Trouble ) which helps target them as they move around fast looking for prey falling down from the surface workups, and you can go big too, something like the Deep V . Flash mobs of solid well-legal kingfish are attacking pilchards on the run, bigger snapper are also aggressively feeding in the same area as they prepare themselves for the cooler winter months out in 50m. Kahawai schools are moving around fast out wide in the gulf, so some areas have many, some have none. There are also large numbers of smaller snapper to be caught around the inner gulf, they too need to feed.

BTW skipjack tuna are still around just out of the confines of the gulf, and there’s been some big Hapuka and Broadbill caught out the back of Gt Barrier this week with the calm weather encouraging these fishin’ missions.

Hunt With Me on TV. Great to see that fishing is not only included but featured in this locally filmed and produced TV program, Tuesday’s 9:30pm or on demand right here: Hunt with Me , well worth a watch!

Hutchwilco Boat Show is next week. Enjoying some well earned time browsing around the famous show is imminent. Whether just a bit of fishing gear, learning bait-free fishing at the Master Classes I’ll be presenting (look for scheduled times each day), or investing in boats, jet skis, kayaks or whatever your heart is set on, it’ll be there.

The New BLACK LABEL LIVIES will be showcased in the huge 1400L jig tank on the Catch stand (No.258). You can see and work their action for yourself, and come and say hi to the Catch Fishing crew!

Espresso.

A rare ‘Pink Moon’ has been lighting up our night skies, and making waves with the corresponding huge tidal movements. The moon isn’t actually coloured pink but it is one of the two biggest and brightest moons of the year (closest to the earth), and good fishing action has been pretty in pink!

BetaBug inchikus are on fire! Kit Bittle (when not on the golf course) out catching stunning snapper in 50m.

From marlin within a day trip of Auckland out by Gt Barrier and the Mokohinau area, to workups in the gulf providing temporary thrills, late April and Early May is traditionally a top shelf time to be fishing even with the extra ‘brrr’ in the air we experience. Current air and water temperatures are good indicators to layer-up and hunt some solid fish, whatever your preferred target species.

Marlin in May? Go get ‘em! off Oceans, Mokes/Hen and Chicks/Gt Barrier, 100m deep is plenty, trailer boat stuff or bigger, sworn to some secrecy but there’s been some pretty hot action, just sayin’. Usually right around now there’s a hot bite, just prior to these big bills heading out off shore, out of reach or recreational anglers. Time to finish the season with a bang? A screaming reel or two? Gotta be in to win. And of course there are sizeable Yellowfin Tuna around, some big beauties being landed just off North Cape this week, full moon influence helping with the big tuna at least.

Snapper – they’re really loving the aggressive inchiku action out further in the gulf. Highly ‘evasive’ lures like BossSquid and the original goto BetaBug are hard to beat at the moment, such consistent performers with charter boats relying on them they are that good. Beautifully conditioned prime snapper of that stunning 40-45cm size are out in 50m. Spread out around small fast workups so you can play chase, or not. Superbly conditioned fat fish are on the bite. In closer around the Noises, Rakino and Rangitoto – good snapper fishing, in and around the anchovy schools in the area, good shallow water fishing.

Do Kingfish dislike pink moons? Or it’s that time when they calm down and are more challenging to get particularly in the inner gulf areas, or just random nature – but they have noticeable by their absence of bite of late.

COMING UP…

The Hutchwilco Boat Show at Auckland Showgrounds May 13-16. Yes it’s on after it’s sabbatical in 2020, now it’s back in full swing. So much to see and do and enjoy, more details of NEW product releases from Catch coming very soon!

‘Hunt With Me’ is a program on Maori TV 9:30pm Tuesday nights, showing a diversity of hunting and gathering across land and sea, great fishing right here in New Zealand. Available on demand too.

MagicFm Sunday Café at 08:30 – catch up on fishing live with Mel and Espresso with your Sunday morning cuppa.

The next chapter of fishing diary hasn’t been written – time for you to make some new entries.

Enjoy.

Espresso.

Kahawai galore, BUT even these fish can be blinkered at times!? Yes the thrill of those powerful hook-ups and runs from mega kahawai are super fun, especially when they are thick in the water and hungry however even kahawai can be one eyed and ‘just say no’ at times. TThe BossSquid hybrid inchiku does it again!rolling a little lure like a Lil’ Squidwings or reverse rigged microjig (trailing hook) is usually very effective but this week trolling was a no go, lots of followers but few takers, frustrating stuff. So a change of tactic to the microjigs worked vertically in the water coloumn, DISCO, fishes on! These prime fish, some well in roe are huge, and perfect fish for a big smoke-up over this ANZAC weekend. The end of Whangaparaoa peninsula/Tiri channel you could near walk on them as well as many other areas around the inner gulf. Simply awesome stuff.

The snapper bite returns as planned/hoped, good solid specimens are out in the mid gulf workups. Lots of quiet open areas too though. However when the need to feed is like it is then well-performing inchikus can be the outstanding goto lure. Hookups on the drop are common, especially with inchikus with extended hang time – which allows the bottom feeding fish like snapper to feel and see it descending, then rise and strike the panicked morsel. A highly effective, economic and thoroughly enjoyable way to catch fish, professional angler or complete novice no experience required! Tie your leader to the correct point and your lure can work like magic, Inchiku are one of the few lures to tie your leader to the jig itself, NOT the solid ring of the hook like most jigs. The Catch range of inchiku has the eye of the lure naturally placed at the head of the lure, so to tie the leader to that end of the lure with the eyes – then as you gradually wind the lure up, the eyes are at the top, perfect. Try different colors for sure. And when you’re having a cuppa just drifting along somewhere – have one out being looked after by Rod Holder. Drop the inchiku to the sea floor and wind up just 1 or 2 winds on the reel, this is 1-2 metres up. As you drift along bobbing on the sea surface this imparts a beautiful fluid motion to the lure, and a well designed inchiku will falter, flutter and waiver along, inducing strikes from all sorts of species that after a quick feed of this hapless struggling baitfish. The design features make these two style of inchiku stand-out successes:

Boss Squid – Catch Fishing

Beta Bug inchiku jig by Catch Fishing – Fish like a pro

Kingfish to have upped their game too and are keen on some arm stretching – the usual pinnacles and reefy hangouts around the gulf – but also don’t forget those inner channel markers and buoys. A quiet drift past and throw a stick bait, or soft bait first thing in the morning? Beautiful.

Inshore areas – some rather nice snapper and trevally are around, especially good to target near anchovy schools, for example the Waiheke/Rakino channels have them at the moment, as well as with the kahawai schools of northern Waiheke, Noises, Whangaparaoa – all worth looking around for then throwing out a microjig like the tungsten Pocket Rocket, superb shallow water fishing.

Have a GREAT time over this long weekend whether landbased, inshore or offshore, April is simply superb to appreciate and enjoy how truly fortunate we are.

Espresso.

Anchovies and pilchards real or the popular super-naturals of jigs and softbaits are the go bro! Those silvery slivers of anchovies are close inshore – how close? On land! Yes the fight for life includes anchovies beaching themselves in a last ditch effort to evade kahawai hunting them down and many others hard on their tailfins. Popping up in all sorts of local bays, places like the secluded sanctuary of Little Manly – where the unfortunate demise of a local boat this week, still partially submerged – perhaps providing temporary shelter for the anchovies?

Similar pop-up scenes are seen around coasts all over the place. The little white terns are your spotters, sometimes out a little beyond eyesight so a pair of binoculars are a great idea – with the chase going on they’ll often head close in to shore and provide thrilling and prolific fishing for anywhere from 5 minutes to an hour!

Pilchards are on the main menu, especially out just a tad further where the dolphins and gannets eye these prize fish that are high in nutrient value and perfect for the upcoming cooler months, a vital part of the entire food chain. Some rather nice workups are focussing on these delectable meals, mid to outer gulf but also over northern Kawau towards Omaha and Little Barrier.

Drag burning, arm aching, spool emptying big tuna are on, Waihau Bay and Eastern Coromandel have been providing some huge rewards in terms of fish size and bounty back home. Still time for big game hunters to get out there and delight in those screaming reels. Lots of skipjack out of Ocean Beach – which usually means striped marlin are in residence, about as close as they will get before the imminent turnaround. Eastern Coromandel also getting into some great striped marlin action over this past week, solid fish too!

Snapper have been ramping up their appetites as expected, with more aggressive feeding on the upswing. The bite has been pretty good this week from snapper, lots of smaller models keen but the bigger pannies are there so mix up your offerings and you’ll find what the bigger snapper are after – it could be a tiny microjig like the Pocket Rocket or alloy Baby Boss, or something more like a main course like the Boss Squid – Catch Fishing (the darker coloured options working noticeably well earlier this week out in 45m, just brilliant). Land-based out the West Coast has shown up some big red thumpers too! Great to see such solid healthy specimens from the surf, lures or bait.

The Premiere unveiling of the new BIG reel from Catch this Sunday at 0900, tune in to Catch Fishing Facebook and be the first to see this secret weapon and the advantage it has over big fish on hookup – this reel has NEW extra features to turn those monster fishes heads, you can put even MORE pressure on your fish (not you) and land them! Tune in and find out why this new reel is the deep drop weapon of choice, whether jigging or simply deep drops for big Bass, Kingfish and more of your favourites that can lurk hundreds of metres below.

Also tune in this Sunday to MagicFM radio New Zealand wide on the Sunday Café live with Espresso at 08:30, then watch the Premiere at 09:00 Sunday on Catch Fishing Facebook – a great way to ease into your Sunday. Catch you then.

Espresso.

Turbid inshore waters have cleared beautifully over the past few days, with fishing the shorelines and shallows early mornings or late evenings producing some very good fishing as a result. Casting little lures on the edges of shadows, and underwater structure, being an ideal approach and wonderful pastime too. Some solid snapper sneaking in and around shorelines, looking listening and tuning-in to find that faltering baitfish – your softbait, micro-jig or micro-stickbait. Excellent stuff.

Hard working terns within easy casting distance are along many coasts, so many small groups suddenly alighting as if from nowhere, flitting around above baitschools and their bigger fish attendants. Many areas like Whangaparaoa, Tiri, Noises, NW Rangitoto, Torbay, and no doubt many other appearances, some fleeting, others working for hours in an area, a great place to try your hand at light tackle thrills, particularly with your spin gear.

Workups are thumping in here ‘n there, the gulf’s life has sparked some more as per the amp being turned up as mentioned over the past few Espresso Reports, now with mid ground providing good action. Solid looking stuff with the usual combatants and party goers in attendance, snapper, kingfish, tax-men of various persuasions, but surprisingly few kahawai. When you do get onto some kahawai – their sheer size and fight is impressive and welcome, certainly welcome aboard and fish bin bound. Whether fresh sashimi (one of the best), delicious ceviche style with coconut, or fresh out of the smoker as the family gathers around with that mouth watering smell wafting? Primo! Lot’s of prime roe in them too.

Similarly further up the eastern N.I. coast, places like Omaha and Whangaroa have been in amongst the deluge of gannets and with all sorts of fish joining in on the big seafood buffet, Autumn is on fire! Big game hunters have similarly been spellbound with triple hook ups on marlin out from Houhora, and monster tuna and marlin out off Waihau Bay as well, the season continues well.

Tune in on MagicFM radio for your general fishing catch-up and info every Sunday at 08:30 on the Sunday Café, Espresso time.

Do you even softbait? Looking for that special edge, something exciting and new? ‘Black Label Livies’, coming soon, very soon. Stay tuned.

…but wait, there’s more! Do you want to jig deeper, or do deep drops for monster ‘Puka, Bass, Kingfish? Something extra-special is about to be unleashed. Stay tuned.

Enjoy your fishing.

Espresso.

Easter long weekend – a few days to play whether a stay-cation or heading away? Here’s an idea – Easter fishing, an excellent pastime to be included in the weekend’s leisure activities! It’s just after the full moon, there’s a good full tidal movement stirring the saltwater food chain up, it’s prime time of year with all sorts of piscatorial species out there, marlin, mahi, tuna – and closer in those thumping red snapper, kahawai and many more. This long weekend should definitely include some good fishing opportunities. Fish don’t have daylight saving changes so they won’t notice a thing this weekend as our NZ clocks are adjusted.

Softbaiting land-based is becoming more and more popular, and rightly so as evidenced by good catches in many locales during the recent strong winds, most boat-borne anglers being denied their fishing fix out further due to the gnarly sea state. Now is a perfect time of year for landbased softbaiting with snapper and many other fish looking to feed right along the coastline shallows whether over sand or foul ground. Prospecting along with a little softbait outfit, a favourite SB or two on a light jighead in the morning of later afternoon, nice. The current murkiness of the water will mean a bright, luminous, easily see able and feel-able lure (vibration from the lure or an added Catch “Tuning Blade”) can help, letting fish find your lure in near zero viz. Small darting baitfish style jerks, then rests to let the fish discover and pounce on your unsuspecting lure is a good approach. BTW there’re some all new softbaits (colours sizes shape and components) coming soon – Catch LiviesBlack Label”!

Autumn is a time for feasting by many species, fish of most types now know that colder times are imminent, insulation being key to survival over winter so the need to feed is on. Whether you use smaller offerings like a microjig to imitate say an anchovy, or larger main-course style lures like the mighty Squidwings is up to you, and the fish. Vary your offerings – you never know what will take fishes fancy, best to be make a few different offerings.

Wind directions swing right around the compass over the next several days, so go with the flow and there’ll be some excellent areas to get some good fishing in, with completely new areas to explore and enjoy each day. An eye on kingfish from shore or close to it is a great idea too right now, whether stick baiting, live-baiting, jigs or mid water retrieved softbaits. Enjoying your catch is easy – perhaps at a bach somewhere with a simple approach of a cheap ‘n cheerful smoker, a few manuka chips and amazing smoked fish among family and friends – sound delicious? Simple, inexpensive and all sorts of fish come out tops from kahawai to mackerel, snapper, kingfish and more. Very Easter holidays.

In short there’ll be lots of food for fish to choose from with strong currents, make your offering the chosen one, make it seen, and heard, with an easy action – ready for that strike!

Enjoy.

Espresso.