Winter fishing motivation waning? Bitingly cold squally showers, hail, minimal daylight hours with a very sleepy snapper bite, doom and gloom…hang ON! Blinkered thinking (unlike fish) that fishing means snapper, a common trap. Snapper are but one of many fantastic fish out there ready and waiting. It’s rude to ignore apparently – so best we don’t disregard the delights of dory, squid, kahawai, kingfish, gurnard, trevally and deeper water fish like ‘puka, bass and bluenose! So how about avoiding the trap of just thinking of snapper, which can turn a stunning day with plenty of fish, fun and some sun into a ‘fail’ or even a no-go. Target other fish, and have something delightfully different for a meal or three. Give the home healthy budget a boost, make it fun with an island night – bright big bold and beautiful hibiscus flowered shirts (OK maybe over a sweatshirt to keep warm) around an evening BBQ, a big bowl of ‘raw’ kahawai in mouth-watering coconut and lime, crumbed gurnard fillets hot off the skillet, so many ways to enjoy a delicious variety of flavours with fish. Or how about a curry to remember!? Vindaloo even? Big fresh meaty chunks of fish in rich spicey sauce on white rice with a side of fresh warm naan, ciabatta, or leftover loaf rejuvenated with garlic warmed in tinfoil.

Full moon – tuna are on the prowl around the NZ coastline, and many anglers are also in hunting mode, pending weather, for big fish missions out from Waihau Bay – yes the first few tuna have just been landed recreationally. No doubt many anglers are spending many hours in preparation for the big winter tuna trip, night lights burning in sheds and the land of garage, getting the right gear together that can tame these mighty beasts.

This week’s waning gibbous moon as a result of the big bright night-light of a super-full-moon on Tuesday, and what a spectacular one it has been! Add in an incredible planet alignment that’s happening in our skies, and who knows what the bite could be, only way to find out – grab your bag of favourite and

most trusted lures and experience your next fishin’ mission.

What’s your favourite fish to eat? Some deep water species are top of the pops and here’s a NEW BIG-FISH RIG that really stands out from the crowd, made by Greg Tucker ( www.fish4tucker.co.nz ) .  WATCH today’s Facebook video on Catch Fishing Facebook page showing in detail the deep water rigs and it’ll really spark things up…check it out.

Enjoy your fresh fish, whatever varieties grace your fish bin.

Espresso.

Winter it is! Frosty starts a tad south spreading north, no surprises – but with the big chill down comes reward, and the rewards have been excellent a bit further out in the Hauraki Gulf lately, wonderfully so at times and as the saying goes, the whole 9 yards. Epic eruptions of baitfish flying through the air with whales on their tails, dolphins managing the melee, all and sundry taking part in the frantic feast if they can, birds, fish you name it. The winter ‘slow down’ is imminent but in the mean time, slow it is not out there at the end of the rainbow(s).

The inner area action has been rather flighty, gannets and terns sitting waiting pre-dawn in an area, and after the feast – how ever long that may last from minutes to an hour or more – a vanishing act. Nothing to be seen. And the next day? Probably several kilometres away and a fresh start.

Big fat ‘ocean going’ kahawai have been notably up and around the Kawau side, massive line pulling specimens too. A great plan is to grab some for a big smoke-up and share around, wherever you’re fishing. As is or however you prefer these kahawai, such an exciting fish to catch and a healthy delicious dinner or two too. Treat them well and they will reward with exceptional flavour. Iki instantly they’re aboard, then bleed and ice ice baby. Absolutely primo!

Snapper out wider are in feeding mode, 45m+. Drifting with a few good lures presented well on light leader (20lb maximum, but 15lb better) should result in excellent pannies accompanying you home,  no workups required. A few big reds are likely so a little patience is required to land them on lighter leader, but with nothing to bust off on over most of the gulf, easy and enthralling. Softbaits are a reliable and effective go-to, especially in the inner shallower waters of <20m, but also further out. Just short of and not far past Anchorite drifting a lonely looking imitation baitfish about a metre (one wind) up off the sea floor – disco! Snapper city. In these depths of 50m (or m

ore) it pays to use much more weight to get your softbait down to where then snapper are, using a 3/4oz jighead your softbait may never reach them – drift speed, current, sheer depth. Using heavier jigheads, allowing them to smack the sea floor once or twice (a great sight and sound dinner gong to a snapper in the area) is the way to go. 2ounces and more are needed, particularly when using big softbaits, chasing big snapper. The boat motion is often enough to get the snapper interested, and provide and easily attacked and eaten ‘fish’. 4ounces in 50m, now we’re talking.

Product Highlight: There are many ways to rig softbaits for deeper water or when the drift is fast, check out the deep water/high current rigs Catch Fishing

has created. Impressive, effective, twin-hook options too – and see snapper attacking and hooking up on the softbaits in 50+m deep!! Definitely worth checking out, much to see and learn on the Deep Water Rig video just put up on Catch Fishing’s Facebook today !!>>>

Have a great weekend, short, long, or long-er. The weather looks good, the fishing will be great fun – just add you!

Espresso.

Solid Autumn style fishing abounds whether you’re in the shallows, or mid-depth and deeper. All sorts from trevally to kahawai, gurnard, snapper and kingfish, JD and a few more types of fish too, it’s time to get into ‘em…here’s some good oil.

The fight and flight of white terns over mackerel on anchovies is attracting the attention of so many birds, fish, cephalopods, marine mammals…you name it, they all can be in the midst of the melee or skirting around the edges following quite some distance away (100m+) from the hot spot of diving terns at the head of steam. Softbaits seem to be working well for snapper well behind the surface action. It’s worth trying a BIG softbait like 10inch on a small ¼ oz/7gm jighead – nice and gentle wafting descent and a sizeable meal for a lurking big red or kingfish. Whereas nearer the surface furore and hard charging action at the frontline microjigs are the go! Whether 20gm or tiny 7gm, the thrills and spills are pure, with easy casting on your lightweight softbait spin gear. Cast all around and don’t get fixed too much with the spearhead of the action – the bigger fish often swirl around over larger areas looking for stragglers, this is where you can pick up good sized fish lurking around. How about throwing out a tiny and easy to use 20 or 35gm stickbait like a Zingaz on your softbait gear?! Further out in the open gulf, similar scenes – with a bit more oomph, particularly when a larger pod of common dolphins round up a baitball, and the big girl (Brydes whale) comes crashing in and grabs a just a few thousand baitfish…the resulting chaos is truly epic to experience, whether you are actively fishing or just enjoying the incredible spectacle. If you are fishing the panic attack style – absolutely enjoy lighter tackle if you wish, but perhaps start with heavier gear to make that fish-bin look right i.e. fish in it. Then change out to lighter gear for the sheer enjoyment of fishing. Good times.

How to fish even better with lures 100% baitfree at your local?

The new ‘normal’ means I can now present in-person seminars with clubs, tackle stores, interest groups, companies, ladies only nights & more… The primary aims are to hands-on demonstrate highly effective lure, softbait and jig fishing techniques, how you choose the best lure for where you fish, easy-learn slow pitch/jigging/softbaiting techniques in an interesting and memorable way.

Also showing exactly what the fish see with water-tank demos along with unique underwater footage never seen before, fish attacking lures, real EYE-OPENERS that will change your understanding of how fish strike, for the better. Keen?

Get in touch: Grant@catchfishing.co.nz or captainespresso007@gmail.com or private message via Facebook:

Grant Bittle Capt. Espresso.

P.S. Lot’s of really good chatter around about the famous Hutchwilco Boat Show in a few days time too, I’ll be there on the Catch Fishing stand – do come and say hi!

Goodies.

Good fishing mid-week (yes Murphy’s Law), both near and far! Near – just off the North Shore Bays, the Rangi channel, and many more mid-inner areas around the gulf, good snapper to 50cm, good tidal flow, good surface/bird action particularly those easily spotted terns for at least a temporary hot Spot X, good solid snapper feeding well. Kayak, ski, tiny tinny, trailer boat, launch – you name it can be a short trip whether before, during or after work. Far-out ‘workups’ with whales, gannets, dolphins, baitfish, and bigger fish are very good too, intense fishing. And general farming over the open paddocks of the gulf i.e. drift fishing nowhere in particular, no particular Spot X but catching the plentiful pannies out grazing the open sea floor, good times and good looking fish bins at the end of the day or sooner, whether there’re workups near or not. Good shallow/landbased fishing right now especially when terns are working over the anchovies in in the general area – turn of tide on daybreak has been magic to watch, salt water fly, light spinners, micros (like a 7gm Pocket Rocket), drone fishing…it is definitely all good.

Good news for the Hutchwilco Boat Show! It’s been a long time. Time to be reacquainted, people, tackle, boats, practical stuff and all things bling, with everyone looking forward to making time to see the entire show, because you never know, until you go. It’s what we’ve been waiting for, good times, extra good.

Good excuse to go fishing? How about this! In the stunning Bay of Islands the G.J. Gardner Homes 48hr Summer Classic, June 3rd-5th with the @PioneerFishingClub. Good company, good fishing, good venue and lots of sponsor goodies too! Sounds like a good way to enjoy a weekend, whether away for a couple of days, or it’s your local area.

Colder southerly quarter winds may not be conducive to early morning fishing enthusiasm, but the water temps trending down is very good for fishing. Making good tackle choices is easy – start with your sizeable ‘baits’ in terms of slow pitch and inchiku particularly for snapper, their extra action, extra flap – extra good for the extra-big reds.

Thump, thump…thump!! All good.

 

It’s Autumn BOOM time! Yes indeed the need for fish to feed has ramped up a click or two this past week, and the choices are many not just in terms of fish species you can catch but also the methods to enjoy catching them with. From microjigging and softbaiting the inner shallows and channels in and around the gulf’s islands (lots of anchovies and terns around, Noises, western Rangitoto, northern North Shore Bays, eastern side of Tiri…) to out deeper, the middle ground and beyond. More aggressive style lures and actions are coming into their own now, slow pitching is really getting the attention of bigger snapper.

Figure 1. Going BIG in Autumn! The 10inch Glowing Gurnard Black Label LIVIE, 6oz Stingaz jighead (twin hook rigged) on Kensei slow pitch rod, with the little powerhouse JGX2000 jigging reel. Snapper catching bliss.

Bigger lures with little or no flasher on the assist are in the sights of the big reds, and not just during bite time, more like most of the time. Increasing the hangtime (the time it takes for the jig to drop) with well designed and balanced slow pitch jigs really helps attract fish over to you as well as amp them up to strike. The BOSS is a classic and go-to jig for most slow pitching, also try going longer and bigger with your slow pitch jigs especially if there are kingfish likely to be in the area you’re fishing – something like the Deep V (a personal favourite) and the famous Double Trouble rigged as they come with the hook and leader at the eye end. These longer slow pitch jigs are specifically designed for an increase in flutter and increased hangtime (slower descent) even though they are generally a much bigger style jig. Or if you prefer softbaiting, send down some BIG softbaits, 7-10inch style on heavier jigheads like a 2 – 6oz Stingaz to get ‘em down faster and use a much more aggressive action to target the bigger more aggressive fish. WATCH the video Espresso Report on Catch Fishing Facebook page today and see the action out there for yourself!

Enjoy 😊

Slow pitching is on fire! The BOSS jig, ideal for big reds.

Easter means predictable chaos and many people frantically going slow on roads at times, with weather and fishing a similar scene. Fishing will be very interesting with a full moon on Sunday expect some great fun fishing the skipjack in the outer gulf, and bigger varieties out even further is still on the cards. The tidal current is increasing but still with a nice medium flow, and with a change in air temperature downwards and the water temps are following sooner or later, many fish should be even more keen to feed. So really it’s just the curve ball that the big bright moon influence may throw over the next few days. Toss a coin, and go fishing to find out if you were right 😊. Good inner channel fishing first thing, good drift fishing the open areas for snapper over most of the gulf, tag onto some of the workups that have been popping up in 45m the last week or so, sometimes you’ll simply have a whale of a time, troll for a skipjack out between Little Barrier and the top of Coromandel, and jig a kingfish or two to. There should be some epic fishing tales to be told after this long weekend, enjoy making yours.

A great kick off to the Waikato Fishing Club’s Big 4 pre-Tournament get together and presentation earlier this week, rewarding in many ways, 2 way sharing of fishing ideas, a great night out, and the predicted foul weather – wasn’t!

The Hutchwilco Boat Show’s happy announcement of re-commencement in May, yay! An exciting prospect and one that will no doubt be well attended. Good news.

 

Great fishing weather, plenty of fish variety – yes Autumn is just the best time of year to be out there enjoying catching some fish for the table and having a lot of fun while you’re at it. Action is fairly evenly spread between inshore on change of light, and out deeper throughout the main part of the day in the Hauraki Gulf and many other areas as well. Those monster Macks – the foot long ones are hounding baitfish just down from the lighthouse at Tiri, white terns are hugging coastlines all over the show with surface splashing mackerel and their faithful followers too. Hard to beat the fishing right now, be prepared for the whole spectrum of bite in a day – from oh-so-tentative bites when micros and minimum lure movement is key, to full on charge of the light brigade kind of stuff – which may last a while, or be over in a blink….check out the Espresso Report video on Catch Fishing Facebook page today April 7th… >>>

 

Perfectly still air, perhaps gusting 2 knots, water like spilled mercury from a barometer, yet the odd tell-tale dark patch showing itself on the chrome sea just out from many shorelines – looking closer reveals it’s mackerel all over anchovies as the magnificent sunset changes from lemon to amber over the past few evenings. The sea surface comes alive, boiling, some with – some without seabirds in attendance, especially in these cooler evenings there are many small fields of frenzy. No doubt other fish are keen on joining in from what I’ve observed…kahawai, snapper, and kingfish – although they can be cagey and rather one-eyed times, anchovies or close imitations of it can be the only thing that’ll spark their interest enough to bite. Catching anchovies and live-baiting them is an option I guess, but microjigs are a faster and highly effective alternative (tungsten Pocket Rockets 7gm – 45gm, or lead Microjigs ideal), and your smaller softbaits .

So heading out before or after work for a paddle, a ski…whatever your pleasure. Good times to be had not far from shore right now.

What’s happening out further? Well I’m out there right now, observing the changes and general goings to update you with what’s hot and what’s not! 😊 Speaking of goings on…a very welcome return to being able to share information personally, I’m excited to be able to present:

The BIG 4…lock ‘n load!

April 12th, 7pm Waikato Sportfishing Club, Grantham St., Hamilton, NZ.

Cheers!

Very low and slow tidal current moving around this past week – putting a bit of a dampener on snapper spirits, but this ebb has made for some fantastic sea conditions to be out there enjoying. Forecasters have been on point – remember for the sea state you need to account for swell, not just wind, and tide direction. More coming on reading the forecast better, faster and more accurately so you know exactly what to expect out there, not just what we hope for and misread through rose tinted lens.

Famous Rangi channel pannies – be there first thing in the morning, and disco! Softbait and microjig city, lots of smaller snapper for sure but some nice specimens in amongst the odd kahawai school and the breeding mackerel (in roe) feeding on tiny fast fleeing baitfish/anchovies (pictured below). So likewise many fish follow the bait schools around the general area and up past Rakino, some St Patrick day fish around there too, big green back kingfish!

Thousands of anchovies just below the surface by the famous Rangitoto Island

Anchovies!

Perhaps we have an inkling of Autumn snapper snacking starting? Best way is to fish the inner channels and areas (like just out from the Noises (out of the no-fishing zones) early and get that morning bite.

Upper Firth of Thames has provided some good snapper, just drifting around the baitschools and various sea birds sitting, picking up snapper on smaller lures and jigs with steady easy to eat movements rather than highly erratic energetic style. Mid ground of the gulf has seen some very quiet days snapper-wise.

Lots of little tuna just outside the gulf, still, western Gt. Barrier more so than eastern side, lots more the further north you go too. If they are ignoring your trolled lure, try a really small (10-20gm) white or silver microjig (trolled with hook at rear).

Coming up: The famous Rangi channel and worm beds – see for yourself unique video footage of them and how your technique could be attracting, or repelling fish! Stay tuned…and see everything for yourself. Definitely worth watching!

A massive and magnificent manta ray is around the gulf if you are lucky enough to see this flying fortress, it’s huge! Mantas do not have barbs, they are not dangerous and are often curious of humans.

Researchers on lookout for 6 metre-wide manta ray seen in Hauraki Gulf (msn.com)

I’ll be bringing you more info. Every week throughout the year, thank you for your solid support and the feedback on what you enjoy catching fish with, much appreciated. Coming up – new deep water softbait rigs (6ounce!) so how deep could you fish your whopping big softbaits like a 10inch long one? And if you still know someone who still uses bait, then help them out with the big daddy, highly luminous, bleeding eye, reflecting retina, Tenya styled (for extra fish-catching action)…new Stingaz deep water rigs.

Check the forecast, be in the lee of land if it’s breezy and you could be onto an epic fishing session, snapper, kahawai, kingfish, mackerel – who knows? You if you go fishin’!

Enjoy

Warm summer water of 23c and higher out there in the Hauraki Gulf right now, at the surface anyway and the inshore snapper must be extra-red with sunburn lately with the bright sunny clear skies above whether windy or not. The spa-pool like waters seem to be affecting many of the larger snapper specimens out in the open gulf i.e. snoozing a lot, yet those Young Ones seemingly have an endless ability to bite, the way to grow bigger after all. When the bite is slow and more tentative – the technique has been key to coming home with good snapper i.e. being schooled by the fish as to what they will react and bite at. The best discovery this week was the technique that came

Head over to Catch Fishing Facebook today and watch the winning technique!

up trumps, WATCH: The top tip – on the water live demo- Catch Facebook page today:

Kingfish are a reasonable alternate bet, the usual pins and places out wider in the gulf but also some good specimens are being caught closer in like the Noises and Ahaa’s in amongst the burley trails of stray-liners. Also a few little workups out from the Ahaa’s as well, small but great fun when they light up.

Can you feel it? That instant goosebump surge when you first detect a fish is biting, and you strike, coming up solid, yes…fish on! Treat yourself to a day’s fishing, soul food and much more to be had.

Enjoy