Whether you’re choosing social distancing, or self isolaton at the moment, our social news feeds are full of fishermen chosing the ocean as their prefered social distancing location.

Snapper

Autumn style snapper fishing and fish feeding is now on the aquatic agenda. Switched to ‘On’ mode means aggressive hits and no holds barred fish fights at times this week. So, let’s get ready to rummmblllllle! Lots and lots of bait over the more western side of the gulf. Such an encouraging sight to see on the sounder. With gannets on the prowl over wide areas west of the gulf cable zone, baitfish hunkered down mid to low water all trying to be The Invisible Man. Dolphins either on yet another playtime smoko-break, or a full on hunt. Sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference with these seemingly happy-go-lucky wild companions.

Hurley burley winds, up and down the Beaufort scale is to be expected as Autumn kicks into gear. Not that this seems notably different. Fishing has been this week, as expected last week, very good. Good solid bites spread throughout the day. Good workup activity north of Flat Rock and out by Little Barrier. Acres of schooling snapper just spread out around the open grounds east of the cable zone. Some very good spread out activity just north of Tiritiri late yesterday afternoon too, the snapper were keen. Easy enough to return home with perfect table sized snapper at the moment, drift fishing those skirted lures an excellent choice. Inchiku, Kabura and hybrid variations are so exciting to fish with, and they’re working very well. Have you seen out the new Boss Squid hybrid – a cross between a slow pitch jig and an inchiku?

Snapper bellies with anchovies have been more common out in 50m – remnants of close quarter workups. And with big anchovy schools out over the open grounds, a tell-tale of where to be for that style of fishing. Take note of different seabirds, the more around, the more time spent slowing down and looking on the sounder for the school signs. Then it’s just choose your lure.

How about a micro jig then, light gear, just drifting along open territory. What do you think you’ll catch – gurnard, Dory, kingfish on the drop? Perhaps a feisty solid pannie snapper. Or watch as a mako somersaults in the distance with a backflip display Travis Pastrana would be proud of – as you realise you’re hooked up to it! Perhaps a kahawai, and trevally love micro jigs too.

Kingfish.

The bite around the inner islands of Ahaa/Davids etc has been great. When they have been surface hugging, top water has been the go, every cast a winner. Then, they vanish.

If you have a spin rod ‘n reel – throw a small 20gm or 35gm stick bait (e.g. Zingaz floating stickbaits) around the mangroves at high tide. Or most rocky shorelines. Kingfish are searching the inner reaches of so many easily accessible areas. Sight cast directly to them as they cruise around, the thrill of these fish in 1 or 2m of water is intense!

Game Fish

Skipjack have been noticeable by their absence in the gulf, some no doubt are in under the radar though. And as soon as that wind drops, there’ll be some intermittent relaxing time trolling, awaiting the instantaneous blast of a screaming reel in hyper mode. Let the fun times begin.

Fishing has to be one of the most enjoyable ways to social distance or ‘self isolate’ – being the current main topics of conversation. Perhaps bumping fishing to second place. There are so many different approaches, styles, methods and areas that you and I haven’t even explored yet in terms of fishing. Perhaps the timing is right to reward yourself while staying healthy in body and mind – and go fishing, yes I think it is. You’ve got the gear, maybe a quick update of some essential lures (try not to panic buy). Apparently the longer you stay and enjoy yourself the better for everyone the story goes. It almost seems like our duty.

Fun times fishing ahead, whether isolated or not.

Espresso.

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