The Espresso Report July 4, 2019

The 4th of July, a big bang in the USA with fireworks, feasting and frivolity, a lot like those who have been to Waihau Bay and conquered a big Bluefin Tuna. Some amazing stories of battle, many of woe but healthy numbers of conquerors. Perhaps there will be some trying their luck from Auckland out the back of Great Barrier for the Bluefin?

Back inside the gulf there have some amazing encounters with Kahawai, one of the most amazing fish we have here in NZ and Australia, Arripis trutta, Australian salmon. Kahawai means brave/strong, water – and strong they are! The Firth of Thames has seen good numbers this past week as they feed down into the firth following their noses and rounding up the tiny baitfish schooling there. Targeting the kahawai can be easy, or near impossible, depending on their mood. When they are feeding well most lures can catch them, but they can be very focused at times like when they are surface feeding, or when eyeballing the tiny little almost transparent baitfish of just 2 or 3cm long, talk about just say no! Two things that help – firstly use skirted lures, and when they are on tiny krill like bait – the tiniest of lures darting along can be just the ticket when all else fails. Fresh or freshly smoked kahawai for a winters meal, fantastic.

Snapper are in full on winter mode with the drop in sea temperatures towards winter minimums well underway, this gives rise to some intense but brief encounters with the bigger reds. Out in the further deeper reaches of the gulf is generally the best most consistent bet at present, out in the 50m+ drop off areas down from the Moehau range Coromandel right in and around the Colville channel, drift fish the bottom. Workups are doing what they do, popping up here there and everywhere (or nowhere!). Great fun chasing down that action if wind allows. There are all types of workups, with all types of combatants coming and going depending upon the nature of the workup itself, there is a great deal more than just following birds to catch fish to be successful consistently in this form of fishing.

Kingfish have been making themselves known whether in among the mussel farms (usually with very brief encounters), or out north of Anchorite hounding baitschools in the area, fast moving mirage-like mini-workups are the giveaway to the kingfish presence. Jigging heaven with fast hook-ups, usually on the drop when using an inchiku or slow pitch style of lure which are highly effective to target kingfish when they are chasing bait like this, not just mechanical jigs. Weather windows are on their way, they often come quicker than predicted, so be prepared, get the gear 100% ready and the boat poised all gassed up. When that wind drops – be out there, the winter fishing is on!