February proved to be a great month in the Hauraki Gulf. Large numbers of Skipjack Tuna and Kingies provided fantastic light tackle sessions in the 40 metre grounds.
Anchovy meatballs have been a regular occurrence, which has attracted a mixed bag of species.
Snapper are in the shallows by the plenty and stray lining with pilchards’ last thing in the afternoon, at the bottom end of Waiheke, have been epic.
Solid winter moochers will be moving into the shallows around the Hauraki Gulf Islands and will stay resident until late spring.
Game fishing has been very good; angler Peter Malcolm from Waiheke Island played a solid Blue Marlin for one hour on 60kg tackle. The fight was epic as the big blue stripped 650 metres off the reel in the initial run. The hooks pulled right at the boat but what a display.
Well done Team Waiheke on that effort.
As summer concludes and autumn begins we are filled with great anticipation, as for many of us this is our favourite part of the fishing calendar.
Book now for great winter fishing. Here’s what it was like out of Whitianga last August:
The entire epic fleet has been frantic over the last few months with single day and many multi-day trips. The easterlies have sadly been persistent but we’ve managed to bounce our way through most of them.
The fishing has been phenomenal with personal best kingies being achieved daily as seen below.
This yellow tail King fish estimated at 20+Kg was caught on a Shimano Anarchy PE8 rod coupled with an Ocea Jigger reel.
On the game fishing front Tom, one of our Epic skippers, has put in the hours and managed some lovely marlin including a few off the West coast.
The welcome arrival of yellowfin and the odd bigeye had the Mercury Bay Fishing Club members buzzing. This is the second year in a row they have made their presence known in such plentiful numbers. Acres and acres of mahi-mahi have also been found with some being of epic proportions. The Striped Marlins have been in nice and close with many being caught inside the 130 metre line. Pack attacks have been a frequent occurrence with both the middle ground and the hook offering very consistent fishing. The odd really nice blue Marlin showed up through March and there are a few stories of mammoth battles that didn’t end well! But that’s why its called “fishing” and not “catching” I guess
Where do I start! These green-back beauties have really lived up to their reputation for being low down dirty fighters. All have been in prime fat Coromandel condition reminding us why we are so lucky to be able to offer one of the most desirable Kingfish fisheries in the world. Up north of Cuvier early December/January the sizes were down a little but with plenty of 60 fish days. We focused more on a few local reefs closer to home, producing multiple fish over the 20kg range daily.
March has blown us away with some of the best fishing we’ve seen. We’ve been letting 16 and 17 kg Kingfish go at the side of the boat because, on given days, they were merely rats as the average was in the mid 20’s.
The fishing was consistent right through March and we hope it continues into April. Every bit of structure shallow or deep appear to be holding great fish but the further north you go it does appear that a few smaller fish are still in abundance amongst the odd big boy.
Nicely caught in the shallows while hunting for bait fish.
Epic customers release most of the fish they catch.
Also for the jiggers, it’s kind of become Barracuda central up past Cuvier. So many a quality jig has been lost to these toothy critters .The bay’s been graced with its morning kingies, whilst bait fishing, with many groups catching their fill before leaving the bait grounds for the day.
Hapuku have been very welcome over December /January with some mammoth fish being caught. There were many around the 15 to 20 kg bracket but one fish that stood out onboard the boat Epic was a Hapuku that weighed 35kg and was caught on a jig.
Many of the inshore reefs seem to be holding nice amounts of these tasty morsels. It’s really just the luck of the draw on the day as to whether we stumble across these bronzed beauties or not.
Shimano Ocea Jigger strikes again.
All the pins have been holding amazing numbers of quality Snapper with several around the 8 kg bracket coming off live-baits. I did a few days on the Coromandel side and cracked some beauties on some 80 and 100 gram slow jigs.
Nice John Dory by-catch.
Bait’s being pretty easy with fish at the wharf and in the bay so it’s helped us minimise the amount of jigging our guys have had to endure. Many days the tanks were full in a matter of minutes.
Predictions moving into April
With the days shortening through April I’m picking the kingies will hold in size and condition. As long as the rain doesn’t become too much of an issue the bait should be pretty easy at the wharf and in the bay. The gamefish will still be around but not in the abundance that the previous months have shown. The Snapper fishing will hold its consistency on both sides of the Coromandel Peninsula and the Hapuku and others will make an appearance on the odd occasion, mixing the bag up nicely.
The weather should remain pretty settled so we are all set for some outstanding fishing to continue as it has previously over the last couple of months.