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Destination Waiheke

By Bruce "Captain Swish" DuncanNZ Fishing World
Destination Waiheke

Waiheke Island could never be described as an ‘average’ destination, the stand out region for me has always been what is commonly known as the ‘bottom end.’

Waiheke Island could never be described as an ‘average’ destination, the stand out region for me has always been what is commonly known as the ‘bottom end.’

Most consider the ‘bottom end’ to start at Te Whau Point on the northern side of Waiheke and finish at Passage Rock on the southern side. Snapper, kingfish, john dory and many other species are abundant as well as crayfish and scallops if you know where to look.

From East to West Waiheke is approximately 10 miles (18km) in length so it is not a big trip for launches out of the city marinas. With numerous good launching ramps on the mainland from Half Moon Bay to Kawakawa Bay, the bottom end is very accessible for trailer boats in moderate winds from all points of the compass.

Care should be taken when the wind opposes the tide especially on big tides around headlands plus the channels.

The shoreline is rocky and covered in kelp to the east of Te Whau Point right down to Thumb Point.  Carey and Owhiti Bays are very picturesque but the stand out and one of the most beautiful bays in the whole Hauraki Gulf is Garden Cove.

For in depth maps and reports in the Waiheke area click here

Te Whau to Matapihi point

Between Te Whau and Matapihi points good snapper can be caught when the conditions allow the boat stern to face towards the shore. Stray lining unweighted baits into the shore line plus plenty of ground bait and burley is the key to bringing the fish out of the kelp.

 I have eaten a lot of lunches and spent many a night anchored in Carey Bay close to the shore and no matter what time of day or night, I have had at least one bait in the water.

There can be excellent fishing on the sand when the snapper venture out from the surrounding rocks.

It can also pay to put out a live bait as there are often big kingfish lurking around the rocks and in the deeper water giving the local bait fish population a hurry up.

On either side of the entrance to Garden Cove there is a lot of submerged foul, yet very few people bother to fish here. To be fair the first time I fished this area was while sheltering from strong southerly winds.

Some big snapper lurk around the submerged rock structure feeding on the crayfish, limpets and kina.

Spray Rock is a natural target in the area but a little thought is needed before just dropping the anchor. The rock is split with big deep gutters like a cross symbol so use the wind and tide to your advantage . Anchor off the side of the rock so your stern is facing back towards the rock. 

Owhiti – Ruruwhango bay

Owhiti bay is a nice place to kick back and relax for lunch if there is no ground swell sweeping into the bay but it also has a extra few bonuses at times.

A quick snorkel can well be worth the effort as scallops can often be found anywhere from close to the beach in three meters out to twelve meters deep. 

To the west of Tikitikiatongi Point are a heap of large exposed rocks and low foul just off the shoreline that hold both snapper and kingfish year round.

Care needs to be taken to effectively fish the target zone. You need to anchor fairly close in, within casting range of the rocks, so the wind and tide must be from a direction that has the stern of the boat facing into the rocks.

When you have a kingfish strike  close to these rocks, always pull up the anchor and slowly motor out into deeper water before setting the hook.

Ruruwhango Bay is the last bay before Thumb Point; just off the western corner is a rock with a deep gutter between itself and the headland. Given the right conditions this spot can really fire especially on the change of light approaching the top of the tide.

Not far off this section of Waiheke coast it drops off to around 22 – 29 m. Drift fishing or soft baiting is the best way I have found to catch fish in this depth as there is little foul to hold fish. Often the best fishing in the deeper water can be at the change of light and just into the dusk on the incoming tide.

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