Great Barrier island, the jewel in the Hauraki Gulf’s crown. It always seems so close yet so far away. Is the fishing really as good as they say it is? In a word – yes.
Wave Dancer, Sandspit owner/operator Peter Bourke, walks us through his thoughts on fishing the Barrier.
1. The Needles – kingfish, snapper
Fishes best when subject to wave motion. Livebaits and stickbaits effective in baitfish activity. Try softbaits in the wash.
2. Foul wide of the Needles – snapper
Fishing the reef margins between 40m and 50m can be productive. Try baited ledger rigs on the bottom with moderate current flow.
3. Hapuka rises – hapuka, kingfish
A large number of rises around the 100m line behind Arid Island hold hapuka and kingfish. Although heavily fished it is a big area so hunting around with a quality sounder will usually find fish. Slow jigs and livebait on the bottom will work if fish are present.
4. Miners Rock – snapper, kingfish
A very productive area if fished correctly. Drifting works best either side of the slack tide. It’s a very rocky bottom so lures are probably too expensive. Hunting the whole area is worthwhile. Tide flow gets heavy so avoid flood situations.
5. Katherine Bay – scallops, snapper, terakihi
Scallop diving around 10m is productive. Drift fishing with softbaits on the 10m line produces good fish in the summer and autumn.
6. Oruapure Bay – snapper, terakihi
Very similar to Katherine Bay, with good softbait fishing to be had. Anchoring around 20m on the western end of the bay and strayling out to sea also effective.
7. Port Abercrombie – scallops, snapper
Scallops can be found in Nagle Cove and Karaka Bay. Often busy though. Reasonable snapper fishing to be had working the magic 30m line on the northern side - try drifting with lures and softbaits. Handy to the shelter of Port Fitzroy.
8. Wellington Head – snapper, kingfish
Many opportunities for strayline fishing with the anchor down and plenty of berley. Trophy fish come out of here. Also worth working the wash with softbaits.
9. Broken Islands – kingfish, snapper
On of the best places on the Great Barrier to fish with your eyes. It’s all about the birds – gulls, terns and gannets. Look for the activity and fish it appropriately. Slow jigs and Kabura will be effective, as will softbaits.
10. Gannet colony, Pyramid Rock – snapper
Literally try fishing by the gannet colony. Just make sure it
is downwind. It is worth watching the direction the gannets are flying in and away from the colony in. It might give you an indication of where to start looking for work ups out wider.
11. Blind Bay – snapper
Softbaiting on the drift around the 20 metre line seems to be the most effective.
12. The Pigeons – snapper, kingfish
This is where you enter work up country. Look for birds, particularly gannets. Brydes whales are often present, which makes for a spectacle. This is the entry point for Colville Channel so be wary of the weather and tidel flow. This place changes from friendly to frightening very quickly indeed.