Hauraki Gulf

fishing report

Supplied by

Grant Bittle

Catch Fishing

Hauraki Gulf 22nd March 2024
Note: If map is showing it is created by LINZ / New Zealand Hydrographic Authority and made available by Creative Commons 3.0. Maps should not be used for navigation

Lots going on in the Hauraki Gulf right now as the king tides recede. Preparation is important but pattern recognition is vital to finding success.

Catching fish or just going fishing? Tackling this head-on in the latest NZ Fishing News magazine (March '24) is this article. Enjoy a little bit of time out and some perspective on what many consider sacred ground, only talked about in whispers...

King hits and king tides are subsiding. Last week saw one of the biggest tidal movements of the year, with extremely high and low tides, huge currents, and lots of inshore and shoreline fish action as a result. Kingfish, with dorsal fins out in water so shallow, were chasing Kahawai, which were in turn chasing anchovies, reminiscent of "there was an old lady who swallowed a fly". It’s heart-pounding stuff when these big kings are literally at your feet, snaffling the Kahawai you’ve got on the line that’s just hit the nitrous! Yes indeed, tales of excitement and woe abound with yellow tails.

It's happening all around coastlines right now: here one day and we’re all heroes, but the next – it's all moved, and we come up zero. Only the prepared are the victors – so be prepared, like The Last Boy Scout. It's easy enough with a multi-piece rod and spin (easy casting) reel, typically a nice lightweight soft bait setup.

No need for massive tackle bags and an over-abundance of tackle either, but you may need a good reliable lure – yes, even when the Kahawai are feeding in a frenzy, they can be very one-eyed. After trying several different, normally easy-to-catch with spinners, trout lures, and vibrating trolling lures, there were lots of looks and follows but no solid hook-ups. Even the 20gm micro jig was hard work to get a good solid take; anything bigger was just frustrating casting practice, even though the water surface was boiling with fish.

Scrambling around, fingers shaking, and back to the number one go-to, the 7gm Pocket Rocket – as soon as it splashed the surface – whacko! Match the hatch. If you’re keen, also have a go for kingfish, as finding out the hard way on the light gear is devastating. Battling away with a Kahawai charging around the place, doing its best to bust off on the rocks, when all of a sudden it hit the nitrous button, top fuel! Incredible – but what’s going on? Kingfish, that’s what. A solid kingfish, well legal, made its move, attracted by the struggling Kahawai, then several seconds of an amazing scene unfolded. My tiny jig, the good-sized Kahawai (mentally already prepared with ginger, garlic, and home-grown honey on the BBQ), and a big king. Needless to say, I needed re-rigging shortly after. Definitely a small pocket knife to a gun fight.

So get sorted now (it’ll last a little while yet) with rod/reel/jig in the car. See the terns, throw out that anchovy jig. The birds don’t need to be working hard out or right there by you; the fish are still swimming around looking for stragglers in the area – so give ‘em one, a little tungsten one. The tungsten helps you cast much further as it is more dense/heavier than lead; it looks like a miniature baitfish, with perfect graphics, a big red bleeding eye, and the panicked erratic action with a wounded fleshy/flasher on the hook trailing behind.

Personally, in this scenario, I prefer to reverse rig it, by that I mean tying the leader to the jig itself at the opposite end to the hooks, so when retrieved it swims better/straighter, more predictably, so fish can bite it readily. Using light braid helps casting distance with smaller/lighter jigs, as well as light leader, 10lb works wonders. The Kahawai are in roe, so if you’re into caviar, smoked, fresh, fried, now’s the time.

There's lots of opportunity for fishing fun and thrills like this, whether it's opportunistic land-based angling, or heading out somewhere between the north shore/Rangi and Whangaparaoa peninsula areas, and many more under 20m (avoiding the no-fishing zones, of course). There’s almost certainly the telltale surface signs of a few birds flitting around a lot of the time – go there and enjoy. Look after your catch well, and you’ll be fine-dining on beautiful Kahawai, mackerel, perhaps snapper, all caught on this one setup, inshore fishing nirvana.

Terns – your spotters. See these stunners and instantly learn from them what’s going on and where. They are one of the best fish finders there are.

Had enough for the day? No need to blast back at warp speed; troll the same setup, enjoying basking in your day, and you may just hear that reel scream a couple more times. Wonderful stuff, right in the backyard, as it were.

What about the Auckland channels? And who left the fridge door open!? The snapper seem to be making moves – some excellent snapper fishing right under the harbour bridge last week, and a few big snapper (over 60cm) caught around the Waiheke channel and surrounds this week. Perhaps it's a sign of the bigger fish starting their autumn feeding in preparation for winter, with many of them heading out of the gulf along the fish highways. Expect the gulf workups to start upping the volume; that drop in temperature will have a positive impact, at least on the fish. Here’s a great link for reviewing what’s been going on over recent reports – good help with your fishing plans – the NZ Fishing World's Hauraki Gulf reports Hauraki Gulf fishing reports by NZFW.

Full moon, anchovies (and their predators) danger close, channels should have snapper moving through now. Autumn brings temps down, and snapper into feeding mode, and workups are gearing up.

Life’s what you make it, cheers from Espresso!


Head out. Don't splash out.

Make Summer last longer with a Suzuki DF90ATX outboard Fully Fitted for just $15,999! 0% interest per annum for 24 months. No deposit. Plus save $1000

Talk to your Suzuki Dealer today!


Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Survive the Dive
Survive the Dive

Free online dive training for all!

Have you played Survive the Dive? The free online diver training and certification platform is live today for all divers, spearfishermen and recreational skippers of diving boats.

Play quiz

Previous reports

Drop NZ Fishing World a line!

When we get home and clean the boat we'll get back to you.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.