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Hauraki Gulf Christmas Report

All maps used are created by LINZ / New Zealand Hydrographic Authority and made available by Creative Commons 3.0. Maps should not be used for navigation

Let your summer fishing adventures commence! The New Zealand Christmas trees are bursting with their abundant red-nose blossoms and the Tuis are dive-bombing Wood Pigeons just for kicks, the Summer months are upon us and summer fishing style is well underway. Both east and west coast of the North Island have claimed their first 2020 season marlin, so the big- gamers are on notice while the local snapper are in the midst of breeding so short attention spans are prevalent, kingfish are doing what kingfish do – opening eyes wide with their incredible power on the end of the line whether jigging or top-water.

With the wild winds over the past several days abating, the planets are aligning for some great fishing leading up to Christmas, whatever species you prefer to target.

Good current flow, a good moon, warmer air and sea temperatures, many fish on their way in closer like marlin, tuna, kingfish, snapper.

Inner channels are primed and ready for those wily small water craft to quietly drift along striking those short snapper takes of softbaits or micro jigs.

Still the most consistent snapper fishing areas have been south of Kawau, sometimes in quite shallow, but it literally goes from great fishing to absolutely dead in a very short spell.  When there’s nothing going, well, there’s nothing going!  You just have to move or wait it out and look for signs above and below the water.

Kingfish are still a much more reliable target right now, and there have been some very big specimens landed by gulf standards recently.  Flat rock, on the leeward side of whatever direction the current is running has been doing very well for kings, and the old favourites of Anchorite, Horn Rock, and Channel Island have all produced fish in the right conditions.  What are the right conditions?  All will differ depending on bite time, moon phase, tide direction, and baitfish presence, so there’s no easy answer there.

A good tip is look for bait, and start there.  Towing live baits works well, and most areas around any of our popular reef structures make that worth trying if jigs and stick baits are struggling to work.

Bite times are key, and often, with spawning etc, these are the times to be fishing, not motoring about, so remember to check out the Catch Fishing bite times before you head out (You’ll find them on NZ Fishing World’s site or right here…

Rangitoto channel, Rakino surrounds, Motuhie channel, downtown area of the container terminal and along Tamaki strait are great to target right now – just grub a very light little jighead like a 1/4oz Stingaz with a little 4inch white curly tail ‘Livie’ along the sea floor, sharp short rod lifts and then pause for a few seconds on the bottom ready for that strike.

Further out in the gulf there is an open playground to explore and enjoy whatever may be presented to you by Mother Nature at the time.

Bait schools have been in good supply over the western side of the gulf Kawau-way – similarly the kingfish have been following close behind dodging some whales.

Snapper do spend a lot of time not feeding at present, but a little silvery flash titbit tips the scales on their daily fasting times, and then when they really turn on to biting – swap out those little morsels for bigger much more erratic actioned lures and target those bigger snapper, a BetaBug or Double Trouble style lure is a perfect example.

Made plans for new fishing thrills in 2020?

See you out there, snapper kingfish and maybe a big game fish or two as well…let your adventures unfold, 2020 is but the blink of a fish’s eye away.

Merry Christmas! And will you look at that, the forecast for the 25th is very fishy.



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