As you may know I sometimes work as a skipper for FishnDips Charters. Last Saturday we drove all around the gulf looking for bigger snapper and tried many likely areas that have worked well in the past at this time of year. We tried west and east of Anchourite, the 50mtr contours, south of the Pidgeons (Gt Barrier), Channel Is. And Square Top Is. (Colville), and all down the Coromandel Coast.
We finally found some average size models in 20mtrs off Te Whau point where all the bait had been rounded up (35-50cm).
It was late in the day and the pressure was onto catch my clients some bigger fish. It seemed like all the hunting and exploring was not going to pay off, and I was in two minds whether I go south up the Firth or head over to bottom end of Waiheke Is. I made the right decision and we hit the jackpot about 2 miles SE of Gannet Rock (bottom end Waiheke Is.), where the birds were working. It was glassy flat and we could see the bait and predators working around us (sharks, rat Kingis and KY). We dropped 100-130gr Jitterbugs down on the big balls of bait and Wham bigger fish came on board! They were very angry and fought hard in 32mtrs taking line on many occassions.
We finished up with fish between 55 and 76cm, which were either apricot in colour or very pale, but fat as.
The smaller jigs we had used earlier were not getting hit by these bigger fish (only pannies again).
I think the change has happened and we will now be into some great workup fishing again as the fish finish their spawning and start to eat again. They have also moved in close so you have many options.
See you out there.
Cheers Capt. Snap (Nik)