July produced some excellent shallow water snapper fishing but getting the breaks in the weather proved the hard part. Being based on Waiheke certainly made it easier as I could find some sheltered coves tucked underneath the high cliffs of the surrounding Islands.
These were days that would have been hard work had I been launching from the city side, but a 2-3 hour window was often all that was required to fish the best bites with the tides.
I have been following the movements of adult anchovy these past seasons and can see some patterns. The schools are smaller and faster moving as the adults can swim against the tidal flow and often do not get balled up on the surface like the fry that appear later in the year.
Several days were spent working deeper flies below flocks of shearwaters, gannets and terns were around but spent as much time as I did looking for the concentrated bait.The other feature of this scenario is that often the Kahawai and snapper would only chase the anchovy and tail nip them.
A pause of the fly to emulate a wounded prey would produce the hook ups. This didn’t stop me throwing crease flies and getting some surface hits but it required a lot of casting out in the open.
Another winter Kahawai trait is to hunt as singles or small groups to push baitfish out of the kelp.While mooching the kelp lines for snapper in July I had a couple of great quick sessions in the usually quiet bays around Matiatia.
Explosive shallow water crease fly action or a clouser that would also produce the opportunistic snapper that would appear from no where for the party. July also produced a kingfish for a client as an unexpected bonus from a channel marker and I had a serious king bust me off when playing solo, where was the back up skipper when I needed!
Pilchard schools have also made an appearance with a few days of thick masses of baitfish inside of Motuihe Island. All the usual predators were in attendance other than the hoards of other auckland boaties!
The new bow mount Minn Kota is proving deadly with such a quiet and shallow draft hull.It is clear that flys,retrieve,and long casts combined with quietness in the shallows are producing snapper in areas that I spent 20 years driving past. While easy to catch snapper on fly ,doing it reliably and picking the bigger models out of the shallows requires a good set of skills,and fly fishers do it on fly because of this.
August is producing all the aquatic signs of an early spring , Orca are hunting Rays and Dolphins are hitting bait schools around the Island. Kahawai are following the small bait that flow in with the tides and the larger baitfish are making regular, but brief appearances. Unless we get a very windy patch of cold southerlies the whitebait (and other fry ) will produce increasing intensity of Kahawai and Rat kingfish activity on the tides.
Meanwhile the shallow water snapper will hit flies with gusto on the right moon and tide phases. I am off to Kiribati for a week and then full on into the spring season before we hit the Kingfish on the flats time!