Deepwater Fishing

Top Winter Fishing Secrets

We’re pretty blessed with some amazing fishing and diving here on the Coromandel. One of the cool things is that no month is ever the same, and things change quite markedly with the seasons. It is that variety which keeps the passion there for what we do. Even in the coldest months of June, July and August, there is some amazing fishing on offer. How you plan for and approach a day on the water in these months can be different to the rest of the year.

First and foremost, you can be influenced a lot more by the wind. Those nice high pressure systems that we love skirt the country a bit higher, and if we’re lucky enough to get some settled weather, it usually doesn’t last for long. Typically these months see reasonably strong winds from the westerly quarter, and a day under 20 knots can be reasonably rare. The eastern Coromandel coastline has to be one of the nicest places in the world to hide from a strong westerly wind; there are so many places to hunt for a feed of fish in reasonably settled water. The visibility on the coast can be almost like tropical water, making the diving world class.

A typical day out if I am fishing out of the wind, would see me hunting somewhere between Hot Water Beach and Pumpkin Hill, making sure I pack the dive gear, softbait rods, stick baits and a bit of live-baiting gear. I don’t know why but I seem to do way more diving at this time of year than when the water is warm. The crayfish are certainly around in numbers and the visibility can be superb. Typically, I will drift the weed lines with a sea anchor out, casting softbaits and also have a live-bait down under a sinker. The smaller kings have thinned out by this time, and there are some XOS kingfish haunting the bait fish on the coast this time of year. On those days where the wind dies down, well, you can’t beat a day out wide in winter. Not only are the

Heading out wide and chasing bluenose and bass is a great option

Winter can provide great diving, crystal clear water and crayfish around in numbers

kingfish in prime condition at this time of year, they are generally larger. As the water cools down, they will be holding lower in the water column than you will typically find over spring, autumn and summer. So, with both jigging and live-baiting you will be dropping off the sides of deep structure rather than off the tops of the pins. One of the cool things about winter is, it’s when the hapuku move into the shallows. There is a ledge that pretty much runs right down the eastern Coromandel from Cuvier to south of the Aldermens, on the 110-140m line, and that is where the hapuku move in and hold. It is a great time of year to go prospecting along this depth and look for them. I prefer live-baits over dead-baits. If you haven’t had a bite in the first few minutes, move on, hapuku generally can’t resist a nice-sized livebait. There are plenty of other options on the nice

windows, and it can be some of the best times of year to prospect out wider for bluenose and bass, and the swordfish will hold in there a lot longer than the gamefish, generally not leaving our waters until August. One of the other things I love about winter -nosharktax.We really do seem to have a bi tof a problem with bronzies now, around the outer pins in both autumn and spring; it could be the pressure these reefs are getting these days, while the shark population remains relatively untouched. If the sharks turn up, it is better to just drive away and not do any more damage to the fishery. Seeing kingfish get sharked one after the other ain’t cool. But thankfully over the winter months these big bronzie beasts aren’t around.

Another good option in winter is fishing the islands we have on offer, i.e. the Mercs and Aldermen

Islands themselves. This is prime time for catching good sized kelpies which just love hanging around the shallows putting on condition over winter. Find some current, in places like Korapuke and Red are great for this, and have a good old burley up out of the wind.

Anyway, I hope that whets your appetite for what is on offer over wintertime. Pack the beanie and thermals out get out there and enjoy what the good old ‘Mandel has to offer! If you’re ever heading to the Coro and want to get a bit of intel on what is happening, flick me a message on my Facebook page I’m also in the process of launching another charter boat, a Senator 770, and if you’re interested in learning a bit more about how to fish or dive the Coromandel coast, get in touch on the same page.

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