Birdwing Newsletter June 4   2015

Winter has arrived with a blast. We have been fishing the channels around Waiheke and the Noises. A lively octopus was hooked north of Motutapu – this time we didn’t risk it slithering over our decks. (see photo).Our regular fishermen have been very generous lately providing crushed mussel  berley.  It lasts longer than the normal salmon berley, and it has greatly contributed to our catch numbers and size. These days our regulars come with cool boxes full of every imaginable enticement. The most popular is fresh mullet fillets soaked in tuna oil for a few minutes. We chum up heaps of raw mussels and refrozen pilchards. Sometimes our baits are masterpieces of design held together with stretch  elastic However we need to be careful when discarding the elastic twine as it can block the automatic bilge pump  Onto pumps-we now have a fancy fountain on board to keep the livies extra mobile and fresh. It’s a Rule (great brand) but the downside is all that trickling makes some of us do a widdle! The joys of fishing.

 In winter we want to explore the outer Gulf more. Weather permitting we will be over on the Arid Is side of Great Barrier. Perhaps we will take our regular boat over and stay a few days. The Colville and Craddock channels are beckoning.

 Micro jigs are proving fun. We have the gear if you want to try.

 About our Skippers. Craig is an experienced seaman who guided us through tropical islands in Fiji, New Caledonia, New Guinea, Vanuatu, the Great Barrier Reef and The Australian East Coast. He is a Queen Scout so knots are his thing.  Judy is also experienced, a little less agile but is the keen one to try new techniques. She is the hunter gatherer of the pair.

 If you would like to customize a day trip to back of Kawau, Flat Rock, Little Barrier, talk to us. Our rates are reasonably affordable. We are mature and tolerant. Catch and release is always our preference. We keep a steady eye on the weather and will try to give you a memorable natural experience.

 Watching bite times and making sure the tide is running whilst we are there means we can customise your fishing trip. Numbers are limited. Only 4 people on Outer Gulf excursions. In close on the shoals we can cater to 7 people. See our overnight options to stay at Great Barrier or alternatively Waiheke Is if you are less adventurous.

January 18th 2014

Waiheke Environs

Success at last using lures & jigs. In Sergeant Passage the current was running Snapper were chasing our pink octopus tails (Berkley Gulp) Half were soon bitten off but they still attracted and caught good sized snapper. Putiki Bay was also successful for soft baits despite the shallows(5 m of water)

Jitterbug Inchiku orange 60g proved deadly for snapper. We used this on conventional overhead reels (PENN) 15kg mono  with Black Magic 40kg trace. We are using better knots and having great results.

Using our soft bait rigs—to join fluorocarbon to braid-- we use a spiders hitch (to double the braid) followed by a 5 turn surgeons loop. We find it easier to do this in calm water( rather than pitching about cursing) At the termination we use a genie clip so we can change lures easily.

As a rule we only have two persons soft-baiting, whilst the others can use either slow jigging rods with lures or real fish bait. Normally bait is used in deeper water >20 or 30 metres. SALTY DOG bait is the best available.  Many of our fishos only use bait.

We followed a few workups with dolphins ,kahawai and gannets all chasing pilchard schools.

My intention is to be available as a mother ship for sea kayaks, mainly for fishing or bird watching  around the Hauraki Gulf. Outer ,more remote areas.If anyone is interested please contact us

It may be more feasible to work in pairs (2 kayaks) Summer or winter.


Straylining for large snapper has been patchy recently

We use a floating smaller hook over a recurve no.5 , 6 or 7., with a smaller sinker above held away by a piece of rubber band. Strips of kahawai do the trick. When our soft-baiters get exhausted they can strayline using the rod holder and drink coffee & juice. Things improve when wind and tide are going in the same direction.

 July 1, 2013. Fishing News

Bottom fishing near Fairchild reef-back of Kawau. Reeled in a few Kingfish (slightly undersize-successfully released) A few pan sized snapper (300+)-these were caught on bonito. Bait was soft so used cotton stretchy to wind around, hooks a bit smaller than our usual 7 or 8. Trevally near rocks. Still enough action to keep us  busy. Planning to design and install awning to protect us from relentless sun.  It will have removable zip sides to enable two of  us to sleep  out extra comfy on trips to Great Barrier using our camp mattress. The rest stay at Lodge accomadation .  Planning for an extra charcoal BBQ as the Gas one seems feeble, taking a long time to heat up. With both going we can cook up a storm. Fishing ideas include revisiting soft baiting in general areas. Making some pouches to keep the tackle etc. Things are more scientific than I ever imagined!

 12th June. 2013

Fishing out the back of Kawau. Medium sized snapper still being caught. Schools of trevally in flowing tidal streams caught on squid & pilchards.  Some trevally were 500cm+, averages 350-400cm. Fun to practise our light game fishing skills—very tasty to eat. Water looked very healthy (blue maumau were following our baits but our hooks were very large 8.0)

Swell was apparent and waves were crashing on the reef but our heavy stable boat handled the anchoring well. We have a cray pot retriever which doubles as an electric winch so we departed before the light rain fell. (See gallery pics of trevally)

Introduction of sight seeing TOURS

Customised tours for small numbers of adventurers. (max 7 persons)
Call 021 1903919 for a personalised Quote.

Venues include:
The Mahurangi Harbour. Bird watching: (includes Big bay, Sullivans Bay, Scotts Landing , plus numerous inner harbour bays-some have ARC campsites. Should anyone wish to stay overnight we will set you up to camp on shore-all meals provided. Alternatively we can mosey along the river to Warkworth historic township taking in the sites-local farms and many moored yachts. Enjoy a feed of Fish n chips prior to our return to Sandspit once again passing gulf islands..

Goat Island Marine Reserve and Leigh Harbour. We will leave Kawau Bay and head North past Tawharanui Peninsular. Note the birdlife.and the open wide spaces.  We may check Cray pots on our return. You will learn a bit about the local fish stocks and how important it is to protect them..

Whangaparoa Peninsula. Visit Manly Beach and Army Bay. Take a long walk in Shakespear Reserve. Observe the preditor free fence and see the increase in bird populations. Enjoy a picnic in the park( food & drinks provided) Tour departs either Gulf Harbour or Sandspit Wharf.

Kawau Island
Bird watching in the bush plus observation of sea birds.(see our Birding Tours)

 Hen & Chickens Islands + Sail Rock vicinity

Deep sea outer gulf fishing

Cruising at 20 knots , Birdwing is a fast alloy boat with a Yanmar inboard diesel engine, well maintained and under MNZ Survey. Your trip can be customised for you and your companions. Some like fishing-others prefer bird watching ,free diving, or snorkelling. Photography is encouraged. Our crew are ocean sailors, naturalists, helpful and patient. Snorkelling and free diving are available (swim platform) BYO wetsuit, (only when nobody fishing.)

NB All activities are weather ,wind and current permitting.

            Gourmet lunch boxes included. BBQ breakfast if you want it. Juices, cider, tea and coffee at intervals. Deck hands have each 25 years experience with blue water trips.(Australia, New Zealand and South Pacific).

             No young children on Deep Sea Tours.

            -Soft baiting rods available for short intervals (used off stern)

            -Trolling rods for bird workups or when moving to a new fishing site.

            -2 speed Game rods for deep water (hapuku) can be hired with stand- up harness for $125/day. These are heavy duty. (or bring your own rods)

Salt ice in huge cool  bins for your catch. We suggest you bring an esky (chillybin) but keep it in your car. Large plastic bags provided to transport your catch. Please bring your own bait. However if you run out we have salted down mullet and bonito. Strips of fresh squid or kahawai would be more successful. We provide berley (its very tricky getting it down deep so we release it at certain depth stages.)We use fish attractant sauces and smelly oils.

Tidal variations need careful consideration. Your skipper will consider all these factors to make catching possible.( with the aid of electronic sounders and fish finders).

Please bring only one bag or backpack per angler. We need the room for large reels,  super  large fish bags and safety equipment. Boat leaves promptly . Please arrive at least 15 mins  prior to departure.

We encourage fish release when possible. Hope to see you on the water.


Great Barrier Island  vicinity. We have the tackle, gear  and time for success. Live bait tank on board. Overnight trips available / or see our all day outer gulf rates. Two full days fishing on overnight bookings. (Max number of overnight anglers 4) Contact us for a quote.

Ladies Fishing trips

Beginners - no problem. Let us help you learn to fish.  Rods and bait available.  Bring along your friends and enjoy a great day out.  Call for a quote  .Minimum  4 persons (max  6).


Z pier Westhaven Auckland Marina, Westhaven drive.  Parking is pay & display.

Sandspit Wharf. Rodney -  Parking on road or Pay&display, $10 per day.

Half Moon Bay. Marina carpark and boat ramp (near ferry terminal)

Marsden Cove. Marina Car Park & Boat ramp.

Omaha. Boat Ramp & Car Park.


Bring sunscreen, hat and shoes suitable for beach and rocks.  Bring a windproof  jacket if the weather looks chilly. Raincoat if needed.