Page 1

ISSUE 10 July 2011



// NZFisher gets

Fresh with Trout // LORD HOWE ISLAND! 1

THE RUM THAT INVENTED RUM Enjoy the adventure, drink responsibly 2

CONTENTS Pg 6 SPORTFISHING 6 The Last Paradise -Part 1 GAMEFISHING 10 The NZLBG Nationals, Part Two BOATFISHING 14 Carrots on the Muddy


Interesting Facts: The Guts Of It




Fishing Video of the Month





NZFisher gets fresh –

We discovered Trout!


Regional Reports

Pg 14 3


//From the

EDITOR Winter is a hard time to fish. It’s not

Like so many Islands of the South

just the weather or that the fish seem

Pacific, Lord Howe is something

slower to bite. It’s just not as pleasant

of an angling hot spot. Their

as lazing on the water under the spring

remoteness, strong cultural ties to

or summer sun. The southerly storms

fishing & progressive marine parks

of the last few weeks have kept most

programme makes for an incredible

fishers off the water whether they

recreational fishery. It seems in this

wanted to fare the cold or not.

area the Australians have got it right. Martin’s talk at the RFC hammered

The freeze in the south will keep the

home the need for realistic,

trout fishers at bay too. For the first

sustainable funding.

time we’ve bought Trout into the NZFisher stable with a great article

He was far from shy about the only real

from Australian Len Olyott who was

option that the majority of the world

over here for the NZRFC Conference

has turned to. You can watch Martins’

in New Plymouth. Admittedly Taranaki

presentation here. At the end I even

is not the Trout Mecca that jumps to

heard the editor of NZ’s biggest fishing

mind when you think of Trout spots

magazine surprisingly state he’d pay a

in NZ but Lens article will open a few

license if the conditions were right. You

eyes on the areas potential.

never know, maybe there is something to be said for user pays?

Also joining Len to talk at the conference was Martin Salter, former

Well license or no license, if the

British politician & spokesperson on

weather stays the way it is we won’t

Angling in the UK. Martin is also a fresh

be seeing a good feed of fish for a

water fisho, but having spent more time

while unless it’s from the shops!

on the water in more countries than I can count, he seems to have found his saltwater Eldorado in Lord Howe Island.


Happy Fishing!


ABOUT / Short and sharp, NZ Fisher is a free e-magazine delivering thought provoking and enlightening articles, and industry news and information to forward-thinking fisher people.

EDITOR / Derrick Paull ART DIRECTOR / Jodi Olsson GROUP EDITOR / Trudi Caffell CONTENT ENQUIRIES / Phone Derrick on 021 629 327 or email derrickp@NZ ADVERTISING ENQUIRIES / Phone Richard on 09 522 7257 or email ADDRESS / NZ Fisher,


C/- Espire Media, PO Box 137162, Parnell, Auckland 1151, NZ WEBSITE / www.NZ

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The Last Paradise -Part 1

When it comes to places that you should fish before you die, Lord Howe Island is right up there as a must-visit location. MARTIN SALTER finally gets to tick a much anticipated box on his personal fishing bucket list. Reproduced courtesy of FishingWorld Australia

Ben’s hooked up!


bie, right, helps LHI local Gary Crom hardof the lagoon’s Martin land one ng, rod busting fighting, bread scoffi silver drum mer.

hard fighting, e of the lagoon’s Martin lands on mer um dr r sting silve scoffing, road bu


Gary Sexto n,

Local chart er operato r with a ty pical LHI Wahoo

The following story has been

those rare places in the world where

With surf beaches and rock platforms

provided by Martin Salter, a

a mad-keen fisherman can spend

on the west, the maze of the Admiralty

British Member of Parliament and

time catching that faraway fish of

Islets to the north and the world’s

Parliamentary Spokesperson for

a lifetime and still remain happily

largest ocean stack in the shape of the

Angling. Martin has been based in

married at the end of the holiday.

550m Balls Pyramid to the south, Lord

Australia for 18 months and this

Howe has every type of natural fish

story is written for an Australian

What’s more I reckon one of the best

audience. Never the less, I’m very

is less than two hours flight from our

grateful to Fishing World and Martin

temporary home in Sydney. Lord Howe

The Islanders enjoy a unique lifestyle

for the opportunity to publish this

Island is piece of unspoilt paradise on

aimed at preserving their pristine

article over two issues.

30 sq kms of rock hidden away in the

environment. A strict limit of 400

holding feature imaginable.

Tasman Sea and is the perfect place

visitors at any one time controls on

AS an Englishman enjoying a year-

for a couple to enjoy a romantic yet

new development and numbers of

long fishing sabbatical in this wonderful

adventurous holiday together.

vehicles coupled with a permanent

country, I’ve been privileged to have

population of just 350 has ensured

visited some amazing places and to

Discovered some 18 years after

that Lord Howe has avoided the

catch fish that were once only the stuff

Captain Cook’s first voyage by

ravages of commercial exploitation.

of dreams. On the windswept winter

Lieutenant Henry Lidgbird Ball,

surf beaches of Fraser Island and in

commander of the First Fleet ship

This is place of honesty boxes and

the stifling heat of the mangrove-

Supply en route to Norfolk Island

friendliness – a reminder of a bygone

lined estuaries of Arnhem Land I’ve

to establish the infamous penal

age – where no door is locked and

experienced Boys Own fishing trips

colony, this small island contains the

keys are never removed from the

that will stay with me forever.

southernmost coral reef in the world.

ignition. Lord Howe is well known for

However, my wife has somewhat

With almost 500 species of fish, 90

attracts visiting anglers from all over

different holiday priorities. These often

different types of corals and such an

the world. With no commercial fishing

require levels of comfort that would be

abundance of flora, fauna and other

in the island waters covered by the

hard to find aboard a wave-tossed boat

marine life it came as no surprise that

marine park boundaries, a number of

or in some remote and dusty campsite.

Lord Howe was declared a World

the charter operators regularly provide

Luckily Australia contains some of

Heritage Site in 1982.

fresh, line-caught fish to the hotels

its kingfish and wahoo fishing and 7


40ft Blackwatch Double Trigger is pioneering some pretty exciting billfish action just three miles out from the island’s one and only jetty. But it’s not all about beefy tackle and big game species – there’s another side to fishing at Lord Howe Island that’s just as rewarding and possibly more challenging. Reef action The majority of the western shoreline is protected by an extensive reef system creating a substantial, shallow and crystal clear lagoon that is fishable in all but the most extreme conditions. Gary Sexton, Local charter operator with a typical LHI Wahoo

and restaurants. This practice has

customer choice is reasserting itself –

caused some controversy of late with

as it rightly should.

complaints from customers wishing to exercise their right to practise

Further offshore there is a marlin

catch and release. The message now

fishery that is hardly touched,

appears to be getting through and

although Garry Sexton and his


The lagoon teems with life and is home to some unique fish that can be caught by sight casting from a small boat – surely one of the most exciting fishing methods of all. For me the kingies could wait as it was this light line, shallow water sportfishing


that was my primary quest on a recent

Crom runs Oblivienne Sportsfishing

visit to Lord Howe. In particular I

which currently operates two boats:

wanted to achieve the local lagoon

a five metre Mako side console for

The same jetty that provided cover

grand slam of a trevally, a silver

inshore and lagoon fishing and a

for shoals of fish including trevally and

drummer, a bluefish and the strange

larger Eagle Ray centre console for

some resident, and apparently difficult

looking double-header in a single

offshore work. He and his wife Viv, no

to catch, big silver drummer. Since I

session. This last species is a strong,

mean fisher herself, also run one of

wasn’t due to meet Crom until late

bruising fighter and appears not unlike

the island’s general stores containing

morning in order to get the best of the

a Maori wrasse but is found only on

a tackle shop and bakery. This turned

sun and the tides I sneaked in a little

Lord Howe.

out mighty handy since we were fishing

session before breakfast. I watched

with bread for fish that proved pretty

the drummer steadfastly ignoring my

adept at stealing our hooks.

free-lined bread whilst mopping up the

My fishing guide was friend and Lord Howe angling guru Gary Crombie, an

was only a five-minute walk to the jetty.

loose offerings with gay abandon.

Islander descended from some of the

Now my partner Natalie and I

early settlers whose local knowledge

were lucky enough to be staying

All was not lost however, as beneath

is second to none. It was “Crom”

at the beautiful Arajilla Retreat

the big silver drummer lay the not so

who first encouraged me to visit Lord

situated towards the northern end

shy trevally and once Crom arrived

Howe and sample its special fishing

of the lagoon. Quite apart from the

to pick me up I was able to claim

and who promised me something a

sumptuous food, spacious apartments

that a quarter of our target had been

little different to simply towing lures

and gorgeous grounds, Arajilla had one

achieved, albeit accidentally and of

around the ocean.

great advantage for visiting anglers – it

somewhat diminutive proportions!.

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As used by the NZ Defence Force! 9


The NZLBG Nationals, Part Two Story by Saul Harman

Editor: After Saul’s epic first day in

we were once again planing on open

kahawai in the burley, only today they

last month’s issue, can we possibly

sea again. It suddenly occurred to

were matched in numbers by snapper.

expect anything more?

me, looking back at the land from

I have had many a time on the rocks

our dinghy; I was looking south at

where snapper would come up out

Day Two:

the northern most coastline of New

from under a ledge and take a chunk

We awoke to another pretty still

Zealand. Doesn’t get much more

of pillie or have a nosey at the burley

morning. With reports of the

remote than this – Let’s get into it!!

but this was something else. These

swell dropping along the north,

snapper were taking on the kahawai,

Ben suggested we launch out of

It seemed that we hadn’t got out

swimming about on the surface and

Tapotupotu and head towards a

of bed early enough this morning

smashing any morsel as it hit the

couple of ledge’s he knew that had

as the two ledges that Ben had in

water. And not just small snapper

produced good kings in the past.

mind already had guys on them! Not


Sounds good to me I thought!

to worry, this was a long stretch of coastline and we soon found a good

Eventually this became a problem.

While the bust out through the

looking ledge that was managing to

We needed big baits for big snapper

surf ended up in us getting pretty

stay pretty dry.

and catching kahawai was becoming

drenched (thank god for GoreTex),

difficult as the snapper became more

I would chose this over crossing the

As if a repeat of the day before, we

and more aggressive. They seemed to

bar any day. Within minutes Ben had

had livies out within half an hour

be more predatory and dominant than

us out the back of the breakers and

of landing. There were masses of

the kahawai who were competing for



our baits. I can remember us all having

While Ben and Mark were weighing

these trevs when a king of around

a laugh at each other at one stage or

this fish I had cast out another big fat

the 10-12kg mark turned up in the

another as someone would curse the

kahawai section. This time the bait

burley. Oh well I thought – bit of fun! I

“f***** snapper” while trying to catch

reached the bottom and I could feel

hooked a pillie through the head and

kahawai for bait!

it being touched up. A few moments

cast it in the kings direction. Within

later it was picked up and the fish

seconds I was hooked up and line was

As with yesterday a good snapper bite

took off. I locked it up and could not

peeling of the Stradic. This is a bloody

seemed to build just after lunch. We

believe the weight after I struck. The

waste of braid were my thoughts I

were throwing back good numbers

15-24kg T-curve doubled over and line

held the rod high trying to slow this

of fish in the 3-5kg range and the hits

was peeling off the sloshie.

fish in vain.

one stage, Mark and I cast out baits

I couldn’t believe the power behind

“Take it easy bro, big kings have been

at the same time. They hit the water

this fish as it stormed off for the

landed on pretty light gear” were

within seconds of each other.

foul like a steam train. I was leaning

the words of advice as I settled into a

back with everything I had but it was

good tussle for the next ten minutes.

were getting increasingly harder. At

Mark’s got picked up first and he was

not stopping and shortly after I was

into a solid fish. Within seconds mine

dragged through the foul and dusted!

On it’s couple of lightning fast runs

was also picked up and I came up

I don’t like to call a fish if I don’t see it

the fish seemed to run out of steam

solid too. These fish were coming up

but, without a doubt, this would have

just before spooling me and I was able

from the bottom and smashing the big

been a new PB for me!

to regain just enough line to cope

baits as they sank through the water

with it’s next run. By this time I was

column. After a solid run I dropped my

Many more snapper were landed by

standing on the highest most point I

fish but Mark was into a good tussle.

all and many more released. Again, as

could on the ledge, trying to keep the

A few minutes later a solid red was

the snapper bite slowed our attention

braid away from the rocks.

washed up the rocks with the swell and

turned to the trevs that were in good

Mark had a new PB. This was a great

numbers in the burley. I had brought

The fish was heading around to the

fish and while we called it for 20 it was

my 4kg SP setup with me today and

left of the ledge and there was no

unfortunately just shy.

was enjoying sight fishing a few of

further I could go without a sharp 11


climb down a couple of metres to the

other than something harassing Ben’s

Unfortunately for us day three was

left, into a gutter and back up the

livie for a few minutes there had not

our flop day. After getting swamped

other side. Foolishly I decided to do it.

been any sign of a decent king all day.

by two big breakers in the surf on

My first step saw me loose my footing

There were still some decent trevs in

our way out things never got much

and that was it – head over heels into

the burley but the snapper bite had

better. The swell had obviously

the crashing swell!

slowed and the swell had picked up.

picked up overnight and we weren’t

Best to get off the ledge safely and go

able to land where we had hoped. In

get a hot shower we thought.

fact, we ended up moving twice due

Thankfully I was able to find a footing as the swell ripped out and by sheer

to the swell smashing up over the

luck was able to grab my rod and

Back at the weigh-in it seemed we

ledges we were fishing and making

reel before it was ripped out too! It

weren’t the only ones who had had

them too dangerous to fish.

wasn’t until I was standing safely on

a good day. No kings were weighed

the ledge, dripping wet with shaking

today (although a few had been

The last move saw us deciding to

hands that I realised I was still wearing

tagged) but once again big snapper

retrieve the boat and re-launch

my sunnies! However, looking down

started to poke their lumpy heads from

at Parengarenga in the hope of

at my bleeding hands, knees and legs

bags and bins as everybody gathered

live baiting up a king. However, I

I realised just how completely I had

around the scales with the biggest

hadn’t banked on me leaving the

been owned!!

going somewhere around the 10kg

headlights on and finding a flat

mark. Spared for another day I thought

battery back at Tapotupotu.

Shortly after this we called it a day.

with a smile and took a satisfying swig

The snapper bite had slowed and

from a fresh cold steiny :)


After an hour of sitting on a beached


hull on an isolated northland beach it

all the excitement and extremities

I can ever remember eating. The

started to feel a little like an episode

of the previous three days there

drinks were flowing and the stories

of “I Shouldn’t Be Alive”. Thankfully,

was something very relaxing about

and banter continued around the fire

just as I was contemplating who

standing on a comfortable sandy

late into the night.

would taste better, Mark or Ben,

beach, fishing a still harbour as the

a car turned up and we were able

sun set over the hills in the distance.

to get a pull start. Yeehaa, let’s go!

This was my first taste of both the Far North and a NZLBGC comp. Both blew

Down to the beach, back the trailer

That night at weigh-in many more

me away and I will most certainly be

up to the boat and what do you

20lbers were hung from the scales

back – after all, there is a big old yellow

know... No winch handle! This just

including one that went 10.22kg.

and green sub buzzing those ledges

wasn’t our day.

Luckily for me though, 11.26kg

with my name written all over it.

remained the heaviest of the comp I’ll spare you all the details but

and my first fish with the landbased

If you are interested in joining the

eventually we ended up having a few

club had been a memorable one.

NZLBGC or would like to know more. visit or contact

hours in the Parengarenga Harbour gathering a few fresh fillets for the

That evening a massive communal

President, Scott Bradley on 021 428

evenings’ communal fish and chips.

inner of fish and chips was cooked

219. It’s well worth the minimal joining

from plates of fillets donated by

fee and a great way to meet loads of

While it wasn’t quite the hardcore

those fishing the comp. This was the

other LBG fishos. You’ll learn heaps

rock fishing we had come for, after

single best meal of fish and chips

and meet some great people too.



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Image published courtesy of


Carrots on the Muddy Smudge share’s his finely honed skills By Michael ‘Smudge’ Parker



Gurn ard rig courtesy of www. Image published

bottom hook

Gurnard are an interesting fish

on top of their heads. Most apex

and another further up the trace. I

for many people, the first thing a

predators have eyes at the front of

think that second hook is the secret

novice fisherman will notice is their

their faces and most animals that are

to their success. It gives any gurnard

striking appearance, next it will be the

hunted have them on the sides of

in the area a good visual signal that

croaking noise they make when they

their heads. Gurnard are hardly an

there is food nearby. The hackle

are lifted out of the water and thirdly,

apex predator and being a fish that

or flash adds to that visual appeal,

well that will most likely be the nasty

generally swim hard on the sea floor

perhaps mimicking a shrimp or small

little spikes behind their head.

they need to see what’s above them

crustacean. The gurnard will swim

for survivals sake. As fishermen we can

over to where he sees the action

use all these traits to our advantage.

and then sensing the lower bait will

A quick search on Google will show that these colourful fish can be found in

decide that is an easier meal and

many parts of the world in some form or

Ask any gurnard hunter how to catch

take that. They will certainly take the

another. In New Zealand we mostly get

gurnard and almost every time you

top bait and often do, but most of

red gurnard although spotted gurnard

will be told to use a flasher rig. Most

your fish will be on the bottom hook.

can be caught and I believe one or two

likely you will be told that pink is the

smaller varieties can also be found.

best colour to use for your flashers.

Another advantage a flasher rig may

The next most popular rig these days

have over a straight dropper rig is

Gurnard are generally caught over

would probably be some form of soft

that the current or any movement

sandy or muddy sea floors where they

baiting. Pretty simple really but if we

will cause the hackle/flash a little

prey on small fish and crustaceans.

think about why those rigs work so

extra movement which will also

Flounder, stargazers, crabs and

well it will help to understand a little

catch the eye of an inquisitive fish.

shrimps are all common natural

about the fish and hopefully that will

Even the best gurnard fishermen

foods for them. Gurnard have a set

mean more fish in the bin.

will use flasher rigs but I think there

of ‘feelers’ near their mouth which I

are a few things you can do to make

believe they use to flush out crabs and

Starting with flasher rigs we need to

them even more effective. One is to

other mud dwellers.

start thinking about why they are so

choose a rig tied with recurve hooks,

effective. A feature of flasher rigs is

the other is to bait them just right,

I also believe that gurnard rely heavily

they have a sinker at the bottom of

hopefully I’ve explained that well a

on vision, their eyes are perched

the rig with one hook near the sinker

little further on in the story. 15


The authors son, Matthew with a nice 1kg gurnard caught in 5m in the Waiuku Channel the first weekend of July. It won him first junior gurnard prize in the CSFC Ice Breaker competition.

I am lucky enough to have fished

sinker preferably with the bottom

Even in 2 metres of water you can

with some very good fishermen and

hook tied to sit on the bottom when

get big gurnard right below the

two in particular who also shared

the sinker is lying down.

boat, they aren’t fazed by it. Get

my interest in catching gurnard (but

your baits in close to the burley and

mostly we just swapped stories,

I use a smallish bait on a 3/0 to 6/0

you’re away. I think my way of fishing

drank beer and told lies) are John

recurve hook. The top bait is usually

with a dropper rig works best when

Moran and his great mate the late

a longer narrow strip bait which gives

dropped straight down anyway, I

Tiny Coe. Although we all shared

the rig a little bit of action. A squid

guess that’s why it’s called a dropper

some common ideas there are many

tentacle works really well although I

rig! We all agree though that the

thing we also do differently so just

don’t consider squid a great gurnard

autumn and winter months in - our

remember that no one told these

bait. Skipjack tuna (bonito) is widely

areas at least - is the best time to

‘rules’ to the fish, all these things

accepted as the best gurnard bait, I

catch them.

written here are just my thoughts.

certainly use it although I think that mullet and kahawai are every bit as

Some benefits of winter gurnard

One thing I do differently to John is

good, but many others including my

fishing: they are in prime condition, the

I don’t use flasher rigs. The reason

friend John will disagree.

first weekend of July we managed 20

being is that a flasher rig will cost me

gurnard between three of us and 5 were

more and I fish for the table. My little

Another point John and I disagree

a kilo or more. My best was 1.15kg - a

fishing hobby costs me a fortune and

on is the use of burley, I use it,

good fish but not huge and any fish a

if I can help to justify it by feeding

he doesn’t. If you are berleying

kg or heavier is a very good one – and

my family then that’s what I will do.

for gurnard get it on the bottom.

it was 44cm long. In summertime I’ve

I tie my dropper rigs in light line,

Gurnard will come right up to the

caught fish of an identical weight but

preferably 10kg. I use a tear drop type

burley pot and aren’t shy of boats.

they were up to 48cm long.



I’ve told you my thoughts but what

braid or 4kg mono as my ideal line

of silly light gear are very effective at

I haven’t explained is how to make

weight. Because virtually all of my

snipping through traces. Well this is

a dropper rig work more effectively.

gurnard fishing these days is on the

twice as long as I was hoping to write,

It’s quite simple really. I keep the line

Manukau Harbour on Auckland’s

so softbaits, alternative rigs, filleting

between the rod tip and the sinker

West Coast I may use heavier gear if

etc will have to wait for round two as

taut giving just enough movement

sharks and rays are out to play and it

will recognising a gurnard bite.

to allow that tear drop sinker to lift

is difficult at times to get your gear

up onto it’s tip and lie back down

back from a big eagle or sting ray.

flat again, just a nice slow action

I will just give one little bit of advice. My biggest regret with fishing is I

that will allow the fish to see the bait

It is certainly possible to get even a

haven’t taken the time to learn how

from the corner of it’s upward facing

large ray to the boat on light gear

to take a good photo. Gurnard look

eye. A trick worth experimenting

but it can take up hours of valuable

spectacular when their large colourful

with would be to add some bling or

fishing time and quite honestly the

pectoral fins are spread out. Once

colour to that sinker.

novelty of catching large rays of light

they are dead their fins fold back so

tackle wore off a long long time ago.

get your pics while they are live. Hold

Of course the same action will help

underneath the fish’s head with an

a flasher rig too, please remember I

Another common by catch for me is

upturned hand allowing the body of

never said my way was better than

seven gill sharks, once again relatively

the fish to lay up your arm, his ‘wings’

a flasher rig, just cheaper! Light line

easy to get to the boat but once they

will be colourful and spread out. Good

also helps to keep in touch with your

get to the surface they go nuts and

luck with the fishing and give gurnard

bait and by choice would fish light

although not likely to take out 300m

a go for a real tasty winter treat.

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The Guts Of It

I came across this excel-

hand man on the ITM Fishing Show

lent thread on

created a thread on the gut contents

recently while thinking about

of gamefish last season. Go here

the best livebaits for Broad-

to have a look, but be aware there

bill & subsequently Marlin.

are some pretty messy shots so it’s

Kezza, Matt Watson’s right

published with an advisory!

Competition This month’s competition is pret-

stream creek that flows into Lake

ty simple. In this case, we’d like you

Elsmere, just south of Christchurch.

to guess the weight of Adams HUGE

Hearts creek is renowned for its

Brown Trout. To make it interesting,

large fish. Especially when fly fishing

we’d like you to guess in pounds

at night. There are plenty of big fish

– like these freshwater fisho’s are

in there that are primo to look at and

keen to! Our prize is a mixed bag of

even more fun to fish for.

tackle goodies worth over $100 I didn’t have a camera on me at the Here’s a few words about Adams

time of landing this fish so the pic is

catch and the country he’s fishing;

from later that night. This fish was caught last season, before the quake.


The fish in the competition photo

Go to our facebook page to make

was from Hearts creek. It’s a little

your guess.


Fishing Video of the Month Jigging from a Jet ski? What next!

Check out this inspiring jetski fishing video from Des Flurane, and YouTube contributor and kingfish slayer too if this vid is anything to go by! And here’s a bit more Jetski fishing, but this ones from South Africa – interesting species including Yellow Fin Tuna. Anyone remember what they look like?! And just for the landbased team, here’s a mate of mine from indoor cricket landing a King from the rocks at the Paku, Tairua. Matt had just cast out a half pillie for a snapper when his king hit and hit hard. The video’s a bit blocky, but you get the picture. 19


NZFisher Gets Fresh – We Discovered Trout!

By Len Olyott

Australian Fisheries scientist &

find fish, they will usually be around

September which seems to make for

keen trout angler Len Olyott

in numbers either getting ready to

a sensible compromise. Regulations

came across for the 2011 NZRFC

spawn or having recently completed

do change from season to season so

Conference in New Plymouth early

spawning, they will be looking for a

it is vital to consult the Fish & Game

in July. As a sweetener for the trip

free feed of nutrient rich trout eggs –

website for the latest regulations.

we set Len up with Taranaki local

hence the egg patterns.

Trout guide Kyle Adams

The Taranaki Region is one such Rotorua and Taupo are well known

region which offers keen trout anglers

Taranaki Winter Trout

destinations for their winter fishing and

the opportunity to tackle good quality

Flyfishing for trout in winter on the

the Tongariro River spawning runs of

trout, both brown and rainbow in a

North Island is not impossible, you just

steelhead rainbows are world famous.

variety of settings that remain open

have to be committed and prepared.

In fact, at one stage in the history of

over the winter months. The sheer

Prepared for the cold with appropriate

the fishery, the average sized fish was

range of fishing opportunities within

layers and waders – wet wading is

between 8 and 10lb. The problem w---

easy access of the main centre New

not an option and prepared for the

ith famous rivers is that they are prone

Plymouth is astounding and it’s

fish with a full range of flies including

to becoming crowded and waiting

somewhat confusing as to why more

a few egg patterns. You have to be

for a turn to fish a popular beat is not

people don’t talk about the Taranaki

committed to putting in a lot of casts

everyone’s idea of a good time.

as a prime trout destination.

trout usually have one thing in mind

Thankfully there are other options

Mount Taranaki/Egmont is a 2518m

and it’s not feeding. Winter time

available and several Fish & Game

high dormant volcano with your

means that typical trout fare like

Regions offer year round fishing in

typical Mt Fuji conical shape.

mayfly nymphs and other underwater

many rivers and lakes. Of course, it’s

This coincidence was not lost on

beasties are at their lowest stocks and

not exactly in the best interests of the

Hollywood and the region proved the

the cooler water temperatures also

fishery to disturb spawning fish so in

perfect substitute for 19th Century

make the fish less inclined to actively

most cases, the upper reaches of the

Japan during the filming of the 2003

feed. On the plus side, when you do

rivers remain closed between May and

Tom Cruise epic – The Last Samurai.

and covering a lot of water – winter



Rumour has it that Billy Connolly and

tight schedule, I reckoned that I could

have a slight leak’ but would fit my

some of the other crew members even

just about squeeze in a day of trout

size 12 feet, I was given the contact

took time out to sample some of the

fishing but where to start?

details of my guide for the day – Kyle

fantastic trout fishing.

Adams. A quick call to Kyle confirmed I had circled a few streams in the

that we were on for the morning with a

More than 40 recognised trout

Fish & Game brochure that I thought

7.00AM pick up and a suggestion to go

streams and many more tributaries

would do the job but with my limited

light on the sauce the evening before.

along with seven lake fisheries offer

knowledge of the area and being

Already I liked this man and his sense

an un-crowded fishing experience.

short on time; I definitely needed

of dedication – no way was a hangover

Most of the streams originate on the

some help and headed to the local

going to ruin a good fishing trip.

slopes of Mt Taranaki and form the

Hunting & Fishing New Zealand store.

Taranaki Ringplain drainage system.

People’s attitudes towards guided

Bundled up like an oversized package

With streams flowing in almost every

fishing never fail to amaze me.

destined for China, I stumbled out into

compass direction, there is likely to

Statistics show that those that hire a

the pre-dawn chill of a New Plymouth

be fishable water regardless of wind

tax professional to assist with their

morning. The wind had begun howling

direction and this is one of the major

income tax return, routinely do better

around 3.00AM and I had my doubts

attractions of fishing the Taranaki.

and reap greater rewards than those

that we were actually going to get any

The backdrop of Mount Taranaki and

that don’t. Why wouldn’t you pay the

fishing done. Kyle assured me that

its snow capped peak is also pretty

same attention to your fishing? With

we would fish today as we hurtled off

special and makes for stunning photos

limited time or on arriving in a new

towards the Surf Highway and our

when combined with blue skies and

location, it makes sense to maximise

destination, exchanging pleasantries

flowing streams.

the pleasure and minimise the

and talking about all the fish we would

frustration. The smart way to do this is

catch – as you do. After a short stop

by hiring a fishing guide.

for some ‘real’ coffee at one of the

Through a series of rather fortunate events, I found myself in New Plymouth

numerous small towns along the Surf

for the New Zealand Recreational

After chatting to Shay Fairhurst and

Highway, it became apparent that this

Fishing Council Conference. With a

picking out a pair of waders that ‘might

region was probably better known for 21


its surfing than trout fishing although it

to sea and return to freshwater to

This last section of leader connecting

would take seriously hard core surfers

breed. Whilst at sea, these fish feed

to the fly is referred to as the tippet

to brave this chilly winter morning.

extensively on high protein baitfish,

and traditionally its breaking strain is

This got me thinking that fly fishing

prawns, squid and other beasties that

designated by the X system with the

and surfing have a lot in common –

their stream bound resident cousins

more Xs equating to lighter tippets. Fly

both are extreme sports in their own

can only dream of. Sea-trout typically

fishing has many such oddities like this

special way and both are a unique way

return at large sizes and 12 pound

which hearken back to days of Tweed

of communing with nature.

sea-trout are not uncommon in rivers

jackets and horsehair lines. Thankfully,

where they occur.

the trout don’t know that and you really

Did I mention that was in a state of

don’t need to buy into the jargon and

euphoria at the opportunity to fish for

Kyle didn’t think that the browns of

technical stuff to catch fish – unless of

trout for the first time in two years?

the Kaupokonui migrated out to sea

course you really want to.

After numerous bridge crossings

but certainly there always seemed

offering tantalising glimpses of the

to be some present in the estuary. A

Kyle has a fairly no nonsense approach

water we would be fishing, we cut

large school of Inanga swam rapidly

to leaders – the longer the better and

off the highway and followed a small

past as we watched the river and it

I ended up with an additional 18 feet

country road down towards the

was fairly evident why brown trout

of flimsy fluorocarbon attached to the

Kaupokonui Estuary. This was a new

would choose to remain in the estuary

end of my fly line which I was expected

concept for me – fishing for trout

reaches as long as schools of these

to deliver with great style and finesse

within earshot of crashing surf.

tasty native fish were around.

so as not to spook the trout. A yarn

Kyle explained that some of the brown

We quickly rigged up a leader with a

make it slightly easier to detect the

trout in this stream were at least

floating line and strike indicator. The

fish taking the fly and then a fly was

estuary resident, if not fully fledged

leader for flyfishing comprises either

selected from Kyle’s box of tricks. He

sea-trout. They seemed to spend

a readymade tapered length of nylon

had politely looked through my box

most of the time in tidal reaches of

or a custom ‘roll your own’ version

of meticulously tied trout patterns

the stream and as a result acquired

using different lengths of nylon or

more to humour me than anything else

the silvery colour with a gun metal

fluorocarbon which progressively get

as clearly I did not have the required

blue sheen over the gill covers more

lighter in breaking strain and thinner in

offering. Lesson number two for the

reminiscent of sea-trout. Sea-trout by

diameter until you reach your chosen

day was the fly itself; Kyle selected a

definition are brown trout that migrate

final breaking strain.

nymph of monstrous proportions to my

strike indicator was attached to



way of thinking for wily wild brownies

I think Kyle was too. When the next

what I had set out to do and four good

(a size 12 or 14) that resembled a

cast resulted in a similar fish, I was in

trout and some fantastic stream craft

somewhat stunted dragonfly nymph.

fishing heaven and the day felt like it

learnt along the way was definitely worth

He explained that this nymph very

couldn’t get better.

the investment and time well spent.

Dobsonfly nymphs that are extremely

It did, and each new pool revealed a

With the range of options available,

abundant in Taranaki streams.

new challenge and new opportunity.

the Taranaki Region should be well

Sight fishing in Taranaki streams is

up there on the list for those after

My first cast was slightly off target and

challenging, especially in the lower

some good quality trout fishing. It is

rusty but my second and third were

reaches with the water often slightly

possible to take a DIY approach to the

improvements on that and I began

cloudy, especially after winter freshes.

region but I would recommend calling

accurately represented the creepers or

to revive the old rhythms. A fourth

in at Taranaki Hunting and Fishing and

cast was spot on for distance and

A dark boulder strewn bottom also

asking for Kyle – it may just be the

drift and my eyes were fixed to the

makes spotting trout difficult and

difference between a successful day

bright yellow strike indicator when

wading extremely tricky. We spooked a

and a blank. Just don’t hire a pair of

it suddenly darted forward. A reflex

good fish of four pounds or more which

Size 12 waders – they do leak!

lifting of the rod had me connected

darted from under our feet but it made

to my first Taranaki winter trout which

sense to concentrate on the runs at the

NZFisher would like to thank Shay

was quickly brought to the net for the

head of substantial pools. This tactic

and his team at Hunting & Fishing

obligatory photos and congratulatory

resulted in two good sized rainbows.

Taranaki (Hyperlink: http://www.

high fives. At a little over two pounds, for their

it was not the biggest fish in the river

By this stage, my lack of casting practise

support in getting Len on the water

but with the unmistakable silvery

was showing and my casts were getting

& a big thanks to Kyle for putting Len

colour with a hint of golden butter on

sloppy. When Kyle suggested we think

onto some great fishing. If you are

the belly, this was one of the famous

about heading back, I really didn’t put up

interested in more from Kyle, check

estuarine browns. I was relieved and

much resistance. I was happy; I had done

him out here. 23


Bay of Plenty Source: Rick Pollock

As we are well into the second


Ranfurly Bank

month of winter, we have experienced

Probably the most inconsistent and

While not nearly as vibrant as last visit

a real mixed bag of both weather

least visited region over the past few

there, still some good fishing to be

conditions and fishery. While there’s

weeks. The few that have ventured

had. Hapuka predictably dominated

been a few decent stretches of

forth have had mixed results but

the catch yet again with all males

weather, especially inshore, the fishing

primarily on the poor side of the

in the predominantly 10-15 kilo

has generally been quite rewarding to

ledger. Kingis are biting well – that’s

category. A few nicer fish flirting with

all putting in effort. On the good days

not the problem. While quantity is not

30kgs are in the mix to keep everyone

it’s great to see the boat ramps and

the issue, quality certainly is. Lots of

honest on drag settings! Again, kingis

coastguard radio so busy. Obviously

rats to eight kilos are keen to please

are biting well but quality is the issue!

many anglers don’t believe there’s no

on all manner of offerings but good

Many rats throughout the water

point in being out on the water over

luck on getting much of anything you

column in anything between

the cooler months. Good on em and

want to keep without doubt the larger

subsurface all the way down to

long may it last!

fish are there and ripe for the taking –

80 metres. Jigs and baits working

just have to be there on the right day

equally as well with one nice (29kgs

and right place.

slingweighed and released) fish

Inshore The juggernaught continues! Snapper

among all the rest. In a good look at

still cooperating in so many different

Otherwise it appears to be springtime

a large albacore reported to be in the

possies and depths, it’s remarkable.

at White Island judging by the amount

region, some interesting results came

And they aren’t just pannies either

of surface activity about. Mao mao,

to light. In spite of getting out to

with a good number in the three to

trevally and the ubiquities rats can be

nearly 2000 metres of water norwest

four kilo category! Have heard of

seen actively feeding on krill – unusual

of the bank and seeing surface long

good catches off kayaks in a mere

for this time of year. The trevs are large

line boats working, no albacore of any

nine metres of water and limits in 45-

(4 plus kgs) and hungry, supply plenty

size were apprehended. Instead, in

50m out off Ohope/Opotiki.

of light tackle gratification. Otherwise

multiple strikes, skipjack came thick

Historically this bonanza shouldn’t

the reef fishing. Uncharacteristically

and fast! Hitting the lures and swivels

last too much longer but who’s

difficult for the normally abundant

alike, these fish acted more like mid

complaining?!? Terakihi are not biting

terakihi but some of the very largest

summer rather than mid winter! Water

all that well but should improve

pink mao mao and leatherjacket

had dropped from 17 plus last week

markedly soon as water cools with the

(creamfish) one will lay eyes on.

but only just under 17 now, again very

southerlies we’ve had of late. Some

warm for June let alone July.

big kahawai (a few over 3k’s), trevally

Both, while not exactly target species,

and miniscule gurnard (few over a

are at the top end of their size ranges


paltry 600 grams) make up the final

at nearly three and one and one half

Finally got our first cold snap of

composition of the current catch. Te

kilos each! Water still relatively warm

winter but the southerlies have had

Kaha/Waikawa Point are also sharing

at 16 plus degrees C and clean/clear.

little effect on water temps thus far

in the melee with good snapper on

Little doubt should be some XOS

– but they will! Will be interesting to

dusk best.

albacore somewhere about!?!

see where we go next week. Rick



Hauraki Source: Espresso

Man vs Wild is more like what it’s

40cm snapper brought home

been like just to try and go fishing

sounds like a successful fishing

lately. Gusts of 60kts plus at Tiritiri

session to me.

have been common, with eerie variable winds only long enough

Out in the middle of the gulf the

to get your attention, then straight

various fish species are there,

back into it, hard core storms and

lethargic and tentative on the bite

battling the elements like Bear.

most of the time, and it’s just too

Quality fishing time is certainly

rough most days to be out - but when

limited right now.

the fish want to feed its fantastic! Everything seems to feed hard out all

While the weather has kept most

at once, even if sometimes very briefly

keen anglers grumbling at home,

– you just need to be in the right

there’ve been a few who heed the

place at the right time, bite times can

Boy Scouts motto – be prepared,

be very short in the big chill.

swiftly taking their action stations at a moment’s notice with Mother

All fish need to feed even while

Nature’s recent erratic mood.

in near freezing and hibernation temperatures so when it’s the right

12 footers either quietly drifting

time, it’s a mad feeding frenzy out

or anchored burleying up big time

in the gulf - may I suggest being

have been successful close into the

fully sorted and ready to go fishing

leeward side of land masses around

so when the forecasted calm day

the gulf, and some on surprisingly

comes a day early, or a day late – a

blustery days. Small chunks of bait

well earned day off from work is on

or little anchovies on a single hook

the cards surely? There will only be

with no weight sent back down the

a few days of blissfully calm fishing

burley trail, or the smallest of grub

over the next couple of months,

tailed soft baits are doing the trick.

follow Nike’s motto.”

Not too many big snapper lately


but a chilly bin with ½ a dozen


Taranaki/ West Coast Source: Duncan McIver

Duncans report this month was shy on fishing reporting & high on expletives bemoaning the wind, rain and very impressive swells. If you have never seen New Plymouth Harbours’ legendary swells in action, go here. 25


In the next issue of NZ Fisher… • Rawhiti; Zane Grey was right – NZ’s own El Dorado • Lord Howe Is; Part 2 • Big Snapper Hunting: Where, When & How

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NZ Fisher Issue 10  
NZ Fisher Issue 10