Kiwi Fishing - a fish a day

Discussion in 'Australia & New Zealand Fishing Reports' started by Aliboy, Feb 15, 2018.

  1. Aliboy

    Aliboy Newbie

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    Most people on here mainly know New Zealand for it's Yellowtail Kingfish (Kingfish or Kingi's to us Kiwis) fishing. But there is a whole lot more so I thought I might try and post up some pictures of what else you can find if you come down to visit at some stage. Will try and post up a new photo every day or two for those that are interested.

    First photos - lets try a Kingi or two to start with -

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    This one caught at the Three Kings Islands around 40 miles north of New Zealand. One of the places famous for 'Kingis' s as well as Marlin and many deep dwelling species that will be in later photos

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    This one for the smoker. ~65lb at the Ranfurly Banks. One of around 60 Kingis (we kept 3) caught in 2.5 hours by 4 anglers using jigs. Most were half this size or less but still plenty of the 50lb+ models
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2018
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  2. fly liner

    fly liner Well-Known "Member"

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    Slugs for sure. Cant wait for more pictures
     
  3. cortezpirasea

    cortezpirasea Pangero

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  4. Aliboy

    Aliboy Newbie

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    Here are some of our Marlin. Mainly a Stripy fishery but reasonable numbers of Blues and some Blacks. Stripies average around 220lb or so.

    A friend after 3 hours into her first ever game fishing trip. Around 200lb. Came and ate the short corner lure right in front of the novice crew just a few yards behind the boat. Had to pick their jaws up off the floor after the strike before they could get down to business in the chair.

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    Around 330lb of Kiwi Stripy. Smoked marlin all around. Gave an impressive display.Jumped across the bow of another boat and they had to go hard to port and throw the throttles open to avoid it. Great memory of seeing the fish jumping through a huge cloud of black diesel smoke as the other boat went from idle to WOT just yards from the fish.
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    Blue Marlin. Winning fish in a tournament. Friend of one of my crew was on his own 25ft boat and hooked up to this fish which had died and gone to the bottom in 700ft of water. Couldn't raise it in the outboard powered 25fter so called up for a careful mid sea transfer to my boat not touching the tackle etc to keep contest legal. He had been on the fish for around 3 hours already so in the chair, lots of water to re-hydrate, then 45mins of the fast manouvering/fast winding stuff and 450lb of Blue Marlin comes through the transom door. Transfer back to the 25fter so he can go and win a contest and we go off to try and tag another Stripy. Sad story is that we had a ~800lb Blue die and sink on us in the same area the day before. We were only on 24kg and it was too much fish on too little line in too deep a water and we broke off after ~2 hours trying to lift it off the bottom. At least it was good practice for this smaller fish on 37kg line the next day.
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    Another 300lb+ Stripy. Check out the hook placement (clue - check the anal fin). Hook was around the anal fin. Wasn't even buried past the barb. Trace went up the side of the fish, through it's jaw, around the opposite pectoral fin and then back to the rod. Fish would have jumped over 20 times and took nearly 40 minutes to land. Every jump was from right to left (as we looked at it). Just one jump in the other direction and it would probably have swum free.

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    These are all dead fish but we release 90% of our Marlin. Usually keep one Stripy per year to share amongst the team. We release 100% of the Blue Marlin (Stripies are much nicer eating) unless they are DOA on the leader as Blues sometimes do,

    Stripy being released. Average sized fish around 220lb - 230lb. Tag in the shoulder by the dorsal fin. Can't quite remember or see in the photo but I think this was caught on a Zuker 5.5 in black/purple. If I am thinking of the right fish it had a swipe at several other lures and pulled the short rigger down before dropping back behind the Zuker riding shotgun. Had a tap or two and a 100 yard or so pull on that before it all went quiet. It was mirror calm and from the flybridge I could just see the very faint wiggle line of an excited marlin fin shadowing the lure. Kept calling out to the deck that she was still there for several minutes whilst it followed but wouldn't attack the lure again, then freespooled the lure down it's throat when we thought the time was right. Worked out well.
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    Last edited: Feb 15, 2018
  5. Aliboy

    Aliboy Newbie

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    Looks like I need a better image host than Photobucket. Pics are here then gone, then here then gone. Any suggestions for a better host?

    Sorted for now hopefully.
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2018
  6. Aliboy

    Aliboy Newbie

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    We do our own mini version of the US style Long Range trips. Normally my team do 7 to 10 days and we cover around 1000NM trolling. We troll for Marlin & Tuna, but stop on any deep water sign or one of my marks (you say numbers I think) and break the day up fishing for Groper and Giant Sea Bass etc in typically around 600ft - 800ft. Then if the trolling is a bit slow that day we head in shallow and target Yellowtail Kingfish or our other local favourite red Snapper. We don't have an anchor up and fish for pelagics like you seem to get in the US. Most of our pelagic fishing is in 300ft plus water depths.
     
  7. Aliboy

    Aliboy Newbie

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    Fortunately many of the areas we troll for game fish run over reefs in the 400ft - 1200ft depths, so we can break up a slow day of trolling by doing some deep drifting. Holding station in those depths so you can keep the baits just clear of the undulating bottom foul can be a challenge so generally you are looking for less than 20knt wind strength and less than 15knts is preferable. We often fish on the edge and sides of steep drop-offs so there is a bit of drift testing before lining up your drops. The traces are usually 200lb - 300lb mono tied as a 2 hook ledger with a 16oz - 32oz bomb style sinker on the bottom connected via a ~6kg - 10kg short length of mono as a breakaway if it gets snagged on the bottom. Typically use 80lb - 120lb braid main line. 2 speed reels are definitely a help as you need to power winch some of these fish away from the bottom at hookup to avoid them reffing you.

    Some of our typical species -

    This is a NZ Groper- local name Hapuka. This friend got her first marlin inside 3 hours the day before and this fish on her first deep drop the next day. Around 55lb so mid-size for this species (the fish I mean)
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    Bigger version of the same species. We were heading for a known Hapuka spot in the middle of a days trolling when I set up the sounder for deep bottom hunting a little early and found some unexpected new foul that was loaded with fish. This was the largest of the 4 we caught before deciding that we had as much fish as we could reasonably want to keep. That day you could have sunk the boat with fish if you had wanted to. Don't think that bit of foul is very well known!! Around 80lb.
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    Another common Groper like fish we get is the Giant Sea Bass. Often caught with the Groper but usually in the deeper ranges. I think this one came from around 800ft. Was one fish of a double on the 2 hook ledger rig. 60lb Groper and 100lb Bass. Thank God for the Black Magic harness.
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    We often get a good 'by-catch' when targeting the Bass and Groper.
    Below we have what we call 'Goldies' (Golden Snapper), a small groper (~15lb) and hidden underneath a little is a thing we call Gemfish (the brown skinned fish under the red ones). Ugly, toothy and sort of a little slimy, but seriously nice eating either fresh or smoked. If I have people on the boat that don't know them I have to fillet and cook it in secret to get them to try it. Once they have tried it however.....
    These fish all took huge circle hooks with big circles of Skipjack Tuna trunk or large whole squid for bait. The problem is that these smaller fish can be a pain when targeting the large Groper and Bass so the bait and hook sizes you use can get quite impressive.
    That is a huge icebox so to give some proportion those Goldies are in the 7lb - 10lb class.

    Some other typical captures are Frost Fish, Yellowtail Kingfish (in the shallower areas, several varieties of other reef fish that we don't eat. and a huge variety of sharks which can get painful pretty quickly in deep water. I once hauled a double header of 100 - 120lb 6 gill sharks out of over 1000ft. Never seen one before so was sort of impressed by their bright emerald green eyes, but didn't bother doing a 2nd drop in that spot. There is also another type of Groper style fish we get called a Bluenose. They tend to be at the deeper end of the range and don't get quite as large, but are the tastiest of our Groper style fish.

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  8. Aliboy

    Aliboy Newbie

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    Here is a fish that we don't get in great abundance in New Zealand waters. Shortbill Spearfish are usually caught whilst trolling for Marlin and there might only be 20 or less caught nationally each season. Some seasons it might be as low as 5 or so. A pretty rare catch but normally jump on your 50 or 80lb lines pulling Marlin lures so don't get a lot of fight out of them. Would love to get one on 20lb line but you would have 20+ 200lb - 700lb marlin to land on your 20lb line before the laws of averages might give you a shot at one of these. This one is around 55lbs and quite a good size for the species. 70lb gets into local records for some line classes and the absolute monsters are only around 100lb. These are a hard fish to target and best chances seem to be to fish out wide early in our season. Typically that means fishing in 1200ft+ depths and maybe 20+ miles off the coast depending on where you are.
    This fish we think we saw 2 days in a row. We were travelling around 200NM from home to fish a remote area that tends to hold more large Blue Marlin than most other areas during our season. We spent the night before arriving in this area anchored by an island that is also an active volcano (photo below). One of NZ's top Yellowtail Kingfish spots so not hard to park up there for an evening. Next day we crossed back to our mainland destination and when a few miles away had a Shortbill come up and attack the Long Corner lure (a NZ made Hooker All American lure). We weren't sure if it was a Shortbill or a juvenile Striped Marlin as they look quite similar in the water. We don't get a lot of juvenile Stripys though so guessed it was a Shortbill Spearfish (AKA name is "Chucka").
    Anyway it disappeared so we went on to our bay. Early the next morning the crew are asking where I think we should head for a days trolling and when should they put the lures in? I said that based on the radio traffic I figured 300m (1000ft) depth off the "Backbone" which is the name for an local area. We headed out and dropped the lures in at 290m and at 300m a very large Marlin grabbed a lure and tore off around 200m of line before sticking it's head and shoulders out like XOS Marlin like to do. Then spat the hook. Nice memory of that big head shake though. Things went quiet after that so I thought I would head back in the direction of yesterdays strike and see if we could run over something or find some bait to work. Get back to yesterdays mark and up comes this Shortbill and this time he is "in the boot" (NZ car boot = USA trunk I think). These are a very tasty eating fish but you probably are lucky to ever get one to try.
    The funny followup to all this was after the fillets had been removed and the frame dropped over the side. One of my crew is working his way through the billfish species list. He had most everything he wanted covered other than the Shortbill Spearfish and a Broadbill Swordfish (since done). He was cursing that this hard to find Shortbill got caught on someone elses strike rotation. He might never get so close to one again since they are almost impossible to specifically target.
    Anyway, the frame gets dropped over the side as we are trolling along and a few seconds later this guys small tuna (bait tuna) rig takes off. We had been struggling for bait tuna (Skipjack) so he jumps up to reel it in. What he got though was his first Shortbill. Perfectly hooked in the bill, but missing two fillets. Still debating whether that counts when the whisky bottle comes out.



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    Our anchorage at White Island around 30nm off the mainland coast. There was once a sulpher mine here but just the remains now after it was wiped out by an eruption. When the volcano is a bit active you need to anchor up wind if you can as the ash is quite corrosive. Evening fishing for flying fish & squid to use as Yellowtail baits the next day can be awesome. Our local marlin also love Flying Fish as pitch baits.
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  9. duckbutter6a

    duckbutter6a Florida man living in SoCal

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    Y'all hiring Logisticians? Pay moving expenses? Open to become the 51st state?
     
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  10. Aliboy

    Aliboy Newbie

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    Y'all hiring Logisticians? - Would have to find out what one is and remember how to spell it first o_O

    Pay moving expenses? - After we learn the spelling etc maybe

    Open to become the 51st state? - Sorry if I offend anyone but that is off the table until after your next presidential election.

    We do however pride ourselves on being nice to visitors, Aren't many countries easier for english speaking people to visit than NZ. I used to get a lot of Amercians visiting to do Broadbill Swordfish charters with us before the fishery took a hit from commercial extraction. At that time we were seeing record fish nearly every year as the fishery was almost untouched. The commercial impact seems to have settled down since and the fishery appears to be coming back so we are starting to see those 500lb+ Swords again and the occasional much bigger one. One great aspect of our fishing here is that an island climate like we have is much more predictable and perhaps even in some ways stable than a continental climate. We don't tend to get much in the way of the short violent storms that I read about from US fishing reports. Doesn't mean that we aren't fishing in 30knts sometimes but we generally know that it won't suddenly become 60knts and dangerous. Allows us to fish well wide of the coast in relatively small boats or even further in larger boats.
     
  11. yo-mama

    yo-mama Member

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    :cheers::cheers:
     
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  12. Aliboy

    Aliboy Newbie

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    We mainly get 6 species of Tuna here in NZ. Most prolific are Skipjack, then Albacore, Yellowfin, Bigeye, Southern Bluefin and Pacific Bluefin. We also get occassional catches of some other of the smaller Tuna species but pretty rare. We used to have a very strong Yellowfin fishery for fish up to around 200lb at the high end and a typical fish around 60lb - 80lb size range. We very rarely saw the larger Tuna that you get out of some of the US fisheries. Unfortunately the massive commercial Tuna fleets out in international waters have decimated the YFT and today we only see the occasional YFT where we use to have huge work-ups of them and they were a common by-catch when trolling for Marlin even if you didn't target them. We only see them migrating down to our latitudes with the warm currents in our summer so they live out where the international fishing fleet can hammer them for most of the year.
    The photo below is around 15 years old and is the last YFT I caught before there numbers here plummeted. Prior to that we would get a few each season just as a by-catch when Marlin fishing. The funny/sad things was that day we were trolling for Marlin 60 miles north of NZ and had to take the hooks out of our lures and move to switch-baiting the Marlin so we could avoid catching YFT on our Marlin lures. We kept 3 and released the rest before taking the hooks out. Heading back to our island anchorage around dark later on that day we had moved to a different area and put the hooks back in the lures. We get a double strike as we cross a drop-off and what we initially figured would be two Marlin turned out to be two more YFT to be released. If only I had known that I would still be waiting to catch the next one 15 years later. Good news is that there are a few more around this year than we have been seeing but pretty sure that is because of the La Nina weather and not because the Spanish/Chinese/Japanese/Korean/Portuguese/Russian etc etc fishing fleets are easing up their efforts to wipe out the species in the Southern Pacific.
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    Our Bluefin fishery is an interesting one. Commercially they get caught around quite large areas of our coast but the only place they are known to congregate in numbers where you can reasonably target them recreationaly is for a short period when they hang around the deep sea trawlers hauling nets full of Hoki which is a fish our commercial fleet target for a period each year. You may have even eaten somein your McDonalds 'fillet-a-fish'. The Tuna hing tight with the fleet as they haul the nets so they can feed on the fallout. The normal fishing technique is to buy some Hoki from the locals and throw them as baits right beside the nets as they get hauled. There are other ways but that is the high return method. They get fish up to around 800lb and there are regular reports (and video) of unstoppable fish even on 130lb line class. This video is a classic example.



    The issue here though is that these are some of the worlds most dangerous waters completely exposed to the Southern Ocean and only a dangerous bar harbour anywhere within a 100 miles to run to for safety. The fishery is also in our late Winter period so big seas and cold,

     
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  13. Aliboy

    Aliboy Newbie

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    In the Northern parts of New Zealand (NZ) we have a fish that is the most targeted and iconic of our inshore species. It is a Snapper type fish and is known locally just as Snapper. It is by far the most prolific of the sought after species and as well as being widely available it is a fantastic table fish pretty much anyway you want to serve it. They readily take baits, softbaits, sliders, jigs and most types of lures. Hardbaits are recently starting to gain some appreciation here as Snapper lures as well. Whilst we will target many other larger and more impressive fish, these are the typical targets when heading out to catch a feed of fresh fish.

    These dozen fish are from about 2lb to 5lb size and are what are locally referred to as 'Pannies' (frying pan size fillets). These are typical fish although at certain times of the year the 5lb fish would be the smaller fish and fish up to ~18lb are reasonably common. We are based in the heart of the Southern Hemispheres largest marina which is downtown in NZ's largest city. I shot out for a quick morning fish with my son and we were back by 11:00am with these and never got more than 2 miles from our berth. Another morning recently I went out with my wife, daughter, son and we had our 28 fish limit (7 per angler) by 11:30am and wouldn't have gone more than a mile from our berth. My wife distributed most of the catch to some elderly folk that she has befriended which is why we targeted so many. Normally around 5 to 10 fish is enough for a day for us.

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    This is the same species but what we refer to as a 'Kelpie'. Snapper mostly school ('schoolies')over the sand/mud, but a lot also live in the reef systems amongst the kelp (seaweed). Kelpies tend to have a darker colouration and larger/older Keplies can get more black than red/gold colouring. We tend to target the Kelpies during the winter months as it is a prime time for larger fish. The Schoolies mostly move out further from the coast over the winter so the technique changes from fishing channels and deeper water (up to maybe 200ft but normally around 60ft) to straylining or softbaiting in 5ft to 20ft over reef systems. My team will normally release these larger fish. Unless we really need the fish to eat, or the fish is hurt for some reason I like to release anything over around 12lb. Personally I am 100% on circle hooks for Snapper fishing now but J hooks are still more common in general. Live baits are a great way to target these large Snapper over a clean bottom with a by-catch of Yellowtail Kingfish which are good fun on light tackle, and John Dory which are awesome eating.
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    A larger Schoolie snapper much the same size as the Kelpie above to show the different colours they come in from the two different environments.
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    Late last winter we shot out around 50miles to a large offshore island for an overnight stop and to look at a property on the island, but of course took the opportunity for a quick fish and to introduce the two novices I was with to winter straylining. Not a huge fish but we caught plenty. This one just had really nice colours which aren't quite typical, so worth a photo.
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    Last edited: Feb 23, 2018
  14. Aliboy

    Aliboy Newbie

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    A couple of the other inshore fish we get. First is a John Dory. Slow swimming and absolutely no fight but fantastic eating. Very occasionally caught on cut bait, a little more often on lures/softbaits worked slowly and targeted with small livebaits. A classic way to catch these is to leave your cut bait rod unattended where it catches a small (~6") snapper which then gets inhaled by the John Dory and you find it when you pull up to check your bait. Always a very welcome surprise. Their mouths extend to huge proportions to allow them to ambush live fish. The way we target these is with mackeral live baits up to around 10" in length fished near the bottom. The same boat is also good for Yellowtail Kingfish and large Snapper so livebaiting is a smart way to fish at certain times of the year. The circle of colour in the middle of the body is sometimes known as Gods fingerprint,but is mainly considered to be a large 'eye' designed to warn off predators. A big one might make 10lb but a usual catch is more like 3 to 6lb.


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    This is a Kahawai to us Kiwis and a Sea Salmon to the Aussies who have a related species. These are abundant around Northern NZ and will take cut baits, live baits, jigs, softbaits, trolled lures etc. Most catches are in the 3lb - 10lb range but there is a rarer subspecies that look identical and grow to ~30lb. They are good eating but need to be bled when caught and most people process the bloodline out of them when filleting to get left with only the white flesh. They are a favourite for the smoker. Many years ago (~30 or so) two friends and I were trying jigging for the first time and caught about 100 of these in a little more than an hour. You could till do that today at times if you wanted to.
    Kahawai fight like a cross between a KIngfish and a Tarpon. They pull hard like a KIngfish but fortunately head for the surface rather than the reef. Once at the surface they jump and do the head shake/gill rattle like a Tarpon. If they grew as big as Tarpon they would be rated as an awesome sports fish.
    Locally they have been so common and rated as a 2nd level table fish that they get a lot less respect than they are due. Visiting anglers love catching these and they are a fantastic fly-rod target.
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    This is our Gurnard. Contrary to looks it doesn't fly except along the bottom looking for crabs etc. Will take small cut boats and for some reason best fished for on a small pink flasher rig hard on the bottom. They don't fight very hard but are one of my favourite table fish. Probably only 2nd to our local sand flounders in taste. 4lb is a reasonably big one and I don't know that I have ever seen one over 6lb. They taste so good however that even smaller ones are a welcome catch. Hard to target these as the Snapper are more aggressive and will beat them to your baits if in the same proximity. If you do find an area holding these a burley (chum) dropped to within a few feet of the bottom can be pretty effective.
    I once lived in an area where commercial fishing had depleted the Snapper stocks but not so much the Gurnard stocks. We would go out in the boat, drop over the burley, wait around 20 minutes and start catching Gurnard in a steady stream. If they stopped biting you knew that the burley had finished so you dropped a new one over and 10 minutes later they would be biting again. Catch what you need and head home. Other people without burley in the same area might catch 1 or 2 in the time you caught a dozen.

    [​IMG]

    We regularly catch all of these fish while targeting our main Snapper species. Kahawai can be a plague as they tend to tangle lines a lot if you have multiple fishermen so they can force you to move spots to avoid them at times. The John Dory and Gurnard are welcome by-catch which if you find them in your area you can target to some extent by changing your fishing techniques.
     
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  15. falconer

    falconer Member

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    Fabulous survey of NZ saltwater fishing, thanks very much. I’ll be in Taupo with family in early April and we’ll be fly fishing the streams which drain to the lake. Would love to bust a move to fish the salt for a day. Any recommendations?
     
  16. Aliboy

    Aliboy Newbie

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    Closest places to Taupo to arrange a good salt water fish are around 2 to 3 hours drive so a long day with maybe a 5 hour round trip. If you are arriving to Auckland before travelling to Taupo there may be some options in Auckland and the fishing is still pretty good there in April. Let me know if you are OK with the 5hr round trip or the Auckland option and I can try to recommend a charter to look at.
    If you haven't tried it before the after dark stream mouth fishing in Taupo can be great as the fish begin their spawning runs. If you get a clear night the star gazing as you fish the river mouth can be quite incredible as there is so little air and light pollution around the lake. Some of my favourite fresh water memories are seeing all those stars overhead as the big Rainbows strip off your line in the dark..
     
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  17. pargoman

    pargoman Perpetual Newbie

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    Kahawai on light tackle! On a fly would be unreal!
     
  18. Aliboy

    Aliboy Newbie

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    Kahawai are an excellent fly rod target. The only trouble is that they are so easy to hook (not maybe to land) due to their relevant abundance and surface feeding nature that the locals catch a couple on the fly and then get focussed on more difficult targets like Yellowtain Kingfish and large Snapper or Trevally etc. If you like salt water fly fishing and are visiting NZ an 8wt rod will tackle a decent Kahawai but you will want a 12wt to tackle our Kingfish. A large Snapper or Trevally is very marginal on an 8wt unless over a clean bottom, but still doable. A 10wt would be a better match.
    I rmember a trip to Alaska where we were catching 30lb King Salmon (and losing anything bigger) on our 'under-gunned' 8wts fishing the Alagnac river on a rafting trip. I think a 30lb King probably pulls like a 12 - 15lb Snapper or Trevally so probably bring a 10wt as the all-rounder if only bringing one rod.
     
  19. hagridfish

    hagridfish Well-Known "Member"

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    Gurnard look like the sea robins we used to catch in Hampton bays in N.Y. when I was a kid!.
    Some day I'm going to make it down there just to look around. Maybe go fishing once or twice. But New Zealand, and Austrailia have always fascinated me.
     
  20. Aliboy

    Aliboy Newbie

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    David
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    44ft Sportfisher
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    Sea Robin and Gurnard are the same species I think. We get a couple of sub-species down here that are pretty similar but have different colourations.
    I have visited the US quite a few times and I think most US people would find NZ & Aus easy to 'acclimatize' too. Things are similar enough to be easy but different enough to be interesting. NZ is a little more laid back than Aus in general. I tend to think of Aus having a slightly greater US influence and NZ having a slightly greater British influence but it is a pretty subtle difference. One thing that you would definitely notice in NZ though is the 'Pacific' influence from the native Maori culture and in Auckland (main city) the large community of Pacific Island immigrants that have settled here. Gives NZ a unique 'Pacific' flavour coupled with its British ancestry that isn't replicated anywhere else in the world.
     
    Bottom Line likes this.

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