New Zealandís Major Sportfish - Saltwater 2
Bluefin and Bigeye Tuna:
Both species are available year round off the entire coastline, but
donít get a lot of pressure due to their widespread nature and that
they are normally well offshore. In the last few years anglers have
discovered that bluefin have been showing consistently in good numbers
in the summer off the southwest coast of the South island. They can be
caught relatively close to shore due to the proximity of deep water and
although these fish arenít huge by bluefin standards, there have been
plenty of fish caught over the 60kg mark. Commercial operators target
bluefin and bigeye off the west coast of the South Island, East Cape,
the Northland coast and the Three Kings.
During the summer months these fish can be found in big schools all
around the north eastern coastline and the entire length of the west
coast. They are present year round but the summer is definitely the
time when they are most abundant. Winter fish tend to be considerably
larger, with fish of up to 20kg regularly taken from the Bay of Plenty.
This is another species that put New Zealand on the map as a major
sport fishing destination. Kingies reach their maximum size in New
Zealand with almost all world records coming from our waters. The all
tackle world record stands at 52kg, a size of fish that is held equally
in both 15 and 24kg line classes. Both fish came from the Bay of
Plenty. These big powerful fish are relatively plentiful and easy to
target, but landing them is another story altogether as they are
virtually unstoppable and normally inhabit relatively foul areas.
The hot spots are the Three Kings islands, White island and the
Ranfurly bank off East Cape. They are found consistently throughout the
top half of the North Island in good numbers and as far south as the
Marlborough sounds at the top of the South Island. They can be caught
year round with winter fish tending to be less common but generally
larger. Summer is the best time to target kingfish. They are usually
found around rocky headlands, reefs and deepwater pinnacles,
particularly those that are exposed to reasonable tidal current.
This is the bread-and-butter fish for the majority of New Zealanders.
They are found consistently around the entire North Island but are less
widespread down south. The average size fish are around 2-3kg, but the
really big specimens get up to 15kg and can put up an impressive fight.
The hot spots are Nelson and the Marlborough Sounds in the South Island
and from Hawkes Bay right around the top to Taranaki in the North
Island. Snapper will be found on almost every reef, harbour and
channel, and are just as likely to be taken from the shore as from a
Makos are common throughout New Zealand. They can be found year round
and anywhere where there is reasonably warm water and a good food
supply. They vary in size from the relatively small (10-30kg rats) to
the exceptionally large (beasts of over 450kg) and are normally hooked
as by-catch by anglers trolling for billfish in the summer months off
the Northland coast and in the Bay of Plenty.
Most world records for these unique sharks are from New Zealand waters,
including the all tackle record fish of 364kg from Tutukaka. They are
an open ocean shark and can be found throughout New Zealand coastal
waters where the temperature is between 12-20deg.C. They are usually
taken as a by-catch while trolling for billfish, but can also be found
around schools of baitfish holding close to a reef, offshore pinnacle
The kahawai is widespread throughout New Zealand and will be found from
estuaries to the outer islands. This sleek fish has an average size
between 40-50cm long, which would weigh around the 2-3kg mark. Their
tremendous fighting ability has earned them a reputation as a top light
tackle game fish, especially on salt-water fly (SWF). They can be found
year round and will be enticed by plenty of berley.
This is our other top light tackle sportfish. They are found
consistently around the North Island and at the top of the South
Island. They will be found throughout different water levels from
shallow bays right through to great surface schools that are feeding on
krill. They are more predominant in the summer and warm water
environments. This top eating fish has an average size that will range
from 2-4kg and they will put up a powerful fight on lighter gear.
Another great target on SWF.