Fishing – Fishing from higher ground

We’ve had our fair share of wind and rain lately which can make it difficult to get out in the boat. Especially in a small boat! When the weather windows have allowed there have been some really good catches from the 50m area east of Flat Rock and likewise from around Little Barrier and Channel Island as you’d expect for this time of year. The frustration sets in though when you can’t get all your ducks in a row what with work, weather conditions and time!

Never fear though, as we are very lucky to have some great land based fishing right on our doorstep and not only that, we have the shelter of the Whangaparaoa Peninsula so there is always somewhere to have the wind at your back. Many of us “cut our teeth” and had our first fishing experiences off the beach, rocks or wharf before progressing to boat fishing. When I was growing up in the area we fished the rocky points, beaches and river mouths nearly every weekend and on many evenings during the summer. In winter we relished the shorter days and overcast conditions, which disguised our baits. Recently the rock fishing has improved a great deal as the fish have been in closer feeding on the large anchovy schools and shellfish as they try to put on condition for the cooler months. Land based anglers have been using a couple of different methods with success lately. The first and probably most critical is using the low light conditions of dawn and dusk (and even into the dark) as these are primary and instinctive feeding times for our inshore species. Using oily, tough baits like mullet, bonito and salted pilchards is another thing to try, to avoid the “pickers” nibbling away at your offerings. Baits like bonito belly flap and sanmar are great too, especially when wrapped in a few winds of bait cotton or bait elastic to secure the bait to the hook.

Live bait sliders have accounted for some nice kingfish, big kahawai and john dory from the rocks and beaches over the past month or so. These simple clips allow an angler to slide a live mackerel, sprat or small kahawai down to the swivel above a sinker. The design permits the clip to only slide down and not back up the line and presents the bait attractively for the predator fish. Live baits can also be suspended under a balloon and this practice presents the live bait out from the rock ledge at the desired distance to restrict it being snagged in the weedline.

Beach fishing on a rising tide in the evening can be very productive if you don’t mind putting in the effort and wrapping up warm. As with fishing from rocks, there is always something for the kids to do – be it building a sandcastle, hunting for crabs and exploring rock pools or even nabbing a kahawai for the smoker off the beach.
Land based fishing can be affordable and accessible to get into and great fun at whatever level you take it to – and we have it all, here on our beautiful coast.