Sound advice from Vijay

Vijay strikes again

One of the most helpful Facebook groups for surfcasters is NZ SURFCASTERS AND ROCK FISHERS. Typical of the helpful posts are the ones from Vijay Nikora-Raj. Vijay told me a bit about himself and shared his surfcasting tips for readers of The Fishing Paper & Hunting News. Thank you Vijay.

“I live in a small town called Kawerau about a 25-minute drive from Matata and Thornton beaches, my happy places. I’m very much a devoted family man with a wife and three tamariki. I work full time as a machine operator in one of the paper mills in Kawerau and I also own and operate my own business on the side called Mobile Fleet Wash, offering trucking and earth moving companies a fully mobile eco-friendly heavy haulage pressure washing service direct to their site in the Eastern Bay of Plenty.

Main components of the tennis ball rig

I’ve been fishing the eastern bay beaches for as long as I can remember. At the age of seven, my mother and I lived in a house bus at the Thornton Beach motor camp. The smell of the salty air was instilled in me from a young age. There I first learnt the art of fishing, anxiously waiting for the school bell to ring so I could run to the wharf and learn to fish with the Thornton campground’s owners. Was only mullet, herrings and kahawai we would catch but to me it was the best times in the world.

Over the years, I have never lost my passion for fishing. I do enjoy trout fishing and often fishing off boats and off the rocks, however, surfcasting is where my heart’s at. My passion and keenness in the sport even landed me a gig on the ITM Hook Me Up TV show a couple years back, with the man himself, Matt Watson. That sure was an eye opener and such a great time.

Vijay’s simple running rig

Through the sport I’ve made many lifelong friends from being a part of various surfcasting clubs and travelling to different towns attending surfcasting comps.

Most of my surfcasting is done during the cover of darkness and I will usually fish a full night because the fish will show up at some stage; it just takes a lot of caffeine to keep me awake. I fish Matata, Thornton and, quite often, further east Omaio Bay, as we have a whanau homestead there.

My favoured tide for Matata and Thornton is a high tide that falls around midnight, as I feel the fish that I’m targeting, snapper, don’t feed till after 11pm and will carry on feeding into the early hours of the morning.  Matata is a deep beach and on the low tide can still be too deep to wade through the guts to get your bait out the back.

However, 15 minutes up the road, Thornton can be an exceptional beach to fish on a low tide, wading out onto the outer bars to get your bait OTB—Out the Back. Lots of fun when you’re fishing with the bro’s.

We are very spoilt for choice in the sunny eastern bay. This amazing coastline can throw up some amazing fish: snapper, kingfish, trevally, kahawai and, in the colder months, gurnard.

Both beaches have great 4×4 access, allowing you to drive along the beach to find your water or your spot. Truck is my bed when I’m ready for a kip.

The night produces for Vijay

The gear I’m currently using is mostly Kilwell NZ supplied rods and reels. I’m currently testing a few of the new range rods by Tica. In my opinion, they are awesome; very wellbuilt and affordable rods for the serious angler. These rods are of high quality, extremely lightweight and have a lot of power in the build, giving you an accurate cast. Improving your casting distance is definitely achievable with these rods.

The line I run is 6kg mainline to help with distance. The lighter line, paired with a tapered shock-leader to take the grunt of the cast, will help increase distance, while preventing a snap off on your cast.

I use small size 6kg rated barrel swivels, along with swivel clips and mainly use the old school running rig. The reason why I use such small swivels is to help with the distance. Smaller tackle—along with the lighter mainline, opposed to big chunky swivels—helps achieve more distance in your casting.

There are various pulley rig systems out there to increase casting distance and I do rate them highly, however, I’m stuck in my ways and love the running rig. It’s simple and it works for me. Distance is a great ability to have but not essential. The expression fish your feet first has provided a bin full of fish for me a few times. But to have the confidence to be able to cast out the back is an advantage.

All my traces are no longer than 30cm and I like to use a 30kg or 40kg line for my trace, with a single size 4/0 recurve hook—either Trokar, KLT or Wasabi hooks. My traces always have a bit of bling on them: lumo beads, floats and uv “ultra violet” floats to help attract the fish.

Recurve hooks are my go to. I feel once hooked onto a fish you can have more fun playing and really work on getting that fish beached, rather than the beak hook where I would panic at times, hoping the fish wouldn’t spit the hook. Kahawai have a tendency to dance and breach out of the water with a huge fuss when hooked but, if you’re using a recurve hook, they aren’t going to get off. Kahawai make mean raw fish or smoked fish for the whanau.

The main baits that I use for snapper, kahawai, trevally and gurnard are: anchovy, octopus and cray tail. I also like to use piper in hope a kingfish maybe enticed by one. I rig small pinky finger-sized baits, helping to gain that distance in the casting. I’m currently testing a product new to NZ shelves called Fishbites. It’s a company based in California and has proven to work well there and showing good results here in NZ waters as well. It’s a clean and effective artificial bait that you can use on its own and or with natural baits. A strip of Fishbites has a synthetic fish attractant infused, which is only activated in the water. So far I’ve caught a few nice snapper with Fishbites tipped on my natural baited traces.

When fishing rocky foul grounds in areas like Omaio Bay and Te Kaha, not needing a huge cast, I made a contraption that works for me: I can cast from the shore out to the foul grounds without getting snagged or reefed by fish. It’s my tennis ball rig. Quite simple to make but requires a bit of mucking around in the shed but will save you a lot in $$ from losing tackle as that can soon add up.

The tennis ball has a hollow tube running through it, glued in place. A swivel tied to my main line and a 30cm line through the hollow tube tennis ball, with a swivel at the other end of the 30cm trace acting as a stopper for the tennis ball. I then tie a 1m long trace on the other end of the swivel, the business end, with a single ball sinker free running above the hook to help the bait sink once cast. I find this is a fun rig for the rocky bays and the kids love watching the tennis ball disappear underwater when a fish has hooked up. Then the real fun begins. Something simple but yet effective and it stops me from losing a lot of tackle along the way. 

Thank you for taking the time to read a bit about me and my fishing.”

Share this post :


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Create a new perspective on life

Your Ads Here (365 x 270 area)
Latest Stories

Subscribe our newsletter

Subscribe to our newsletter to get the latest updates direct to your inbox.


Subscribe to our newsletter to get the latest updates direct to your inbox.