South Island land-based game fishing

Connor Hall, Takaka

Jason Boa and Amanda Faulkner founded the Facebook group, South Island land-based game fishing in February 2023. With membership growing by 10 a day, it now has over 3000 members; 4.5% are women. Jason has kindly supplied the following information about the group.

It’s a group to cater for all land-based anglers in the South Island, originally set up for the land-based game fish: big sharks, stingrays, kingfish and anything else with size. However, as the membership grew, it was clear many were interested in all species, so we now cater for all—from the big bronze whalers down to the humble red cod.

The focus of the page is to have members share what they have been catching, sharing photos, tips and techniques on how to catch certain species, what baits are working and where the action is.

Jason Boa, Nelson

We encourage catch and release and several members are tagging fish for the Tindale Research tagging programme, which we are happy to support.

We have three administrators based in Nelson and nine fishing reps scattered throughout the South Island to help answer questions pertaining to different areas and report on how the fishing has been.

Each month I do a monthly newsletter wrapping up all the action, what has been posted on the page and what’s been caught for the month.

Peter Davy, Otago

We have a Hall of Fame, where we have our own tackle records and line class records members can aim for and a fish of the month award.

It’s based on honesty and on measurements, so we always encourage members to take a tape, take good photos and post them.

The South Island offers good land-based fishing all year, even in winter. This winter, members have been catching good numbers of rig, a couple of big snapper—one 11kg monster caught near Nelson—and a couple of moki in August in Blenheim.

For the anglers interested in land-based game fishing, the South Island has a lot to offer. From October to April, some all year, there are some serious big fish that can be targeted: bronze whalers, blue sharks, seven gillers, tope and big rig are all shark species members have caught on a rod from the shore. The biggest bronze whaler has been 10ft, two and a half hours to land on 30lb, caught by me! We have had seven gillers up to 2.56m landed, tope to 1.7m and over 30kg and rig over the 20kg mark.

Hadley Dawes, Blenheim

There is no shortage of big, short tail rays that can be caught all year, with fish up to 1.57m across being landed, well over 100kg.  No mean feat. Large eagle rays as well, plus kingfish all pull serious string and put up a decent fight.

A good number of table fish can be caught: moki, snapper, elephant fish, rig, tope, kahawai and gurnard in good numbers.

With global warming, it’s quite noticeable the sea temperatures have been increasing and fishing in the South Island is getting better. Kingfish appear down as far as Dunedin in summer, and snapper catches on the west coast and east coast are in better numbers than they have ever been. Even in Canterbury snapper and other species catches are appearing more and, in a few years, I suspect they will be a common catch for anglers.

The South Island might not be the mecca the North Island is for the shore-based angler, but it has plenty to offer, with big fish that will test your gear and you, if you are into battling huge fish. Otherwise, there’s plenty of good sport in other species that fight well and are good eating if you are after food for the family table.

Check the South Island land-based game page on Facebook if you want to get some helpful hints and see what’s being caught.

Take part in the Average Rig Competition for next two months. Shimano Beastmaster reel and rod first prize, donated by Kaikoura Hunting & Fishing.

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