Snapper (12lb), Trevally, King Fish, Kahawai, Gurnard, Barracuda, Shark all at Paraparaumu Beach!!

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Some Days you just know that you have got the tide right the day right and the spot right. Other days you know its just bad fishing. Well yesterday was the best day fishing I have had so far (as the title of the post suggests) and all this just in front of the Paraparaumu Boat Club. There was no need to travel to Kapiti Island or fish right on the reserve or even sit in deep water within the channel. The best fishing was had 20 – 30m of water and anywhere along the beach. The essential factor for the day was picking the tide change – when the current dropped and action began.

We took an hour off at work so we could get the boat out by 5pm and headed to Paraparaumu Boat Club. The previous day we had some large takes and a lot of action just as that tide was changing however I think we were just a bit to late and therefore we only got one Snapper. Today seemed different, it felt like we had got the timing correct and although it was quite choppy and rough on the water (well for a small boat it was) it looked good. We had heard that fishing just before a storm proves amazing fishing and also the Maori Fishing Calendar was predicting good fishing. There wasn’t a lot of cars on the beach which surprised me as everything was pointing to this day been good – as well as the fact it was Friday, perhaps most of the fishing is done in the weekend.

We got the boat out through the chop and were faced with a good 1 and half metre swell. The current was strong towing our lines south but we knew this would quickly drop of so we kept our 3 ounce sinkers on with the Snapper rigs – even though it wasn’t reaching the bottom. My brother had done a home job down rigger using a 16 ounce sinker but I don’t think it worked well at all…. it took about 30 – 40 min for our first fish which was a Kahawai and this was large – about 5- 6lb. We weren’t going to keep it and so it was played then let off when it got close to the boat. My brother was experimenting with some pilchard bait this time. Basically on his snapper rig he tied both hooks around the one whole fish. He also used a 50lb rig as yesterday a large fish had cut his line. I kept with the Snapper rig as well only on 20lb line and with a large strip of squid. I had a second lighter rod with 8lb line and two of the Black Magic KL 1-0 hooks (the fish self hook themselves usually in the corner of the mouth) on a standard 2 hook and sinker and the bottom rig. I did this to see if this rig would work on targeting other species of fish. After about an hour of waiting for this current to drop my brothers rod went right into Free Spool. He quickly gave it a pull and was into something large. Most likely what he got yesterday but cut his line – this time he was prepared with his 50lb line rig. It was weird as it felt like straight dead weight. Not like a snapper which tugs down and not like a Kahawai which moves your line sideways. I had thoughts that it could be a Shark or Stingray. Either way I thought it better not be to big nor have large teeth as we are in a small boat with air filled pontoons keeping us a float. Nervously I grabbed the net and starred into the water wondering what might surface from the deep. I saw a long thin shape which could be a Sting Ray or an eel? Getting it closer to the surface the large teeth and thin long body revealed a Barracuda. Are they good eating?? I thought. Well we didn’t want those teeth in the boat so with a turn of the hook remover the Barracuda was off back to the deep. At Least we now know what had previously chomped through his line yesterday, it wasn’t large Snapper it was obviously a Barracuda. We started wondering if they hang out in schools or scare other fish away? Not know much about this fish we decided to keep fishing here. Straight away on his Pilchard bait he got more nibbles – then Whack. He was into another monster. We both knew what this was and sure enough when it got to the boat it was obviously another Barracuda. We decided that was it, we need to move.

We released this one as well and moved south about 400m down the beach from the Paraparaumu Boat Club. We were in 27m of water as yesterday we found we got some good takes at this depth. Our burly pot was virtually empty and now the current was virtually all gone – perfect for fishing, unfortunately not much to attract them to the boat. We threw in a lot shellfish we had collected and also a pilchard. About an hour and half had past – we had got 1 Kahawai and 2 Barracuda all released. I think we felt that there was better fish to catch. It wasn’t long when the lighter tackle rod was into what seemed to be a nice Snapper. Well it fought like a Snapper – but this wasn’t on a Snapper rig so I wasn’t 100% convinced and it could be something else. It was a fun fight on the light rod even though it didn’t move much to the side like a Kahawai would. I found this fish didn’t give up like a small Snapper would, it dived back down a few times. Getting it closer to the boat my brother shouted “it’s a big Trevally”. I had to think for a moment to workout what fish the Trevally was…. getting it into the net he said that’s a huge Trevally, I hadn’t ever caught one of these before so I had nothing to tell whether it was a large one or not. He started laughing his head off, “what on earth is a Trevally doing out here” … he was sure they are only caught around rocks. This Trevally measured 45cm and was my fish Trevally caught and what a beautiful fish… very random… in fact this was just really the beginning of a very random few hours of fishing. This was a keeper so was Iki Spiked and put into the fish bin. We hadn’t had any luck on the two larger rods with Snapper rigs and Large bait on them just yet. I put the lighter rod down again and within about 10mins I had another fish on that line. Again it fought like a Snapper and not like the Trevally, so I was sure this one was a Snapper. But again I was wrong. Getting it to the boat it was a nice size Gurnard again well above legal and was the largest one we had caught thus far. We started questioning why this lighter rod was getting good fish numbers, but still gave our Snapper rigs faith that they would get into some action soon.

Sure enough not to long after my brother got nibbles and then a heavy weight. It wasn’t like the Barracuda, it was just straight dead weight – It had to be a shark. We brought it up to the boat and sure enough it was a Dog Fish. Funny thing was it was just holding onto the Pilchard and not actually hooked so it just let go when we got it up. It was a good size as well – over 1m. My brother threatened that if we caught it again he would keep it as they are good eating. Sure enough he felt it on his line again, this time he waited then did a large strike – it was hooked. We netted it and brought it into the boat. To be honest I have never seen such an evil looking face in my life. They are beautifully coloured however. He took the hook out but before we could think of how to kill it my lighter tackle line got into a Kahawai. This was large as well. It made this little rod bend right in half so I had to put on the drag. With this action my brother baited his line and then got it down. With the Kahawai fighting away I looked at the Dog Fish and told my brother we should let this one go, it’s way to much meat and I think we will catch more. He decided to “throw” it back into the water to make sure it didn’t go back down and scare away the other fish. Just after he did this my heavier tackle line bent over and my brother jumped to get it out of the holder. Whatever it was it almost pulled him over board. Struggling to hold the rod and workout the drag he fell from oneside of the boat to the other. It was very large and it didn’t just go up and down it went to the side to side aswell. Seeing that I had a Kahawai on (which I would say I had been playing for about 10mins now – with this lighter rod I could not just bring it in) he concluded this would have to be a large Kahawai. The. My brothers line however was still below us, so I had a thought that this might be a large Snapper. I didn’t say anything as I had my hands full. He started the lift and wind action with his rod to bring the large fish up. After a short while he suddenly yelled out – “its a huge Snapper, get the Net!!” I put the drag on the light rod and grabbed the net. The first attempt I missed this huge fish, then on the second attempt I duged in deep and scooped it up. Even though half its body was hanging out of the net I still managed to drop it into the boat. “WOW … “holly $#$” were a couple of words mentioned. It was the largest Snapper I had ever seen. Not really having much time to marvel at this I still had the Kahawai to bring in. This was about a 15 – 20mins fight so far. We had conversation over whether to kill this beast or let it go. After looking at it we decided that it was a large Snapper but probably not the old breeding stock fish which we had pledged we would release. My brother Iki spiked it and I got the Kahawai in and released (it was again a very large one but we were only after 2lb Kahawai not the breeding stock). We got the weight in at 12lb for the Snapper, again this is kinda strange to be catching this size fish in this location in Kapiti. But then again i’m not an expert at sea fishing so perhaps it’s not uncommon to get 12lb Snapper. I was amazed to see such a large fish and knew that we had plenty of freezer space and mouths to feed to easily eat a fish of this size, so we weren’t worried about keeping this one as it was something we could easily eat.

We continued to fish and started to feel quite proud of ourselves. We did a quick summary of the last 2 hours and laughed about how random it had been. 2 Kahawai – the 2 Barracuda, the Trevally Gurnard, the Shark and now this huge Snapper. What more randomness could happen? Well apparently there was still more to come.

We started getting more and more nibbles – by this time there was no current at all and the chop had virtually died. It was about 7:15pm and we only had shellfish as burly, so knowing this day was coming to an end we threw them all in the water around us. Sure enough the nibbles turned into another fish on my lighter rod. “Dammit” I said…. it’s another large Kahawai. Knowing I was going to be into another 15min fight I got comfortable and poured a coffee while the drag went nuts. I gotta say now, Kahawai I respect a huge amount. They are beautiful eating and have amazing fighting power. I played this very much like a would a trout on a fly line – the small reel on this light rod also wound backwards so I could let go of the handle and it let out line. During this time my brother got a nice pan size Snapper – it was dwarfed by the large Snapper but still great eating. Sure enough a few minutes later he got yet again another Panny. All this while I was having another huge battle with this large Kahawai. Finally after a 15min fight I got it and released it, without taking it out of the water (thanks to the great hook removing tool). I have to explain the reason I am telling you about these long fights with Kahawai, the next fish I got on this rod was the biggest surprise of the day. Maybe it was irony or perhaps it was just preemption, but as I was releasing this last Kahawai I said to my brother this was a large Kahawai and he said to just check to see it doesn’t have a yellow tail as King Fish are large and have yellow tails. It was obvious to me that this was a Kahawai. But now I had in my head that a yellow tail means King Fish. Also something earlier in the day – one of my friends from college mentioned to me that his mate had caught a 22lb King Fish earlier in the week at Pukerua Bay. Maybe it was the alignment of the planets or just plain irony all this talk aboutKing Fish.

About 15mins after letting that Kahawai go I got some nibbles on yet again the lighter rod with 8lb nylon and the small hooks. Whack – another Kahawai. Well that’s what I thought. In fact I was so tired from my previous 2 battles with the Kahawai I wasn’t to fussed if I just played this one half heartily. I was going to let it go anyway so doesn’t matter if it gets off. I took sips of my coffee and let the drag loose and started to show off a bit as this was such a successful trip – why not take this one without a care in the world. I let the Kahawai wind its way around the other lines which it tangled up with and with some laid back untangling with the other rods it was clear again. I got a bit cocky and started holding the fish rather than letting it run, just to test this light rod out and see if it could handle the flex. Sure enough like the strong fish Kahawai are I had to let the reel go at points just to take the strain of the rod. After about 10mins fluffying about with the fish – letting it run and testing different strains out, I got it to the surface. At quick glance I assumed it was a Kahawai. Then at second glance it had a yellow tail – I yelled out “it has a yellow tail” my brother totally surprised had a look – “it’s a bloody King Fish”… “how on earth did you get a King fish up on this rod?”. We netted it and measured it at 65cm. We took a quick photo then released it – as the legal size limit is 75cm.

The King Fish I caught on the light tackle rod using 8lb line. It measured 65cm so was released

Totally taken back we wondered how on earth we had caught a King Fish. We didn’t troll for them and let alone on such light tackle – not to mention we are just off Paraparaumu Beach. What a crazy way to end the day. As the sunset it formed a beautiful pink sky – there was no wind and no chop. Just mill pond. A beautiful ending to a great few hours fishing.


We caught a total of 5 large Kahawai (all released), 1 large Dog fish (released), 1 Trevally (kept), 1 Gurnard (kept), 3 Snapper – a 12lb one and two Pannys (all kept), 2 Barracuda (all released) and a 65cm King Fish (released). Not bad for 3 hours fishing just off Paraparaumu Beach at the tide change. I would never have thought such variety nor number could ever be caught just out here at Kapiti. We haven’t even tried any other spots yet, just Paraparaumu Beach from about the links tower down south to about 400m. It’s my belief however that this fishing will occur all the way down the coast in water between 20m – 30m and best fishing is an hour of either side of tide change – mainly due to the fact you don’t need heavy sinkers. Our next spot we are going to try out will be down at Raumati Beach – which I suspect will produce some incredible fishing. The large Snapper we caught had Crabs inside its stomach so they must feed on Crabs and Shellfish as the Shellfish we throw into the water did attract the Snapper and other fish. The Pilchard does attract some different fish and Snapper do like that. But they also love the squid I had on my rods as well so I can’t conclude a lot from this trial. The Snapper rigs caught the targeted Snapper but on the light rod, the simple two hook then a sinker, caught a larger variety of fish. My heavier rod which had the Snapper Rig with one large strip of Squid only caught 1 Kahawai and the large 12lb Snapper, but nothing else. I think it’s therefore important to vary what is on your rods and the different rigs you have on. The lighter rod caught 2 Kahawai, 1 Trevally, 1 Gurnard and 1 King Fish. It also caught the only Snapper the previous day. It could be the light nylon on the line or it could be the smaller hooks that are the reasons this rod is producing the numbers it is. Remember I am using the Black Magic Red KL 1-0 hooks, these hooks are incredible in the fact they do self hook and also seem to always get the fish in the side of there mouth. This i great when you are attempting to release a fish, which we do a lot of. We now have a fridge filled with fresh fish and i’m excited that Kapiti has some of great sea fishing – I owuld never have thought we could have caught the volume we have just off the beach. I think that it might be grossly overlooked as a fishing destination but all I can say is that yesterday we caught enough fish for dinner for the whole of next week and with Snapper selling at the Supermarket for $30 a Kg then we just caught about $300 worth of fresh fish. This is only about the 8th time I have gone out sea-fishing. I have learnt so much and though it does seem a bit hit and miss to begin with I can now safely say I am hooked and there is so much fish out there to be caught. There is also so much information and if you read and follow what people have to say then apply this practice, you will be successful. Happy fishing all and best of Luck…

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