Surfcasting is a popular form of fishing throughout the country as we are blessed with so many beautiful stretches of coast. In the southern parts they target blue moki, elephant fish and rig. In the north the favoured species are snapper, trevally and kahawai. I will focus this article on surfcasting for snapper and trevally as they are what I primarily catch.
I grew up on the west coast of Northland, born and raised in Dargaville. It’s a quiet and remote town but with access to Godzone’s longest beach (Ripiro Beach – 107km), it offers fantastic fishing. With golden sand dunes along New Zealand’s longest driveable beach it’s a mecca for any surfcaster. It is here that I learnt to fish as a kid with my grandfather and uncle who were keen anglers. I still love surfcasting here and return often throughout the year to fish for snapper and trevally. Gurnard, rig, kahawai and parore are also common catches along the beach, but they are usually a welcome bycatch.
You need to be able to read the beach well to pick the best spots to cast into. Look for deep holes, sand banks or guts. The deeper water is where fish will be feeding or moving from.
With surfcasting you also need to achieve long casts out into the deeper water to consistently catch snapper. The better casters catch the bigger fish. To get longer casts you simply need to fish often. Casting on a regular basis will help increase your distance. Switching to braid can also help and you will notice the subtle bites in the turbulent surf. I use 9kg (20lb) braid but recently re-spooled with 15kg Whiplash braid as it is thinner than 9kg braid! This is also very handy when you hook up on a big stingray and you can crank them in quickly.
- ROD: A 12ft – 14ft surfcasting rod is required for good casting. A lot of the new rods are now over 14ft and come as a 3 piece. Which length you are comfortable using will come down to personal preference
- REEL: I use spin reels. Top casters in contests use overhead reels but they fish and cast a lot. Spin reels are easier to use. Choose a reel from 8,000 – 12,000 size that suits your budget
- LINE: Use 20lb – 30lb braid which is thinner than mono and doesn’t stretch. For mono use 6kg
- LEADER: Use heavier 15kg – 24kg mono as a shock leader. Sunline’s Tapered leader is fantastic and easier to tie knots to the main line
- OTHER KIT: 4/0 swivels, 5/0 hooks, Breakout sinkers 3oz -5oz, rod holder and a wetsuit with long legs