Fishing Tips - Things NOT To Do!

Undoubtedly your list of pet fishing peeves depends on your tolerance level, good nature and experience. Grant Bittle suggests there are innumerable spoken and unspoken nuances in our beloved fishing and has outlined some of his ‘favourite’ angling niggles and their perpetrators.


Egurgetous maximus (squaticus)

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You have got to be kidding me! How do you like your fresh fish – with a side of 12-week-old pilchard, a drizzle of three-month matured squid slime, a barely perceptible but piquant green faecal splurge topping, or perhaps dried skipjack nudged out of a tiny crevice and well-aged from last summer?

It doesn’t take a commission of enquiry to realise just how much dicing with serious illness is done aboard many boats, yet we spend so much on fridges, salt ice and big chilly bins, which take up the most expensive real estate there is – the cockpit. Oh, and the wonders of bacteria. Some can live for decades and instantly spring back to life just so your digestive tract can endure a bowel reaction equivalent of a Krakatoa eruption on a particularly explosive day.

Voluntarily fouling your fresh fish on a stinking bait board – what were you thinking? The coup de grace for me happened after doing some particularly hard and expensive yards to obtain prime hapuku steaks, bluenose and kingfish. There were filleted expertly and beautifully but all rendered 100% useless thanks to the bait board. Even my moggy walked off in disgust after a perfunctory sniff. Bait boards are for bait (if you must), but use a separate filleting board or at least flip it over, thus avoiding involuntary and explosive weight-loss.

Fresh fillets can be rendered inedible if they come in contact with the bait board.

Fresh fillets can be rendered inedible if they come in contact with the bait board.


Neanderthalus historicus

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Wasting precious sleep and the ultimate fishing primetime, the morning’s change of light, catching tiny fish on a sabiki is, at the very least, extremely frustrating. Live baiting, which includes various fishing and hunting techniques, is banned in several countries for a variety of reasons. There are so many ways to catch fish these days without the inconvenience and cost of using bait tanks, pumps and aerators – and there is also the cruelty aspect to consider as well. Live baiting is not the be-all of hunting fish and it has drawbacks. It is worth taking a step back and having an objective look at your fishing techniques and whether they need updating. Like most things, things change and often for the better.

Lures offer a great alternative to livebaits.

Lures offer a great alternative to livebaits.


Maximus cheapus

Fuel is only about one-third of the actual cost of a typical trailer boat day out fishing when you consider the myriad of other things like lures, ice, trailer WOF/rego, wheel bearings, engine servicing, ramp fees etc.

After the week preceding’s enthusiasm and gung-ho talk, there’s always at least one guy who comes out on the day with “Oh man I’ll pay next time,” “I’ll catch up with you later,” or “I’ve only got $20 on me” – yadda yadda yadda. Don’t be that guy. Overcompensate and you might just get an invite back, otherwise hasta la vista baby – enjoy your pre-cooked sausages.


Excusus repetitus

“Make mine a double shot, trim milk latte in a large cup, two marshmallows, chocolate not cinnamon topping please… oh sorry, man they took so long at the gas station, or the motorway traffic – it was horrendous.” (No kidding Sherlock, it always is!) And you can guarantee there will be the accompanying, “Hey I left my rod, reel, food, drink… can I borrow yours please?” Oh, for goodness sake, does your mum still dress you? And what’s wrong with getting there early, helping prepare for launching even, rather than producing endless excuses? Tell me an excuse why you got there earlier to help and brought the captain a hot coffee. As for being late for a charter – you will get left behind. How do I know? Through my experience as a charter captain.

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Deathus immedius

What’s up with allowing the maiming/torturing/lingering death of fish? Is this brutality reserved for fish especially? Every fish you boat should be iki’d instantly.

Here’s an effective way for kingfish, skipjack, kahawai etc that many prefer ‘bled’: smack the fish hard on the head with a short bat, rendering 100% brain death instantly. Most fish hearts can run quite independently of the brain for several minutes – so not only is it continuing to pump blood out at its normal phenomenal rate (ours is about five litres per minute even at rest), it is likely to be pumping even faster given the circumstances. So, effective bleeding happens very quickly. Whatever way you choose to kill and bleed your fish, do it quickly and humanely, which will also ensure it’s at its absolute best for eating.

It’s essential to iki the fish you intend to keep quickly.

It’s essential to iki the fish you intend to keep quickly.


Ignoramus commonous

The classic – reversing onto/down the ramp, then sorting rods, prop flag, tie downs, chilly bins, food and making sure you keep your lights on full so anyone arriving is blinded by the light.

Dickus monumentis

So you think you’re Poseidon do you? Some guy is already at ‘your’ spot, so you feel the need to anchor down-current of someone who has obviously set that up as their strayline area. You need to start showing common courtesy, common sense and a bit of polite fishing camaraderie.

Annoyotis prattis

So you think it’s okay to charge up to an offshore pin, and then plough around (about 10 knots is good so the wake height is maximised) with your sounder on among several other boats quietly already going about jigging for kingfish? Not much more I can say about these guys!

Interruptus instantus

When you’re casting or trolling the white water of a workup, make sure you keep those sounders on too (while you’re maiming gannets and foul-hooking dolphins) so the whales and dolphins can’t communicate and keep the workup going – oh and have you noticed that baitfish don’t like schooling under your transducer when it’s on? Take the hint – unless you are using your sounder, turn it off.

Dim witicus

Lights on skipper. Early morning, fog, later home than planned (the usual), water on screens, a yacht’s sail blocking out something behind, anchored in busy waterways in a tiny tinny – whatever you’re doing, let there be light!

And while I’m on the subject of lights, don’t be ‘that guy’ who backs down the angled ramp without putting the vehicle’s lights to ‘park.’ Even dipped lights, given the angle of the ramp, will blind the boatie trying to back down beside you, especially if he is using his mirrors while reversing and attempting to avoid running into you – and you don’t want that! 

Always dim your lights when backing down a ramp.

Always dim your lights when backing down a ramp.

February 2022 - Grant Bittle
New Zealand Fishing News Magazine.
Copyright: NZ Fishing Media Ltd.
Re-publishing elsewhere is prohibited

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