Maximum Fishing Access at Minimal Cost

South Island contributor Peter Langlands discusses a few ways to increase your fishing reach without breaking the bank…

Peddle power

Mountain bikes are becoming a popular option for accessing remoter high-country rivers and lakes and offer an easy way to extend your access capability. Approaching landowners and getting access on farm tracks is often a good investment of time. You can also drop off your bike at the start of your day’s fishing where you intend to end and save a long walk back to the car.

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It is often easy to lock and conceal your bike on the river margin. I especially enjoy biking along parts of the Tekapo Canal where there is no road access and spotting active trout. A bike also allows you to access more remote parts of the canal, which is an advantage as the area is experiencing increased fishing pressure.

There are cycle trails available around our lakes and rivers, and the new cycle trail around Lake Dunstan is especially worth checking out if you want to access remoter parts of the lake. Many of the South Island’s east coast rivers have roads running along them, making them top options to explore while mountain bike fishing. Mountain bikes are easy to carry over fences and offer a low impact way to access many areas.

E-bikes are another good option with the mountain bike versions offering a quiet and effective way to explore remote river valleys. Being quieter and causing less track/soil damage, they are also a more friendly way to travel and one many landowners find less intrusive.

The South Island's high country offers many opportunities for mountain bike access.

The South Island's high country offers many opportunities for mountain bike access.

All-Terrain Vehicles

ATVs (all terrain vehicles and quad bikes) are a good option for those keen on exploring the loose gravel beaches and river mouths.

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Being able to access remoter beaches is an advantage. ATVs are good for taking a range of fishing rods, which are often required at river mouths to cover all the options, and to take down gear for whitebaiting. Many anglers use them to access the larger South Island river mouths (with the ATV being transported on a trailer to the access point). It is also fun after a storm to run an ATV along a beach and comb for a range of flotsam and jetsam. Many people collect the commercial fish bins and they end up being a useful accessory on the ATV!

ATVs are also very good in loose gravel where it is difficult to run a 4WD, and by lowering the trye pressure you can further increase your access capability. ATVs are also good for taking a beach torpedo to a remoter section of beach, and there is plenty of scope to explore surfcasting options along the sweep of the Canterbury Bight.

ATVs can be useful for beach launching a smaller boat at a wide range of locations.

ATVs can be useful for beach launching a smaller boat at a wide range of locations.

Pack rafting

Pack rafting has recently become a popular option for drifting down rivers after a long upstream hike, but rafts should’t be used during periods of elevated river flows.

Pack rafting is ideal on a wide number of medium sized rivers and is certainly becoming a popular downstream access option, as highlighted in the recent issue of NZ Geographic. It also adds an element of fun to the trip and saves the forced march back to the car at the end of the day, but you do need to have a good knowledge of the river. It pays to make a note while walking upstream of any potential hazards you may face while drifting downstream.

Pack rafting is suited to the warmer times of the year and ideally is a summer option, although you could also pack a lightweight wetsuit.

Paddle power

Kayaking is certainly one of my favourite access options as it allows you to carry a decent amount of gear.

Many river mouths, harbours and the slower moving reaches of large rivers are ideal for exploring by kayak. Sit on top kayaks are great for accessing remoter areas for snorkelling and spearfishing too. I use kayaks most often at river mouths as they give quick access to either side. Adding a sail to your kayak will allow you to cover a lot of water. A small inflatable boat with a 15hp engine can also open a lot of scope to your fishing trips.

Adding a sail to a kayak is a fun way to cover more water.

Adding a sail to a kayak is a fun way to cover more water.

Four-wheel drive

A good four-wheel drive with accessories for transporting the above options is ideal, but even a 2WD drive vehicle in combination with the above access options will extend your reach when fishing.

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Having a well set up trailer is also a good investment. If using a 4WD, it pays to get an air compressor so that you can let down the tyre pressure to go along soft sand beaches.

Owning a kayak and a mountain bike has opened both fresh and saltwater fishing opportunities for me. I can now access a wider range of locations and access locations more quickly. Winter is a good time to set up your car or 4WD, get the accessories and gear you need, and do some trial runs. So, make the most of your down time now and plan your summer adventure.


July 2021 - Peter Langlands
New Zealand Fishing News Magazine.
Copyright: NZ Fishing Media Ltd.
Re-publishing elsewhere is prohibited

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