The recent weather hasn’t left us with too much to be excited about. Being restricted to beach fishing hasn’t helped much either and that must be at its worst when the weather doesn’t cooperate. Under Level 3 we’re restricted to beach fishing or fishing from a non-powered craft and are supposed to stay within 200m of the shore.
So what options are there? For a very tasty treat and a bit of fun, spear fishing for flounder is always an option. Flounder can be plentiful on some of the harbour beaches, but they are very easily spooked during the daytime, so spearing becomes a night time thing. A spear is easily made out of a wooden or bamboo pole with a sharp length of small diameter steel rod attached, I have made them using a broom handle and a nail, but they are never too flash.
You can buy commercially made spears with three barbed prongs, but they do more damage to the fish and make it difficult to remove the spear. I suppose you could crush the barbs of file them off. Of course, you need to get your hand under the fish to stop it sliding off the spear when you lift it out so barbed spears will eliminate that and will be better in deeper water.
I only usually use a decent spotlight or even a good head lamp and stay in shallow water. You can cover more ground using an underwater flounder lamp. Personally, I don’t like even going knee deep, I’ve seen too many rays! Move very slowly and as you approach the fish get the spear tip an inch or two over its head and firmly push the spear down. A shoulder bag makes carrying the fish easy.
A few anglers, more patient than I, target flounder on light fishing tackle. Small soft-baits or tiny jigs are what they use but you can also use bait. Dmitriy Kroll provided the image with this report, a very impressive fish caught on a tiny soft-bait. These fish need to be stalked very slowly and it’s easy to scare them off! Tinned sweetcorn is supposed to work well. I have only caught one on a rod and that was using shellfish for bait. However, you decide to fish for them an incoming tide is usually your best option.
Trevally are a great target off the beach and shellfish, or small squid baits work best. Trevally work like a vacuum cleaner when they eat, hovering up small crabs and shellfish out of the soft mud or sand. They don’t have teeth, but they do have crushing plates in their throats that break up the shells. As a result, they have a very light bite. Small hooks and light traces help the process by not impeding the bait on its way to the trevally’s tummy. Recurve hooks help by hooking the fish in the corner of the mouth as it goes about its business. A strike from the angler will often rip the hook straight out without touching the sides, or if the hook does grab, will likely rip the trevally’s delicate mouth.
So, there are a couple of different options worth a try. Of course, snapper, kahawai, and gurnard are good targets too, but trevally take a bit more work and flounder just take things to a whole new level of difficult if you’re looking for a challenge from the shore...