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Kahawai Thread

Printed From: The Fishing Website
Category: Saltwater Fishing
Forum Name: Saltwater Flyflingers
Forum Description: A forum for saltwater fly fishing enthusiasts
Printed Date: 23 Sep 2019 at 11:29pm

Topic: Kahawai Thread
Posted By: Fraser Hocks
Subject: Kahawai Thread
Date Posted: 06 May 2014 at 6:03pm

Nice work Tom. There a great fighting fish!

Just following up from our discussion regards Kahawai In WA, I though you guys might like this little video clip? 


The Kahawai do a spawning run up the WA coast from the South West which usually starts around Easter / Anzac weekend.  On their migration they tend to predate on what they call Herring (not a herring at all, but a smaller version of a Kahawai).    In the video you can see the kids first picking up the “herring” which have been chased onto the beach by the Kahawai then catch Kahawai as they beach themselves trying to capture the herring.


Trust me boys if you want to target big Kahawai, then Autumn in the south west of WA is the place for you!  



PS. Sound quality is atrocious

Posted By: Fraser Hocks
Date Posted: 06 May 2014 at 6:10pm
Oh that big black shape you can see just a few meters off the beach is the main school of fish.  These schools can reach 50 ton in size.

Posted By: desmofrankie
Date Posted: 06 May 2014 at 6:38pm
Jeeeezz.... gime a fly rod!!!!!

Posted By: Millsy
Date Posted: 06 May 2014 at 7:00pm
I used to see events similar to this on the south head of the Manukau just inside the bar when I was a teenager. Used to. Maybe the recreational fisherman fished the big ocean going schools out?

Biggest I ever caught was 4.6kgs on 2kg. We thought we were breaking world records...LOL

Posted By: Ahab
Date Posted: 07 May 2014 at 7:56am
Awesome, Fraser. I've seen similar schools in South Aus, but not right up against the beach. Are the herring the same as tommy ruff?

I've heard that every so often a bronzie (or maybe bull-shark?) comes and smashes the kahawai party, and it's an amazing sight.

Posted By: Fraser Hocks
Date Posted: 07 May 2014 at 8:46am
Yea Tom, same fish. In the eastern States they call them Tommy Ruff and in the West Herring. Same fish, different name." rel="nofollow -

Yea the Bronzie’s get fat at this time of the year. You often see footage from aircraft of packs of bronzie’s gorging on a school of Kahawai. Very impressive stuff and reminds you of why so many people in WA get taken by sharks each year?

Posted By: DeVille Incarnate
Date Posted: 07 May 2014 at 8:58am
The annual sardine run (they're not really sardines, they're pilchards) up the East coast of Southern Africa is very similar, although they don't come right onto shore too often.

Fantastic getting into the various game fish on the edges of the 'run' while everyone else is going crazy collecting pillies with whatever comes to hand - hands, buckets, skirts, you name it!! Quite a spectacle!

Approach with extreme caution - I NEVER look where my back cast is going....

Posted By: Fraser Hocks
Date Posted: 07 May 2014 at 9:47am

Sounds Awesome Geoff. Makes me think we should start a thread related to great fish runs around the planet. I know for sure the Salmon runs in Alaska is on my bucket list. Not so much for the fishing, but more to see such a spectacle. I was meant to go for my 40th, but funds ran short. One day, one day!

Date Posted: 07 May 2014 at 5:15pm
Hey FlybyNite, just wondering what the Predators were youd target In SA,?

By Fly, Nothing Else,Just Fly

Posted By: DeVille Incarnate
Date Posted: 07 May 2014 at 7:50pm
GT's mostly Adam and Garrick (Leervis), Shad (Bluefish in Oz), a number of shark species and of course the pelagic predators in the deeper waters offshore, including whales.

You Tube is crammed with footage - enjoy!

Approach with extreme caution - I NEVER look where my back cast is going....

Posted By: FishMan
Date Posted: 07 May 2014 at 8:30pm
Used to be a regular sight in NZ. Massive dark schools that could easily be spotted from a high dune - and most of the fish were big. We used to weigh them and weights were from seven and a half to ten pound and a bit. Lots around the eight pound mark.

Obviously kahawai were given the chance to grow older before the netting scourge started in the late eighties.

Haven't seen thick schools like that in the surf in a very long time.

Cat food must be more important than having fish in the sea Angry

Posted By: Millsy
Date Posted: 07 May 2014 at 10:27pm
Glad you mentioned it Craig. Although you would have a hard time convincing one commercial fisherman I know of in the Waikato who would tell you there are more kahawai now than there ever were. After all, he will exclaim "I filled 40 bins of kahawai's the other nite, got a ton. Made no money just paid for my gas and wages cause they are worth sheeet".

This is part of the problem you see. Here we have one man who is for the most part, uneducated and ignorant of what is going on outside his tiny world. He made his wages so he is okay. Never mind everyone else and the future.

On the netting issue; The recreational limit  for mullet is 30 per day per person. On a good week you can observe the same people dragging a net for mullet, at times up to 6 of them. So that in their minds is okay. They are taking their collective limit of 180 mullet and will be back the next day to feed the street again. MPI don't have the resources or backing to police that issue so it continues every summer with most people not really caring. After-all, mullet are only bait right?

Then there are nets that can be seen at along beaches that stingray and other "non target" fish get caught in and left to drown. But hey, as long as the owner can walk down to the beach and get something "edible" for dinner, it is his or her right under the current legislation to use this practice. Lets not get into an ethics debate here, I'm eating my snapper.

I still have friends who will net mullet, slaughter small tuna because there are no apparent limits for them, and catch their limit of kahawai... for bait. Makes perfect sense I guess... kill one fish so you can catch another. I'm sorry please repeat?

The cat issue? That Morgan chappie has the solution. My best was 37 in 3 days with my trustie .22

I love how kiwis still have this "she'll be right" attitude.

Khaled Hosseini said "there is only one sin, only one. That of theft. Every other sin is a variation of theft". I am trying to figure how greed fits into that equation with respect to New Zealand's apparent blase' attitude towards its fishery. Maybe it s just my current perception.

Who's been fishing anyway?

Posted By: matto
Date Posted: 08 May 2014 at 2:35am
Not me Millsy , but there were some big fish movements in our local creek today on the Waitemata. Predators ,baitfish and birds working. 

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Posted By: FishMan
Date Posted: 08 May 2014 at 6:49am
Yeah Millsy, don't get me started on nets and mullet. They are slower growing than kahawai. Its very easy to knock the population around.

In the early days of Northland there were so many mullet about that there were canning factories set up in various locations right beside the mullet schools. Most of them closed down after only a few years. Duh.

Having massive, massive schools of mullet in our harbours is the natural order of things. They are extremely important parts of the marine ecosystem turning mudflat detritus and algae into fish protein.

It would appear that allowing people to drag nets and fill up their smokers is more important than that.

p.s You'll notice that I've dumped a bunch of that kahawai stuff in it's own thread. Just trying to tidy up the Auckland thread a bit.

Posted By: Brown Dog
Date Posted: 08 May 2014 at 6:53am
Some wise men on this forum!

Posted By: Millsy
Date Posted: 08 May 2014 at 9:12am
Yay, a kahawai thread!! Can it be a sticky please?

Reality is I am always in two minds as to where to post. Do I live in Auckland? Well not really. Is where I fish considered Auckland because it is not the favored Waitamata? No. Oh the dilemmas.

Netting: There are still plenty of of people who drag for mullet. I had a few words with a teenage boy who was trying to net a school of about 50 odd over Christmas that were right in close to the beach in a local bay not far from me inside the ban area. He was using his boat to set the net at one end. Took me two goes to convince him to go away and ask MPI for the correct advice not the advice his father gave him that it was okay. Poor kid. Clearly the mullet were breeding too. I thought, this is a future fisherman here who is likely going to be fishing the Manukau long after I have gone and this is how he is starting off. He is lucky he ran into someone so diplomatic, if he had tried that stunt in some other places around NZ he may well have lost his boat and had his noise realigned. He wanted some bait for fishing. 

I am in the minority anyway so I am hardly going to win any public debates on most issues. I fly fish for one. I don't use bait. I believe the limits are too generous and I believe we should be paying fee's and the money should go back into enforcement. We need more marine reserves and while I am at it I don't believe in god either. Flame me if it makes you feel better.

Back to the kahawai thread. So Craig, you gunna make it a sticky so I have somewhere to rave all about my favorite fish?

Posted By: Brown Dog
Date Posted: 08 May 2014 at 10:31am
Paul I will post a link on an article written about the amount of bait used in this country. Very interesting as it shows that rec fisherman too, should be aware of their own responsibilities regarding the resource.

Posted By: FishMan
Date Posted: 08 May 2014 at 11:02am
Yeah ok, I'll make it sticky, but I'll have to re-evaluate if we get too many sticky topics.

I'm still trying to figure who was the diplomatic person on the beach you described

Posted By: swoffer
Date Posted: 08 May 2014 at 11:17am
Come on Millsy, don't hold back, say what you really think!

"The more people I meet, the more I love my dog......"" rel="nofollow">

Posted By: StPaul
Date Posted: 08 May 2014 at 9:58pm
We still get schools like that along the kaikoura coast and in some parts of the sounds over summer.
 I'd love to have seen in back in the day when the old fellas reckon that cloudy bay was black with the from october to march

Posted By: swoffer
Date Posted: 08 May 2014 at 10:08pm
Those schools from the early days also suggest that the bait fish situation was somewhat different to now. Many things have changed and mostly not to the good, but I still marvel that one can catch a feed of fish meters from the biggest city in NZ. We are a lot more lucky than many of the so-called developed counties. Now, how to keep it that way.....

"The more people I meet, the more I love my dog......"" rel="nofollow">

Posted By: Blue Asparagus
Date Posted: 08 May 2014 at 10:31pm
.Dad got this one in 72 I think went 19.5lb

Ultimate GAME Fishing Adventures. Northland

Posted By: cirrus
Date Posted: 08 May 2014 at 10:53pm
WOW.  Was that a kermedec Kakawai B.A. How far North was it caught. Amazing fish

Posted By: bass-ist
Date Posted: 09 May 2014 at 12:36am
The Kahawai is an incredible fish.
I'm probably repeating myself but, as a foreigner, I CANT believe how poorly the Kahawai is regarded, treated and ignored by most Kiwis.

Maybe this thread could become a catalyst for some kind of collective action for education, lobbying, etc.

What's a sticky?

Posted By: swoffer
Date Posted: 09 May 2014 at 4:15am
Hi Gordy, look up Option 4 on the web and Legasea. You will find that Scott has dedicated his life to the Kahawai and the preservation of NZ fisheries. However, the commercial sector and their Politician 'yes men' bottom feeders don't give a damn about the concept of sport fisheries and fish for the people.
Politics is the thirst for power and status in the guise of public service.

"The more people I meet, the more I love my dog......"" rel="nofollow">

Posted By: Jaapie
Date Posted: 09 May 2014 at 11:02am
Jeez Steve - you'd be able to strap a saddle to that thing and ride it to shore.
Amazing fish!

Funny you mention Kermadec Cirrus.....that was my initial thought when I saw the shot.
There has been a bit of conjecture over the years though about separate species.
Does anyone know the whole truth?

Be interested to know the science.

"Only when the last tree has died, the last river has been poisoned and the last fish has been caught,will we realize that we cannot eat money" - 19th Century Indian Creed

Posted By: FishMan
Date Posted: 09 May 2014 at 11:21am
Yes, different species. Kermadec kahawai = Arripis xylabion. NZ kahawai = Arripis trutta.

Side by side they look very different and the differences are most acute at a smaller size. I caught a 3 to 4 kg Kermadec Kahawai in the Far North once. The slate grey sides with a scattering of faint dark spots, the grey pectoral and big tail fin were unmistakeable.

We polaroided a lone kahawai in Parengarenga this year that was probably one of these fish. Like all good fly fishers though we scared the shyte out of it before we could even get close. There were big schools of these at Spirits and Tom Bowling Bay in the old days, but you don't hear many reports these days. Trouble is these days it's more of a campervan scene up there than anything else. There could be lots still getting caught but you just don't hear about it.

Posted By: landman
Date Posted: 09 May 2014 at 11:37am
Yeah I remember my dad catching a Kahawai off of Monganui Wharf northland years ago everyone thought it was a Kingie when he landed it weighed 14LB it was friggin huge.

Posted By: cirrus
Date Posted: 09 May 2014 at 11:37am
Dont think that much is known about Kahawai,especially migration pattens  Science says there is one stock in N.Z waters with some input from Australia.

Yet by the same Token the Kermadec Kahawai is a distinct species with some seasonal appearance into far Northern waters.

With greatly reduced commercial catch compared to the annual 9-10 000 T taken during the mid to late 80s and early 90s these fish seem to be returning in noticeable numbers,but have still along way to go to reach former numbers . Maybe in a few more years we will see the return of numbers of really big 7-8lb fish.

That we are seeing return of Kahawai at all,credit must be given to the dedication of Option 4 in taking the case to the high court. Often wonder just how close to the brink the were and to the point of never being able to recover.
There were years during the mass purse seine targeting of these fish that i never saw one.
Had a great day catching Kahawai last weekend. Brought home how much these fish need to be valued. Put a topic on this day out on the Briny bar." Among the schools of Kahawai"
Although i caught some snapper that day it was trolling for Kahawai on light gear that was the highlight

Posted By: Millsy
Date Posted: 09 May 2014 at 11:40am
Well, I just thought I would leave this pic of Arripis trutta here then...

I've left it somewhere else before too, by hey, who's counting.

Posted By: Jaapie
Date Posted: 09 May 2014 at 12:29pm
Don't you just love that TCX?
It should come with a warning label - WEAPON!

Thanks Craig for info on Arripis.

"Only when the last tree has died, the last river has been poisoned and the last fish has been caught,will we realize that we cannot eat money" - 19th Century Indian Creed

Posted By: Millsy
Date Posted: 09 May 2014 at 1:15pm
Well Jaapie funny you should mention the TCX. Yes, I do love it, absolutely.

Just took her for a stroll and found a nice school of obliging Arripis trutta up in the 12"- 14" 2lb max range. Gave me some exercise for about an hour.

The 7wt TCX is now my go to shore based setup. The 6wt Xi3 is my new boat/drift setup and is lending itself well to that environment with its slightly easier action than the TCX. Makes netting fish by yourself a lot easier than the TCX ever was but still has balls down low for pulling fish up.

I found this old article in a well known NZ SWF book published in 2000 and had a wee chuckle reading it...


Posted By: Millsy
Date Posted: 10 May 2014 at 12:38pm
Just got in from a morning out in the boat.

I can see why there is so many kahawai about in the Manukau. The only place to be if you are looking for kahawai or just getting into swf imho.

Whitebait. Heaps. So many in places I could have walked on them. Ties in with reports I am hearing from the experts on all things small in the rivers.

I was reading an old FlyLife mag, number 56 that had a good article on kahawai eating tiny bait. Below is a picture of the sorts of flies that work in those situations.

Closer to the shoreline is also a very good place to find larger kahawai currently. Using a bigger sprat type pattern works better for those fish.

If I were you, and I was after some swf action I would be looking for a shallow bay with a prominent headland. Like the places you might find between Cornwallis towards Onehunga (as most of you are from that side). Big muddy would be a good beat ans maybe even some of the bays before Huia, there are a couple in there with streams running in. Perfect.

Failing tide. Has to be falling so the kahawai can push the bait into the shallows. Of course the bait doesn't want to be there cause it might get stranded so it heads back out again only to be chased back in again. This repeats itself for a good couple of hours in most places. It is the common ambush theory.

Get into it.

Posted By: desmofrankie
Date Posted: 10 May 2014 at 12:51pm
Got twice in Blockhouse bay around high and beginning of the outgoing last week and didn't see a single Kahawai Unhappy

It looks like I have no other choice than trying again!LOLLOL

Posted By: Millsy
Date Posted: 10 May 2014 at 1:12pm
Not sure exactly were you could be there desmo, but maybe to close to the high tide in that spot. Maybe better closer to the low or last hour before low. The headlands over there hold kahawai on high. Right in close, like sitting in behind rocks close.  Not sure how access is to headlands that close to high however. 

I would try where FISHBYFLY sometimes heads. Particularly the bay where he launches his yak. That point to the right hand side if you are looking towards the South Head is a sure bet. Couldn't be surer. All along that side towards little Huia in close out of the sun. I caught 3 in there this morning drifting past, my fly was landing less than a meter of the beach. The one below was the only fish I kept this morning and came from there.

Posted By: desmofrankie
Date Posted: 10 May 2014 at 3:40pm
Cheers Milsy, I was actually thinking about going there again, I haven't been for  a wile!
(not too much issues with access at hight as I got most times with the yak)

Posted By: Millsy
Date Posted: 10 May 2014 at 4:15pm
If I see  you in there Sunday I might shoot in for a yarn. Likely be up that way somewhere for the outgoing.

In light of the fact I have lost Gordy as a crew member I have a new crew member.

Posted By: ShaunQ
Date Posted: 10 May 2014 at 7:47pm
Love that boat of yours Millsy and no doubt all those dusty hours on the sander have long since been payed off, dog is a rippa too.

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Posted By: ShaunQ
Date Posted: 10 May 2014 at 8:41pm
and I'll just leave this here...

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Posted By: desmofrankie
Date Posted: 10 May 2014 at 8:44pm
Woulda been great to have a yarn with you on the water Milsy but unfortunately I work tomorrow so I'll have to be counted as on elf the crazy people not on the water that day Pinch

Hopefully it'll stay that good for the next few days.

Someone had told me the short story about your boat, did you post some pics of the process (or even just the boat) somewhere??

Posted By: Shilo
Date Posted: 11 May 2014 at 11:50am
Originally posted by Millsy Millsy wrote:

Failing tide. Has to be falling so the kahawai can push the bait into the shallows. Of course the bait doesn't want to be there cause it might get stranded so it heads back out again only to be chased back in again. This repeats itself for a good couple of hours in most places. It is the common ambush theory.
Get into it.

You are on to something there Millsy.

Went for a paddle on Kawhia harbour this morning with the outgoing. Despite all the bars still being covered by 6" to a foot of water there was one small area that had Kahawai work ups concentrated in it.  Because of the water level I couldn't see why they were only in that area until I landed and checked my GPS.  As per the screen shot below where the yellow blob is on my track (from paddling round in circles) it was a blind channel and the Kahawai were blocking their exit. Despite the surrounding area still being covered with water, the bait fish DID NOT want to head into the shallows. 

Only managed to catch one on the fly but still good to know somewhere I can head to next time I escape the camp.


Posted By: Millsy
Date Posted: 13 May 2014 at 6:48pm
Likely in those type of spots what you get is a strong current that push the bait up onto the leading edge of a bank where the kahawai pick them off in schools. Those swirly, eddy looking parts. Look at it like you might a large river and fish it the same.

The Huia banks would be similar to the situation you were in. At slack tide (low or high) the bait can get down and find shelter. Once the tide runs they are at the mercy of the current which will push them to the surface on those currents that hit the leading edge of banks. When the tide gets near low they will find themselves in the eddy's at the rear of the banks but the kahawai sit under the tide and look up at the feast coming over the top. Been that way since Adman was a boy. 

Nice looking spot. Similar to many spots I have here.

Need to add this recipe tip here also

There is more to kahawai than just smoking them. Filleting them and fry in butter. Use this rub, its mean on fresh kahawai. Under-rated as a table fish.

Olive oil, above rub, salt and flour then fry in butter. Boom.

Posted By: FishMan
Date Posted: 14 May 2014 at 8:40am
Yeah, the places you get regular kahawai action are a bit like current based kingfish spots, but on a smaller scale.

I've got one sweet spot at the moment that is producing sight fished bait smashing kahawai in the two plus kilo range. It is a corner created by a private ramp and small jetty. There is also a sea wall. Just on the start of the incoming tide the kahawai are cruising this area over an adjacent sand flat about a metre deep and trapping bait against the sea wall and ramp. It's easy spotting off the sea wall, but you have to stand very still otherwise they'll spook. Once they're spotted I creep backwards then cast at them from behind the cover provided by a small pohutakawa. Great fun! Especially on the six weight.

Went there yesterday and there were two fat black-back gulls standing by the water- just waiting. You know its a good spot when these guys are willing to stand there for several days waiting for a free meal.

Apart from this little bright spot though, my local inshore fishing has been appallingly bad. It is a complete reversal on the excellent autumn fishing I enjoyed in these spots last year. Fishing always keeps you guessing and scratching your head I suppose.

The kahawai have been a real gift in this regard. A wonderful species.

Posted By: Millsy
Date Posted: 14 May 2014 at 5:54pm
You need to move south Craig.

Tried out a new fly this evening. Pretty little bait fish imitation. Just what the doctor ordered for the inshore fishing I am getting currently.

Tied it on to 4kg tippet with the Leftys Loop, attached to the TCX 7wt and headed for some likely looking shoreline on the last of the outgoing. 

It is a light fly and is quite buoyant so it sits in the top 1ft of the water column. Perfect for surface feeding kahawai and also sits above the red weed that lurks just under the first foot of water. Also means it misses catching on kelp and rocks as it gets retrieved through that danger zone where the bait fish hide. Has a nice action too and looks very much like a bait fish indeed.

Couple of casts over the lip of a kelpy rock ledge into a meter of water and a swirl behind the fly instantly. Promising.

Next cast and bang! All on for young an old.

Kahawai no.1 landed and released. Hooked right in the corner of the mouth and head first. 


Managed another few kahawai before I had to head home to get the fire going. Cooling down now for sure.

Think I will be getting a few more of these. 

Posted By: swoffer
Date Posted: 14 May 2014 at 5:59pm
Wow Millsy, that didn't take long to test it out. Like the idea of the fly staying up in the water, above the weed...the big problem with Clouser type flies. Well done!

"The more people I meet, the more I love my dog......"" rel="nofollow">

Posted By: Fraser Hocks
Date Posted: 14 May 2014 at 6:15pm

Have you guys tried using the foam rod fly for Kahawai? Tie them up with the foam rodding that’s sold at hardware stores. Acts a bit like a gurgler when fished with an intermediate line. Was always one of my favorite flys for Kahawai. Quick and easy to tie, and the Kahawai seem to always monster them.


Be good if you guys are having a weed problem as they obviously float.

Posted By: Millsy
Date Posted: 14 May 2014 at 6:25pm
I have gurglars and poppers and grease flies Fraser. They are good for sure and have their place no doubt.

What these flies (the tested one) wont do is spook fish. Now you might think that wouldn't be a problem with kahawai. However when you are targeting kahawai in very close they tend to get jumpy and anything "unnatural" can send them out just beyond casting range which is frustrating. I fished the first fish standing 10ft back form the shoreline on the sand. If I had thrown a straight surface fly in there I can bet the fish would have spooked and moved out which would mean I would have had to get wet and tonight I wanted to keep my nuts dry.

Thanks for the tip anyway, I will look into that foam fly thing. For now, these flies are ala "off the shelf" and work very well for those that don't tie.

Posted By: FishMan
Date Posted: 14 May 2014 at 7:32pm
Nah, no need to shift south Wink plenty of kahawai here and I'm sure there's plenty of snapper away from the spot five minutes from the house. I'm just flabbergasted that the late season upper harbour run of snapper that we normally get here hasn't really happened. No hard and fast rules in fishing I suppose.

I'll give you a call in August and see how you're getting on Ermm Smile. That's a nice fly by the way. Real purty. Are the home tied efforts looking as good Wink. Heard you got yourself a vice (as in fly tying). Bit of a slippery slope...

Posted By: Millsy
Date Posted: 14 May 2014 at 7:43pm
Hmmm vise. Rum could be considered mine. More like Nemesis maybe.

August will be hard for sure. Although I heard that the front man for "Big angry fish" targets big kings in the shallow harbors in winter. Have you heard that? If so, I am a lucky man cause I know where they are likely to lurk. How is your king fishing going btw? Managed anything over 18.2kgs yet? I saw one on the weekend that looked like a penguin it was that fat, 50lb+ easy. I actually gulped and went white when it approached my fly attached to the 12wt and went weak at the knees. For a second I had a feeling that Michael Sams teammates must feel when picking up the soap in the shower, not comfortable at all. 

Posted By: FishMan
Date Posted: 14 May 2014 at 8:46pm

Posted By: kingfishers
Date Posted: 14 May 2014 at 8:58pm
Was driving under harbour bridge/westhaven 30minutes back.... Big work up close to the shore... Next to the second pillar of harbourbridge to be precise.... Looks like mainly Kahwai.. Guy fishing there caught 6 kahwai....

"My mind has gone fishing, ask all questions tomorrow"

Posted By: Fraser Hocks
Date Posted: 15 May 2014 at 9:51am

Here we go. Quickly tied up a few of these last night. Hopefully the Auckland Kahawai find them to their liking? 

Posted By: matto
Date Posted: 15 May 2014 at 10:00am
Fraser , I know you have been inundated with options from the strip strike crowd , give me a call 021865593. I will be passing pt chev at some stage ( on route to boat show) and suspect a sneaky cast on the out going tide with one of your plopper/blooper flies will nab a harbour Kahawai. 

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Posted By: Brown Dog
Date Posted: 15 May 2014 at 11:33am
Originally posted by Millsy Millsy wrote:

There is more to kahawai than just smoking them. Filleting them and fry in butter. Use this rub, its mean on fresh kahawai. Under-rated as a table fish.

Olive oil, above rub, salt and flour then fry in butter. Boom.

Hallelujah, floured and pan fried fresh, bloody unbeatable, now if we could only get better limit restrictions on this fish before it's decimated!

Posted By: Millsy
Date Posted: 15 May 2014 at 6:24pm
Fraser, I could point you to places over here I can guarantee you would catch fish in the evening. But it is a bit far for you to drive.

Another fish this evening using the new fly. Same results, and kahawai for dinner. Just superb.

Posted By: Millsy
Date Posted: 20 May 2014 at 9:47am
With winter knocking thought I would share some tips for getting through.

I was trawling through some old snaps of kahawai fishing and noted that some of the best kahawai fishing I had in recent years was in June. You need to change your tack however, this mornings effort highlighted this. 

I have also noted people referring to getting "nibbles" lately when targeting. Nibbles are not something we generally associate with kahawai for sure but this time of the year things do sloooooooooowwwwwww doooooooowwwnnnnn somewhat. Which means, we need to also. Double handed striping is out, put that away until next summer. 

Need to look at where you are fishing also. Fish that are slow and in winter mode dont move far. 

What works for me; Find a likely spot and wait. This morning for me was a perfect example. Granted I know that piece of water off by heart now (kind of like my first stick mag really) but patience is required. That spot has current out wide, bait fish in close and an eddy so lazy fish don't have to work. Think of fishing for cruising browns in a lake if you will. 

So there I was this morning waiting, I even took a picture (over on the wbf Auckland thread). I didn't have to wait that long for a bust up in close and the view didn't exactly make the wait hard either. One thing I have learnt about winter fishing for kahawai, once you find these spots, the fish will be there for days, weeks even. Why travel to get your next meal when the bait fish don't move?

Start trying to figure out where that fish came from, was it from a reef or rock further out? Wait for the next pass, there will be one if you're in the right spot. Start prospecting the fly in those areas you think he could be holding taking care, and this is important, NOT to spook the fish. Yes, kahawai will spook, then sound, and you may as well pack up and go home.

Key things. Lighten and lengthen your leader. 4kg is good. Slow your retrieve. This may mean a non clouser type of fly like the one I posted here few days back, perfect fly for this. The fly looks good when it retrieve in slow jerky motions. 

Another thing that is good for this time of the year. Waders. Over to the waders thread.

Good luck, post some results/pics!

Posted By: Brown Dog
Date Posted: 20 May 2014 at 11:56am
Nice one Paul, will keep all that info in mind as I am heading up to my Manukau spot tomorrow morning for a Dawn fish. And yes the waders will be on.

Posted By: DeVille Incarnate
Date Posted: 20 May 2014 at 4:07pm
Great info Paul, thanks for that - for us newbies it's invaluable and we appreciate it no end!  Thumbs Up

Approach with extreme caution - I NEVER look where my back cast is going....

Posted By: Millsy
Date Posted: 20 May 2014 at 7:27pm
Originally posted by Brown Dog Brown Dog wrote:

Nice one Paul, will keep all that info in mind as I am heading up to my Manukau spot tomorrow morning for a Dawn fish. And yes the waders will be on.

I take it you have converted to swf now? Good news.

You're welcome for the info guys, things are getting quiet around here, I see tumbleweed on the horizon again. Some one, post some results please. Tongue

Posted By: Brown Dog
Date Posted: 20 May 2014 at 7:33pm
Na mate still spinning, no time to learn another skill and all the time it takes up, not for a wee while anyway.

Posted By: Millsy
Date Posted: 20 May 2014 at 7:51pm
Originally posted by Fraser Hocks Fraser Hocks wrote:


Here we go. Quickly tied up a few of these last night. Hopefully the Auckland Kahawai find them to their liking? 

I should have added that gurglars are definitely the go when prospecting new areas first light when it is dead calm. You can retrieve these nice and slow with a floating line. They can be deadly. However, if you thrash one spot too much, fish will go down, so use wisely, don't pick them up off the water by dragging them about. 

That one Fraser looks perfect, I want.

Posted By: FishMan
Date Posted: 21 May 2014 at 6:38am
Here's a kahawai memory from a few years back-

We'd been prospecting some of the northern wharves. It was early summer/late spring (if my memory serves me correctly). Year - 1985 to 87, somewhere around then. We'd been hoping for an early run of kingfish. Sometimes they run as early as Labour Weekend, sometimes they don't. Always a bit hit-and-miss at that time of the year.

Anyway, fishing was a bit slow. Our big Jack Mack livies were getting nailed by John Dory, big kahawai, octopus and the bloody resident shags. The first two species were an indicator that the water temps were a little cool yet.

So, we retired to the Mangonui Pub. The big smelly blokes around the pool table were in fine form and were starting to push each other around off the walls and were swinging the occasional pool cue at each other. Fairly typical behaviour for 3pm on a sunny afternoon in Northland. So we took our beersies out to the 'garden bar' - an old A-frame picnic table out the front. From there stretched a commanding view of the upper part of the harbour with a road edge and sea wall running right alongside. A small muddy flat was just over this sea wall and it had an active incoming harbour current washing across it. Baitfish rippled in the glassy water as the tide poured across the mud and sand.

It didn't take too long for the first baitfish explosion to happen. Then another, then lots more. The initial "f**k, see that!" gave way to "nah, just big kahawai". Those that loved their beersies more than the thought of big kahawai in the shallows stayed on the seat while I ran to get my light spinning rod out of the car. Big kahawai were very common in those days, and annoying when they ate livies intended for kingfish, but having three kilo fish smashing bait in a foot of water in front of the pub was just too hard to resist.

I got out there, cast out my trusty stingsilda and was into big black-backed kahawai in a matter of moments. They were charging the lure with several big bow-waves powering along over the shallow sand making quite a spectacle in the glassy conditions. When they connected, with so little water to dive into, they would just run and jump. I had a fairly small set of trebles on the lure and the kahawai were throwing it readily, there'd be a big cartwheel, the lure would go flying through the air, I'd crank the reel handle some more and there'd be more big bow-waves up behind the lure, another crashing strike and another big fish flipping out of the water and tearing across the flat. It was great fun.

The others refused to leave their beersies and instead shouted good-natured abuse from the seat. They were all soon standing on the picnic table and even some of the bleary eyed blokes from inside the pub joined them. All the hoots and hollers coming from the 'pub stadium' were hilarious.

The fish moved on up harbour after twenty minutes, but it was a great twenty minutes. My beer got warm and the 'crowd' had a whole heap of entertainment. But what fishing!

Still happens today I'm sure, but the fish are a little smaller and the action not quite so regular. In terms of a tourist attraction the value of this sort of thing being allowed to go on by letting our kahawai stocks re-build just cannot be under estimated. Such a great fish and a great resource. Good memories

Posted By: Millsy
Date Posted: 21 May 2014 at 7:30am
Nice story. Did you score at the pub later? That would have topped it off.

I have lots of kahawai memories including one of using the landing net to catch them in work ups on the Huia banks they were that thick!!. About the same year too. I think I kicked off my 1 and 2kg spin career about that time.

Shame on this country for decimating the kahawai. Shame. 

Posted By: bass-ist
Date Posted: 21 May 2014 at 8:10am
Millsey you're a shocker! Hilarious......I'm assuming you meant scoring with the big smelly blokes.....

One of my first Kahawai experiences was in the Manukau 18 years ago when we first moved here. Big ones. I couldn't believe how amazing they were. Shame indeed.

Posted By: desmofrankie
Date Posted: 21 May 2014 at 8:15am
Originally posted by Millsy Millsy wrote:

Originally posted by Fraser Hocks Fraser Hocks wrote:


Here we go. Quickly tied up a few of these last night. Hopefully the Auckland Kahawai find them to their liking? 

I should have added that gurglars are definitely the go when prospecting new areas first light when it is dead calm. You can retrieve these nice and slow with a floating line. They can be deadly. However, if you thrash one spot too much, fish will go down, so use wisely, don't pick them up off the water by dragging them about. 

That one Fraser looks perfect, I want.

Fraser kindly brought me a pair of those last week, I can't wait to them chewed up a bit Smile

Posted By: Steps
Date Posted: 21 May 2014 at 9:05am
In terms of a tourist attraction the value of this sort of thing being allowed to go on by letting our kahawai stocks re-build just cannot be under estimated. Such a great fish and a great resource. Good memories

And there lays the moral of the story....
Its my understanding KY has no quota or size for commos.. its open season.
Head out with a a european who has fished much of Europe, and hit a school of KY... watch the grin, they have never seen anything, let alone experience such fishing.
A huge tourist resource....just need to get the stocks and the sizes back up...

A few weeks after getting back into fishing not long ago, after 40yrs, the wife, who had never got much more than a legal snapper and a few bait fish, was hit off shag  out of the blue..
After the initial run towards the boat it was all on, the jumps, rod on the gunnels, the stalemates....
Got in the boat and would not fit in the chiller... which made it over 73cm.
Now because I had not been fishing for 40yrs, I did not realise that on todays stds thats a bloody big KY... till much later.

Anyone noticed the size of the KY and mullet in the wet fish shops in recent months?
They are an insult... a fillet will no longer bait up a long line!

But lets not worry.. the commos arte all about sustainable fishing over quota... I know this because thats what they say....
Yeah right.

Posted By: Brown Dog
Date Posted: 21 May 2014 at 12:58pm
Fished the Manukau this morning, from dawn until low tide. All in all a pretty uneventful morning, contrary to my expectations there where no workups. Landed a small Spotty on a softbait, and then on my final cast got hit by a solid Kahawai, caught on a Sebile Stick Shad......

Posted By: Millsy
Date Posted: 21 May 2014 at 1:59pm
You should talk to Fenien (?) about fishing around there with swf gear. For a swf novice using a new Redington setup he did well a week ago. 

I was catching kahawai and the odd trev near there on low last weekend. I was however fly fishing and using a RIO striper bass line hard against the rocks with a pink/white clouser. Herein-lies the secret; the method Wink

Posted By: landman
Date Posted: 21 May 2014 at 2:02pm
Might have to pull my old fly gear out for trout 9 weight rod with a el cheapo silstar fly reel have floating and slow sinking lines would this hold up alright till i'm in a position to get a proper set up??

Posted By: Millsy
Date Posted: 21 May 2014 at 2:10pm
landman, it might do the trick. Swf wins over most other methods more times than I can remember.

Check the following threads;" rel="nofollow -" rel="nofollow -

New gear is very reasonable now. My advice, get some swf gear. Winter is a good time to learn a new skill. 

Posted By: Fenien
Date Posted: 21 May 2014 at 2:12pm

Will be out trying again this weekend,that first session was great fun on the SWF gear.Will be following Millsys advice from another thread & investing in a pair of waders though.It took half a bottle of rum on Sarurday night before I got any feeling back in my feet after the last episode.

Posted By: Millsy
Date Posted: 21 May 2014 at 2:18pm
Saturday is looking pox. Ugly winds for the south side.  Fish wont like the onshore, they will head out and down. Sunday is a better bet, particularly for trevs after Saturdays wind. That's all I will say on that topic, you would have more chance of me handing over my sister than me giving away trev locations.

Good to hear you are sticking at it Fenien. 

Posted By: Fenien
Date Posted: 21 May 2014 at 2:27pm
Sort of got the bug now & going to invest in a second lighter outfit,maybe a 7wt?Trevs & gurnard are next on my list & will be trying a few spots over the next few weeks.Thanks for the heads up about Saturdays weather,Sunday it will be.

Posted By: Millsy
Date Posted: 21 May 2014 at 2:50pm
7wt. Def 7wt now you have the #10. You will find you can cast the 7wt all day too, which is a bonus when prospecting. 

For trevs and gurnard you should take a look at the RIO striper bass line. Very good for getting into the zone and one of my fav lines for casting. Not so good around heavy foul, but not likely the place to find either of those fish at the moment either. May need to ask about a spare spool for the Sage reel, ask those guys at R&R for a sharp price on a spare reel set up with line, if you buy another matching #7 Redington/Sage setup!!

Posted By: Fenien
Date Posted: 26 May 2014 at 7:54am
Found a nice little sheltered spot yesterday & had some action on kawahai chasing sprats,which they were herding up along a sandbar on the outgoing tide.Managed to get a couple before they moved on.Great fun & very addictive kind of fishing.

Posted By: Millsy
Date Posted: 26 May 2014 at 9:42am
Well done indeed Fenien!!.

Sprats is the go now, in close. They are everywhere.

You have nailed the scenario. Just spend some time in that spot and learn it and what makes it tick. What works there, will work in similar spots. Make notes on the tide heights, time of tide and wind. Glad someone else was out on the Manukau Sunday. I gave it 2 hours for no hook ups. 

For all the wind, the Manukau is not looking that bad at the moment from my place, there may even be shelter up the Waiuku channel in places. Looking good for tides and wind Tues/Wed.

Try the Horopito rub. Knob of butter in the pan then some oil to stop the butter burning. Well done again.

Posted By: Fenien
Date Posted: 26 May 2014 at 9:53am
I was very surprised by the lack of people around yesterday.Only seen one boat from where I was & they looked as if they were fishing the Huia bank.The water temp was"nt too bad,I could actually feel my toes most of the time.Tried rubbing the fillets with some Louisana/Cajun seasoning & was very surprised at how good it turned out.

Posted By: DeVille Incarnate
Date Posted: 26 May 2014 at 11:04am
Go Fenien!! Nice KY and nice going - you're onto it mate, no stopping now!!

Hey could you post a close up of that fly for us - it seems to have long 'wings' on it from where I'm standing? Cheers.

Approach with extreme caution - I NEVER look where my back cast is going....

Posted By: Fenien
Date Posted: 26 May 2014 at 11:30am
Not sure of the flys name,it just sort of screamed kawahai from the selection at Rod & Reel.

Posted By: desmofrankie
Date Posted: 26 May 2014 at 2:06pm
Good ol red clouser minnow, you can't go wrong with that one!

Well done, you make me regret not having called sick on sunday LOL

Posted By: Fenien
Date Posted: 26 May 2014 at 2:28pm
Going to stock up on a few more next week.My fly box is a bit sad looking at the moment as I was"nt sure on which patterns to buy.I might be calling in sick later on in the week Wink

Posted By: Millsy
Date Posted: 26 May 2014 at 2:51pm
I mentioned somewhere "clousers, clousers and more clousers". Pink/white is one of my favs.

A crease fly or two is nice to have on first light also. 

Posted By: DeVille Incarnate
Date Posted: 26 May 2014 at 3:06pm
Yea, thanks for that Fenien - keeps newbies like me in the loop as to what's working and when.

Approach with extreme caution - I NEVER look where my back cast is going....

Posted By: desmofrankie
Date Posted: 26 May 2014 at 4:40pm
I'd say you can't go without a chartreuse version of the clouser in your arsenal without risking a few people here shouting at you Wink
Rod and reel have some very nice ones tied with long soft bucktail

Posted By: Millsy
Date Posted: 29 May 2014 at 7:43pm
For those who don't get out;" rel="nofollow -

Posted By: smudge
Date Posted: 29 May 2014 at 7:47pm
I met up with Kevin.S on Wednesday and we had a cast or two but really need the outgoing tide. Was good to flick a fly rod again.

He had some flash looking flies but IMO you only need two styles for KY, anything or a whitebait imitation when they are being fussy Big smile.


Best gurnard fisherman in my street

Posted By: Millsy
Date Posted: 30 May 2014 at 3:20pm
3 words for todays fishing (with Gordy)


And that, is all I am going to say on the location other than we were on the Manukau of course and fishing from the shoreline. Well over a dozen fish each hooked, landed, released in a hectic 2 hour stint. 

Kahawai were of the huge variety and gave the 7wt a big workout at times peeling line out into the backing multiple times. Fish were full of these little fella's below and were coughing them up when landed.

So it was just as well I had picked up some of these (below) from R&R recently. Very deadly imitation.

World class fishing today hands down.

Posted By: Millsy
Date Posted: 02 Jun 2014 at 5:47pm
Had a spare 30 or so casts in my system to walk off this evening so I ventured out briefly for the last of the outgoing.

The first 29 cast were fruitless, the 30th however I put the fly just over the "lip" of a long rock that was about 1ft under water. Knowing the rock I knew there would be about 4ft of water over the other side. No sooner had I started the retrieve and bang, line zipped out. I let it run out of the rock garden then tightened things up. 

Landed a nice kahawai around 2kgs. Fell to a pink and white clouser about 2" long. 


One of the advantages we have over river fisherman who target trout in similar scenarios is the sea goes out. Then we can walk around and learn all the places were kahawai are likely to hold when the water [and current] return

I released the fish and went home. I am sure by tomorrow evening I will have another 30 casts to get rid of somewhere.

Inshore fishing has kicked off for winter and is looking to be a good season. 

Posted By: Brown Dog
Date Posted: 04 Jun 2014 at 10:45am
Filmed with Desmofrankie last week down in the BOP. Here is a nice image of a Kahawai that was caught in the Tauranga Harbour......

Posted By: ShaunQ
Date Posted: 04 Jun 2014 at 11:23am
Holy crap that's some clear water for the harbour, nice shot.

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Posted By: Millsy
Date Posted: 06 Jun 2014 at 1:36pm
Had to have a sleep in this morn so missed prime gurnard hunting time. Lucky for me, weather became really still mid morning to midday and I got out for a couple of hours. Some big kahawai cruising the flats helped me wake up. I could make out their shapes moving quickly out of the deep to grab anything that strayed into the current line.

The surface action has died down in the last week, although there are still big schools of anchovies being chased in places. So the kahawai I caught yesterday got dissected to see what he had been eating on the sand banks. Turns out the same things that the gurnard was eating, small paddle crabs. 

Todays choice of fly was crab then. 

Fished over very shallow ground using the Rio striper sink line, where the current worked over the surface and into some deeper guts behind. Cast the crab fly onto the bank and let it drift/slip of the lip into the deep. Bang. Worked nicely for a couple of very large kahawai. Wasn't thick and fast action but quite satisfying nonetheless .

Now back to work.

Date Posted: 06 Jun 2014 at 4:50pm
Clapyou the man!

By Fly, Nothing Else,Just Fly

Posted By: malke
Date Posted: 06 Jun 2014 at 5:23pm
Hi Geoff,
I never had the chance to see the run as I live in Johannesburg. Nice to see some SA guys on the net.
I will be arriving in Auckland in the near future an maybe we could get together for a fish.
Cheers for now,


Posted By: desmofrankie
Date Posted: 06 Jun 2014 at 5:46pm

Despite forecast of showers and 8km/h of wind today I did set my alarm yesterday, not real early but I did.

Kinda took longer than the plan to have breakie and just before I left someone messaged me: "send some updates as we languish at work"... 
It was almost 9am when I launched my kayak somewhere on the Manukau and it was stunning: the water was glasslike, the light both bright and smooth, the sky a mix of white clouds and pale blue sky the temperature pretty enjoyable... a winter day at it's best.

I was heading out with a plan:
Just a couple of hundred meters to my right there was a creek opening into a vast  shallow area from which I assumed some baitfish would be flushed out straight to the predators.

As my plans never really work nothing was happening in front of the flat: indeed there was some baitfish below the surface but none was giving them any kind of trouble...
Not a big deal really: the place and atmosphere was so beautiful that my only real regret was not having taken my proper camera with me: I could have shot some stunning panoramas.

With no boat to be seen and no wind at all the place was perfectly silent when I stopped for a few blind casts on the edge of the flat; so silent that I gradually started noticing a water noise coming from offshore, like the sound a little waterfall.
Despite staring I couldn't work out what it was as nothing was troubling the smooth surface and the opposite shore was much too far for me to hear anything happening there. 
For a second I'd swear I saw a big splash way out in the middle of the harbour.
I didn't need more, I packed my line and paddled like I was going for the gold at the olympics; well same but longer, at least it felt like it was. As I was getting closer it looked more and more like what was in front of me was the water hitting a sandbar at low tide, you know when the bottom is just a few centimetres below the surface.
I couldn't remember having seen any sandbar there on Googlearth but once I got close I had to admit it: there was a bar, just not a sandbar: a fishbar!
An army of fish relatively calmly feeding, not rounding anything: simply sipping stuff bellow the surface while making their way up in the harbour like a broad wake with a just a few individually randomly feeding at the back.

After a failed first attempt I paddled even harder around the group to overtake them by 15-20 meters, sat in their way, took the fly of the clip it was resting on, the line was ready already stripped of the reel in the cockpit, the fish was now only a short distance away, pick up the line, false cast, cast...
The sparkly little thing landed right at the nose of the front line, strip, strip, a soft take, a wee bit of tension on the line and strike!
A few minutes later, during one of these "quiet" moments while the fish was sounding, I remember thinking: "What can one ask for more? I'm here, sitting on a blue mirror, in a beautiful light, a near perfect silence only troubled by the reel singing his song and the splashes of a lot of other fishes right around me, to top it all I can even pretend that the shaking in my arms is due to the paddling... This is as good as fishing gets."

I could tell you about all the following hooks ups but to be honest they were all just about as perfect, each time followed by only  a short paddle session to go around and ahead of the school.
The Kahawais where solid and hard fighting just as we all like them, proving once more time being the perfect partners of a great day fishing.    

Each of us only gets a handful of these perfect moments where things feel just right and smooth, it's important to realise it and savour it when you get one.

That's just what I did today.

Posted By: corokid
Date Posted: 06 Jun 2014 at 6:04pm
Nice report Frank 
Looks like PURE fun

Posted By: ShaunQ
Date Posted: 06 Jun 2014 at 6:36pm
Nice "work" Frank, how good are the fish shaped ripples behind your rod tip, epic day.

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Posted By: DeVille Incarnate
Date Posted: 06 Jun 2014 at 6:37pm
Good one Frank. A 'golden' fishing moment!

Approach with extreme caution - I NEVER look where my back cast is going....

Posted By: Rudy
Date Posted: 06 Jun 2014 at 7:36pm
Awesome!  Much envy from the dark, cold, fishless south...

Posted By: Millsy
Date Posted: 06 Jun 2014 at 8:31pm
Nice work Frankie, very nice. Glad you have had some Manukau action. The sort of feeding you witnessed can be very subtle and hard to pick unless you're moving slowly or looking for it, so was good you picked it up. I had an hour like you had out there today also, priceless. I even saw a gurnard sitting on the bottom in nearly 3m of water it was that clear.


Posted By: Fraser Hocks
Date Posted: 07 Jun 2014 at 9:35am
Fantastic report on magnificent fishing Frank.  Love your work mate!!!

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