[singlepic id=15 w=320 h=240 float=]If there are such things as by-catch in surfcasting, the red cod is one of them. Its a nuisance fish. It has no redeeming qualities at all. The flesh, should you try to eat one, is tasteless and mushy. They fight like a piece of wet paper, in fact you often don’t know you have hooked a red cod until you reel in to change baits. Thats when you find the slimy red lump sulking on the end of your line. Catching a red cod in the presence of other surfcasters will often be the cause of much teasing and embarrassment. Best kick it back into the water before they see it. They are the garbage disposal crew of the coastline and will eat anything they can find. I throw them back so they can continue to clean up the garbage. Mostly caught in the colder months.
Snapper are one of the most sought after species by Kiwi Surfcasters, and depending on where you are in NZ they can be abuntant or completely absent. As a general rule they are more readily available in the top half of the North Island than anywhere else. Seasons also have a bearing on the snapper turning up or not. Summer is the best time to target them if you’re south of East Cape. If you happen to be fishing in an area where snapper are present they will often eat almost anything. Other times they can be annoyingly picky and ignore everything you throw at them. Common baits used for snapper are pilchards, bonito, squid, octopus, cray, but as stated above, if they’re hungry they’ll eat anything. Snapper are mainly sought as food, and they are excellent eating. Because of this the species gets hammered commercially.
They are found in all sorts of environments, from reefy weedy areas to wide open sandy beaches. Smaller ‘shoalie’ snapper are often found out in the open surf beaches, while large adult fish are often found around rocky headlands etc. Thats not set in concrete though, during certain months of the year, the big breeding fish will be caught in open sand or shingle beaches as well.
Lots of surfcasting competitions are based on snapper although due to poor catches in some areas these competitions are often now including more abundant species in their prize categories.
Photo: Chad Prentice
You can tell the difference in the color of the snapper which has been in among the rocks ( kelpies ) compared to sand dwelling snapper. Note the deep red color, and the snapper caught over sand are very pale and light in color.
Gurnard are a very sought after species, very nice eating and a great looking fish too.
They can be caught in sandy bays on fish or shellfish baits.
They seem to prefer calm settled conditions and deeper water.
They dont often venture into the surf, so long casts that can go beyond the surf line into calmer water will help.
More Gurnard info available here
Photo: Mark Roberts
Gurnard caught at Sunset Beach, Port Waikato, New Zealand
[singlepic id=12 w=320 h=240 float=]Smooth Hound ( Lemonfish ) caught on fresh paddle crab bait at Ocean Beach HB, Feb 2010 Whats the difference between Lemonfish and Dogfish?
They dont often take fish baits. They prefer shellfish (crab or crayfish if you can get it) Often caught at night. Very good eating, lemonfish is often sold by fish and chip shops.
[singlepic id=13 w=320 h=240 float=] Kahawai – can be caught on virtually any bait if they are around in numbers. Will take lures and live-baits. Often found around river mouths. When feeding in schools they will attack anything that moves. I’ve seen them caught on a bare hook trailing a strip of tinfoil! Good fighters on light tackle, reasonable eating if bled and chilled immediately apon capture.
[singlepic id=18 w=320 h=240 float=] Schools of Kahawai are often accompanied by gulls diving at the baitfish they chase up.