Monthly Archives: Jan 2012

Paddle crabs, the surfcaster’s enemy?

Very big crabs out there at the moment.

I’ve been trying to catch a Snapper, or at least something other than a Kahawai around the local Napier beaches this month. Others have done it, so I’ve heard through the grapevine. In fact I’ve seen photographic evidence that Snapper do exist (or perhaps that should be past-tense did exist) in our local waters.

The problem at present is getting a bait to stay in the water for more than 2 or 3 minutes. There appears to be an absolute plague of paddle crabs around at the moment, and with nothing to eat them, they have free reign to strip your superbly prepared pilchard or skipjack baits before any fish can find them.

A recent southerly storm left the beaches around here littered with smashed up paddle crab shells. Seeing this I thought maybe it might make a dent in the population of these underwater rats. Not so. With no Snapper or Lemon Shark to eat the crabs, they have thrived on the carcases of their mates and there are some really big specimens out there!

When the crabs are about in these numbers there’s pretty much nothing you can do to stop them destroying your baits. Last night my floated baits were being decimated in 2-3 minutes. Re-bait one rod, cast it out, retrieve rod number two, re-bait that, cast it out. Back to rod number one, bait gone.

Using crab for bait to catch lemon sharks and snapper only works if those fish are about. You can be sure when the crabs are this active, there are no predators about. If the crabs are rampant and suddenly stop taking your baits, thats usually a sign that predators have turned up. And thats when you toss out a hook baited with crab.

Last night I caught several large paddle crabs, one of them was caught on paddle crab bait!

More Paddle Crab Info:
http://www.forestandbird.org.nz/what-we-do/publications/-best-fish-guide-/paddle-crabs
http://seafoodindustry.co.nz/n1242,245.html

The beach access issue.

Well its started. Actually it started ages ago in some places in the far north.
Since the National Government handed the control of our beaches to a minority group of New Zealanders, the rot as been setting in.

The new gate blocking access to Ocean Beach

The new gate blocking access to Ocean Beach

One of my favourite beaches, Ocean Beach HB, is now under threat of access controlled by private concerns.
There has been much comment in forums, newspaper articles, finger pointing here and there, but the problem is still that a few people are trying to lock out the rest of New Zealand from public coastline.

The people who own the land around Ocean Beach, (and more importantly the land containing the HDC maintained access road) have demanded that the HDC put in a gate blocking access to the beach at night.

From 6am to 8pm the gate will be open. From 8pm to 6am it will be locked.
That may be fine for day trippers who want to sunbathe and swim etc, but for surfcasters who want to be fishing the sunrise, or fish into the evening, its a big problem.

The cause of all this gate nonsense, is apparently the result of people camping in the car park, and the resulting rubbish etc. Now personally I have no problem with the car park being locked up, I don’t use it.
The issue here is that beach access requires driving through the car park and out onto the sand.
With the gate locked, there is no vehicle access to the beach at all.
Which means no getting out for an early sunrise fishing trip, or perhaps even being locked in, and not being able to get home at night.

I feel the camping, and rubbish issue may be just a red herring, or an excuse to implement access control of the beach and all its resources by this group of land owners.
Something along the lines of “this is OUR beach, stay out”.
I hope that’s not the case šŸ˜¦

That’s not to say rubbish is not an issue, its a huge issue. You only have to look at easy-access beaches such as Awatoto and WhirinakiĀ  to see piles of rubbish left behind by idiots who cannot see the future of their actions.

So please if you visit a beach somewhere, take ALL of your rubbish home with you. There’s no excuse for leaving cans, bottles, plastic bags etc behind. The rest of us are trying to protect YOUR access to that beach..

Further discussion in the surfcasting forums here, and here:

Or you could contact the HDC Parks and Properties Asset Manager, Colin Hosford directly colinh@hdc.govt.nz