You might also know them by their other name, the common gull. While there may be many things in the water that annoy a surfcaster such as crabs stealing your bait, or snags that catch your line and cause you to bust off, there is also the ever present attack from above to ruin your day.
When surfcasting in NZ one of the first things you learn is to never leave your bait uncovered and unattended when you walk over to your rods. The opportunistic flying rats will make off with your bait, or your freshly baited traces as soon as you walk a few meters away from your gear. If there are a bunch of them circling above then the competition gets even more intense. They get braver and will dive into your chilly bin to pinch your last pilchard.
I used to leave a pre-baited trace clipped on to each rod stand so that I could quickly rebait and get the line back in the water. But after having expensive gear fly away stuck in the throat of a gull, I’ve given up on that idea.
Every year these damn things seem to get more and more aggressive. I firmly believe we ( the human race) are to blame. The gulls are about in such huge numbers simply because they can live off our rubbish. The smartest most aggressive ones survive and breed more and more cheeky aggressive gulls. Its a bit like an accelerated form of Darwinism or at least a learned behaviour.
Rats are a human problem too. We create a constant stream of rubbish for them to eat, they live on it quite happily. They breed more rats.. Although you don’t see people sitting at picnic tables feeding rats.
The common NZ Gull should therefore be renamed as the New Zealand Flying Rat.