Published On: Thu, Nov 30th, 2017

Kahawai Spin Fishing at River Mouths – Great on light-tackle -video

Malcolm Bell with kahawai caught on light trout tackle, Waimakariri River mouth.

Malcolm Bell from The Complete Angler fishing tackle store, in Christchurch, demonstrates considerable skill and technique to catch and release fish after fish on light spinning gear and 6lb line. Malcolm was fishing with flat bodied silver fish shaped lures and the kahawai were going nuts after them. The sporting angler who wishes to test his skill will find that using 6lb line to fish a small silver 20g silver fish shaped lure on light spinning gear will have tremendous fun and very exciting fishing. According to Malcolm a single hook is the better option with the smaller lure and will result in far more hook-ups. Long casts are unnecessary as the kahawai will often be very close in.

Kahawai Fishing Video

Kahawai are one of the most readily available fish species for anglers to catch in New Zealand waters. They often gather in huge numbers around river mouths where they hunt for silveries (smelt), sprats, whitebait, and krill. Kahawai schools will come right in close to shore chasing baitfish; particularly during the summer months. Kahawai schools will pursue and attack baitfish schools often chasing their frightened prey right up on to beaches. This frenzied activity is often attended by large numbers of hovering and diving sea-birds.

Kahawai are one of the most readily available fish species for anglers to catch in New Zealand waters. They often gather in huge numbers around river mouths where they hunt for silveries (smelt), sprats, whitebait, and krill. Kahawai schools will come right in close to shore chasing baitfish; particularly during the summer months. Kahawai schools will pursue and attack baitfish schools often chasing their frightened prey right up on to beaches. This frenzied activity is often attended by large numbers of hovering and diving sea-birds.

Kahawai are used to chasing and catching small baitfish measuring around 50 to 80mm in length. As such they can be extremely willing to take artificial baitfish lures cast out over the breakers and wound in at speed. It doesn’t matter how fast you wind your reel handle as the kahawai will have no trouble at all overtaking and biting your lure.

Kahawai are used to chasing and catching small baitfish measuring around 50 to 80mm in length. As such they can be extremely willing to take artificial baitfish lures cast out over the breakers and wound in at speed. It doesn’t matter how fast you wind your reel handle as the kahawai will have no trouble at all overtaking and biting your lure.

The best lures for kahawai spin fishing are silver in colour. Those lures that closely resemble sprats are one of the best for targeting kahawai. A lure body around 70mm in length works well. Although many South Island anglers fish for kahawai with the same gear they use to fish for salmon, more and more anglers are discovering the joys of fishing for kahawai are river mouths using much lighter spinning gear that would normally be used to fish for trout. This lighter tackle allow the kahawai to give a good account of themselves when hooked as they make fast runs and will often jump clear of the water in their attempts to throw the hook.

Malcolm Bell (image).

Malcolm Bell shows how it is done catching releasing many kahawai on very light spinning gear. Many top anglers fish with 20g or 28g hard bodied lures and run single hooks only. The single hook allows for more positive hook-ups.

Many Kiwis started out kahawai spin fishing by casting ticers at river mouths over the summer months when kahawai are most plentiful. They are often very easy to catch when in large schools. Even if you can’t see kahawai in the surf adjacent to the river they are often there. Watch out for the telltales sign of diving sea-birds. Even if you can’t see anything happening it is always worth casting at river mouths and beaches for kahawai. The kahawai will also take baited hooks but are much more likely to take a quickly retrieved spinning lure.

Kahawai have a habit of tossing the hook by jumping as mentioned above. They are also good at straightening the barbs on fish hooks with their strong runs. It is important to periodically check your treble hooks to ensure the barbs haven’t straightened out. Surprisingly you are better to fish for kahawai using just a single hook. I know this sounds counter-productive. After all, you would be forgiven for assuming that three barbs on a treble hook must be better than just one when it comes to hooking fish. However, this isn’t so at all. A single hook holds better and is harder for kahawai to toss.

The single hook results in a more positive hook-up with less fish getting off. Surprisingly using a single hook also results in more takes! This is particularly so if fishing with a small compact silver sprat lure weighing about 20g. When fished on braid you will be able to detect the slightest touch by a kahawai on the lure making it easy to strike and set the hook. Kahawai spin fishing is tremendously exciting. The fish run and jump constantly. If one should get off your line you will often catch another before you can wind in your lure.

Kahawai and salmon fishing, Waimakariri River. Image

Salmon and kahawai anglers at the mouth of Canterbury’s Waimakariri River. Although fishing for salmon; kahawai are also being caught. You are more likely to catch kahawai if fishing at the end nearest the breaking surf. The best time to fish for both salmon and kahawai is the bottom half of the out-going tide. However, both fish can be caught on any tide.

Kahawai anglers at the Waimakariri River mouth (image).

Some good bags of kahawai have been had at the Waimakariri River mouth this summer. Catching kahawai on a rod and reel is always great fun. They are hard fighters and will often jump clear of the water to toss the hook. This results in many lost fish. Strong 1/0 VMC trebles are a must or the kahawai will straighten your hooks. It pays to regularly check your hook isn’t bent while fishing which results in fewer hookups. Many expert anglers fish with 20g or 28g silver metal lures that resemble sprats, and fish with single hooks only.

Kahawai taken on metal jig at the Waimakariri River mouth (image).

Kahawai caught at the Waimakariri River mouth on light gear. Silver fish shaped jigs are very effective.

Kahawai taken on light spining gear (image).

Kahawai are tremendous fighters on a light line making them great fun to catch!

A good size kahawai taken on an Abu Ambassadeur 7000. This is an excellent reel for making extra long casts for kahawai and salmon (image).

A good size kahawai taken on an Abu Ambassadeur 7000. This is an excellent reel for making extra long casts for kahawai and salmon. Though it is regarded as heavy gear for kahawai fishing. Nowadays many anglers fish at river mouths for kahawai on light trout tackle. Light tackle kahawai spin fishing is very exciting.

A big splash! Another kahawai about to be released. (image).

A big splash! Another kahawai about to be released.

 Here is a great video on light tackle kahawai fishing featuring Malcolm Bell from The Complete Angler tackle store in Christchurch City.

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Fishingmag.co.nz website editor.

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