Tarakihi – Nemadactylus macropterus – a strong fighter and good eating

Tarakihi - Nemadactylus macropterus The tarakihi is a thin-bodied fish that lives near the bottom. It is from the Morwong…

Tarakihi – Nemadactylus macropterus

Christopher Inch with a good sized 2.05kg tarakihi caught off the Canterbury coast.

This is a thin bodied fish that lives near the bottom. It is from the Morwong family of fishes which also includes Porae, Red Moki, Red morwong, Painted Moki, and Magpie morwong.

The tarakihi is generally silver/grey on top becoming white in colour underneath. It has a very distinctive black band across the shoulder which tends to fade after capture. The head and mouth of tarakihi are relatively small for the size of the fish. It has a distinctive forked tail.

The average length is about 35cm. Anglers often catch this species over foul ground. At times smaller tarakihi can be a nuisance as they will readily take baited hooks and flasher rigs intended for larger fish. They fight well for their size darting about when hooked on light lines – though smaller fish are not strong fighters.

Offshore reefs can produce very big tarakihi measuring up to 60cm in length. Such a large fish could be between 40 and 50 years old. It takes three or four years for tarakihi to reach a length of 25cm so they are quite slow growing.

I have caught many tarakihis over the years particularly when fishing the outer Marlborough Sounds and Cook Strait. This species is more common in the cooler waters south of East Cape.

This tarakihi was caught near Stewart Island.

Tarakihi have soft mouths so it pays to use a net with bigger fish as the hook can easily pull out. As mentioned they will readily take flasher rigs or you can fish for them with baited hooks on short droppers. As their mouths are quite small size 2/0 hooks are more than adequate for this species. You can catch tarakihi on just about any cut bait at all. They also will take squid and shellfish particularly tuatua. Most importantly be sure to keep your tarakihi baits small.

This tarakihi was caught fishing over foul ground in Fiordland.

Tarakihi has firm white flesh and is excellent eating cooked by any method.

This species was for many years the most popular commercially caught and sold table fish in New Zealand.

This post was last modified on 16/01/2020 9:02 pm

Share
Leave a Comment

Recent Posts

Twizel Canals – Should they be catch and release only?

by Allan Burgess One of the controversies that surround fishing in the Twizel Canals relates to the percentage of trout…

25/09/2020

Hi-Viz Surfcasting Rod Holders Using Reflector Tape

How to make hi-viz rod holders by Allan Burgess Here is an inexpensive way to make your surfcasting rod holders…

25/09/2020

Lake Benmore Trout Fishing – A Week In Paradise By Ken Twyman

Lake Benmore Brass Monkey Trout Fishing Trip By Ken Twyman Update now includes Lake Benmore - Alf Palmer Memorial Fishing…

22/09/2020

Makarora and Wilkin Rivers Lake Wanaka Otago

By Monty Wright Being on holiday Colleen and I woke at a respectable hour. We had stayed overnight at Makarora…

18/09/2020

Harling Lake Dunstan – Best Fly Colours, Line Setups and Harling Tips

by Peter Lemin - Harling Lake Dunstan Part 1 The main angling methods in Lake Dunstan have been trolling as…

18/09/2020

Shadow-Box Trout Flies – How to make your own shadow-box project

by Allan Burgess Making a shadow-box to display your trout flies by hanging them on the wall is a great…

18/09/2020

All Rights Reserved © fishingmag.co.nz 1999 - 2020

Read More