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…

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 16/10/2018 7:08 pm

Share

Recent Posts

Dressed Jigs for Monster Trout and Salmon in the Twizel Canals – Video

Dressed Jigs - How to Tie Your Own by Allan Burgess  Dressed jigs are a type of weighted trout…

02/05/2019 10:21 pm

Surfcasting Tips for Beginners NZ – Tackle, baits, when, where & how to catch fish!

Surfcasting Tips for Beginners New Zealand with Allan Burgess In Surfcasting Tips for Beginners New Zealand, we'll cover what you need to…

12/04/2019 11:42 am

Waitaki River Salmon Fishing Contest Winning fish weights since 1984

Waitaki River Salmon Weights During the 1990s I spent a good deal of time salmon fishing the lower Waitaki River,…

12/04/2019 6:58 am

Blue Moki – Latridopsis ciliaris – the right bait is key to moki fishing

Blue Moki Blue Moki – Latridopsis ciliaris The profile of blue moki is much the same as a trumpeter. They…

11/04/2019 8:44 pm

Glimmy Brass Spoon Trout Spinner – An Oldie Very Effective Fish Taker

Glimmy Brass Spoon by Allan Burgess This brass spoon was known originally as a Glimmy, or Record Little Glimmy was…

11/04/2019 2:25 pm

Egg Rolling Fishing Method in the Mackenzie Country Canals

Egg Rolling in the Mackenzie Country Canals When you consider that a large trout or salmon hen fish can produce…

06/04/2019 1:36 pm

All Rights Reserved © fishingmag.co.nz 1999 - 2019