I have landed many big sharks from land before. My biggest is estimated 300 pound bronze whaler (released) but I have weighed in a 100 pound seven gill and a 200 pound stingray. I hate hooking rays. The 200 pounder took nine hours to land (but won an Opotiki surf Fishing Competition) and exploded an alvey 651C reel. Had to handline it for the last hour and tow it out of the surf with a landrover. I’ve caught over 100 school sharks (30 – 60 pound) from land over the years.
Yes i figured it must be barracouta scaring the fish. I like catching couta, they put up a vicious fight and I’m wondering how one would go as a livebait? I’d expect big seven gillers in the Timaru harbour area too but more so at night. You can keep your rays lol. They’re too easy to catch anyway. They come right up and suck on a berley bag and the biggest kahawai I’ve ever used as a livebait was scoffed by a giant ray that spooled me on a Penn Senator 9/0. Never stopped once. Just ate the kahawai then headed out to sea.
Sharks are easy to land off the rocks if you use a flying gaff but I only do catch and release these days for sharks. I have no idea how far South kingfish actually show up but I do know several places up North (around Taranaki breakwaters and Nukumara Rock) where locals swore there was no kingies until somebody actually livebaited the location (and that means testing all tides and conditions… not just one fishing trip) and discovered they were there all the time. I’ve lost count of the kingies I’ve caught LBG, my biggest being 77 pounds properly weighed (won the Te Kaha Fishing Competition with that fish and I was only lanbased guy fishing against all the boats but I caught the biggest fish of any species… that kingi). I’ve found they absolutely hate dirty water but will come into very shallow areas if the water temp (usually signified by a purple colour) is right.
Up North we catch the really big kingis in midwinter. There’s only about 5% of the numbers but they’re big. I’m thinking there is potential to catch huge sharks down here. The area is totally underfished from an LBG perspective. I haven’t seen a single balloon fisherman in the South Island yet but similar looking ledges up North are standing room only. It’s hard to say what is actually out there until it gets fished properly.
I remember fishing the Wanganui North Mole years ago. For weeks I’d watched the same retired old fisherman surfcasting off the mole and sitting there all day for a handful of red cod and a kahawai if they were lucky. One day I couldn’t take it any more so I went down with a berley bucket. In two hours I had a workup going on big time with kahawai and barracouta smashing into my berley which was full of a cloud of feeding mullet. Everybody on the breakwater was crowded around casting into my berley and really pissing me off. I was catching kahawai or couta every cast… just straylining at my feet. My point being that the fish were there all along but nobody was targeting them properly.
Having said that…. so far my efforts around Timaru have been very sad but I’m still sussing it out. I realise summer is best but any day fishing is good for me. I know all about tides and moon and weather but I’ll still go fishing when everything says it’s bad or in the middle of winter. You just never know aye.