Yes that is exactly how to catch big sharks and I’m undergunned at the moment. I like 1000 metres 24kg and I used to have a Penn Senator 16/0 with about 1500 metres of 37kg especially for landbased shark fishing but it was stolen. I know how big sharks get. I’ve been spooled about four times with 600 metres of 24kg in the Lottin Point area on East Cape and spooled of 1000 metres off South Beach in Wanganui. Big sharks can show up at anytime anywhere around NZ, though obviously more so in summer. I’ve also kite fished for them at the Opotiki River Mouth.
They can be tricky without live bait. I’ve fished in a bay up North that was full of big sharks that could be seen from the cliffs above the bay. Not once would they touch a wire trace yet every nylon trace was bitten off within minutes of hitting the water. Bait was bonito. Gave up because they were biting through 50kg leader even with circle hooks. Just because you’re not hooking up doesn’t mean there are no sharks around. Berley does attract them pretty good.
I’ve had some mammoth shark battles that I lost. Hooking a big shark is only half the battle. Their skin chafes the line so the longer the fight then the less likely it gets to land a big shark from shore. Weed collects on the line so you end up fighting a big dead weight of weed as well as the shark over a period of hours. I’ve had stainless sampo swivels break and split rings pull straight. I’ve hauled big sharks into the breakers then had all my gaff men chicken out and the shark has rolled back out with the wave surge. Most huge sharks off the beach are lost at the end in the surf. They also roll up in the trace which is a real tackle buster.
Sorry you’ll never convince me that stingrays are fun. Maybe a little eagle ray perhaps but even then I’d sooner not hook any sort of ray. But… I have to be honest Zac… when I first started LBG fishing I targeted rays too. They were the most powerful fish I was likely to catch with my skill level at the time. Once I hooked into big kingies and sharks and learnt how tame rays are (they follow you around snorkeling for paua) then I lost interest. Rays are powerful but nothing like a fifty pound plus kingfish trying to smash you off on the rocks on purpose. That’s a street fight.
I think a couta would work under a balloon. I’ve put kahawai out for over eight hours then released them at the end of the day. Some just give up and die but others are staunch. I’ll try it out anyway if I get a chance but I don’t have a proper livebait reel at the moment for really big fish. I’ll have to put it out on my medium gear.
Your setup sounds great Zac. Like you said…. just a matter of putting in the time. I’m not that fussed on dead baits for sharks on their own. I like a live bait out as well or prefer a live bait to a dead bait. You can set live baits at any depth using a slider rig but I like to balloon because I get a huge rush when I see splashing around the balloon, or a big tail comes out of the water… or even just seeing the balloon pop off and that split second before you put the reel into gear and all hell breaks loose. Unfortunately catching a live bait can be a real hassle in winter.
I’m thinking that Timaru lends itself to kitefishing a big shark bait out wide on a big reel. The layout of the number two wharf or whatever it is called behind where all the logs are stored…. lends itself to putting out a kite in almost any wind direction. Personally i think it’s wide open down here for some serious shark fishing. There’s not much else to target in winter. I’ve convinced myself I can pull a kingi in the summer from around here somewhere so we’ll just have to see if I’m dreaming or not when summer comes.
There used to be a secret ledge down South somewhere where some LBG guys pulled grouper from the rocks. Big ones too. I think it was over West Coast though heading towards Fiordland. I think it’s pretty obvious you’d get Great Whites off the Catlins in close chasing seals but I think they’re protected in NZ which means you can’t deliberately fish for them even if you do let them go. They’ve been caught LBG up North and hooked on kitefishing rigs but only small ones about 100kg.