Best Kahawai Fishing Lure – Smaller lures 10-18g with a single hook work best
by Allan Burgess
Which is the best kahawai fishing lure for spin fishing at river-mouths? This is an interesting question. When there are plenty of kahawai about does your choice of lure matter that much? Well, I think it still does.
Following on from last time when we looked at where to find schooling kahawai, and also I recommended that rather than fishing for them with heavy gear or salmon tackle, I suggested you target them with light-weight trout spinning tackle. There are several reasons for this. The first is that kahawai are tremendous fighting fish that run hard when hooked, often jumping clear of the water as they try to toss your lure. Lighter gear allows them to give a good account of themselves, whether you intend them for the smoker, or instead prefer to release them. They are a lot of fun on trout tackle.
The second consideration is the presentation of the lure. Fishing lighter trout gear will enable you to fish with smaller lighter lures. On the lighter line, the lure will also appear more like a natural bait as it is wound through the water.
One of the most important prey species for kahawai are sprats. These are silver baitfish about three inches long with laterally compressed bodies. The body also forms a slight “V” shape tapering towards the belly. So the body looks quite big from the side but from above their bodies are quite thin. The skin surface is very bright polished silver with easily dislodged fine scales. The upper surface can be either iridescent blue or sometimes iridescent green.
I’ve caught many kahawai over the years that have been feeding on schools of sprats. Kahawai love sprats! They chase them, herd them, and tear through them. Kahawai sometimes chase them up on to the beach where they are quickly picked off by seabirds.
Just recently when fishing for kahawai at Kaikoura I caught specimens that had been gorging on sprats. When I picked the kahawai up from the beach sprats would spill from them onto the stones. The upper backs of the sprats where a brilliant iridescent green but this vivid colour quickly fades. If your lure looks like a sprat you are onto a winner. Perhaps the best kahawai fishing lure looks like a sprat. I think it just might!
I have fished quite a bit for kahawai at river-mouths over the years in the company of many different anglers. Most fish with 55 and 68g ticers with treble hooks on them. This works well. However, I have also discovered that if you fish a silver lure weighing between 20 and 28g shaped like a sprat with a single hook you will hook a lot more kahawai than the guys with ticers. Furthermore less fish will get off if you fish the single instead of the treble.
Finally, if you need more proof take a look at the picture. The angler is Malcolm Bell from The Complete Angler tackle store in Christchurch. Note Malcolm has caught this kahawai on a silver flattened bodied lure that looks exactly like a sprat in size, colour and shape.
Malcolm hooks and lands more kahawai than anyone else! He has the choice of any lure in the shop. Plus he would also hear about which were the best lures to use for kahawai from his many customers. With all of his know-how, and vast experience, behind his lure choice why has he chosen this particular lure to spin for kahawai at the mouth of the Waimakariri River? The answer is because it is the most effective and productive lure for kahawai spinning!
I have discussed this subject recently with several very good angling mates and they certainly agree that the best lures to use for kahawai are flat-bodied 20 – 28g silver lures shaped like a sprat and fitted with a single hook! This lure will out-fish pretty much anything else for kahawai.