Published On: Fri, Jul 10th, 2015

Best Kahawai Fishing Lure – Sprat shaped lures might be the best

Malcolm Bell from The Complete Angler about to release a kahawai caught at the Waimakariri River mouth.

Malcolm Bell from The Complete Angler removes a lure from a Waimakariri River-mouth kahawai. This silver lure is an excellent sprat imitation. Consider that Malcolm owns a huge fishing tackle store. He could have selected any lure he wanted; but chose this one! Could this be the best all-round kahawai fishing lure?

Best Kahawai Fishing Lure

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 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 some times iridescent green.

Best kahawai fishing lure. Sprats are small baitfish that are often prey for kahawai (image).

Sprats are small baitfish that are often prey for kahawai. Are lures that resemble sprats the best kahawai fishing lure?

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 sea birds.

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. Prehaps 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 fewer fish will get off if you fish the single instead of the treble.

Best kahawai fishing lure. Malcolm Bell brings in another kahawai on light trout gear (photo).

Malcolm Bell brings in another kahawai on light trout gear. The combination of light gear, braid, single hook, and a lure that looks a lot like a sprat results in a much higher percentage of takes and solid hook-ups!

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 it 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.

More Fishing Tips for kahawai.

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About the Author

- Fishingmag.co.nz website editor.

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