Bushett Shoal Reef boat fishing between Motunau and Kaikoura

Bushett Shoal
Bushett Shoal

Bushett Shoal Reef

After launching at Motunau Beach it is another 35 km further up the coast to Port Gibson (no launching ramps) and from there it is a similar distance again up the coast northeast to Bushett Shoal, and Bushett Rocks. To fish at Bushett Shoal boaties must use the launching ramps either at Kaikoura or Motunau. Bushett Shoal is about halfway between these two places. Either way it is a long return trip by trailer boat.

This sunken reef system attracts many keen boat fishermen in search of trumpeter and blue cod. Both species being found there, in extra-large sizes. This excellent fishing area consists of rocky seamounts that rise from 40 metres plus to just a few metres from the surface.

The whole system is about 5 miles offshore and approximately halfway between the mouths of the Waiau and Conway Rivers. These seamounts are boarded on the seaward side by very deep water at the southern end of the deep canyon off Kaikoura. It takes about an hour’s travel by boat to get to Bushett Shoal travelling north from Motunau. In other words, Bushett Shoal is difficult to get to but well worth the effort for those who make the trip. Aside from big blue cod and trumpeter anglers also catch groper, ling, tarakihi and sometimes moki.

Bushett Shoal lies some 7 km off the North Canterbury coast, approximately halfway between the mouths of the Conway and Waiau Rivers, and 36 km south of Kaikoura. Boats can only be launched at either Motunau to the south; or Kaikoura to the north. You can usually spot Bushett Shoal as you approach from the turbulence around the sunken rocks which are only about five metres beneath the surface. Sometimes there are crayfish buoys present as well. Keep in mind that if the weather turns nasty there is no safe haven.

Species seen or caught include blue cod, trumpeter, moki, groper, crayfish, tarakihi, perch, shark and many others. There are numerous pinnacles that rise up from the depths to offer excellent diving and fishing spots. Upwellings from such deep water close by brings a rich food supply. Anglers and divers often report seeing large schools of fish over the reef system. 

Map sourced from NZ63. Crown Copyright Reserved.