Game Fishing

New Zealand is a great country for game fishing

Between December and May, the north-easterlies push tropical currents towards New Zealand. With those warmer waters come the marlins, sharks and tuna! Blue-fin Tuna, Skipjack Tuna, Yellow-fin Tuna, Albacore Tuna, Broadbill, Striped Marlin, Blue Marlin & Black Marlin are all big game species targeted by game fishermen. Albacore is known as the chicken of the sea, great eating and easy to catch. Show More...

Game fish sizes tend to range as follows:

  • - Skipjack: 1 to 10 kg
  • - Albacore: 3 to 30 kg
  • - Yellow fin tuna: 10 to 90 kg
  • - Striped marlin: 60 to 200 kg
  • - Blue marlin: 100 to 500 kg
  • - Black marlin: 100 to 500 kg

In recent times we are seeing a greater variety of tropical fish for example Wahoo, short-billed spear fish and even mahi mahi and sailfish!

Big Game Lures: Trolling lures is the main method of game fishing. 5 to 7" lures are used for catching Skipjack and Albacore, 7 to 12" lures for striped marlin and 13/14" lures are used to target big blues (Blue Marlin).

Lures are generally trolled at around 6-7 knots.

Everyone has their favourite colour, it's always good to look at what the fish are feeding on for example if squid are around, then go for pinky or purple colours. The general advice is to go for bright colours on bright days and darker colours on dark days.

Most popular lure brands include Williamson, Zuker, Pakula, Black Magic, and Kilwell Pacific.

The reel: Game fish can swim up to speeds of up to 100km / hour so it's important to have a good robust reel to withstand the powerful runs of big game fish. The most common reel sizes for targeting marlin are 50 wides generally fitted with 24kg gear. If targeting blue and black marlin then generally 80 wides are used fitted with 37 kg gear.

2 speed reels are ideal for game fishing, with high and low gear ratio. High gear is used for fast retrieval especially when the fish is swimming toward the boat to maintain pressure on the fish. The low gear ratio is good for winching, bringing the fish up to the surface.

The leading reel brands are Penn, Tica, Shimano, and Fin-nor.

The rod: Big Game rods are generally shorter for better leverage making it easier when hooked up to a fish to lift the rod . And have long forearm grips for extra leverage. Generally spec'd at 15, 24 and 37 kg the rods either have a straight butt section section for standup game fishing (usually for trailer boats but can be used in game chairs as well) or a bent butt section rods for sitting in a game chair (launches with game chair facility).

Most game rods have a roller tip guide to reduce friction on the line. Some game rods have all roller guides, the more heavy duty i.e. the heavier the fish you are targeting the more rollers you need. Hide

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