Catch fish with Mike Ladle.

Catch Fish with
Mike Ladle

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SEA FISHING

6 December 2003

Down under.

One of the biggest advantages of running a small angling website is the e-mails from other anglers. I now write to fishermen from all over the British Isles as well as to a number from other parts of the world. It amazes me just how many similarities there are between the fishing over here and in other countries.

For a few months now I have been writing to Mark Hoffman, a keen angler in New Zealand. We've exchanged views about fish, lines, lures - you name it - and although we have never met it's obvious that we have a lot in common. Mark has been trying to get going with plugs for catching fish in lakes, rivers and saltwater down under. Now I'd assumed that most of the fish he was after would be natives of NZ but not a bit of it. It seems that there were very few indigenous freshwater sportfish on the islands. One 'grayling' (actually a sort of smelt) which is now extinct, a couple of big eels and some small 'bullies'.

This week Mark sent me a couple of pictures of fish that he and his son had taken on recent plugging sessions. The plug he used was not familiar to me but it obviously worked O.K. One of the fish they had was a nice rainbow trout (not native either there or over here of course) and the other was a small perch, just like the ones I catch in the Stour - nothing for me to envy too much there. I must say I have never been happy about fish being introduced into other countries, I always thought that it was a shame to displace the things that lived there already. I guess that most of the introductions were done by people who knew no better and felt some sort of snobby nostalgia about catching brown trout. Nevertheless it makes you think when a country the size of NZ has nothing to fish for.

As you might imagine the salt-water situation is very different. The main salt water species is a fish called the kahawai (Arripis trutta) the Eastern Australian Salmon. Of course the kahawai is no relative of our own salmon but from the look of it is likely to be amazing sport. In some ways they look more like bass than salmon and they live in coastal and estuarine waters. A huge one would be about 20lbs but most are much smaller (again like our bass). They feed in large schools on other fish, sometimes in very shallow water and so they are prime catches for inshore fly and lure anglers.

Mark tells me that another very popular sport fish is the yellowtail kingfish (a sort of big jack) which grabs lures or livebaits before plunging back into the reefs and pier pilings that it came from. There is another fish the parore, that eats algae and looks very much like a black bream. Mark intends trying baited spinners for these fish so I'll be interested to hear the results of his efforts.

If you have any comments or questions about fish, methods, tactics or 'what have you.'get in touch with me by sending an E-MAIL to - docladle@hotmail.com

Recognise this?.

Perch have obviously made themselves at home in New Zealand fresh waters.

Rainbow.

Even though they come from California you have to admire these fish.  Presumably they breed successfully in NZ rivers unlike the ones over here.

Kahawai.

This is a real fish.  There's no doubt that I could enjoy fishing for these beauties.