Tackle and Tactics
Mike Ladle


Information Page.

New ideas from New Zealand.

These days I have lots of e-mail correspondents from all over the world. I don't run a 'chat room' or a similar forum because firstly they seem to quickly become very cliquey and almost develop languages of their own so that non-members find it hard to break in (if they want to). Secondly these forums often become obsessed with a few trivial topics and finish up as bad tempered wrangles. Anyway, be that as it may, I sometimes get an e-mail that I think readers of the site might find very interesting.

Recently I was contacted by Mark Roberts, a New Zealander. His first comment was in response to some of my remarks on the value of circle hooks. I'll tell you more or less word for word what Mark says -----

"Hi Mike - - - I thought you'd be interested to know that circle hooks have virtually taken the market in New Zealand for both surfcasting and boat fishing. Striking biting fish with a surfcasting rod off our beaches is hard to do well. I can't concentrate for hours at a time between bites (I'll go along with that!) and it can be hours and hours."

"I was especially interested in the article (on my website) on 'bait preferences', even if it doesn't relate to New Zealand species. I know of one amateur experiment a friend (of Marks) did at an aquarium with snapper - those are snapper in the middle of the photo. A Kahawai is to the left and trevally to the right. If they (Mark's friends) dropped hunks of kahawai with skin and scales into the tank, the snapper tended to pick them up and spit them out. Removing the scales induced the snapper to swallow more often but when they removed the skin as well , the snapper just scoffed the soft flesh immediately. The taste was the same each time but the texture made a difference to acceptance."

Now I find this fascinating. I had similar experiences with coalfish when using herring as baits. The fish would take herring with skin on but lumps of skinned flesh were much more attractive and produced many more fish. Like mark I put the difference down to 'texture' but I've been giving it a bit of thought and now I wonder if its possible that the skin of some fish may actually be distasteful. It is well known that the moses sole and some of its relatives actually exude a shark repellant and it would not be too surprising if some other species did the same sort of thing. (On land many insects and plants have evolved a 'bad taste' to try and avoid being eaten. Some butterflies that are good to eat actually mimic the appearance of the nasty tasting ones.

Mark also sent me a couple of pictures. One of a 16kg 'smoothhound caught by someone else and the other of a 5kg hammerhead which he caught himself. Mark also comments that the squid bait sold by bait merchants is vastly inferior to the stuff sold to restaurants when it comes to fishing baits.

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


High tech tackle.

Mark's catch.

The fish to the right is a kahawai, those to the left are trevally (jacks) and the nice pink ones in the middle are snapper - all were caught by Mark on squid.

The 'smoothhound'

Thirty five pounds - what a fish.

Mark's hammerhead.

Another nice fish.