NZ Fishing World home
NZ Fishing World

Think like a fish - 8 tips to get your head in the fish zone

December 19, 2019
Think like a fish -  8 tips to get your head in the fish zone

Ok, here you go. Get your fish-brain on and think like your quarry. Here's 8 tips to get your head in the fish zone

1. No run, no fun

The Three Kings Bank is famous for its high current characteristics. The marked areas are particularly turbulent and should be avoided by the inexperienced.

Fish love current; a particularly useful fact to remember on tougher, work-up free days. High current is associated with a structure, such as a headland, islands, reef on the bottom; in fact anywhere that constricts the natural tidal flow of water.

For snapper and kingfish, think about the way water behaves around any structure you can see with your eyes or on a sounder. This will point the way to the fish.
Taking a more macro view of a chart will greatly assist your tuna and marlin hunt. Large landmasses like North Cape and the Mercury Islands create current many miles off the coast.

2. Eat lots, exert little

Remembering that current is important, fish are smart enough to know that it is hard to get fat if you are constantly running on a treadmill. Current brings food and smart fish sit just out of the flow to conserve energy and only swim out to grab it as it appears.

While the obvious place to get out of the current is behind the structure, and snapper can often be found on the down-tide side of a rock, many more fish can be found right front of the structure hanging in the neutral zone of compression that forms as the flow buffets the structure. It’s a hard concept to get your head around, just remember to target the spot right in front of the structure. That’s where the fish will be.

3.Bad moon rising

If the moon is shining giant in the sky, some beleive it's best to stay home. For reasons unknown, fishing on the full moon can often bring little reward. Sure, we all have a mate who absolutely slayed them on the full moon but be honest with yourself, how often does this really happen. The only exception to this rule is night-time fishing for swordfish.

4.When the wind’s in the southeast, the fish bite the least

A less hard-and-fast rule than #3 but still a good one to remember when planning fishing trips in advance. It’s all about temperature. Southerlies and southeasterlies are cold winds which tend to have a negative effect on surface activity, and consequently the food chain.

5. Warm is good

Generally speaking, the warmer the water the better. Water temperature is the driver of many processes in the marine world. In some species the right water temperature helps trigger spawning, which is often preceded by high periods of feeding activity.

Temperature breaks are also gold, particularly for pelagic fish. The best temperature breaks are those where a strong, warm current of water pushes into a large body of cold water. Sea surface temperature charts will help guide the way.

6. Timing is everything

Every day offers a bite time or two to take advantage of. The trick is knowing when those feeding times are going to happen. Dawn and dusk are the two easiest to predict, followed by the a short period of feeding preceding or following the change of tide.

You may have also heard of the Soluna table and its major and minor bite times. The Soluna table refers to the times when the moon is rising or setting, directly overhead or directly under your feet. The major bites are on the moon rise and set and are particularly worth your attention.

7. Find the food and you find the fish

The most obvious example of this rule in action is the classic gannet and dolphin work-up. Baitfish like trevally, mackerel and skipjack tuna on the surface are a great sign, as is consistent bait-sign on the sounder. While these latter indicators may not produce fish immediately, baitfish sign will usually reward the patient eventually. Refer to #6 for when.

Related posts

How to catch tarakihi - Pete Lamb's top tips
Hints & Tips
If your taste in fish is like mine, tarakihi are arguably the best quality eating fish you can catch in New Zealand virtually all year round, and a crumbed fillet at the Fish’n’Chip shop is commonly made from this species. They can be caught throughout the country but are more prevalent around the Cook Straight, east Cape and South Island, and Bay of Plenty regions than they are further north. Not only are they great eating, they also offer a pretty good tussle on the end of the line. You can catch them off the shore and in the boat anywhere from as shallow as five metres, right down to well over a hundred. Without doubt they are probably my favourite eating fish, so although they only grow to a limited size, they are always more than welcome on board.
How the moon and tides affect fishing
Hints & Tips
How the Moon and Tides affect bite times for fish like snapper, trevally and kingfish.
How to mechanical jig for kingfish
Hints & Tips
Here at NZ Fishing World, we like to help out keen young fishing publishers where we can. Here's a great vid produced by young Milan from Fishbro NZ, you can subscribe to his YouTube channel once you get there. Don't let his age fool you, there's some good info here if you are keen to learn a bit more about jigging. Milan's obviously a pretty accomplished angler and we might see some more of him in the future.
Pete Lamb’s top tips for catching snapper
Hints & Tips
Editor note: Pete Lamb operates Pete Lamb Fishing Charters, and runs a bait and tackle shop out of Wellington. He’s fished the Wellington region for most of his life and knows just about every place that holds fish in the region like the back of his hand. Pete is a land based and surf casting specialist, but also runs a charter operation that targets the main coastal areas on the south and west coast. He’s learned a hell of a lot over the years, and like all good fishermen is still learning every day. He is most always happy to share information to help you get a better fishing experience if you rock up to his shop in Rongotai. Here’s Pete’s top tips for targeting arguably NZ’s favourite fish, the good old snapper.
Kingfish: How the experts catch them
Hints & Tips
NZ Fishing World spoke to five of the country’s most respected kingfish fishermen to find out the secrets to their success.
Rod and Reel Maintenance
Hints & Tips
Rod and reel maintenance is an activity seldom loved by fishermen however it can save you money and heart ache if something fails on a monster fish.
All Related

See Also

Fish release for July School Holidays
Fresh water
Are you looking for an outdoor activity for your kids these school holidays? Why not try fishing? North Canterbury Fish & Game has released around 200 catchable sized salmon into the Groynes children’s fishing lakes. The salmon have been kindly donated by Mount Cook Alpine Salmon and The Isaac Conservation and Wildlife Trust.
How to catch squid from the rocks
How to catch squid New Zealand. Egiing for squid NZ off the rocks. Michael Walkley shows some EGI techniques and tips as we have an epic land based squid session throughout the night.
Yamaha Helm Master EX
Yamaha has launched an amazing new digital boat control system that holds you over your fishing spot or sets up a controlled drift, hands free! Applicable to single and multi engine craft, this is a world first and should be very popular if you like holding over pins, deep drops etc.
The Lateral Line - EP #6
Milan, Nathan and one of “the boy’s” Toby, are on board Savoy headed to great barrier island and they are going to use the tender on the front of Savoy to go land based fishing at Great Barrier Island.
How to get back on your SOT kayak with Paddle Guy & Dave
In this video Dave from Fergs kayaks Wellington NZ shows us a few tips on how to get back into your sit on top kayak in the case of a capsize...NOTE: this video is just a quick reference, it is highly recommended that you take a course to get the full understanding of how to self rescue quickly and safely.
Freediving for Crays, West Coast New Zealand
A nice video showcasing some awesome freediving from Ritchie Johnston down in the deep south west.
All Posts

Drop NZ Fishing World a line!

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.