“Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day, teach him how to fish and he will sit in his boat and drink all day”
The Bay of Islands is an excellent place to fish, whether you are a newbie (like myself) or a bit of a pro, there is a fish for you. With excellent fishing opportunities all year round and a lovely mild climate (even in the winter) you can’t go wrong. Snappers are definitely the most popular fish to catch up here in the Bay of Islands and super tasty to cook up for dinner. If you are looking for light tackle fish, Kahawai, Snapper, Trevally and Kingfish are your main catches. The best months for Kahawai, Snapper and Trevally are between Dec and Jun, and Jun to Oct you’ll find the best catch of Kingfish. However, that said, you are able to catch them all year round up here. Some of the popular day trips include Spot-x, Earl Grey, and Blue Sea Charters, to name a few.
If you are more into Game Fishing, the Marlin season is between Feb and March (for the best and biggest fish). You can jump aboard Charter boat trips and try your luck at Stripped, Black and Blue Marlin! I was lucky enough to go out on my friends Marlin boat last year, and boy, was it exciting! A fair bit different to your light tackle fishing, that’s for sure. Beautiful blue sea, clear blue skies, and even a few Blue Marlin as well!! The charter boats range from those that go out for just the day and those that go much further out for a few days, the choice is yours.
If you are lucky enough to know someone, or befriend an individual with a boat (there are tons of them in Paihia!!) then go for it, get in on the fishing action and not just sit back and watch. You can hire fishing rods for the day from “Dan the Man” at the Beach Hut (you’ll find it at the end of the beach, grey shed). There are also plenty of places to pick up some bait, 4square and Paihia Dive both sell bait and are located in the centre of town, a 1 minute walk from the wharf! If you aren’t lucky enough to cosy up to a boat owner, or you prefer to go it yourself, you can fish off the wharf or the rocks at the beach.
If you do strike lucky and catch a fish, please make sure it is within legal sizing. It is illegal here in New Zealand to keep an under sized fish, so if you are unsure ‘google it’ or grab yourself a measurement guide from the Paihia Dive shop on Williams Road.
There is nothing better than eating your own catch, but if you are unsure on how to cook it, there are a few places around town that will cook your fish for you for a small fee. I’d recommend Vinnie’s Fish and Chip shop on Marsden Road.
Whatever you are catching and which ever spot you choose in the Bay of Islands, remember sun cream, a beer or two and a rod... you are in for an awesome day whether you hook something or not!
If you are visiting the Bay of Islands and keen to try a spot of fishing, Spot X Fishing offer daily morning and afternoon reef fishing trips as well as customised charters!
To book accommodation in Paihia, Bay of Islands, book here!