Top Tips

Our Top Tips

While these is no substitute for time on the water there is no shame in short circuiting the learning process either. We often get asked for advice  - here are some answer to our most frequent questions.

Which bait & berleys? - We have a whole page devoted to this topic.

How much bait do I need to take? - We recommend 2-3 kgs of bait per person per full days fishing. Don't forget the salt ice, if you are going to the time, effort & expense to catch fish then why not keep them in primo condition for when you eat them!

How to stop frozen bait turning mushy? - Defrosting pilchards in the boat well or bucket on the way out fishing is a sure way to end up with soft or "mushy" bait.  Whenever possible defrost frozen baits slowly to ensure they retain their firmness. The best method we have found is to wrap our bait up in 3-4 sheets of newspaper and leave it out to defrost overnight. If you have a full days fishing planned wrap a couple of parcels and unwrap them as they are needed during the day.

Should I be using berley? - Yes if you want to catch more fish. We have a page dedicated to the art of berleying.  We also cover the best dispensing method we know of. 

Where are the Fish? It depends on variables like the time of the season, prevailing weather conditions, time of day, fish habitat & spawning habits.

A great place to start is with the Spot X collection of Charts, Maps, Tide Tables and How-to booklets printed on Water Proof, Tear Proof paper. Fishing Spot X Charts are the actual Hydrographical Charts, with all sorts of relevant information added by local experts, featuring fishing spots with the GPS co-ordinates and information on how to fish each spot.

If you are fishing the Hauraki a must buy is Bruce Duncan's book Fishing The Hauraki Gulf.  It has loads of summer & winter pozies and makes extensive use of aerial photos of the reefs and shore line. Make sure you read the front section on tips and tricks. distributes free emailed fishing reports that you can subscribe to or just read online.

Lastly for the most up todate report don't forget to ask our staff on the way out!


Fishing like many things adheres to the 80:20 rule, 80 percent of the fish are caught by 20% of the fisho's! While luck does play a part there are some steps you can take to dramatically improve your success rates. Here are the key ones.

  • Ask for advice from our staff when on what baits are working best, where and when.

  • Always use a variety of baits. Usually pilchards, squid, mullet, bonito and mackerel work well

  • Take some bait catcher flies (sabikis) to catch some fresh bait - big fresh baits often gets the biggest fish. 

  • When you do catch a fish, open it up and inspect it's stomach to see what they are eating. If they are eating very small baitfish then try to cut your bait in the same style to represent a small baitfish (a strip bait).

  • Berley, berley, berley - it brings the fish to you.

  • Join a fishing club and learn from the more experienced.

  • have a very vocal online forum group chocker full of experienced fishos.

  • Try new spots and methods.

  • Record your catches, dates, time, tide and weather conditions in a diary. This is invaluable for future reference.

  • Use local knowledge -  The SpotX maps and Bruce Duncan's book on fishing the Hauraki are invaluable.

  • Read the fishing magazines and fishing books for proven & new techniques. View the fishing "How To" DVD's or videos.

  • Use a guide or the local charter boats to learn about a locality (please ask the skipper before using a portable GPS to record a location!!!)

  • If boat fishing a GPS, Chart Plotter and Depth Sounders are very useful.

  • Service your reel annually to keep it in working order

  • Replace your mono before every season, its relatively inexpensive insurance as mono breaks down over time from UV light and solvents.

  • Learn and use proven knots, don't risk that fish of a life time to a rushed poor strength knot!

  • Use the lightest sinker possible to get your bait to the strike zone, it presents the bait in a more natural manner and offers the angler greater sensitivity on the take.
  • Using lighter line will quite often result in hooking up bigger fish, lighter line creates less drag in the water, is less visible to the fish and allows the angler to detect subtle takes.
  • Replace your hooks and traces every trip, hooks are relatively cheap and you never know when you're going to hook the big one.

  • Lubricate your knots before pulling tight. Nylon will lose its strength under heat generated by friction.

  • Lift your fish aboard by the trace, net or gaff, using your rod to lift a lively fish aboard is a sure recipe for a broken rod due to point loading.

  • Attach your berley to the last link on your anchor chain while fishing in deeper waters. Berleying off the surface in 30 metres of water may attract snapper to your hooks if you can cast up to 1km out the back of the boat.