Five Tips to catch less fish.

I recently got back into fishing after a long hiatus. Like many Kiwi’s – I grew up with summers at the beach. Fishing was simple. Get up, hop in the boat, head out to the rocks while trawling for Kahawai for bait, drop them in the water, pull up Snapper. Check the lobster pots on the way back. Done.


Since getting back into fishing, I have realised my youthful naivety at the simplicity of Fishing. I have learnt that fishing is a much more complicated art form.

Take up every kind of fishing at once.

Fishing is all about maximising your chances. If you want to catch more fish –try more types of fishing. Get down to the wharf and throw a line in, but also venture out to the rocks, drive up the beach and get casting, invest in a Kayak for some inshore work, and maybe a SUP for more metro angling. Of course, you don’t want to paddle all the time, so a Jetski is on the list, and if you want anyone to consider you a serious fisherman, you need a boat. Potentially two – a smaller inshore beach launched boat and the bigger gin-palace of a launch for game fishing. Of course, let’s not forget fly fishing – a great pastime to do while you explore the backcountry in the 4WD.

You need to research all the methods that you can use while there. You could just put some bait on a hook and throw that out into the surf, but why not increase your chances by also getting a Kontiki. Though the real pros are now utilising drones.

Way out there where the drones are dropping off rigs are the boats – and from there, you can have bait on hooks, stray line, or live baits. But people have moved on from bait, really. Consider soft baits – with a multitude of colours, weights and styles to choose from, and don’t forget – each style now has its own matching rods and reels. Investigate slow jigs, Inchiku, slow pitch and micro jigs, stick baits, poppers, and hard body lures. Don’t forget the big stuff– game lures and their heavy grade equipment will maximise your chances of landing something.

You will need a couple of trawling rigs set up for the trip to and from your fishing spots. Don’t waste any time on the water not fishing!

Once back to land, wash down your gear, grab the fly rod and get on the road! If you think saltwater fishing provides heaps of kit to help make up for your total lack of knowledge, wait until you get into Fly Fishing!

Don’t listen to the advice of the guys at fishing stores. Complexity is your friend.

Some of the worst advice I have ever heard at a fishing store was to try and simplify your fishing rig by using fewer knots and tackle.

Pre-made rigs are one option, but why not just buy all the components yourself and start putting them together! After all – how is a fishing tackle company going to put together a better product than you can with your five minutes of YouTube watching?

Bait quality is irrelevant.

Just get the cheapest, oldest, ice block solid bits of Pilchard and Squid you can find. Right down the bottom of a Petrol Station Freezer is often best. Fish don’t care. They can’t taste anyhow. If its dangling in front of them, particularly if it’s hanging off an expensive rod and reel (with braid, superlight, multicoloured) even better!

I find the kind of stuff that goes from rock-solid frozen to mush in the water is best. This helps dissipate the scent of old bait into the water and brings all the big fish in. While it also means you will need to replace the bait every couple of minutes due to it falling off the hook, this is basically doubling up as burley for you.

Speaking of burley – you need all of it. Nothing gets the fish going like dumping tons of chopped up bones, guts and skin into the water. Throw the plastic bag it comes in overboard as well – the reflection helps drive the fish nuts. The sea is big –one bag won’t make a difference.

Ignore the tides, swell, weather, and anything environmental.

Just go fish. If you get the perfect rig, it’s irrelevant if fish are present. They will come and seek out your brightly coloured, esoteric, and expensive tackle – just so that they can have the privilege of hooking themselves on it. It’s a bragging point for fish as to how fancy the tackle was that managed to hook them.

Despite what many of the old guys might tell you, the moon, tides, and weather have minimal effect on fishing. Bite time is anytime you have something in the water!

I guess, trying to catch fish when they are feeding and interested in striking baits and jigs might help improve your chances, but getting up early or staying up late gets a bit harder as you get older. Let the young fellas get up and get the fish working – so you can sweep in later (just set up right next to them on the rocks, they like the company) and get into the serious fishing.

Assume you are going to catch monsters sized fish right from the get-go.

If I have learnt anything from watching hours and hours of fishing shows, is that the average size of fish caught has massively improved over the years. Guys are pulling up huge fish – and the amount of catch these guys manage to get in a 45-minute show (without ad breaks) is phenomenal!

It’s amazing how many brand-new lures manage to catch something on the very first drop. It just goes to prove that your last brand-new lure that managed to hook up immediately now needs to be replaced – as the fish are very aware of the latest trends and colourways. Don’t expect them to be interested in last season’s colours – things have moved on.

The more screaming and excited you get, the more fish you get. Every strike needs to be accompanied by a level of excitement previously only found in religious revelations. This leads me to the conclusion that fish also have extremely attuned levels of hearing – specifically tuned to the shouting of excited males.

You need speakers on the boat. Set them up to play hyped up music on a repeating loop. Dubstep, now called Future Bass (I think) seems to be the standard. Either go with the most popular tracks of the time or visit on the many stock music sites and look for tags like ‘fishing’ ‘massive catch’ ‘hook-up’ and the like. While you are there, grab some stock footage of drone flyovers to include in your video. You are filming everything you do out there, aren’t you?

Talking of electronics. Fishfinders, sonar, radar. Most boats these days need more electronics on them than a Navy Destroyer. If you can’t tell the species, size, sex and name of the fish at 200 meters – you are not playing the game.

In summary. Do all the things.

I know, you probably thought you would get into fishing as a simple, relaxing way to put some fish on the plate. Well. You were wrong. Fishing is a highly complex, expensive, technical and time-consuming sport that requires a Doctorate in Fish Psychology.

Or, as my father used to say – ‘small hook, a bit of bait, sinker’.