Gearing up for Gamefishing Season

Geoff Lamond recently posted some great information regarding setting up for gamefishing on and I thought I would share some of his information.

As anyone who has been interested in gamefishing knows, there is a huge variety of fishing equipment on the market today and as Geoff says “Getting some of the basic requirements set up and operating correctly can allow you to spend money more wisely, rather than concerning yourself with less trivial issues”.  Many discussions are had around the table at fishing clubs on the best colour of lures, trolling speed, boat harmonics, double vs single hook rigs and of course the superstitions like having bananas on board.  All these little things play a part but other factors would probably improve your catch rates.


Setting up your boat is important but you do need to consider the area and predominant species that you are likely to target.  Fishing on the west coast for striped marlin is different to fishing for blue marlin out of Waihau Bay.   Consider the techniques that are most appropriate to the area.  Tubes and live wells are considered a must for bait balls on the west coast and a good set of 30kg rods and reels should be considered when targeting larger blue and black marlin and swordfish.  Generally striped and black marlin are found in shallower depths not too far from bait schools while blues are found in deeper water.


Sounders also play a big part in locating fish.  Understanding what you are looking at on the sounder and being able to identify the difference between species has its advantages for locating fish and spending time in the right area.


Having live bait for gamefishing can prove invaluable.  You need a good live well system on board but more importantly tuna tubes.  These can keep many types of fish alive that will not survive in live wells.  Tubes keep skipjack tuna, jack mackeral and yellowfin tuna alive indefinitely and offer huge advantages to fishermen.  Keeping bait alive and in good condition is a must.  There are a couple of important factors to consider.  In a live well tank a good even flow is required without too many bubbles.  It must have rounded corners to maintain a suitable flow or current for the fish to swim into.  Your bait needs to be fit and healthy as billfish and tuna will swim past a tired bait.  Tuna tubes can be either fitted into the boat or portable ones can be mounted on the back of the transom.  Pump systems can vary but a good constant flow will keep the bait in good condition for long periods of time.


A good set of gaffs on board is very important.  After hooking a large fish there is nothing worse than the cheap gaff you purchased breaking or straightening out and you can’t get the fish onboard.  Make sure they are strong enough for the job.


Having the right pair of gloves is also very important.  Leather is ideal.  The leader is strong and you can crush your fingers and hands easily.  Practise taking wraps on the leader before you have to do it on a fish.


A good stand up harness is a great investment.  One of the more popular is the Black Magic Equaliser.  This allows you to fish a wide range of line classes.


There is a huge range of lures out there all with different heads and skirt colours.  There is plenty of evidence that these do influence the bite/hook-up.  There are differences in tuna lures, striped marlin lures and larger black and blue marlin lures.  Set up your rigs to suit what you are targeting.  A good selection of a dozen lures is a great start.


Most of all, have fun out there and remember that you can’t always come back with ‘the big one’.  It is a numbers game and the more you are out there on the sea the better your chances.  Let’s keep our fingers crossed the weather gods will play ball this summer and keep the wind in the right direction, the water warm and the seas calm.