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Extending along the West coast of the North Island, alongside the Tasman Sea is the Hamilton & Waikato region’s windswept coastline and rugged black sand beaches.
Best known for its unique surfing conditions, tranquil harbours and hidden bays, the west coast also offers a bounty of fishing and diving options.
From surfcasting off one of the many beaches to dragging a line behind a kayak on Raglan Harbour, floundering at Kawhia or chartering a boat that will take you out into the open waters for a spot of snapper, kingfish, and kahawai fishing, there is plenty of opportunity to catch some of New Zealand’s delicious Kaimoana (seafood).
There is no better way to enjoy the abundance and beauty of the ocean than to jump on a boat and go fishing. Reef fishing, game fishing, snorkelling and diving are all popular pastimes in New Zealand and a range of charter experiences are available in Raglan and Kawhia.
When fishing offshore, the catch of the day often includes snapper, kingfish, tarakihi or kahawai, otherwise known as Australian Salmon. These are all excellent eating fish and you won’t disappoint friends and family when you return home with this for dinner.
There are distinct seasons to target specific species. The colder water of autumn and winter is suitable for deep sea fish such as hapuku (groper) and warehou. As the ocean currents start to warm up, snapper, kingfish and marlin are popular with sport fishers.
The Raglan and Kawhia Fishing Clubs hold several annual tournaments that attract crowds from across the region. The Fish City Ice Breaker tournament is held in Raglan on the last weekend in November when the Snapper are plentiful and Kawhia holds three two-day tournaments in February and April with a chance to tackle the first game fish.
People gathering shellfish such as pipi and tuatua along the long stretches of coastline at low tide is also a common sight.
Snorkelling for delicacies such as Paua (a type of abalone), rock lobster, kina (sea urchin) and green lipped mussels are also very popular. The plentiful local kaimoana (seafood) is creatively prepared, and served in seaside cafés, award-winning wineries, top-end restaurants and seafood festivals.
Inland, the Hamilton & Waikato region boasts a wide diversity of trout fishing opportunities for both shore and boat based anglers on the many lakes and rivers.
The mighty Waikato River, the largest in New Zealand, has an abundant population of both rainbow and brown trout with some of the best fishing taking place in the winter months due to the high water clarity.
The extensive Waipa River system is also popular with early morning or dusk being the most productive times to fish, while the region’s lakes such as Karapiro and Arapuni are also plentifully stocked, providing anglers with a good catch rate and trophy trout of ‘double figures’ are not uncommon.
The South Waikato’s “spring creeks” also provide many kilometers of good trout fishing, with dry fly fishing often being the most successful due to the clarity of the water.
These natural spring-fed creeks vary from sizable easily accessible rivers to challenging backcountry streams and provide a different fishing experience to rain-fed waterways.