West Coast - October 2012

Sea-run trout a prime target

PETER LANGLANDS
Last updated 11:38 30/10/2012
west coast oct12
A decent perch from the West Coast's Mahinapua Creek

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Freshwater perch have come back to life after winter hibernation.

Mahinapua Creek is a top spot to catch them; they love soft-plastics slowly jigged along the banks. Lake Kaniere is also an option for perch. As Kaniere has larger numbers of smaller perch, it's a great place to take out the kids in a boat. With no limit in place, you can fillet them out; coated in flour and fried, perch is as good as any sea fish to eat.

October is a great time to fly-fish for kahawai around river mouths, as they come into the breakers chasing whitebait. Kahawai numbers appear to have increased along the Coast over the last five years, so if the sea is clear they are a reasonably dependable option.

Sea-runs are quickly putting on condition, and prime specimens over 4kg have been taken. Soft-plastics have worked really well, especially in clear water when the sea-runs become cagey. Try a range of lure sizes, as these trout can be size specific at times.

The Okarito Lagoon has been producing some top sea-runs and, being the largest estuary on the Coast, it provides a rich food source for them. Virtually any river mouth, no matter how big or small, will have sea-runners in it now.

The new trout season has opened. The spring creeks from Hokitika south to Franz Joseph are all top options at the start of the season. Many headwater rivers also open in October - a prime time for trophy trout. The Rough River is another great option, as is the Waitaha and Larrys Creek. An early start and a march before dawn will secure a good spot.

At this time of year the sea fishing picks up, with rig, elephant fish, school sharks and kahawai in the south, and gurnard and snapper moving close inshore north of Greymouth. Large shoals of mullet also move in, especially near river mouths, and fresh mullet is a top bait on the Coast.

The northern bluefin tuna fishery is winding down. Some outstandingly large fish to 305kg were taken, but unconfirmed reports suggest that the catch rate was a little lower than previous years.

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