Central South Island weekly report - 3 March 2017

  • Central South Island
  • 6/03/2017

Weekly Fishing Report– Central South Island Region – 03-03-2017

Caught a Tench lately? Ever heard of coarse fishing waters? If you are wondering what I am getting at, it’s the fact that unique fishing opportunities exist in the Central South Island Region (CSI) that are available to sports fishing licenceholders but are rarely utilised.

WFR17.19 Ken Bakers best bag of Tench from Island StreamIn CSI we have four designated coarse water fisheries.

Two are tributaries of the Kakanui River: Waiareka Creek and Island Stream and the other two are Centennial Park Lake and Saltwater Creek in Timaru.

Above Right: Ken Baker's best bag of Tench from Island Stream, Maheno.

Tench and Perch are classed as both sports fish and coarse fish.

Anglers who target them in designated coarse waters can legally use different methods from trout and salmon fishing.

The main difference in methods is that you can ground bait/berley in coarse fishing waters, you can use any type of bait and you can use a rod that doesn’t have a reel.

There are other rules that differ too.

The coarse fishing regulations are in the first schedule of the regulation guide, and the regional named/designated coarse fishing waters are listed in the regional rules.

In many regions there are no coarse fishing waters listed. Click here to link to an online version of the regulation guide.

I am one of the majority of licenceholders who have never used coarse fishing methods or targeted Tench so to find out a bit more about our local options I called Waimate angler Ken Baker and asked him to share some of his knowledge.

Ken has targeted Tench in Island Stream, near Maheno a few times and has had some luck.

He says it’s not unusual to have fishless days and landing fish can be a challenge too, as they fight “like bulldogs” and will seek any cover available like logs, undercut banks or over hanging willows.

Ken reckons the Tench in Island Stream are a healthy size, and he kindly shared a photo of his best ‘bag’ from there, five fish between 5 and 6 pound which he caught a couple of season ago.

Ken couldn’t tell me what Tench tasted like, catch and release is standard practice.

Another traditional aspect is that fish are kept live in a ‘bag’ and at the end of the fishing session the bag is weighed and all the fish are released.

‘Bagging’ live fish is another option only available to the coarse fish angler (refer to page 8, sports fishing regulation guide).

Like many coarse water anglers Ken prefers using sweet corn kernels as bait for Tench and if time allows he ground baits the day before fishing and clears some of the weed away and trims any willows that impede him casting a 12ft rod.

Island stream like other Tench waters is a slow flowing, tannin stained and weedy, lowland rural creek with big still pools.

Tench are only active in warm water so the height of summer is the best time to fish.

Ken reckons by March the water temp is probably too cold already.

You will struggle to sight fish Tench but when they feed a trail of fine bubbles gives away their position.

To spot feeding bubbles and to maintain your float position you will want a windless day.

I asked Ken if it was worth just having a go for Tench with trout gear.

He reckoned you’d probably struggle.

It’s best to use 12ft rods, which are helpful to steer Tench away from cover.

He reckons a 12ft surfcaster would be better used than your standard 6ft trout spin set.

He also said they are fussy and so you will need a light float, 5lb line, and have to fish precisely on the stream bottom.

Coarse anglers often measure the depth of their position to the millimetre.

Aside from Tench, Ken said there are a few perch, brown trout and eels in the stream and that he’s always been granted access by landowners on request.

The Stream flows almost entirely through private land.

As for the other designated coarse fishing waters in CSI: Historically speaking, Waireka Creek, Centennial Park Lake and Saltwater Creek hold Perch and Tench populations.

What are the stocks like today? We’d like to know from you! Please give me an email if you have any first-hand knowledge of Perch and Tench numbers in these waterways from the past few seasons (radams@fishandgame.org.nz).

Perch and Tench are found in other waters of the CSI that are not named coarse waters.

In these locations sports fishing regulation must be adhered to.

If your keen to get started and learn the trade and purchase purpose fit gear there are no local coarse water/ float fishing clubs in CSI but there are options in Christchurch.

I’d advise searching the internet for clubs, how-to info and tackle.

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