Club News NZSFC



Tag poles and braid hot topics

Tag-pole length, the use of braid line, minimum line classes for sharks, a new kingfish policy, and the definition of what constitutes a ‘caught fish’ were among the topics hotly debated at the recent NZ Sport Fishing Council’s Annual meeting.

Hosted by the Ashley Sport Fishing Club and held in Christchurch last month, the event was attended by 70 delegates representing affiliated clubs from the length and breadth of the country.

There was an extensive guest-speaker list, which included presentations from: Rob Southwick (representing Southwick Associates, who are currently undertaking the research into the economic value of recreational fishing) John Holdsworth (Blue Water Marine Research on the tagging programme; MPI’s Dave Turner (Director of Fisheries Management on the review of the Fisheries Act); Mathew Taylor (representing LegaSea, updating members on the Council’s public advocacy work); Cam Speedy (presenting seabird conservation and management); Grant Blair ( on how clubs can incorporate a measured section into their competitions);and Jeff Romeril (NZ Marine Research Foundation report on activities); as well as a video produced by Matt Watson of Tightlines Media, acknowledging the work of this Council and LegaSea.

Tag-and-release issues

There was a general consensus when tagging billfish and sharks: they are not to be removed from the water – but this did not take into account the scenario where a fish lands in the boat accidentally.

The new Bylaw states ‘When billfish or sharks are tagged, they are not to be intentionally removed from the water before they are released’.

The Council will continue to make tags available to clubs to sell to members at cost. Sales of tags to non-members will be double the cost price.

Tag-pole length has been set the same as for gaffs – 2.43m or 8 feet – with the rationale being this represents the length of a 90kg-plus striped marlin when laid against the fork of the tail to the tip of the lower jaw. It was acknowledged there was some opposition from the charter-boat fleet in the past, and that different boats needed different length tag poles.

Circle hooks

If using live or dead natural baits to target billfish in the 2016 NZSFC’s Nationals tournament, non-offset circle hooks must be used.

Essentially, the likes of the ‘Tauranga Killer’ skip bait rig that uses a ‘J’ hook, will no longer be part of an angler’s arsenal when fishing for billfish. It is a rule that is likely to be adopted by most clubs for their tournament rules this season.

Tagging programme

Tairua’s Jason Harris won the $1000 lucky draw open to anglers recapturing and reporting a tagged fish. Last February Jason was fishing at the Alderman Pins when he caught a 20.4kg kingfish which had been tagged four years previously, on July 20, 2010, in the same area by Epic Charters. The fish then measured 112cm and was estimated at 19kg.

John Holdsworth, of Blue Water Marine Research, reported an ‘overall average’ gamefishing season, with patchy fishing on the northeast coastline and some good fishing at times on the west coast and in the Far North. There were 535 striped marlin recorded as tagged and released.

In a turnaround from previous years, there were some good-sized yellowfin caught and a marked increase in the capture of small-medium tuna noted. Numbers were still not high, with 90 yellowfin recorded from the four northern clubs.

A caught fish

It was proposed the definition of a ‘caught fish’ be changed to: ‘When landing or boating a fish, the fish will not be deemed caught until the fish is weighed. Once gaffed, it cannot be tagged and released.’

There was discussion around the need to leader a fish and thus have it under control, before being gaffed. Problems arose for anglers who were jigging and had minimal leader, or those using wind-on leaders and angling the fish to the gaff without the person ‘bringing it under control’.

The issue was referred back to the Fishing Subcommittee to table a recommendation at next years AGM.

New kingfish policy

A new policy around the abundance of kingfish and the baitfish on which they feed was adopted. This aims to promote the intrinsic value of large kingfish as part of a healthy ecosystem, as well as being a high-value sport fishery, making the species a high priority for the fisheries managers and decision makers.

This will be done by promoting conservative fishing methods, including catch and release, as well as reducing release mortality by using best fishing practices, specifically the use of non-offset circle hooks.

The Council wants to see kingfish become a by-catch only for commercial fishers, and to work towards a ban on set-nets placed on deep reefs and offshore pinnacles, regardless of the fisher’s stated target species.

The Ministry for Primary Industries will be asked to closely monitor and report the annual kingfish catch by trawlers and purse-seine vessels involved in the jack mackerel fisheries. Hot spots of kingfish catch need to be identified and protected by ensuring those vessels involved avoid those areas, perhaps with the use of time and area closures if necessary.

Braid debate

A motion that sought to adopt a new class of records for use of braid, as per the council’s constitution, where the council can ‘create fishing rules that are outside IGFA rules fundamental to our fishing scenario’, was withdrawn after vigorous debate.

IGFA representative John Chibnall said it should be withdrawn, given the subject of braid would likely be on the agenda of an IGFA rules conference scheduled for next year. In withdrawing the NZSFC Board’s motion, a ‘wait and see’ attitude was adopted.

The issue was revisited several times through the course of the meeting and has been referred to the Fishing Subcommittee to rework and present to the clubs for discussion.

Bay of Plenty baitfish

The NZSFC is to promote management action to reduce commercial purse-seine catch in the greater Bay of Plenty region, as this disrupts the availability of food for high-value fish species, seabirds and marine mammals.

This aligns with the ecosystem approach promoted in the NZSFC’s policy on FMA1 Fisheries Management.

Contributions acknowledged

Bay of Islands stalwart John Chibnall is standing down as the IGFA/Life Member representative on the Board, a position now filled by Mark Hemingway.

In his President’ Report, Mark Connor congratulated John on being made an IGFA Life Member.

“I would like to thank John for his 47 years of service to the Council and his contribution to recreational fishing”, Mark stated. John will remain as Council Patron, as well as remaining a Life and IGFA Member.

Another long serving member of the NZSFC team, Roz Nelson, earlier this year resigned as Secretary/Executive Officer and Treasurer.

Roz has had a huge input in keeping member clubs up to date. Prior to that, her biggest contribution has been as the ‘Tournament Secretary’ of the Nationals, held throughout the country over the third week of each February.

Pulling the results together has been a massive task, and with participating angler numbers continuing to grow, keeping track of the results is a record-keeping challenge that Roz handled competently. Roz has also been responsible for organizing the annual meetings in conjunction with the host clubs as well as producing the yearbook.

In replacing Roz, the Council has appointed Dave Lockwood. Dave has a wealth of experience in sports administration and his role has been expanded to take in promotion and marketing.

Longstanding Wairarapa-based Zone Five representative Ed Beetham, who was involved with the Hiwi the Kiwi programme, Water Safety NZ, as well as promoting member benefits, also stood down at the meeting, with President Mark Connor acknowledging his contribution over many years.

New Life Member, former president Richard Baker, continues to be involved in supporting Council’s work, especially around recreational fisheries advocacy.

Service awards

IGFA representative Tony Hill’s 30 years of service on Council was acknowledged with the presentation of a plaque.

Houhora’s Don Bellingham’s long involvement with Council was recognized with a 25-year plaque.

Other service award recipients included…

Two Year badges
Brenda Saul Zone 1 Whangarei Deep Sea Anglers Club
Pete Saul Zone 1 Whangarei Deep Sea Anglers Club
Jennifer Troup Zone 1 Bay of Islands
Charlie Lamb Zone 2 Bays Fishing Club
Yvette Wells Zone 2 Clevedon Game Fishing Club
Alan Proctor Zone 3 Mercury Bay
Ross Lucas Zone 4 Mt Maunganui
Alberto Ramirez Zone 5 Akitio
Graeme Bee Zone 5 Hawkes Bay
Lewis Avenell Zone 6 New Plymouth
Bob Anderson Zone 6 Raglan
Chris Shuker Zone 7 Canterbury
5 Year
Jane Rooke Zone 1 Whangaroa
Dave Arrell Zone 1 Bay of Islands
Warren Maher Zone 3 Tairua-Pauanui
Barney O’Neill Zone 3 Whangamata
Roy Hoskin Zone 3 Whangamata
Phil McCarthy Zone 4 Te Aroha
Cecil Hickman Zone 6 Kawhia
10 Years
Annette Hall Zone 1 Hopin
Jerry Garrett Zone 1 Bay of Islands
Kelvin Mowat Zone 1 Whangaroa

15 Year Plaques

Graeme Trotman Zone 2 Piha Deep Sea Fishing Club
Brett Rathe Zone 2 Warkworth Gamefish Club
Warren Harris Zone 3 Mercury Bay

Officers appointed

The following were appointed to office:

President, Phil Appleyard; Immediate Past President, Mark Connor; Vice Presidents, Bob Gutsell and Peter Campbell; Records Officer, Pete Saul.

Board members, Zone One, Kelvin Mowat; Zone Two, Paul Batten; Zone Three, Warren Harris; Zone Four, Deryk Nielsen; Zone Five, Wayne Bicknell; Zone Six, Lewis Avenell; Zone Seven, Mark Connor; Zone Eight, Peter Campbell; IGFA/Life Member Representative, Mark Hemingway; Patron, John Chibnall.

An auditor has yet to be appointed.

Minimum shark weights

A motion from the Fishing Subcommittee that would have seen line weights for sharks restricted to 15kg up to 60kg and the tagging points increased to 250 for the Nationals was lost.

There was a concern that many of the sharks were being dumped. Several South Island clubs – for whom sharks are a ‘staple’ gamefish – objected, as it would affect their ability to compete.

  • Compiled by Grant Dixon