Surfcasting in New Zealand
Surfcasting Spots Near Christchurch
by Allan Burgess

Banks Peninsula MapHere are some good shore fishing spots, all are within an hour's drive from Christchurch City. Pack up plenty of food and drink when going to the beach. Some places like Birdlings Flat, Taumutu, and South Rakaia are a long way from the shops. There is nothing worse than not having enough to drink on a hot day. On these exposed shingle beaches it is a good idea to bring some sort of sun shade. Don't drive your vehicle onto the shingle beaches. You will get stuck instantly and may have to walk a long way to get help. This same rule applies even to 4WD owners. The loose shingle will easily trap your wheels.

Only go swimming between the flags at places like Sumner, New Brighton and Taylors Mistake. The shingle beaches south of Banks Peninsula are steep, and there can be a powerful undertow. DON'T GO SWIMMING! Keep your eyes on the water at all times when surfcasting. Don't surfcast if there is a big swell running. You could very easily be knocked off your feet and pulled in.

Generally speaking the beaches south of Banks Peninsula offer the best fishing for the surfcaster. These beaches are shingle, steeply shelving, and the water is much deeper close to shore. On the other hand these beaches are also more dangerous because of the strong undertow present even in calm conditions. Very long casts are not always necessary, or even desirable, south of the peninsula. It is just a matter of getting your baited hooks in behind the last breaker. The shingle is tossed up by wave action and can cause "stone bruising" so I find it pays to fish a heavier and harder line. Also check your line regularly for nicks or stone damage. Use a tall surf spike (rod stand) and try to keep your line up off the bottom as much as possible.

Birdlings Flat
Birdlings Flat is about an hours drive from Christchurch. I have caught several large sevengillers from this very spot! This stretch is oddly sandy in what is otherwise shingle beach.

Kahawai are almost always present off all these beaches both north and south of Banks Peninsula, particularly near the rivermouths. It is always worth having a few casts with a ticer. The best method is to cast as far as possible and then wind the lure back in flat-out! Kahawai will see the ticer as a fleeing baitfish and go after it.

Amberley Beach

Good surfcastlng beach. Fishing better around mid to late winter. Not good for swimming. Tuatua found on beach, particularly after rough weather. Excellent spot for kite fishing when wind from the north west or south west. Camping ground with limited facilities. Fishing

Contest on around 7 Jan each year. Amberley Beach Surfcasting Contest - Day of the Skate. This sea is shallow along this stretch of coast and so not the best for surfcasting. Most likely catch are small sharks. Red cod are caught in late winter. Kahawai sometimes chase baitfish very close to the beach. Amberley Beach Surfcasting

Waimakariri River

Top spot in the surf for kahawai at river mouth. Kahawai also come into river in tidal zone.Waimakariri River Salmon Fishing from December onwards. Top spot for salmon at Mclntoshes Hole 2km from mouth, drive down Ferry road and


park car. Good camping ground at river mouth on the north side. Also red cod in river close to mouth - best fishing after dark. Sometimes red cod caught here in big numbers. Heaps of yellow-eyed mullet present in river and surf - use size 10 hooks to catch them - either suspended rig with bubble float, or spinning with tiny flies. Flounder also taken here. Kahawai Fishing Waimakariri River mouth.

New Brighton Pier

Very good fishing platform. Best fished at high tide. Good for red cod at night.

NO OVERHEAD CASTING ALLOWED - many tourists walk down to the end of the pier and overhead casting is just too dangerous. Either fish with a hand-line or just lower your baited hooks straight down with your rod and reel. Use heavy line and strong hooks as fish must be lifted up from the water. A drop net to land fish is also a good idea. Crab potting has been banned because of damage to the pier! You can catch kahawai, rig, school sharks, cod, mullet and others. One bloke landed a huge ray by working it down the pier to the beach! The New Brighton Pier can get very crowded at times. I would have liked to have seen a smaller fishing pier running at a right angle, at the end of the main pier, just for fishing. Perhaps it could have been made a metre or two lower than the main pier. A great idea for but I guess it would have cost a fortune! Come to think of it, while I'm spending other peoples money, I'd also like to have seen the pier built twice as long!

New Brighton Pier, Christchurch.
New Brighton Pier is a popular fishing spot.

Here is an update about the species that can be caught off the New Brighton Pier, they include: Kahawai, Yellow eyed mullet, Red Cod, School shark, Rig shark, Dogfish, Seven Giller, Skate, Elephant fish, Kingfish, Barracouta, Thresher shark, blue shark. I only know of one Kingfish caught this year. Thanks to Zac for the update. New Brighton Pier, Christchurch, N.Z.

Taylors Mistake and Black Rock

Park in car park and walk along track around base of hills to the right. Black Rock Point juts out into the sea and has good fishing platform. Yellowtail kingfish have been taken here from boats over the summer months. It is just a matter of time before someone takes one from the rocks. For kingfish you need either a livebait (small kahawai or big mullet) suspended from a balloon, or jigs and poppers cast from shore and rapidly retrieved.

Bottom fowl so be prepared to loose plenty of sinkers. Good swimming beach - surf patrol over summer. Author caught a big sevengill shark here - Sevengill Shark caught at Black Rock See also Rock fFshing at Black Rock, Banks Peninsula.

Lyttelton Harbour

There is a new fishing platform behind the Oil Wharf. This has been purpose built for fishing. You do need to make a short cast though as the water is too shallow otherwise. Red cod in the evenings and at night. Heaps of mullet (use small hooks). Access to the port has been almost completely closed off to the public in recent years. But sometimes one of the wharves is opened up for the public to go fishing.

Birdlings Corner

Birdlings Corner is a popular surfcasting spot. It is also favoured by people looking for coloured stones.

Birdlings Flat

Excellent surfcasting from the beach and all the way south down the coast to the Waitaki River.

Long (12'0) surfcasting rods required in most conditions. Big shark sevengill Sharks from beach, kahawai, occasional blue moki close to rocks, mullet, and very good red cod fishing in the evenings and after dark - best bait for cod is fresh mullet. I once fished this beach almost every week for many years. It nearly always produces good catches when conditions are right with an offshore wind from the north west . When the red cod are biting you will be more successful if you use fresh yellow-eyed mullet for bait. You might like to take a look at Surfcasting at Birdlings Flat DO NOT GO SWIMMING AT BIRDLINGS FLAT UNDER ANY CERCUMSTANCES - VERY DANGEROUS UNDERTOW.

Tumbledown Bay

One of the more out-of-the-way destinations I used to visit on the southern side of Banks Peninsula is Tumbledown Bay. The area is so isolated that on several occasions I have spent the whole day there without seeing anyone. The fishing is

Combined fishing clubs surfcasting event held on the beach at South Rakaia Huts.
Elephant Fish
Johnny Richards with a 17 pound elephant fish caught surfacsting at South Rakaia Beach on a pipi bait.

first rate, with most of the southern fish species represented. There is good rock fishing on the eastern side and you can also fish off the beach. You might like to read this article about fishing at Tumbledown Bay.

Surfcasting at Birdlings Flat

Taumutu Beach and Rakaia Beach

Excellent surfcasting beaches. Specialist surfcasting tackle with long rods required. Sevengill sharks can be caught all along this shingle coast line. Elephant fish caught here (use shellfish for bait) over the Christmas holiday period. Also big rig and school sharks. Huge kahawai schools sometimes chase baitfish right up onto the beach over summer. Also red cod, mullet, skate. Fishable on all tides. Kite fishing popular and successful when wind from the north west.

See also Snapper from the Marlborough Sounds. Other New Zealand sea fish species. 

You may also be interested in Trout Fishing Close To Christchurch.

Surfcasting Around New Zealand



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