Whitebaiting Methods
Whitebaiting Nets and Methods
Allan Burgess displays sufficient whitebait to make a couple of good patties. Drag netting at the mouth of the Waimakariri River, Canterbury, New Zealand. Whitebaiting with a lpole net.
A pole net is easy to use and is usually the first whitebait net most people buy. It is flexible enough to use almost anywhere from beach or rocks. It can be fished blind in discoloured water as shown here, or with painted site boards placed on the bottom in clear water. It's main disadvantage is that the whitebaiter can burn a great deal of energy working it.
Editor Allan with enough whitebait for a couple of good sized fritters. A drag net in action. It is more work than a set net to operate but can be well worth the effort. An advantage is that you are getting first crack at the little fish as they come in from the sea.  
Set net or box net being tipped out at the mouth of the Waimakariri River. A whitebaiter's drag net out of the water. The bottom edge is weighted inside the PVC pipe. These small stiff nets are known as Rakaia Scoop nets.
The "Rakia Scoop" in action. This is a small rigid whitebait net used in fast water. It is regarded as the most dangerous net to fish with. Note the angler on the left who wears the life jacket for good reason. The river flow is so fast that should the whitebaiter fall in he would be carried several hundred meters out to sea!

A set net will keep catching bait without further effort once set up. However it requires more work to set up and carry the net and go-bys. A big set net full of bait is very heavy to lift. You also have to move the whole arrangement forward and backward with the tide.


Right: Set Net.



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A drag net is used by whitebaiters fishing in the breakers. It is only possible to use this net on shallow beaches such as the Waimakariri River mouth shown here. The bottom of the net is weighted inside the P.V.C pipe. Be sure to get the maximum size net permitted under the whitebait regulations.

A big whitebaiter's set net at the mouth of Canterbury's Waimakariri River.
Whitebait box net being carried to a good fishing spot by small boat.
A small craft like this tinnie opens many possibilities for the shore based angler. Here a whitebaiter heads for a spot near the mouth of Canterbury's Waimakariri River that would otherwise be inaccessible!


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