By Tony Marsters
It’s been a week of turmoil and freakish weather which has left filthy water in the river and in the bay, so don’t expect the live baits to be plentiful until the water clears. Fishing has been hit and miss recently, unless you are either up at the crack of dawn or fishing at dusk. The puddle has been producing good numbers while the reefs have been hard to get to with these recent swells and chop.
One good thing to come out of these stirred up waters however are cray numbers. So here’s a few tips on potting for crays.
Firstly – know the rules -
Download the brochure -
X6 fish per day per fisher (combined species);
X3 pots per person per day – including a max of x6 pots per vessel (min of 2 persons on board)
Min of 54mm across second tail spine for male’s min size (spiney red)
Min of 60mm across second tail spine for female’s min size (spiney red) not in egg (in berry).
Min of 216 mm length of tail for pack horse variety
You must clip the tail of all recreational caught fish Do not take fish with soft shell (just shed its’ shell)
Where to drop your pots: I’ve found the best results right beside reefs or weed edges. If there’s sand patches in between rocks and reefs, drop them there. Depth is irrelevant depending on how much rope you have attached. Only let enough rope out to cater for the tide change. Drop them a metre or so off reef or rock points. Crays congregate at these points prior to marching.
For how long? Ideally overnight, but two nights is ok if you are restricted by weather.
Bait: Anything really, but fresher the better. Stop biffing your heads and frames away. Take them home and freeze them. Oiley fish are a great idea too. Wrap your bait in mutton cloth. It stops sea lice and sprats eating and stripping your bait. Tuna heads are great bait as is Barracouta (so keep those cudas when out catching kingys). If you can get hold of Paua Hua , add that too…it’s like a magnet for crays.
More tricks: Cyalume sticks, snap and cable tie a glow stick to the inside of your pot - crab fishermen have been doing it for years, but fish in very deep water where its dark. It attracts the crab - the same could be said for crays that predominantly hunt or rather scavenge at night.
Fines and penalties if you get it wrong: Undersized rock lobster $250 fine; 1 x over the daily limit $250 fine; 2 x over the daily limit $500 fine; 1 x over the daily pot limit $250 fine; 2 x over the daily pot limit $500 fine; Breaking protected or prohibited gathering rules $250 fine;
More than 3 x over the daily limit - Prosecution and/or gear forfeiture.
Lifting or pillaging pots that aren’t yours: Normally castration with a blunt instrument followed by burning at the stake (Tony speaking, not the law)
Humane way to kill your catch: Wrap cray in a tea towel and place in the freezer for 20-25 minutes
Cooking crays: Bring a pot of salt sea water to the boil and submerge the fish for exactly 6 minutes.
Freezing crays: First kill in the freezer 20-25mins; remove the tea towel and wrap generously in gladwrap. Place back in freezer. When time to eat - defrost in the gladwrap overnight in the fridge. Cook as per normal.
Be safe all. Until next time and if in doubt don’t go out.
Engineering Officer - Auckland Police Maritime Unit | Tony.Marsters@police.govt.nz|