What to bring when fishing in Fiordland

Since returning from a spectacular fishing trip to Fiordland and posting some brag photos on social media, queries were made on a fishing forum about what to take on such a trip, so I thought I’d share some thoughts.


•    A softbait rod and extra line to respool  if needed.

•    A collection of light steel traces.

•    A collection of smaller jigs to cast around the boat when at anchor, especially during early evening.

•    Light gloves as spines can be a problem and filleting gloves provide protection.

•    Soft shoes for inside and other footwear outside.

•    If carrying lighter rods, strap them together to provide protection.

•    Our vehicle had two plug-in freezer units ideal for the crayfish and fish we brought back. The helicopter company had a supply of polystyrene boxes available for a small charge.

•    Big plastic bags are ideal for packing and keeping your processions dry.

•    A bottle or two of your favourite wine.

•    Ear plugs

•    A good quality rain jacket and leggings.

•    The pills and potions you normally need.

•    A good insect repellent. There are several great mixtures sold from most fishing tackle shops but I found the recommended mixture of 50 per cent Johnson’s baby oil with 50 per cent Dettol worked fine.

Some things to keep in mind

Pack light.

There’s no cell phone coverage but the boats have charging facilities for cameras.

Check the availability and supply of your favourite brew. We had a special order arranged with the charter boat which was available as some of my friends are rather partial to a drop and may have exceeded what is generally offered.

Don’t underestimate  the Jock Stewart, scarpie (the fish with many names) which are abundant in the area.

Decide on the number of fillets placed in each bag for the freezer, label and date them. Drain the fillets of excess moisture before putting in the freezer.

Consider the pros and cons of flying against driving south. We drove down and loved the scenic route we took, leaving from the helicopter hangar at Tuatapere.

Plan to leave a set of clothes at the helicopter hangar to change into upon your return.

Check out the boat rules and be mindful of the expectations of the skipper and crew.

Divers should liaise with the organiser as to what equipment is on the vessel to save duplication, lightening the load for the helicopter trip.

Safety considerations

Accidents can happen, and this was brought home to us when a friend produced one of his fancy lures rigged as a ledger rig, with multiple hooks on each.

The barracouta thought this was ‘candy’ and whilst attempted to unhook one of the fish, the other lure lodged into his leg.

Some rude words were expressed, but he was lucky.

With some wire cutters, the barb was cut off and the hook removed.

Safety is paramount and should always be the main consideration.

But most of all, enjoy it.


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