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Drone Fishing the West Coast of New Zealand

New Zealand’s West Coast beaches are an amazing place to be, let alone fish.  They are rugged, wind-swept often with rolling surf that never seems to stop.  However as may locals are very well aware, if you pick your spot and your timing – the West Coast on the upper half of New Zealand’s West Coast can be a mecca for any drone fisherman & yield some great results.

When drone fishing the West Coast there are some basic critical things that you really need to make sure you get really dialed in to maximise your success when fishing with your drone on this Coastline:

1) Adequate Sinker Holding on the bottom – once your drone has dropped the line
2) Prepare to get Big Species on your hooks (even those that aren’t the target)
3) Your drone needs to be able to handle the conditions
4) Make sure you pick your spots & timing

IMG 0865 Making sure your sinker holds well on the bottom

The first point is super important IF you are there to actually catch fish.  Effectively you don’t want your traces to be moving around in the current because the sinker is not fixed and holding in the sandy bottom properly.  The bottom feeding fish are simply less likely to attack your baits and ultimately get hooked.  This is one of the fundamental things about drone fishing with a rod & reel, you really need to have the sensitivity & being able to feel each fish bite, right down to the sinker itself.  You simply can’t do this if your sinker is moving around in the current.  The other issue is that if your sinker/traces are moving around in the current you are more likely to get the trace and mainline twisting & getting knotted up whole underwater.  For this reason we use a 5-6 oz surf casting break-away sinker.  Normally this is enough weight for even the strong currents of the West Coast.  If more holding power is needed – then simply use a rubber band to hold the wires in places a little more firmly.

Prepare to catch larger non-target species

The second point is based around the fact that at some point with you are drone fishing on the West Coast of NZ, you WILL get Sharks and Rays on the line, and sometimes these will be monsters.  While they are fun to play on a rod & reel, normally these are not the target species and the important thing is that you don’t want to do is lose your backbone (that sits on the bottom that the traces hang off), or any part of the mainline (ie. whether that is braid or monofilament).  If you are using a similar trace setup to the one shown in one of our other articles, then the traces/hooks themselves along with the sinker is designed to be sacrificial.
If you are using a multiple hook rig, then is also a good possibility that you could get 2-3 good sized Snapper along with other species hooked on, so you also need gear that can handle this all at once also.
For both of these reasons your gear needs to be strong,when drone fishing on the West Coast, for example 50 – 80 Pound Braid Mainline, 200 Pound Backbone, a Strong boat rod & a decent reel that has good drag (say 13kg).

 Choose a Fishing Drone that can handle the West Coast conditions

The third point is really important because unlike when beach fishing on New Zealand’s East Coast, the West Coast is a lot more rough and rugged in terms of sea and weather conditions.  For this reason, you need to select a drone that can stand up to this environment, if not things are likely to end in tears!  Many of the Modern popular fishing drones are suitable, from the Condor to the Phantom model, to the Swellpro Fisherman and Splash drone options & the Aerokontiki & Mobula models at the top end.  Of course the Swellpro FD1 and Splash drone are purpose made to handle the rain, wind and weather.  The other important point is that the Splash drone is Saltwater resistant also, meaning that the exterior is more resistant to corrosion caused by the salt.  All of the fishing drones  listed above are capable of handling reasonably strong wind conditions (15 knots), although as a rule of thumb 20 knots is generally too strong for most drones particularly when you are also asking the drone to carry a bait & sinker payload as well.  If you plan to go fishing on a windy day bear in mind that once you get the drone and payload into the air you don’t want the drone to be moving around or swaying too much, as this can lead to loss of control of the drone by the pilot & possible disaster!  If you find the drone is moving around in the air too much, then it is a good idea not to fish on that day. Here is a good article on two excellent fishing drones on the market

 Picking your spot & timing when to go Drone Fishing

The fourth point is also super important to get right.  Just like any style of fishing if you have the wrong conditions for fishing or if the fish are not biting, then you are wasting your time, and we are all there to catch fish right!?  Firstly its important to understand if there are actually fish in the general location where you are fishing, often this is where local knowledge comes in really handy.  There will be times of the year when fish are more abundant than others and this often has a great deal to do with reproduction cycles of your target species. Another important factor is that of the tides.  Many good west coast beach fisherman i know like to Fish on low tide.  It’s also critical to fish specific areas of the beach that are known to hold fish, things like pipi and shelfish beds (natural food sources) are a really good start, again this is where a bit of local knowledge can really come in handy!

Well there you go, four really important points to assist when drone fishing on New Zealand’s West Coast.  Of course many of these points also hold when you are fishing with your drone on the East Coast also, it’s just that the East Coast is less likely to inhibit your drone fishing experience (and catch rate) than the West Coast.  We hope you enjoyed this drone fishing article & feel free to reach out to us if you need any more information or want to ask us a question!

 

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