Beach longline fishing, or kontiki fishing as it is known, is one of the fastest growing types of fishing in New Zealand.
Kontiki fishing is an exciting, economic and incredibly effective way of regularly catching fresh fish for the table. Snapper, gurnard, kahawai, and kingfish are the main target species in the North Island, while rig, greyboy (tope or school sharks), elephant fish, cod — and even salmon — will fill your fish box further south.
Kontiki fishing is uniquely Kiwi. It started with sail-powered rafts, but by the 1980s and 1990s kites had become the most popular way to set a longline from the shore. While kites are still popular on some beaches, fishing is limited to offshore breezes. Homemade motorised kontikis have been around since the 1970s, but they were generally temperamental and difficult to keep running. Over the last several years, Seahorse Electric Kontiki has revolutionised the sport, with thousands of Kiwi families capitalising on the extra performance and reliability afforded by this cleverly designed Kiwi invention.
A well-designed kontiki system is easy to use, either single-handedly or with family and friends. Seahorse kontikis are designed to power through all conditions, taking your line up to 1800 metres offshore, greatly increasing the catch zone. The latest models feature GPS guidance systems.
Kontikis need sufficient length to self-steer through the waves and current, with low flotation to tackle the big surf. Easy to use, fully sealed and waterproofed control is a must, along with a reliable hatch, flag and strobe light for night fishing.
A hand reel, or the preferred electric winch, is needed to retrieve the line. The best electric winches have low-profile designs and are constructed from lightweight aluminium. They use smart electronics with multiple speeds to protect the motor and line. Direct-drive motors are significantly safer than belt-driven drums.
A well-designed trace board is the key to the successful and safe launching of kontikis. Aluminium frames have the advantage of not picking up the smell of the bait, which is a real bonus in motor homes. Traces are attached using Sea-Harvester clips, attaching into a stoppered section of line. The best baits to use include fresh kahawai, mullet and squid. Trout and eel have also been successful. These baits hang on the hooks well and this is the key to great catches.
The market-leading Kiwi-built Seahorse Electric Kontiki is the world’s most popular electric kontiki system. A couple of years ago Seahorse introduced a new electronic control unit, with built-in stall protection and recovery, as well as developing a double-sealing hatch. More recently, they have introduced their class-leading GPS guidance system, which keeps the kontiki on course regardless of the conditions.
Species:Snapper Elephant fish Gurnard Kahawai Kingfish Shark Squid Trout Salmon