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Huge Snapper from Mokau - Awakino
Situated on the wild west coast between Kawhia Harbour and New Plymouth, Mokau has become a very popular kitefishing spot which has consistently produced many of the biggest snapper caught by New Zealand kitefishers.

As far as we know Joe Crocker and Jim Cross were the first to kite fish from Mokau in the early 1990's, between them they have reported numerous hauls of big snapper since.

Last month Geoff Preston caught four snapper over the old 20 pound mark (8.85kg) on four consecutive days kite fishing.

This brings his tally to an incredible thirty-one of these huge fish landed in the six years he has lived at Mokau.

Read the full article below to find out where most of the snags are.

Fishing Report

Above : Geoff Preston with two huge snapper to 12.5kg taken during a week of phenomial kitefishing.

He and partner Heidi caught numerous 5-7kg snapper over a week of kitefishing.

Geoff describes that week as the best he has had in six years of living at Mokau.

Local kitefisher Jeff Litton also had a good set this day which returned with two snapper of 7 and 8kg plus 12 gurnard.

Mokau Fishing Map

The Fishing Spots

The main fishing area is the three kilometre beach between the Mokau and Awakino rivers. The area is full of hazards so some care needs to be taken to avoid gear losses. There are snags out from the waterfall, a mussel reef is located 500 meters south of the Seaview Camping Ground and 200 meters offshore. Another pin and area of reef lies straight out from the Mokau school.

There are also numerous flat papa rock shoals in the area that can occasionally snag longline gear.

Logs and large clumps of weed are washed down the rivers after heavy rains and the beach can be strewn with driftwood at times. The chance of getting snagged increases at these times.

There is usually surf and a strong current running in a northerly direction to contend with and sharks also turn up off the beach from time to time.


Photo Above : Geoff with a moocher taken on a bottom longline rig towed by a powerchute kite.

If you have access to a small boat there is another two kilometres of fishable beach on the northern side of the Awakino River.

The coast to the south of the Mokau River has many more snaggy reef areas and requires good local knowledge and specialist kite dropper rigs to fish safely.


The Wind

Northeast to southeast winds are best for kite fishing the Mokau area. They also have a localised phenomena which brings light to moderate offshore winds on fine mornings. The wind is cool air flowing down from the central plateau. The wind usually rises just before dawn and continues to blow offshore until 9.30 to 10.00am on good days.

The Gear

Dropper Rigs

The Mokau area is relatively easy and safe to fish with any well balanced kite dropper rig in all offshore wind conditions.

Kite dropper rigs are safest because the mainline is supported clear of the water above both the rip and snags.

Because of this, dropper rigs can be safely used in higher surf and much stronger rips than any longline system including electric kontikis.

Another benefit of using a dropper rig is there is no risk of losing the kite or mainline on the many snags in the area as long as the kite is flying.

If the hooks snag, the kite and mainline can be safely recovered because the strongest line is between the kite and reel. Only the hook section breaks away and is lost.

Powerful light wind kites like the Powerchute and Megamouth are the most popular fishing kites with local kitefishers at Mokau.

Most also have a Superkite for fishing in winds over 25 knots.

Above: A great photo of Geoff with another recently caught 10kg snapper. It's always best to have an ocean backgound in saltwater fishing photos

Kite Longlines

It is far more risky to fish kite longline rigs here as the rip is very powerful and there are many snags offshore.

If the mainline of a longline drifts in the current and becomes snagged the kite and part of the mainline, will be lost.

If choosing to use a longline rig in Mokau, a major benefit can be had by using a more powerful kite.

With a kite powered longline, the kite pulls the entire time of the set and keeps the mainline anchored offshore against the rip.

The bigger the kite the better it holds the gear. Geoff uses a Powerchute or Megamouth kite on his bottom longline rig and finds these kites provide sufficient pull to hold the mainline straight against the strong rip for the duration of the set on most occasions.

Despite all of his experience occasionally Geoff loses a kite, although it has been over a year since he last snagged his longline. Geoff with three huge Mokau snapper, there are more in the fish bin

If you intend to fish a kite bottom longline rig anywhere around Mokau make sure you talk to the locals before setting your gear out.

Electric Kontikis

It can be very risky to use electric kontikis in this area. Two new 40lb thrust kontikis were busted off over the last fortnight at Mokau, one of them by a local fisher.

According to Geoff this brings the total number of electric kontikis snapped off here to around ten this year. While the more powerful electric kontikis do tow the gear out faster - once the motor has turned off all are affected by the rip in the same way.

No matter how heavy the mainline is, if the rip drags the gear up the beach and the mainline snags, then chances are the line will break and the gear will be lost.

Geoff advises those prepared to take the risk of sending an expensive electric kontiki out at Mokau to forget it if the surf is over a meter, or when the tides are big around the full moon.

The problem is not getting the gear out, it's the drift after the motor cuts out that causes 99 percent of the snags.

If you don't know the area it is imperative to talk to the locals and if you can't afford to lose it, then don't put it out!

The Best Bait

Geoff always uses frozen squid on his first set.

This is because squid is always available and it catches kahawai. The majority of Geoff's biggest snapper have been taken on freshly caught kahawai baits.

After scaling and filleting the kahawai he cuts it into strips around 70-100mm long and 20-25mm wide.

How Far Out

Geoff, like most of the locals, has 1800 meters of line on his rig and usually sets it out beyond 1200 meters offshore.

On a recent trip the wind was very light and the set stalled at 500 meters out.

When Geoff retrieved the gear he was surprised to find a 10.5kg snapper on it. Probably that is what had stalled the line!

Photo left :
Heidi with two more big snapper

Contact Geoff

If you are thinking about kitefishing at Mokau give Geoff Preston a call.

He has been kitefishing since the mid 90's and when he moved from Auckland to Mokau he decided to set himself up as an agent selling Paul's kitefishing gear.

Geoff has loads of experience he is more than happy to share and will often take others out for a kitefishing demo.

With the motor camp near by it makes Mokau a great place to visit and spend some time learning about the fantastic kitefishing opportunities the area has to offer.

Geoff can be contacted on 06 752 9780.

Geoffs Kontiki

Above : Geoff Preston with a homemade torpedo which he rarely uses at Mokau due to big waves and strong rips.

The fish is an 11.08kg snapper taken in the last calm spell in July.

Geoff thought the fish would win the monthly fishing contest but was pipped at the post when kitefisher Jeff Allan weighed in a kite caught 11.89kg snapper late in the month.

Kite Catch Right :

Jeff Litton and his mate set their25 hook kite rig twice at Mokau for a catch of six snapper, thirty gurnard and three dogfish in July.

The two black and white photos were taken on disposable cameras. A good idea if you don't want to risk your good camera at the beach.

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Above: Morgan Barnes with a decent sized snapper from a Whangarei longline set that caught 21 good sized fish from 25 hooks set!

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