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Well we have covered some of the basic species like snapper, gurnard, lemon fish and parore to name a few. Now we will look at a slightly more challenging fish to target. Moki are dynamic swimmers and known for there agility around reefs, always bolting for that extra half an inch of line to wrap the angler amongst the weed and rock. The "moki bend " is very distinct to those that have targeted them over the years. One minite your relaxing on the beach injoying a quite ale as the sun sets, and within a split second, the rod is at ninety digrees and the reel is screaming, your hart skips a beat as you lunge for the rod to stop the fish from hitting the rocks, does it get any better??

Location ,habitat and interesting points
Moki live right through the south island as far down as the auckland islands. To the north, they can be caught on the west coast from cape egmount south. On the east coast, Blue moki are mainly located from cape runaway southwards, this is a good indication they don't like the warmer waters. Spawning occurs through winter, where moki from all over the country migrate between cape runaway and Mahia pinishula in the north island to lay there eegs, where they settle till late spring. By this time the juveniles have reached approximately 4 inches in length before beginning the journey home

Moki have an unusual diet that differs from most other species, depending on where they inhabit weighs heaverly on what they are eating. Moki can be found anywhere and can adapt to most underwater terrains. Where moki are found over sand and mud, there diet mainly consists of worms, crab and shellfish like pipi's and tuatua. From my fishing experience however i find my best results have come when fishing amongst broken reef close to shore where it meets sand, crayfish, mussels and other crustaceans are mokis strong holds in these areas.

Thirty years is a long time for a fish to live, and when moki reach this age they can exceed 90cm in length and grow over twenty pounds, maturity is reached much earlier at the young and vibrant age of just five. Red moki belongs to a completely different fish specie's along side parore ect , Blue moki are closely related to the trumpeter.

(This red moki was caught at east cape - although they are both moki and share similar characteristics they are not related.

All the usual rigs and ideas work well, so we will look at another alternative in addition to them, that may come of use for fishing close or on top of reefs

-Rotten bottom rig
This is best suited to a dropper / ledger rig, single or double- keeping in mind it's best to keep the droppers short when fishing around foul areas, less chance of a snag and loss of gear. A rotten bottom rig is affective for casting directly on to a reef, using a sacrificial sinker. Incase the sinker becomes hooked up in the weed or rock, the sinker will brake away freeing the fish without busting the mainline. The idea is to have a break in the rig and attach the sinker to the rig using a lighter line than the backbone and mainline. If you are using a 15kg mainline 8-10kg is an ideal line weight for attaching the sinker.

When to fish
Moki are much more active through the night, they are known to be caught in the day but much like snapper, they tend to get around allot more and feed at night. The most productive fishing time to catch moki is from 5pm through till 10pm, getting up and fishing from an hour before sun rise can also be profitable .

Tides have had an influence on the moki missions i have experienced, the raising tide seems to be favored over the out going. Perhaps that is due to more water flowing over the reefs as the tide comes in, or the affect it has on pushing food around. One things for sure though, one of the best times to fish for moki is directly after a storm has come through, as soon as the sea ease's up, the moki feed on all the loose shellfish that washs in close to shore. After spawning Blue moki return home and feed vigorously, so its a good time to chase them from late spring right though till may. I have found november to February the most productive months.

Where to fish
-Reef from the beach
When fishing form the beach, its best to fish an area the has reef. This can be 500m offshore or braking out of the water right on the shore line, providing the reef has mussels and kinas or pauas on it, there will me blue moki living on the reef. In some cases distance is an issue, more so from surf beachs. However quite often there will be a sand break in the reef just behind the waves, and these are the area you want to hit, at times it may seem like you are casting five meters, but hay- if the fish are there why not?

From the rock
A critical mistake people make when fishing from the rocks is belting the line out as far as possible, not just for blue moki but for all species, providing you are in a remote area for example the Wairarapa coast line, all of the fish are within the low and high tide marks. as the tide comes in, they come right into those rock pools and feed in the crevasses. Just remember that when you walk out to the point and cast out as far as you can, that ninety percent of the food there after is within four or five meters of the ledges you stand on.

Ports/Wharfs have many fantastic operitunitys, they offer plenty of shelter and deep water where Blue moki thrive, Mussels usually cover the piles well out of the elements which provide the moki with a stable and all year round reliable diet, these can be great spots for land based anglers to do well with the use of plenty of burley. Sometimes you can climb down the ladders and reach a good amount of bait and burley from the pylons, be safe doing this though.

Suitable line weights
Due to the nature of the areas we fish for moki and the extra stopping power required, 8kg minimum is a good guide. when fishing an area with a clean bottom close to reef where a little distance is required, 8kg is a good start. If you are casting directly onto a reef using a rotten bottom rig, 15kg line is a good choice. This works well around pylons as well, with a little more abrasion resistance.
Hooks and drag setting
The hooks you use relate to your drag setting, there is no right or wrong hooks to use. The two main hooks i use for it are gamakatsu siwash 1/0s and circle hooks up to 5/0. Moki have two types of strikes, some times they sit there and suck the bait very subtly or they pick the bait up and go for gold back towards the reef. Circle hooks are great if you cant get to the rod, they self set with a reasonably tight drag, about two thirds of the drag you would use to fight the fish. The siwash hooks are much better suited for some one holding the rod and ready waiting for the fish to strike, in this situation its best to keep the drag at around a third, this means the fish can run with the bait before any serious weight is felt to get the bait well down ready to strike. Just keep in mind as soon as the moki reaches the reef its all over, they have very big rubbery lips that are strong so the hook doesn't pull out easierly. use as much drag as you can. If it does make the reef and you feel snagged, back right off and give it a few minites with no weight on the line at all. Once weight is regained on the line the fish has come free.

Bait and burley
A good cheep option for most is fresh green lip mussels from the super market, for only a few dollars you get plenty. The trick here is not to smother the hook to much, or over do the bait size. Mussel has a very strong scent and blue moki don't struggle to find it. Before attaching the mussel to the hook, pre wrap the mussel with plenty of bait elastic to make it more durable and much easier to bait up with. Other alternatives are pipis and tuatua's, if you find them on the beach give them a go !!

crayfish tails are an outstanding bait for most species, blue moki are suckers for it and when fishing close to reef it is hard to find a better bait. Again by it self it is not very durable, but with plenty of bait elastic the bait is made quite firm and irresistible. Crayfish has a very strong scent also, so big pieces are not necessary. other alternatives to crayfish are prawns from the supermarket at a tenth of the price and crabs. If the crabs are big, cube them into smaller pieces, dont be afraid to leave a bit of leg on ether.

Blue moki react very well to burley. If you are buying it, look for mussel kina burley combos, Its natural and moki cant resist it. Any burly made from pure shell fish will put moki on the bite if there in the area. Just keep in mind that fish oil is not needed, or other burley like piliies and bonito, moki generally don't eat it, so they wont get excited and feed vigorously. Because were not chasing kingfish, kahawai and other species you cant judge how well your burly is doing by the amount of bait fish in the burly, it's a good idea to keep the burley consistent.

Caring for you catch
Like always its important to put your catch straight on ice, icky the blue moki like you would with a snapper and put the fish in the ice bin. Dont gut the fish, it will keep longer if the gut cavity is left sealed off from bacteria. Once home take the care of filleting the fish along the back bone on each side without piercing the gut cavity. Remember fresh water is a fishs worst enemy, use a paper towel or clean rag to wipe away any blood that may get on the fillet, enjoy !!

key points;
1) shellfish and crustaceans for bait like mussels and crayfish.
2) incoming tide.
3) Blue moki primarily feed at night.
4) use burley.
5) look for reef and foul ground to fish.
6) Dont go to big with your hooks and use a good moderate drag.
7) Heavier line is sometimes required .
8) Best times to fish after spawning, during late spring and summer.
9) Put your fish straight on ice.
10) Most of all, always enjoy what you are doing.

Chad Prentice
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