Bait fishing: Find your own fishing spots

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Find your own fishing spots

Learn the basics about how to find your own fishing spots.

The most popular species of fish Kiwis like to catch, like snapper, kahawai, trevally, blue cod, terakihi and gurnard live in a variety of habitats. This is great for us fishos because it means there are more places for us to find them.

These fish can be found up in harbours, sometimes right up in the mangroves, surf beaches, rocky shorelines and sometimes in deep water. So there’s a range of habitats to take advantage of when looking for fish.


Deeper water (30+metres)

Deeper water (30+metres)

Learn how to find your own fishing spots

Rocky shorelines

Learn how to find your own fishing spots

Wharf fishing

Three things to look for

There are three things in particular to look for when you're starting out your search for fish:


1.  Food


2.  Shelter


3.  Current


Most popular fish we love to eat like snapper, kahawai, trevally and terakihi seek these things as part of their everyday life.



Like us, fish think with their stomachs.  They don't feed constantly through the day (again like us) but when they do if you're in the area they're more likely to take your bait.

So the first thing you want to look for is feeding sources, where the fish you're after will find their food.  Fish find food in the following types of areas:

  • rocky foul (rocky bottom with seaweed/broken shell)
  • rocky reefs (a ridge of rocks under the surface)
  • seagrass beds
  • shellfish beds
  • a worm bed out over the sand.

Learn how to find your own fishing spots

Reef area

Learn how to find your own fishing spots

Seagrass bed

Learn how to find your own fishing spots

Rocks shown on marine chart

Learn how to find your own fishing spots

Rocks & foul

Look out for bait fish

Keep an eye out for bait fish on your sounder as these schools of small fish can attract bigger fish to feed on them.  Keep a look out for bait fish up to the surface.  Often schools of bait fish are pushed up to the surface as they're trying to escape the bigger predatory fish (the ones we're after!)

Fish may be found at all of these food source locations, and if you can find these locations you’ve got a good chance of finding the fish you're after.

Learn how to find your own fishing spots

Yellow tail bait school - Daiwa fishing New Zealand

Cover / Shelter

Most fish seek out cover to get out of the current (water movement, water flowing as opposed to being still), to get away from predators, or if they are a predator, to hide from the fish they prey upon.

So finding fish cover is really important when looking to pull up a big one. These areas of cover can also provide a source of food for fish to feed on.

Cover can include reefs, rocky outcrops, or anything that fish can hide under or behind is worth taking a closer look.

Learn how to find your own fishing spots

Seaweed provides great cover

Rocky foul

Rocky foul

Current (water flow)

Most fish species enjoy a feed when there is a bit of water movement. 

Current does a number of things; it attracts fish from a distance by transporting scent and pieces of bait and burley downstream. It also seems to encourage fish to bite more enthusiastically. Perhaps because they’re used to biting at pieces of food as they float past.

So, finding some current is a great fishing spot on to set yourself up to catch the most popular species of fish.

Water flow or current

Water flow or current

Ridgeline -


 Check your local marine map, which notes the types of sea bottom present along coastlines and shows water depths and currents.

Talk to the team at your local tackle store, friends, charter skippers, local fishing club, and other fishers in the area. While some people like to keep their spots secret, many fellow fishers like to help others starting on their fishing adventures.

Current lines on map

Current lines on map

These are just some basic to keep in mind when you're starting out looking for your own fishy spots.  Once you've found a place that holds fish the next things to take note of is the tide - is it high, low or in between.  Some spots fish well at certain points in the tide.


Good luck out there!

Next videos:

Check out the next videos in the bait fishing series:



Strayline fishing with bait, squid