Deep Water Fishing Part 1 - Chasing Hapuka with your Furuno

For the fisherman who loves both a challenge and taking home some quality eating fish for the family, hapuka would rate as one of New Zealand's best fish to chase.

Anyone who says they don't fight hard, clearly hasn't been hooked up to a large one, as the bigger fish are just freight trains that will demolish gear that is not up to the task! There first run is something else!  

Hapuka remain elusive for many NZ anglers first of all because they go AWOL for a large part of the year and second of all because the terrain they hang out in is not regularly fished by a lot of Kiwi anglers. 

Here are a few clues, and tips for getting the most from your sounder when chasing Hapuka.

 1.Hapuka have a big appetite! When they move inshore into areas where recreational fisherman can target them, hapuka are going to generally be in good water with a lot of bait. Move to the fringes of areas that hold good patches of kingfish for example that are being held there by baitfish, and you are likely to find Hapuka in similar areas (just on slightly different ground).  

2. Try and use Bottom Discrimination to identify changes in terrain. Hapuka will often hang out where the mud meets the foul in 80-250m. 

3. Look for vertical stacks on your sounder, here is a picture of some hapuka loaded along the bottom, one eating the bait, and then being wound up. (Notice the scattering of bait above)

4.  Fish your baits close to the bottom. (Drop every so often to keep in touch with the bottom) Use reverse on your motor to hold your lines as close to vertical as possible and stay in touch with the bottom. Sabiki mode on your autopilot comes in very handy fishing like this

5. Rather than looking at the whole water column, use bottom zoom and select the bottom 1/4 of the water column, it is going to be a lot easier to see individual fish this way.  

6. Now for some non - electronics advice - live baits usually are the go to bait for consistently catching good hapuka! Also, a light stick or strobe light are handy for an extra advantage over your mates :-) 

Good luck!