Normally found in very deep water this species is out of reach of most spearo’s however there are a few places around New Zealand where these magnificent fish are in residence in shallow water and the Chatham Islands is one such place. As usual, hapuku generally associates with some sort of structure and, if limited in number, can be cagey and not always easy to spear. Behaving in a similar manner to the grouper, they have a tendency to bolt and hide amongst the labyrinth of caves and cracks in the structure in which they are living. It is in these instances that a snooping technique would work well. Stealth is required along with a short reel gun and a torch to locate the fish hiding amongst the caves and cracks. Once the fish is speared, preferably with a kill shot, it is then a matter of extraction.
When the fish are in large numbers they can be found mooching in mid-water, even just below the surface. Locating them with the use of a colour sounder helps – enabling you to enter the water ready for instant action. The hapuku’s curiosity will get the better of him and in these instances can be quite approachable and easily speared. We would recommend a longer gun for larger fish hanging on the outside of the school. It doesn’t take long for these fish to become wary and lose interest, bolting into the depths or to a nearby structure, so be ready for some action once they are spotted.