SPECIES ID AND FISHING RULES
Learn more about how to identify boarfish, where to find them, and their feeding preferences here: SPECIES ID - BOARFISH
Limit your catch, don't catch your limit. Please check the latest rules and catch limits in your area on the MPI website: https://www.mpi.govt.nz/fishing-aquaculture/recreational-fishing/fishing-rules/
Kat Mager with a boarfish from the Coromandel
Hunting boarfish can be pretty straight-forward, the hardest obstacle is locating them and getting down to the depths where they are found. In order to locate the boarfish – a diver usually has to work the weed lines, doing multiple dives and moving along a small distance each time. This way you cover a large area of the weed line.
Your chances of landing one are more likely if you work in pairs and adhere to the ‘one-up one-down’ rule. This important safety precaution also lets you recover properly between your dives. Fifteen to twenty metres can be a dangerous depth to work in - so it’s vital you have someone watching you.
Working scattered ground, with weeds and structures on the sand will normally produce the goods. A decent bottom time is an advantage when hunting and locating the boaries as this will give you time to scan the hunting grounds and pick out the unmistakable silhouette.
Once located, they are generally easy to approach and are not as sensitive and wary of divers as the snapper. A slow, cautious approach from above is the best method to successfully land one. They don’t seem to like being approached at eye level so dropping down on them from above, ensuring that you are always in their blind spot, is normally the most effective method.
By keeping the sun on your back with the light coming over your shoulder, you are more difficult to see – just like when hunting snapper. When descending past the positive buoyancy point try to freefall or glide onto them. This presents minimal movement in the water and your chances of scaring them off are far less, giving you a better chance for an accurate shot.
Working on solid weed lines – divers can also find the boaries sitting by the weed edge where the weed meets the sand. Sneaking through the weed and using the kelp as cover can also be effective when hunting them on weed edges. Although not too flighty, a slow, relaxed and silent approach like with any fish, will give you that extra edge to help land one.
Look at your surroundings for clues that boaries are about. There will normally be some sort of indents or holes in the sand where they have been digging with their snouts, which is a good sign that you are in the right area. They usually come in pairs, which can be a great opportunity for your buddy to get the one, too.
A standard sort of setup can be used to hunt boarfish – a single rubbered 110cm to 120cm railgun with a 15-20m floatline, is a good combo. Some divers use reel guns without a floatline to give them less drag, and eliminate any annoying entanglement that can occur in the weeds.
While this causes less obstruction – it can also be more dangerous, as it’s harder to keep track of your buddy without a floatline to follow to the bottom. Usually the more experienced spearo’s use reel guns although it really is a personal preference. Remember - always use the ‘one-up one-down’ rule when working weed lines.
Deep diving on weed lines can lead to blackouts and or even death. Before attempting to hunt these fish - one should always seek advice and ensure that he/she has adequate experience.