Spin fishing involves using a spinning rod (1.5–1.8 metres long) and reel, and is also called threadlining. A spinning reel has a spool onto which the monofilament line is wound by turning the handle. At the end of the line is a metal lure or spinner with a hook, which wobbles in the water or spins as the angler reels in the line. The weight of the lure pulls out the line when the rod is cast.
It is not known what attracts fish to these metal lures – they may just lash out in anger, or mistake them for injured fish.
Trolling is a form of spin fishing from a boat, which moves slowly forward, dragging the lure behind it.
In the 1970s a strange sight could occasionally be seen on the north bank of the Waitaki River. A local angler used to drive his Morris Minor down a track, park right on the river’s edge and cover the car in brown seed sacks. Sitting in the front seat, he then cast his line out and waited for the trout to bite.
The east-coast rivers of the South Island, such as the Rakaia and Rangitātā, have been the most successful for establishing salmon runs. Salmon were released into the Waitaki River in the early 1900s. Fish returned to spawn in the river and its tributaries, and some strayed to other rivers as far north as the Waiau and as far south as the Clutha.
The size of salmon runs is highly variable from year to year. This is thought to be due to variations in the food supply at sea. Building dams and taking water for irrigation have reduced the size of runs on many of these rivers.
Most salmon fishing is done with spin fishing gear, usually with a stronger line and heavier spinner than for trout – especially in Canterbury river mouths or the nearby surf.
Bait fishing also involves using a spinning rod and reel. A worm is put on a hook along with a lead weight, and cast into the river. The angler then sits on the riverbank waiting for trout to bite.
Instead of a lead weight, anglers may use a bubble (a small plastic ball that takes in water through two holes). This provides weight, so when the bubble is cast the reel unwinds. Fishing with bubbles, hooks and worms can be very effective, especially in small streams in spring.
Coarse fish such as koi carp are caught with a baited hook attached to a float. Fishing regulations vary across New Zealand’s fish and game regions – some have set aside specific areas for coarse fishing, while others allow it anywhere. In Nelson–Marlborough, it is illegal. The coarse fishing scene has only really emerged since the 1980s.