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Freshwater fishing

Freshwater fishing methods

Other fishing


New Zealand Spinner Fishing: Methods and Tackle

  Spin fishing rods

Spin fishing is fishing with any artificial lure other than an artificial fly. The lure or spinner is usually designed to represent a small fish.

Spinning has an important part to play in many fisheries around the country. Spinners are the most popular lure when trolling on lakes or on rivers.

The equipment used is different as the spinning lures are heavier than an artificial fly and are cast with a threadline rod and reel.

Some anglers employ a combination of spin fishing and fly by using a bubble float where a fly is tied below the float and allowed to drift downstream.

When spin fishing or spinning, the lure the angler casts carries the weight which pulls the line out from the reel. Because it does not require a back cast, spinning is much better suited to fishing in very confined spaces where vegetation closes in on the banks of the river. It is also much less subject to the wind and  is generally an easier technique to use and so often favoured by younger anglers.


There are many waters around New Zealand where spinning is not permitted. Several major rivers are designated flyfishing only and there is often a restriction on spin fishing where a river enters a major lake.

Also, in many regions only a single hook is legal so be careful to check the relevant regulations before using.

To see more about spin fishing download the free Fish and Game pamphlet

  Spin fishing rods

When spinning most anglers use a fast action rod of around 2 metres in length capable of casting a 7-10g lure. Those fishing on lakes may prefer a slightly heavier lure. Taimer spin rods range from extra light to medium.

Extra light: These are fast action rods capable of casting very light weights (some ultra light ods such as the Russian Series from CD Sports are capable of casting lures of 1.5grams. That is about the same weight as a wet fly and so opens up a new form of fishing). Because the lures are so light, the line must also be very light (2kg or 4.5lbs) would be at the upper end of what would work. Reels also tend to be small and have limited line capacity so it requires great skill when fishing to ensure that fish are played well and do not bust the light line.

Light: The most common type of spinning rods used on NZ waters. Capable of casting a 5 - 10gm lure and using a 3 kg or 6lb line. They generally have enough finesse to cast a small lure yet enough power to tame a large fish.

Medium: More useful on the big waters especially when targeting sea run (or estuarine) trout or salmon. These are larger rods capable of casting heavier lures up to 28grams. They can be up to 10 foot long and used to cast larger lures some distance where delicacy of presentation is less important and there is the need to subdue large fish in strong currents. Lines are usually around the 5kg+ range

Heavy: Mostly heavy spinning rods are used for sea fishing where there is a need to cast very long distances and have the power to land some large hard fighting fish such as Kahawai and Kingfish.


Spinning reels most commonly used in New Zealand have a fixed spool and a revolving bail arm that collects the line and wraps onto the spool. They are sometimes referred to as threadline reels. They are easy to use and if well maintained will provide few problems over many seasons use. The size of reel should match the rod used. Lighter rods require smaller reels while medium to heavy rods require reels that can take a reasonable length of stronger line suitable for the larger lures being used.

  Fishing line

Most anglers prefer nylon in the 2-4 kg (4 - 8lb) range when fishing lakes or rivers. Lately there has ben a move to fishing with ultralight tackle where lines of around 1kg are used. Be sure to buy high qulaity line with good know and abrasion strength particualrly if fishing on some of our larger rivers.

The number of spinners available is huge, especially when different sizes and colours are taken into account. The list shows some of the common types available but is by no means exhaustive. Many are variations on a standard pattern while others provide very different forms of action when used.


The Veltic is a small-bladed spinner that is very effective on small streams

Rainbow trout seem to prefer and attack the red pattern while brown trout seem to prefer the more muted green pattern.


The Mepps (Black Fury is shown opposite) is a popular bladed lure that is often used when spin fishing smaller waters. There are a range of Mepps in different sizes and colours.



The Toby is a very popular lure that seems to imitate a small distressed bait fish. It comes in a variety of colour (the Black and Gold Toby is shown)

Zed spinners

The Zed spinner (Z spinner) is a very popular salmon lure and in smaller sizes can be very effective on trout. It comes in a variety of sizes.


The Rapala spinner is a very popular pattern for both casting (in small sizes) but especially for trolling. It comes in a wide variaety of colours and sizes. It is a bibbed lure where the bib acts against the current to move the lure deeper. Some have very large bibs for depth fishing while others are retrieved just below the surface.


Spin fishing

Spin fishing

Spin fishing pamphlet

Afforable tuition and guiding

The Trout Man, Harvey Clarke


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