The Marlborough Sounds – a fishing paradise
Located at the north eastern end of the South Island, the Marlborough Sounds is one of New Zealand’s natural wonders. The Sounds is an extensive water wonderland, encompassing around 20 percent of New Zealand’s coastline – that’s about 1,500km of magical coastal waters to explore.
The huge geographic area of the Sounds is made up of the Queen Charlotte, Kenepuru and Pelorus Sounds. The Sounds offers an intricate coastline of ancient sunken river valleys that create a veritable maze of deep coves and headlands, rugged shores and quiet, sandy bays, islands and isolated beaches, tidal passages and wide expanses of blue water magic.
In other words, the Marlborough Sounds is a fisherman’s dream destination, with something for anglers of all levels of skill and experience.
Over 50 reserves, interspersed with private land holdings, make up the Marlborough Sounds Maritime Park. Permits are required for fishing in the Marlborough Sounds, and fishing in any of the reserves themselves is, of course, illegal.
A fish-rich region
The Sounds is a fish rich region with three main fishing zones, namely the outer Sounds, the inner Sounds and the estuaries.
The various marine environments of the Sounds support around 200 species of fish, including snapper, gurnard, rig sharks, monkfish, kahawai, tarakihi, flounder, hoki, butterfish, spotties, mullet, kingfish, hapuku, perch, stingray and blue cod (although the blue cod may only be fished from the outer Sounds).
The outer Sounds have the biggest range and stocks of fish in Marlborough. Blue cod are common around reefs and so too are kingfish, perch, butterfish, hapuku and tarakihi. Snapper are also common, especially around the mussel farms.
The historically more extensively fished inner Sounds have the lowest fish stocks. However, the establishment of the marine reserves has enabled the fish stocks to replenish themselves and numbers are increasing in the inner Sounds again – so it’s also possible to catch a good sized snapper or tarakihi in the inner Sounds.
Estuaries and sand banks in the Sounds are good spots for some night fishing for flounder, barracuda and eels.
If you have a taste for shellfish, you could go diving for the local delicacies of paua, scallops, mussels, lobster and crayfish. A mouth-watering proposition don’t you think?
Freshwater fishing options
Fishing in the Marlborough region is not confined only to saltwater fishing. The region also has many excellent rivers, lakes and backcountry streams that are just perfect for freshwater fly fishing, salmon or trout fishing. In fact, the region offers some of the best, most easily accessible brown trout fishing in the country.
No matter what type of fishing you enjoy, or your level of expertise, fishing in the Marlborough region is all about enjoying the sport at its best in what is arguably one of the world’s greatest fishing countries.
Accessing Marlborough fishing
Picton is a great jumping-off point for all activities in the Marlborough Sounds, as most of the region’s activities operators are accessible from here.
There are a myriad of fishing tour and charter operators in Marlborough offering every type of vessel for charter or hire, from launches, yachts, powerboats to sea kayaks. Why not join an inshore fishing charter and indulge in your favourite pastime in the stunning coastal waters of the Marlborough Sounds?
And for a great accommodation option for your trip, head to Tigers Den luxury lodge. Nestling on the hillside in Waikawa Bay, just two minutes from Picton, Tigers Den affords magnificent views over the great fishing waters of the Queen Charlotte Sound.
Tigers Den offers luxury accommodation for up to ten people and is within easy walking distance of Picton’s waterfront cafes and restaurants, attractions and service operators.
So why not head down to wet your line in Marlborough – who knows, you just might catch a gem in the region’s sparkling waters!