RECORD: 2.8kg, T. Barnett, Chatham Island, 2011.
Tarakihi are another very popular table fish. They resemble snapper and porae in shape but may be easily identified by the black saddle behind their heads. They are silver all over and can some times have a bronze tinge to them. Most fish are taken around 30-40cm but they may grow up to 70cm long.
Bag limit: 15
FEEDING HABITS & HABITAT
Tarakihi are relatively common throughout New Zealand all though they are much more abundant and found in much shallower water further South. Tarakihi are usually found on weedlines or reef edges over sandy/muddy ground. They live on crabs, worms, brittle stars and shellfish that they suck up from the mud. Tarakihi live in relatively deep water and are rarely seen above 15-18m.
As with most weedline species, the hardest part to shooting tarakihi is finding them. They seem to like some vertical structure with thick weed so, if the visibility allows, it is best to swim along the surface until you find a likely looking spot then putting some time in diving the area. As always fish like other fish so if there are a lot of porae or other fish hanging around it is probably a good area.
Tarakihi are a very curious fish so the best approach is to lie flat on the bottom and to wait for the fish to approach you. Throwing handfuls of sand over your shoulder and/or rubbing rocks together are very effective on these fish. They will not tolerate jerky or big movements so keep gun swinging down to the absolute minimum. They are usually found in pockets of many fish so if you find a school stay with it doing everything the same until you get as many fish as you need or until the school eventually spooks.