Based on Mike Moore's (Action Outdoors Ltd) fishing experience, he recommends the following mesh size for a set or a dragnet. For further information to assist you in the understanding of mesh sizes please refer to the up-to-date Auckland Regulations. These recommendations are relevant to the Auckland and Kermadec Fishery Management Area - as per the Ministry for Primary Industries designated fishing areas.
These recommendations cater to small boat fishing and manual net pulling in depths of 10-15m. Action Outdoors Ltd advises against setting nets deeper than 15m, as the skills and strength needed exceed the average person's capabilities, and most small fishing boats aren't designed to handle nets in strong tidal areas. For example, in a specific location where Mike fished commercially, he could only operate on weak tides every few weeks. Even then, the stress on the fishing nets and net-haulier at 50m depth was similar to a 200m deep zone with minimal tidal flow.
Action Outdoors Ltd advises against setting fishing nets for extended periods, especially during warmer months.
Predators, including sharks, stingrays, octopuses, crabs, and various shellfish, can consume catches left overnight. Dead fish deteriorate quickly in warm water, affecting their quality.
To maintain live fish quality, use advanced tools like Radars, Sounders, and GPS plotters to set nets after dark. The change of light encourages fish movement and feeding.
For dragnets targeting piper and bait fish, opt for the smallest legal mesh size (1 inch) to ensure unwanted fish are unharmed. Larger mesh sizes risk gilling fish and decreasing their survival chances during net removal.
Herring drag nets typically use mesh sizes of 1.25, 1.5, 2, 2.25, and 2.5 inches without a piper. The optimal size depends on your location, as fish sizes vary greatly between bays.
Common mesh sizes for herring and pilchard set nets range from 2 to 3 inches. Select the most suitable size based on your experience and local fish populations.
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Updated: KLM 11 Aug 2014