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Catching Whitebait

Whitebaiters spend long hours to fish precious whitebait with the nets

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Catching whitebait in New Zealand's lakes and rivers is quite a challenging activity. Firstly, the fish is practically translucent. Secondly, it is rather tiny, ranging from 1 to 2 inches (25–50 mm) in length. The quick schools of whitebait seem to be intangible. The process requires great patience, composure, and persistence to stand still with the nets until​ you catch the precious treasure. You will spend much time and trial your endurance, yet eventually, you will get the most expensive seafood delicacy and feel proud of such an achievement.

Where & when to catch whitebait

In the North Island, the main whitebaiting areas are located south of Auckland, namely on the rivers between Taranaki and Wellington, the Waikato River, and also in the Bay of Plenty. However, whitebait is also caught in the northern part of the island, around Parengarenga Harbour. As for the South Island, the fishery runs along the entire coast from Golden Bay to Southland. The West Coast offers the most abundant harvests, but also shorter season from September to mid-November, while elsewhere the period is extended to August and late November.

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