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Seahorse is owned and operated by the Scherer Family who live in the original birthplace of kontiki fishing - Tauranga, New Zealand. It's also where all Seahorse products are designed and built. Being close to the beach, and being kontiki owners ourselves, we are able to continually develop the Seahorse product range to ensure we bring you the best kontiki products on the market.
The Scherer family and the Seahorse team
We have brought a range of business, manufacturing and fishing skills to the product. We use the Seahorse products whenever we can learning and developing as we go. Our team is committed to delivering the ultimate beach longline fishing experience using equipment that is second to none. Call us to discuss your fishing requirements and we will be able to recommend the perfect solution for you.
Kontiki fishing is a unique Kiwi pastime which has been popular since the 1940's and possibly earlier. Originally kontiki fishing used sail rafts or inflated tyres with sails to pull longlines from the beach, and these early longlines had a hundred or more hooks on each set. Given the success we have now with only up to 25 hooks, it makes you wonder what they did with all the fish!
The early kontiki units had interesting systems to improve their performance. These included using barley sugar sweets at timers, and dropping sails to make the retrieval easier. The sweets would slowly dissolve in the water and once dissolved, the Kontiki sail would drop sometimes releasing a weight to anchor the fishing line once the wind powered Kontiki was well offshore. However there was always the problem with the kids eating the sweets on the way to the beach.
During the 1980s and 1990s, kite fishing became a popular method of beach fishing, and due to the improved performance it almost took over from the sail rafts method. But kites still suffered the same problems of having to rely on offshore winds to operate, and these generally only happened midweek when you were at work.
Motorised kontiki's have been around in numerous home-made forms since before the 1970s, all of which tried to overcome the problem of relying on the wind. Motorising the kontiki and winch created their own problems. In general, the machines were temperamental and required the knack of the builder to keep them running. From the late 1990s, a number of these home-builders started selling their units in small numbers but none of them provided the performance and reliability demanded by the fishing public.
Seahorse Equipment started developing and selling electric kontiki's and winches in 2002. The business was started by Mike Finnegan and Grant Simpson, who both had a desire to build and sell reliable electric kontiki's. Grant was a commercial longline fisherman able to bring the best commercial practices to recreational longlining. Mike was an expert in marine electronics and able to develop the control units. Between them, they managed to build the first Seahorse system with a 30lb thrust motor. With waterproof components, reliability and performance that outstripped anything else available, the Seahorse system became an instant best seller. Within six months, Seahorse had become the number one kontiki manufacturer in New Zealand.
In 2004, Seahorse introduced the plastic roto-moulded body made from polyethylene, and a new, improved control unit. The control unit monitored the status of the batteries and had an electronic timer. This was what the New Zealand public was waiting for, and these improvements resulted in Seahorse Kontikis being used everywhere.
In response to demand from West Coast fishers, the Seahorse 46 Kontiki was developed and released to the market. It quickly became the kontiki of choice for West Coast fishers who chased the big fish off the wild West Coast beaches. The aluminium framed traceboard was also introduced enabling traces to be attached quickly and safely.
Come 2006, Mike and Grant felt happy with what they had achieved and dreamed of spending more time fishing. So they sold Seahorse to the Scherer family who are the current owners of the business.
For the Scherer family, 2006 was spent learning the ropes and making small improvements to the range of Seahorse products which included increasing the battery capacity to 22 amp hours.
2008 included ongoing development of the Seahorse Electric Kontiki. A semi-translucent body with an improved hatch sealing system is one of the latest developments along with the introduction of the latest in electronic control units. These developments will improve performance and reliability, and give you the machine you need to fish when and where you want.
In 2008, South Islanders rediscovered the success of Kontiki fishing due to the introduction of the set net ban. We have received excellent reports of big snapper being caught as far south as Hokitika as well as good catches of Elephant fish and Rig.
In July 2008, We moved into our new factory and showroom in Tauriko, Tauranga. This has allowed us to improve our production methods and spend more time developing new ideas and products. This involves a lot of time sitting on the beach fishing, but someone has to do it.
Seahorse is committed to continually developing new ideas and systems to improve your beach fishing experience.
2010 will be seeing the result of a lot of reseach and testing of new products. We have introduced our motorised beach trolley in March, which is proving very popular with those who have used it. It is doing everything they want from it. We have also spent alot of time investigating fishing kayaks to introduce to the New Zealand market, including travelling overseas to test paddle the kayaks to ensure they worked. We finally decided on the RTM brand of Kayaks, being from France they have the North Altantic conditions to cope with and have some excellent kayaks and exciting designs to meet different needs for different users.
2011 is looking promising with several interesting developments happening in the Konkiti industry.
These will be appearing on the market over the next few months and can also been seen at the major boat and fishing shows.