Mon. Feb 26th, 2024


Aotearoa NZ's independent voice of fishing, hunting & outdoors

Cover story: NZ Angler

6 min read

Captain Adam with a Mayor Island snapper

NZ Angler was born from a grand passion for all things outdoors; founder Adam Rickit is driven to nurture the hunter-gather instincts of other nature enthusiasts, particularly those who share his love for fishing.

Starting a side hustle

Founded in 2020, Adam says, “NZ Angler was formed within a close family unit who value what our bountiful waters have to offer.”

Although it’s not his full-time job, Adam is a keen angler with a desire to support other like-minded individuals who are just as keen to create unforgettable experiences on the water.

His website aims to be a one-stop-shop, which offers a wide range of products to ensure every outing is memorable.

“We’re also focused around supporting local designers and stocking products, which we consider great value for its high quality; they are tried and tested by our trusted team at NZ Angler to ensure exceptional usability over many years.”

It seems Adam has hit on a winning formula and amassed a loyal following of fellow enthusiasts looking to maximise their enjoyment of time spent on water.

“Some of the most popular products so far include the species-specific rod/reel combos from Catch Pro Fishing,” says Adam, “and there are also a couple of new products that have just gone through the extensive product testing we like to do before backing them. These will go live early in the new year. They are both locally made and extremely innovative in the approach to the recreational fishing industry.” 

Off the water

Adam’s background is in heavy fabrication and pipe welding, having earned his Trade certificate in 1999 before going on to become an independent contractor.

After gaining global experience building large processing plants for mining, oil, beverages, and dairy, he shifted his focus to industries that were better aligned with his interests and skillsets.

Almost a decade ago, he joined PFS Engineering, where he is now a business development manager, a member of the senior leadership team, and a shareholder in the company.

PFS operates in many primary industries and has developed a number of products that benefit these industries.

“The long-term goal is to continue with the outstanding innovation we have become known for. My day job allows me to develop the relationship building and negotiation skills required to operate successfully in modern markets. I have a genuine interest in business and e-commerce too, so NZ Angler grew from there.”

Tackling design challenges

Roger that – Tristram 691 with bow mount Minn Kota

Over two decades of expanding his engineering knowledge has allowed Adam to merge his two worlds and use his work skillsets to design and make educated adaptations to his boat, personalising it to his preference.

One example of this is the installation of a Minn Kota trolling motor to the bow of his Tristram 691 hull. As the fibreglass hulls of these models are not designed to have a Minn Kota fitted, a creative modification was required to keep it both functional and beautiful with a clean finish.

 “The adaptation of a trolling motor is a game-changer to the style of fishing I like to do; it can hold you in a position over a reef or school of fish by using GPS to make constant adjustments using the motor propulsion to hold the boat against current and winds.”

Adam likes the challenge of a tidy set-up; his finished design is silent, lightweight, and runs via a 24-volt battery power so as not to interfere with general boat performance.

“NZ Angler has designed and overseen a few Minn Kota installations on various aluminium and fibreglass hulls now and we’re getting great feedback.”

One of the perks of the job is test-driving and discovering new or favourite gear. Two of Adam’s favourite combos (available at NZ Angler) include the ‘Ultimate Kingfish Combo’ and ‘Softbait Fishing Rod & Reel’, which are both effective for a range of fishing applications without taking unnecessary equipment out on the water.

The former was made up specifically for NZ Angler and is suited to mechanical jigging for large pelagic species.

“The package was initially targeted at hunting the common Yellowtail Kingfish, however, fishermen have also found this combo brilliant for deepwater species such as bass, bluenose, gemfish, and hāpuku. Plus, it’s great fun when catching tuna of all kinds.”

Reeled in

Adam’s son Oliver and his first kingfish

A sense for on-water adventures was instilled in Adam at a young age. His fascination with the ocean only continues to grow as his own children become more enthusiastic about these outings.

“I was lucky enough to be taught boating and fishing skills by my father and have fond memories of many salt and freshwater fishing adventures all around the North Island. Lake Taupo has a soft spot due to the time spent fishing there with my father and uncle.”

It remains important to Adam to continue sharing these experiences with his own children by showing them the rich marine life available around New Zealand. In addition to that, he says it’s also a great way to meet other passionate people who share their interest in the sea and appreciation of aquatic life.

“I have a Tristram 691 offshore boat that is fully game rigged and has an aftermarket live bait well that I retro-fitted.

I love to fish so it was inevitable this rig would become a multipurpose watercraft.”

He says comfort was a high priority in choosing this boat, as it was purchased for family use.

“It rides very well in a rough sea and is safe, which provides me comfort with the family aboard. It is a manageable size to take five to six kids out for an afternoon on the lake while towing a ski biscuit around. We often like to park up where they jump off and swim around while we cook a BBQ lunch.

Outdoor education

Catch JGX5000 combo, a best-seller

For Adam, another positive side effect of running a successful side business is having the opportunity to teach his kids the kind of practical skills they don’t learn at school.

“I noticed my son’s growing passion for fishing and all the learning opportunities we found by being out on the water with no distractions.”

Along with quality time as a family, he says it provides abundant learning opportunities and the best (edible!) rewards.

“I didn’t want to raise my kids to think the supermarket was the only place to find the ingredients to make a hearty meal.”

As a family, they discuss the fundamentals of growing a simple idea into another source of income, while emphasising the value there is in pursuing projects you feel passionately about.

“The life lesson of business is not something taught to youngsters,” he says, “It is often something you learn at the ‘university of life’!”

Nature’s gifts

Adam says it’s another world out on the blue water. His favourite sports in New Zealand include the lakes in the Rotorua district, Mayor Island off Bay of Plenty, and around the Coromandel peninsula.

“Coromandel was a playground for me as a teen. We would drive there most weekends, sleep on beaches, surf, and fish the rocky outcrops, light beach fires, and enjoy the freedoms the outdoors has to offer.”

These days, he says overnight trips off Waiheke have become a go-to with the whole family: sleeping on a trailer boat with two adults, two kids, and a dog.

“We like to go ashore in the morning and have breakfast at a café before exploring the island’s coast.”

The adventures continue

Fishing at the Great Barrier Reef in North Queensland, Australia, was a particularly memorable overseas experience for Adam.

“We stayed out on the reef for a few days… what a majestic part of our world!”

He is planning a trip back there when border restrictions ease in the hopes to finally capture the elusive giant trevally.

Other long-term dreams on the water include owning a 50–60’ birthed motorboat, which the family plans to treat as a ‘bach on the move’.

“We would like to explore the New Zealand coast in the summers, then possibly travel and hire boats in exotic places around the world to do the same.”

In the meantime, he’s busy enjoying sharing his passion with others and is even developing a range of NZ Angler clothing.

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