First time trying to catch a trout lands two men in court

A rainbow trout. The sort of fish Christopher and Stephen Bridges were hoping to catch. (File photo)
Zane Mirfin

A rainbow trout. The sort of fish Christopher and Stephen Bridges were hoping to catch. (File photo)

Their first and only attempt at trying to catch a trout ended in a court appearance for two Napier men.

A Fish and Game ranger found Napier orchard workers Christopher McLean, 25 and Stephen Bridges, 22, casting their lines into the Mohaka River at '20-minute Flat' a short walk from the Blue Gums car park at the end of Makahu Road on the afternoon of January 7.

Neither man had a fishing licence. They said it was their first time fishing for trout and they didn't know they needed a licence. 

When the ranger asked for their details they gave false names and addresses, and attempts by the ranger to seize their fishing gear was met with aggression.


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Bridges told the ranger his rods were a gift from a sick auntie and there was no way he was handing them over.

When Bridges became agitated the ranger retreated to avoid any further altercation.

The ranger was later able to track down the men's real identities. When spoken to, they said they had driven up to the nearby hot pools and decided to go fishing for the first time.

Bridges said he "freaked out" when the ranger told him he could be fined and that was why he provided false details.

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The pair appeared in Napier District Court on Wednesday and pleaded guilty to charges of providing false details to a Fish and Game ranger and fishing without a licence. A charge of obstruction against Bridges was withdrawn. 

The men's lawyer Leo Lafferty said the men "know nothing about trout fishing".

They had not been fly-fishing, and instead had "thrown a hunk of metal, being a lure into a pool," he said.

"Of course they were never going to be successful," Lafferty said.

He said "this was their first and only foray into trout fishing ever and they're not going to go back to this past-time".

Judge Geoff Rea said the rivers were policed by volunteers and rangers and funding was "difficult to come by".

He convicted them on both charges and ordered them to pay $500 each in costs to Fish and Game.




 - Stuff

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