Fishing for family fun

I have been thinking this week about those who don't have access to a boat, or who might have larger boats that can sometimes be a hassle to use.

So what are your options? Well, as it happens, there are many.

Whether it's a feed of fish you are after or just a family day trip, we are blessed in Marlborough to have reasonably easy access to great locations, often less than an hour's drive from the centre of town, so shore-based missions are viable for most.

Places such as Port Underwood, the Wairau Diversion and Bar, Blind River and Seaview, the East Coast, Mahau, Kenepuru and Pelorus sounds are just a few. At most of these locations, if you have a bit of local knowledge and desire, you can catch fish such as snapper, tarakihi, moki, rig, gurnard, kahawai, kingfish and cod.

If you or a friend dive then you can add crayfish, paua, scallops, oysters and butterfish to that list. Not a bad looking list, I'm sure you will agree.

What is great about surf casting or diving off a beach is that it is fun for the whole family. You can take a picnic lunch and have an awesome day, especially with kids. What better way to spend quality time with your kids than to help them find crabs under rocks at low tide, or cockabullies you can then use for bait to catch fish for tea? You don't have to spend a fortune on gear and often the best bait and berley is the kind found on location. After all, that's why the fish are there in the first place.

The alternative to shore-based fishing and diving is to make friends with others who have a boat, or to join a fishing or dive club.

If you're keen and show interest, people will soon invite you out on a trip. If they do, try and make the most of it by being prepared and on time. It is also good manners to offer to share costs for the day. Some will say no out of their own generosity, but it is still the right thing to do in being willing to contribute. A day's fishing and boating is not cheap if you have to buy fuel, bait and burley to increase your chances of a feed.

If you're totally new to boating and have the opportunity to go on a trip, don't be afraid to ask the skipper about safety gear. A good skipper will be only too willing to inform you how to stay safe on their vessel.

Don't forget, the day doesn't end when the boat is back on its trailer; there is the cleanup of the boat and fish, which is often left to the boat owner. If you leave them to it, you may find you're not invited out again.

Once again, plan in advance to be a bit late home and help out, it will be greatly appreciated by all.

So there you have it, opportunities abound to those willing to do a little work. As in life, the return is often in proportion to the effort put in. The beauty of these activities is you can reap rewards that sometimes exceed your expectations, both in your catch and in the relationships grown, especially with your children. They will remember such occasions for many years to come, often the stories will expand and you may well end up a legend, at least in your own mind.

Take up the challenge, don't let the time of year put you off – there can be great fishing and diving to be had right through winter in the right places and with the right knowledge.

Visit the local dive and fishing shops as these people are knowledgeable and only too willing to help.

Next week, I will give you some pointers on how to find your own secret spots for fishing, diving and hunting.

The Marlborough Express