Fishing trip fantastic refresher

18:19, Oct 04 2012
Paul Watson
My father Paul Watson with a barracouta

I had an interesting fishing trip last weekend as it involved myself, my wife, son and father, as well as other family and friends.

Yes, that does seem a lot for a boat but it was a big boat. Dad and Pat hadn't been on a fishing trip for a while, so had asked me to organise a trip for us all. That part was relatively easy as I had the boat in mind fairly quickly, Seabird Charters, who featured in one of my stories a few months back. I could have picked any number of boats but, like most people, you like dealing with people you know or are recommended so it gives you a bit of confidence that you are likely to get what you pay for.

One of the drawbacks in using this boat is that it leaves from Nelson marina, so for us to meet the boat at 7am meant leaving home just after 5am which is not easy for some, as they had to get up a little after 4am. Of course it is all worth it when you are taking in the wonderful scenery as the sun rises, casting shadows on the surrounding hillsides as you drive to Nelson.

On this particular day we were also fortunate to have perfect weather and once we had left the harbour we were able to take in the scenery, this time viewed from the water. What made this trip interesting was that it was the first time many on board had ever gone out of Nelson harbour as well as the first time they had gone all the way up to the top of D'Urville island from this side of the Marlborough Sounds.

For some it was the first time they had seen the lighthouse on Stephens Island and as I have said in the past, it is often the little things that can be of most interest. For example, as we left the marina we saw the fishing boat up close that had caught on fire not long ago down south and that had to be abandoned. We also got the opportunity to see the freight ships in dock ready to be loaded. Nothing spectacular in itself but most on board had never seen them from that view before.

Mandatory on a trip like this is a cook up to start the day and it appeared I was to be the cook. Not that I minded, as it's hard to beat the smell of bacon and eggs cooking while on the water. With breakfast over it was time to think about fishing. It is quite a steam all the way up the coast, so the skipper took the chance to set all the gear up in readiness and make sure everything was OK. We had decided that we would start in the deep in the hope of maybe a groper and then work our way back, catching table fish as we went.


It was a good plan but somebody forgot to tell the fish, and I'm pretty sure that wasn't my job, I had organised all the other stuff. Well we didn't catch any groper but we did catch a nice mix of snapper, tarakihi and blue cod, so we were not that disappointed.

Dad was having a ball keeping all the little ones away from our hooks and his commitment was duly noted and appreciated, as it left us to catch the keepers. He did the same with the barracouta, so he was pretty handy to have around.

While I was chatting with Dad we realised that he, my son, Chris, and myself had not been fishing together at the same time before. Not really sure why, but it didn't matter as this was another first, which was pretty cool to have the three generations fishing together.

I think it was also the first time my wife had got up at 4am to go fishing as well. Not so cool for her, but she did catch a good number of fish and enjoyed the whole trip. I wonder now if she might have caught the bug and want to do this every weekend? Time will tell.

Overall we had a great time and as I keep on saying, any time that is spent in the outdoors with friends and family is of huge value in itself. To catch your dinner is an added bonus and to do it in such great weather was just the icing on the cake.

One thing that you can be sure of after spending 11.5 hours on the water is that you have no trouble getting to sleep that night, especially after the 1.5 hour drive home, but what a peaceful sleep it is and a good kind of tired. You can't beat fresh salt air. To me it's one of nature's refreshers and after every trip it has me looking forward to the next one.

The Marlborough Express