Quality time beats catch

Chris Watson out fishing with his dad
Chris Watson out fishing with his dad

I've often talked about getting out and about with family and friends, so this week I did just that. My son has been on many trips with me since he was just a little boy. He has caught his own 9kg snapper and although he is more into water sports, he still enjoys going out with his dad fishing.

His mother had again encouraged me to go fishing after work. I am not one to turn down such prompts, so a quick plan was hatched and off we went, grabbing a pie for dinner at the garage. The weather didn't look all that promising but I was hopeful that it would calm down as the evening became night.

As I explained a few weeks back, when the wind is blowing in the opposite direction to the tide you will usually have unpleasant fishing conditions. This was to be another of those trips. While it was sunny, the wind was a chilly easterly and once again caused the dreaded spinning boat syndrome. We had dropped the berley bomb to the bottom in hope of drawing in some snapper, but we were only catching mackerel and small kahawai. While these are great bait when used fresh, they didn't have the desired effect on this trip.

As the night fell, Chris hooked what we thought was a good snapper, only to be disappointed when a large barracouta appeared at the back of the boat.

By now the wind had risen and the temperature dropped, but we stayed on in the hope things might improve. They didn't.

The only other fish we caught were a couple of skate, and in all likelihood probably the same fish hooked again after being released.

Do I get disappointed when I catch nothing? Well, yes, I am human, so feel a bit dejected when I go home with not much to show for my efforts. However, I soon remind myself what I am doing and being out fishing with my adult son in itself is to be enjoyed.

We had a fairly bumpy and wet ride home but Chris didn't seem to mind, flying off every wave and soaking me in the passenger's seat. I happened to be sitting on the windward side of the boat, so every bit of spray hit me in the face.

Of course I was trying to duck when I could see a wave that I thought we would get wet from, but you soon tire of ducking every 10 seconds. I had put on my rain gear in anticipation of the ride home, so just ended up taking whatever came over the front. In hindsight it wasn't as bad as I make out, and when we got within the harbour you could look back and it all looked calm. The sea is a funny thing.

When I look back at some of the trips we have been on, Chris has had the pleasure of a few wet and bumpy rides but he keeps coming back, so they can't be all that bad.

I certainly remember the fish he has caught in the past and can recall the spots we were in at the time. Obviously they were great trips for me as well.

The things that make these trips special for me now are not so much the fish but the company. I love being able to rely on him to drive the boat home, and even launch and retrieve. I love being able to chat about anything that comes to mind. I love looking over the side when he has a fish coming up. I love that in the future he may do these things with his own children. I love that I may be able to do these things with my future grandchildren and their parents.

You see, there are so many good things about being out on the water for me that a good catch is often a bonus. I still take great pleasure in catching good fish and even more in being able to prepare and share them with friends and family, but at this time in my life I will take a trip out with my family and catch nothing over a trip out on my own catching heaps.

I may have to be a little more discerning in the future when my wife tells me to go fishing. I should probably rely on the knowledge I have of the Sounds and the weather, rather than a suggestion to just go fishing. That is, of course, supposing I want to catch fish.

The Marlborough Express