Learn how not to get hooked


I had the pleasure of taking a father and son fishing last weekend and it turned out a pretty good day overall.

My sister had organised a fundraising auction and asked me if I would donate a fishing trip as one of the lots to be auctioned. With a little apprehension, I agreed.

Things like this always put me a little on edge as everyone has a different idea of what a trip like this should include or involve. In this case the winner was a family friend and it was purchased by the children as a Father's Day present. What lovely kids.

Wanting to give them the best trip I could, I had put it off for various reasons such as poor weather or a lack of fish, but the time had come for action so we settled on a day.

Given the state of the snapper fishing in the inner Sounds at the moment, I talked with him about our options and it was agreed we would head up Queen Charlotte Sound and see what we could catch.

My plan was to have a dive as well so we at least had some top-notch food to take home, so it was off to a dive spot first. On the way we trolled lures in the hope of a kingfish around some of the points and reefs but never managed to raise any interest.

As I've mentioned before, getting into my wetsuit early in the morning is never fun and on this morning a cold southerly breeze with light drizzle didn't make it any easier.

Anyway, we had a plan and I needed to man up and just get in, so in I got. For a spot that usually produced plenty of crays, it was pretty hard going, with only a few small crayfish seen and left.

I finally found a few more and after a prolonged dive managed to get my six legal crayfish. That's the first part sorted, next it was cod time.

Bruce and his son Luke had expected to fish with the standard squid bait but I had other plans - lure fishing. I had the feeling they weren't sold on the idea but I knew it would come through if we found the fish.

It didn't take too long before we started getting a few hits and in short order we had a few keepers. We also had a few oversize, so back they went. Doesn't get any easier throwing back good size cod, but rules are rules.

The thing I like about cod fishing with lures is there is no mess, no smelly bait and it's also kind of fun waiting to see if you can fool a fish with just a metal lure. Well the good news is, yes you can.

We found out one of the downsides to using these type of lures, the ones with a rubber skirt and two hooks, is that if you put your hand too close to the hook not in the fish's mouth, you can get hooked yourself.

Unfortunately Bruce made this discovery and I'm sure he will never do it again. While I was holding the lure with the fish attached, he tried to lend a hand but instead the fish decided that was a good time to flap in an attempt to free itself. This had the undesired effect of sending the loose hook swinging and as Bruce tried to get his hand out of the way, the hook embedded itself into his finger.

This looks bad in the picture, and must have hurt and the fish didn't stop flapping just because the other hook was in someone's finger. The best thing I could think to do was to cut the hook from its trace and deal with it separately.

Once I unhooked the fish and put it on ice - you should always do this first - I wondered what the best plan of action was next. We were quite a way down the Sound and it was still early so coming home seemed a poor choice. Best thing would be to take the hook out so we could get back fishing.

This proved more difficult than it sounded and it seemed Bruce wasn't keen on letting me try pushing the hook right through as the first attempt wasn't very successful.

After a bit more deliberation and a bit of time for the ice to cool the finger down and provide a little relief, he decided to remove the hook himself by pulling it out the same way it had gone in. This was impressive to watch and I'm sure his son was proud of the achievement when his dad removed the hook on his own. Well done, Bruce.

We fished on and caught our six keepers and on the way home were treated with a couple of Hector's dolphins playing and doing some spectacular leaps in the air.

All in all we had a great day and took home some prime kaimoana - what more can you ask for? Well, perhaps not getting a fish hook caught in your finger.

The Marlborough Express