Fish and Trips
Like most other people in Marlborough I was very much looking forward to the Easter weekend.
The focus for me was on my family all being home but it also included things such as the airshow - and what a fabulous airshow it was. I must congratulate the organisers on once again putting on a fantastic event, and the public who went for supporting it and helping to showcase our wonderful province.
Strangely, it was at this event that I was approached by two policemen, one of them asking me how I could possibly write a column this week given that I was at the airshow for several days. He was suspicious that I would make it up from past events, even though I assured him it would be current.
The officer's words were a burdon (spelling intended) but then the other officer stepped up and suggested we go out for a trip just to make sure. They really go the extra mile, do our law enforcement officers.
A plan was hatched to go for a dive in Port Underwood, as it is nice and close and makes for a pretty handy dive if you are pushed for time. It also has a lot of other benefits such as the many different species available to gather such as paua, oysters, butterfish, moki, blue cod and crayfish.
Easter brings with it somewhat of a change of seasons, even though it is a bit earlier than some years.
The mornings are getting a bit fresher and the nights a bit cooler.
For me, it brings mixed feelings: I hate losing the long days and evenings, but on the other hand I love the still and calm days of autumn and winter. They represent fishing for different species in different locations, or walking the hills in search of wild game and not losing litres of sweat in the heat.
This time of year also means feed time for most species while they prepare for winter.
Stags will be in hard antler and fat in readiness for the rut. They need to have ample reserves while they spend the next few weeks looking for love. Food comes a very distant second for them.
MARK WATSON FISH AND TRIPS
On Saturday I went on a fishing trip out of Kaikoura hosted by Jenny and Colin Francis.
Funny thing was I didn't actually realise where the trip was, except that it was off the east coast and that we were to meet at their place at 6am. That was really all I needed to know as Jenny had done all the organising and all I had to do was turn up.
It wasn't until we were underway in the van that I heard that we were going to Kaikoura - not that it mattered as I was happy to be going fishing somewhere different with a group of keen fishos I already knew. Of course there was the usual banter that accompanies these trips and it was also a good chance to catch up with people I hadn't chatted with for a while, which is always interesting.
Once we arrived at the wharf we were greeted by a friendly skipper and deckie who proceeded to give us a safety rundown and invited us to enjoy the scenery as we headed down the coast.
The weather was overcast and the temperature a bit fresh so most of us took shelter under the overhead canopy but still outside on the deck.
I did something last Friday night that I have never done before, I caught a squid from the shore.
Strangely this is something I have wanted to achieve for quite some time but never actually been able to do. No particular reason, except that I guess I just haven't tried much or put any effort into finding out how.
I had made contact with a local who had been pretty successful in catching squid around Marlborough and had even had success on his own homemade squid jigs. He offered to take me out and give some help which was great, so I headed to the planned spot around 9pm and we discussed a bit of a plan and started fishing.
I managed to spot a small squid darting just under the surface in my torch light and this gave me some hope. We spent some time casting our little jigs around the place and while I slowly retrieved my jig close to shore, I saw a squid following it. I carefully jiggled it along trying to make it look as lifelike as I could and lo and behold, the squid ambushed my lure and I had hooked my first squid from the shore.
It wasn't a big specimen but it didn't need to be either, I was thrilled. My trip had been a success and though I never caught any more before I left, I was happy. I found out the next day that my fishing partner had caught a large squid after I had left, and the photo I saw proved it, too.
I've just got home from a great evening at the local hunting and fishing shop. It was put on for locals to come and see some experts give a few pointers to those interested in gaining some new skills.
My weekend was very full and included pouring some concrete for a friend as well as supporting my wife and her colleagues at the Relay for Life event, so fishing and diving never made it on to the radar. I know Jenny P, who I saw in the supermarket last week, will not feel sorry for me at all as she thinks I spend far too much time in the outdoors enjoying myself. I explained that I have a duty to perform, but she wouldn't have a bar of it.
Anyway, I thought I would give my view on things, such as the event I attended. I really enjoy things like this as they are a great opportunity to learn and as I have said in the past, you are never too old to learn something new.
I also love to watch and listen to people willing to share their hard-earned knowledge for nothing. This is not to be taken lightly as I know what it takes to acquire some of these skills. So to pass them on free is to be commended. Thank you to those involved.
Kevin Orchard gave a knife sharpening demonstration which was very helpful, as well as highlighting the fact that with a bit of practice and commitment, most outdoors people could put a pretty good edge on their own knives, something which will flow into the kitchen and make meal preparation much easier.
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