Fish and Trips

Mark Watson loves the Marlborough outdoors. He remembers fishing trips with his dad who taught him to dive and to be good a steward of the land and sea. These days Mark enjoys hunting trips, specifically for deer, fishing for snapper, kingfish, blue cod and groper. Mark dives for paua, crayfish and scallops and presents cooking sessions at boat shows and club meetings.

Time-out to attack the golf handicap

05:00am 09 Aug 2013

Well they say all good things must come to an end, so I have decided to have a break from writing this column each week for a few months.

There are a number of reasons and just so you know the thinking behind my decision, I will elaborate.

It should be well-known by now that I love the outdoors.

I love fishing, diving, hunting and boating in general. In fact, just being on the water brings me pleasure that I can't really explain in words; but I just have that feeling of calm excitement and contentment all in one.

The trouble for me is that I also enjoy various other things, particularly golf and just plain hanging out with friends and family.

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We survived, with only minor injuries

05:00am 02 Aug 2013

Well, I survived the week away skiing with a bunch of 100 teenagers at Hanmer and made it home safe and sound.

We did have one casualty - unfortunately it was one of the leaders. He broke his wrist when he fell off his snowboard and landed awkwardly. His week ended a couple of days early but he was very calm and is now recovering well after having his wrist put in a cast.

As expected, we had loads of fun and laughter. It truly is a form of medicine and can certainly change you for the better. We all need to laugh more.

What always amazes me is how fast young people can learn new things such as skiing or boarding.

I know from playing golf that kids have such nice swings compared to adults who take up the game later in life. I am sure it has something to do with their muscle development and I'd be interested to know if there is any truth to this.

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Always plenty to learn from the young

05:00am 26 Jul 2013

Here we go with another week going by with no fishing or diving on the horizon for me, but I can't say that I am missing out on the outdoors.

Instead, I am with a group of 100 or so teenagers staying in Hanmer for five days.

With a number of other adults to help transport and look after the group, we are in for a great week.

This is an annual event organised by several youth groups and is a fantastic opportunity for some teenagers who have never been on skis or a snowboard before to learn.

We spend our nights at the old forest huts in Hanmer and travel to Mt Lyford to spend the days on the snow. While I cannot say that I am in any way proficient on either, I am still more than happy to walk the hills and pick up the fallen.

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TV episode good motivation

05:00am 19 Jul 2013

I find myself thinking more and more often that this is certainly an interesting time to be alive.

Who would have thought, even 50 years ago, that the things we can do now would be possible? The technology that surrounds us can often be overwhelming to some, while others embrace and run with it to achieve even greater things.

One of the things I have been enjoying in the past few years especially is the video capabilities, both above and below the waterline.

I clearly remember the first video I saw a few years ago of a snapper eating a livebait, which had been filmed by an underwater cameraman. This changed my thinking and understanding of how snapper in particular catch and eat their prey and subsequently I changed some of my fishing methods and results.

This was not entirely new, as I can also remember as a child watching Jacques Cousteau on television. I thoroughly enjoyed those programmes as well, which, as I think about it now, most likely also had a positive impact on my love of the sea and fish life.

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Hunting grounds spotted from above

05:00am 12 Jul 2013

I have had the opportunity to go on a couple of flights up and down the country lately and on each occasion I have once again been reminded of the many different ways that we can choose our hunting, fishing and dive spots.

Of course there is the time-proven method of following others. This can sometimes work, although I have also had times where we had just stopped because it was a pleasant spot for lunch only to have multiple boats pull up all around us and start fishing. This can sometimes produce fish but is in no way one of the most reliable.

While on the plane a couple of weeks ago coming back from Dunedin, I had a bird's eye view of both the coast and the hills close by and spent most of the trip looking at all the places that are not visible from the ground.

Yes, you can still see them on a paper map, but in real view it is so much better.

The things to look for are clearings in the bush where animals might come out to feed in the early mornings or evenings. Many of these are not where you might expect them to be and are often not shown on maps.

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