Save the fishery: Go fishing

GOTCHA: ITM Fishing Show host Matt Watson says the Nelson region is great for catching kingfish and snapper.
GOTCHA: ITM Fishing Show host Matt Watson says the Nelson region is great for catching kingfish and snapper.

Recreational fishing is far less destructive on fish stocks and the marine environment than the commercial catch and the more people who do it the better, ITM Fishing Show host Matt Watson said yesterday.

Mr Watson will be speaking at the Sunday Session Expo in Nelson's Wakatu Square this weekend, an event with proceeds going to the Coastguard, and said he would be sharing tips and anecdotes.

His television show and others have helped to boost the popularity of fishing and he said rather than leading to overcrowding on the water, it was a positive change.

"The more people that are out there catching their own fish rather than buying it, the better the fishery will be," Mr Watson said.

Trawling and commercial set netting were often wasteful and destructive, whereas he promoted the "take only a feed" approach.

"If someone's watched my show and they've been inspired to go fishing, and they take their kids with them, socially that's a good thing. And if they catch some fish and they take it home and feed themselves and maybe grandma and the neighbour as well, that's potentially three families that aren't going to go to the supermarket and buy fish that week.

"If every single person that bought fish in New Zealand went and caught their own instead of buying fish that is ultimately caught by destructive methods, the oceans would be teeming with all sorts of life."

He said he was looking forward to Sunday's event and although he had been asked to talk for three 30-minute segments, "I think the biggest thing will be getting me to shut up".

He would be explaining that his success on the water was to do with knowing what to look for, not having the best gear.

"It all boils down to food. A fish is always going to be near where its food is - and then once you have found them it's how to catch them - and to not overthink things, because fish are really dumb."

His top tip? Pay attention to results, good and bad. Fish won't necessarily be where they were last time. Take note of the weather, water conditions, phase of the moon, "not just what the missus has put in your sandwiches".

And for those who watch his shows and get the impression that the fishing is best in the northern half of the North Island, he will be talking about the trip from Nelson to the D'Urville Island area 10 weeks ago which produced the biggest kingfish of the current series, and some "beauty" snapper.

"If you're talking about a day out snapper and kingi fishing - which is what the North Islanders, particularly Aucklanders, pride themselves on - it was the hands-down best inshore fishing day that we had for the whole series."

❏ The Sunday Session Expo runs from 10am until 4pm in Wakatu Square. Matt Watson will be there all day and his first presentation is scheduled for 11am.  There's no charge, with fundraising through a charity auction, a barbecue and donations.