Young anglers have a ball at police fishing contest

PETER SHUTT
Last updated 05:00 17/11/2012

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OPINION: The opening of the high country lakes season on November 3 coincided with foul weather that saw sleet showers throughout Saturday.

Little fishing was done although one angler tells me he was successful at Lake McGregor.

Awaking to a cold Sunday morning, boat anglers at Lake Alexandrina were greeted with a heavy frost.

"I wore two of most things, including socks, trousers, jackets, and hats, and still felt frozen," one angler said.

It was, however, an enjoyable time for a small number of anglers from the South Canterbury Angler's Club and John Hannah weighed a good fish of 3.25 kg (gilled and gutted) to win the prize for the heaviest fish in this annual competition.

Eight fish were weighed and it was noted that a further seven fish had been released.

Club members were pleased to see that Wally Averis, perhaps the oldest member of the club, had caught an excellent trout and exhibited the skills learnt over many years of fishing Lake Alexandrina and other local waters.

Alan Davidson won the prize for the heaviest bag with two fish totalling 2.5kg.

As a conservation measure, the club limits the bag to just two fish.

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It started slowly but the Police Blue Light Fishing Competition at the Mackenzie country hydro canal last weekend was soon inundated by more than 220 young anglers and attended by as many (or more) adults.

The presence of Corey Flynn (former All Black) and Nicol Begg (New Zealand roller-skating queen) made the day. The police could not have chosen more pleasant celebrities and many were the photo and shirt signing opportunities they provided their adoring fans.

The fish were unco-operative but Jessie Mitchell (Timaru) landed a 2.5 kg salmon to win the prize for the heaviest fish of the day.

While the competition was open specifically to young anglers, and tangled lines often resulted, none were complaining. In fact, it was probably the best introduction to fishing imaginable.

The presentation ceremony featured prizes too numerous to mention and being mainly spot prizes, a large number of children were satisfied.

This event did a wonderful job of showing the human face of policing and hopefully it will be repeated next year.

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Environment Canterbury has been concerned and disappointed with reports of endangered black-billed gulls allegedly being interfered with by members of the public on the Ashburton River.

It is appropriate to note that bird activity on all rivers at this time of year means that vehicular traffic should stick to the tracks rather than range cross-country.

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A quotation from Abraham Lincoln comes into sight over the horizon as I consider the fact that Fish and Game regions Nelson/Marlborough, North Canterbury, and Central South Island have submitted a 120-page document to try and clarify Environment Canterbury's proposed Land and Water Plan. It suggests to me that all is not right in what is supposed to be a fair sharing of water resources and anti-pollution administration throughout Canterbury.

The promise by Ecan commissioners that Canterbury's Water Management Strategy would advance the interests of all parties fairly and in unison is now appearing a little ragged as we go into a programme of having submissions heard.

So what were the alarming words of wisdom from Abe Lincoln, the former president of the United States, and are they too harsh or too prophetic? He said: "I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country . . . . Corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavour to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people, until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed."

You decide but watch this space. Before you turn away, check out Gareth Morgan's blog last Thursday. He's not holding back.

- © Fairfax NZ News

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