Local outdoors series Fishy Business moves to Choice TV
It's about 6pm as Adam Clancey guides his boat under the Tamaki Rd overbridge back into the Auckland Outboard Boating Club, the waterfront basking in the orange glow of a stunning late winter sunset.
"I've caught a 20lb snapper off there and some kingfish," Clancey says, pointing to a rocky point just metres away from where Eastern suburbs commuters are crawling home after another tough day downtown.
"That was a few years ago, though, when I was young fella and didn't have much money for petrol."
Earlier that day, the fuel gauge on his custom-built boat registered around 35 litres an hour as we raced out into the Hauraki Gulf. That would have been a heck of a bill for a youngster back in the 80s.
Today, Clancey has forged a successful career on the back of his lifelong passion for fishing and doesn't need to worry too much about the price of petrol.
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He has become a familiar face on TV through his shows and a new season of Fishy Business has just begun on Choice TV.
This season, viewers can expect a feast of fishy action, from all around New Zealand and locations as diverse as Rarotonga and Canada.
The show has been switched from TVNZ and Clancey is excited that Choice is giving him a primetime spot, at 8.30pm on Wednesdays, and running the show three times in a 24-hour cycle. That's a lot better than his previous Saturday afternoon slot.
"Everybody's out fishing at that time, not watching TV," he says. "Choice regard us as their main outdoor show."
Joining Clancey are Kirk Davis, a jetski fisherman, and Darren Shields, a free-diving spear fisherman, who Clancey says, "Does everything on a single breath".
New to the crew is Mandy Kupenga, who turned her back on a corporate career a few years ago to present Maori TV's Get Your Fish On and now runs the fishingadvisor.co.nz website.
"Mandy's all about sustainability, catching a feed, but looking after the fishery at the same time. It's a really interesting subject and handled really well by Mandy," says Clancey.
And as we begin our day's fishing, Kupenga soon shows she knows her stuff – deftly releasing a small snapper without even taking it from the water.
The idea was to look for gannets in the Hauraki Gulf. If you're lucky, you will come across a work-up – that's when the birds dive from up high into schools of anchovies and pilchards panicked to the surface by whales, dolphins, or big fish like kahawai or kingies.
Sadly, the birds were having a rest day and it seemed like we would have had more chance of catching a big snapper back at that rocky point frequented by a teenage Clancey.
But he refuses to give up and says that sooner or later, the fish will bite. We edge closer to the remote Coromandel coast, close enough to get a whiff of a unique herbal smell, someone joked.
Another diversion was watching Clancey tie one of the most complicated fishing knots known to man – the FG knot – in seconds, using just his teeth and fingers. Who needs a $100 tool?
Then as the day wore on, we began to catch a few fish. Kupenga nailed a nice John Dory, while the rest of us picked up gurnard, kahawai, and at last some eating-size snapper.
As dusk approached, Clancey was weighing up how much of the day would end up as footage.
After all, he says, the point of a fishing show is to show good fish being caught.
But Kirk Davis may have saved the day. He launched his jetski on the other side of the Coromandel, and phoned in to say he had caught a few 10 pounders.
These guys certainly know how to fish their backyard. It's been a tough day, but one member of the Fishy Business team has nailed what many would regard as a trophy, and the rest of us have more than enough fish for dinner.
Fishy Business, Choice TV, Wednesdays.
- TV Guide