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.

Molesworth a highlight

05:00am 24 Jan 2014

I packed my dive gear, golf clubs, rifle, sleeping bag and my wife, and we left for a tiki tour of the South Island.

The weather was superb as we meandered down the island, stopping for a coffee fix at towns along the way.

We hadn't booked accommodation and found ourselves without a bed when we arrived in Tekapo. We finally settled for a night in the car at a campground.

It was a mutual decision and one that actually made us laugh. Once we had settled in we managed to sleep with only a few adjustments in the night.

This was meant to be an adventure and we were given a parking space looking out over the lake where we enjoyed a beautiful sunset and sunrise.

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Daughter joins in on the fun

05:00am 03 Jan 2014

My daughter, Rachel, has never been keen of the sight of dead animals hanging under carports or live crayfish crawling on the bench, so I guess that's why she has never been keen to join me on hunting and fishing trips.

A few days before Christmas, a workmate called around 9.30pm asking if I wanted to go diving for paua the next day. I'd been watching a movie with my daughter and she overheard the conversation and asked if she could come as well.

This was quite a surprise. Rachel had never been keen on getting up at 6am to go anywhere. The next surprise was that she actually wanted to dive.

I didn't want to miss the opportunity but my mind went into overdrive thinking of a way to get Rachel some gear that would fit. I was struggling to think of a woman that might be able to lend us dive gear so late at night.

Luckily I have a couple of wetsuits for scuba and free diving and I figured she could try them for size. Surprised once more by her willingness to actually try on the suit I handed her a jug of warm soapy water and watched on in amusement - she wasn't ready for the fact that she had to put the suit on wet. This was turning into quite a funny night.

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A little effort goes a long way

05:00am 20 Dec 2013

This week I am going to put myself at risk and attempt to suggest a few ways that we can help to make the ladies in our lives feel special at Christmas.

If you recall last year I talked about accumulating brownie points, this is one sure-fire way to get double, maybe even triple points so you can go outdoors more often next year. A true win-win situation.

I don't proclaim to be an expert or to even know what women really want, given that I have been trying to work that out for nearly half a century. What I will try and do is offer a few proven strategies that will keep you in the good books over the holidays.

I have seen the looks of genuine happiness and joy at presents my son and I have given my wife and daughter over the years. Granted, not everyone is the same but with a little thought and attention, you too will be able to find the key to your special lady's heart. That in itself will often make up for a not so good choice of present. If you have really made an effort your gift will be gladly received no matter what.

If you are really brave, and I have done it once and fortunately got it right, you can even buy something like a bikini. Believe me, this is a show-stopper - you have to know your lady well to get the right size, style and colour but a better gift would be hard to find and the look on the retailer's face - priceless.

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To make your catch, think like a snapper

05:00am 06 Dec 2013

A this time of year the question I get asked the most is, "where are the snapper?"

For a lot of people chasing snapper in the Sounds it means fishing from the shore or from trailer boats in the Queen Charlotte and Kenepuru Sounds.

I like to think about it like this. If I were a snapper, where would I choose to be? I know it sounds kind of strange but in reality it is that simple. Most fish seek out shelter, food and reproduction so if you find the areas that provide those three things you will generally find the fish. When you break it down even further you start to see why certain areas fish better than others.

If you can find some current, you have found one way of getting food past a snapper's nose. If you find some structure like rocks or reef, you have found a way of protecting baitfish, which of course snapper also look for.

These structures also provide a bit of cover when the fish are in reproductive moods, although it is understood that snapper spawn in mid water, they will also seek places that offer the correct temperature and shelter for the time that they are not in that mode so somewhere close is where they will be.

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Swing with the winners

05:00am 22 Nov 2013

They say time flies when you're having fun and that is certainly the case for me as I get back into the writing mode.

Thank you to all those kind people who have been asking when I was returning to the column.

Perhaps the big question that needs answering from the outset is how have I gone with my quest for a single-figure golf handicap?

I'll come right out and say it - I'm not there yet.

Does that bother me, you ask. Well, no, not really. I had set the goal with a due-by date of the end of the year so I still have quite a bit of golf ahead of me.

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