The day after the Blessing of the Fleet ceremony in Nelson, I went out fishing with the “Serious Fishing Club”. It was a day trip with Seabird Charters, with hosts Barry and Lyn. An excellent day, starting off a bit lumpy and grey then clearing up to give flat seas. We even managed to get up to fish off Stephens Island, which doesn’t always happen. You can see by that Google Maps link that we were right out in the middle of nowhere, far enough out to be quite different from the inshore environment. We saw dolphins, seals, albatross and some very nice fish.
For example, these were about to be put on ice:
But the fishing eventually got serious. Some large blue cod:
and a number of good-sized snapper:
I caught a Warehou, probably around 3 kg or more, mid-water in about 120m. It was one of 4 that day amongst the 12 of us. In fact, the overall catch was very good indeed with a high proportion of target species (and very few undersized cod, which I hate catching).
Our hosts worked hard the whole day, preparing gear for us to use, making sure that everyone was supplied with bait, sorting out tangles and birds nests, then cleaning the fish on the return trip. They were well equipped with sea ice too, dispatching the fish quickly and getting them onto ice fast. That makes a huge difference to quality and, after hosting quite a few Japanese visitors, it’s something that I have become quite obsessive about. The fish we keep give up their lives for us, the least we can do is respect that and look after the food they provide.
I ended up with quite a lot of fish to take home. A limit bag of 3 blue cod, several snapper and the Warehou. Plus a heap of sea perch that no-one else wanted together with a pile of cod heads. All nicely packed in saltwater ice.
I don’t much like freezing fish, so spent the following day feeling rather like Father Christmas. Five families in our street had fresh fish for dinner over the next day or so. In addition, a friend at the marae received the cod heads plus some beautiful Warehou fillets to share amongst the kaumatua (I was very popular!) and I had lots of heads and frames for fish stock.
With my new domestic skills I was able to make good use of some of the fish stock in a fish stew. Some of this provided dinner last weekend when my wife was away, the rest has been frozen. (Oh, and our lemon tree received some food too.)
I’m starting to think that life without a full-time job can be quite fun!