Making friends with fish RSS

Rob Stevens’ love for the sea and boats was inherited. Though it took a bit of time to filter down. “My father was always into boating and fishing but back then I wasn’t so much,” Rob says. After his father died some 9 years ago, Rob, who is Auckland-based, got a place at the beach in the Coromandel and rediscovered his father’s passion. He bought a boat which he uses for fishing with mates and trips with the family. Rob says the boat has; “brought back memories” of his younger days. Rob’s boat is tidy by anyone’s standards (actually it’s...

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Whitebait has always been a bit of a Christmas tradition for us. OK, they’re frozen. But if we didn’t have them, my 80-year old father would feel like there is no Santa. My first memory of whitebait, aged around 3 or 4 years old, is of my grandfather bringing home a half-bucketful. Those were the days! The quest for the perfect fritter came much later but has proved at least as elusive as the whitebait themselves. Though, I’m not alone, apparently. I recall the story, in a local newspaper, of a bloke who’d been out white baiting, had a few...

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Sometimes it’s the surroundings and the people you meet who make the pleasure of eating fish really memorable. So, let’s go back to the 1980s. It was a warm evening in late summer on a beach in Lisbon, the picturesque capital of Portugal – a country probably best known for its sea-faring explorers and football (soccer) players. You might wonder why we’d head for a beach for a memorable meal, not one of the famous restaurants. But we’d had a tip from an old Portuguese identity, Santiago, who had been fishing for 60-odd years. He said the best sardines were...

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Dedicated Hawkes Bay farmer Mathew Barham still answers the call of the sea and the lure of stunning Opito Bay. “It’s a safe launching beach and good for kids.” While Mathew has had a couple of other boats including a Senator 690, his Rockboat was a new experience. “I’d never had an inflatable. But it’s nice and simple.” So simple, it turns out that his sons (13 and 11) put it together for the first time with only a minimum of help. “They figured it out and three-quarters did it themselves.” The boys enjoy the boat while staying within defined...

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Russell MacKay is a fisherman with a big heart. He began trout and salmon fishing in 1996 after a neighbour at Pines Beach, Canterbury encouraged him to give it a try. “I did it to begin, mainly to keep him company.” Russell bought some gear, never looked back and you can’t fault his commitment. He’s now in his second year of running the Kairaki Beach Motor Camp salmon fishing competition, after years of manning the BBQ, and is also on the New Zealand Salmon Anglers Association Committee where he is also a fundraising stalwart. “I’m enjoying it.” Russell is a...

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Kyle Morris is a life-long passionate fisherman with ten years of diving under his belt. Sometimes, that means taking one for the team. He began fishing aged three or four at Great Barrier catching snapper with his father, and has been fishing at Motunau since he was around 17 years old. He says he typically dives for crays then fishes for cod. “This day, I went down and there wasn’t much happening with the crays. I got a moki with the spear gun but the chum in the water attracted blue cod and they went into a bit of a...

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I’m no Rick Stein. (Though I do enjoy the odd cold one.) But I’ve always thought that one of the great benefits of fishing is a good feed. And, if I can cook it anyone can. My very first experience of fishing and eating the catch goes way back. Growing-up, my grandfather lived by a lake and us kids and our parents would wade out into the shallow, muddy water to help bring in the flounder nets. Because they were “free” we ate flounder fairly regularly. So, I was pretty stunned to see them on the menu at a flash...

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