Fishy Sories

Part Two

A Con Job!

I remember reading in a fishing magazine many years ago, a letter from a lady angler, in which she stated how one day whilst out in her boat, she was horrified to find she had hooked a medium sized dogfish with a rubber ring just behind its gills. As the fish had grown, the rubber ring had slowly but inevitably grown into the poor creatureís flesh. Who, she said, could have been so cruel, as to do such a thing as this? The same experience happened to myself. Sometimes at the end of the summer season in the early 1960ís and if conditions were good. Carol and I, would grab a few daily papers and would head out to the Corton lightship, drop off the papers for the crew, who worked four weeks on and two off. So were always pleased to receive a read. (I knew a young guy who made regular trips on Sundays with the papers in his Kayak, weather permitting.) Anyway whilst out there, we would drop a line for an hour. On this trip we got into a few blue Spur Dog, and one of them did indeed, have a rubber ring in the same position described by the lady angler. On close examination, it turned out to be the base ring of a condom! With over 30 raw sewage outlets entering into the harbour during that period. I guess this would not have been all that unusual. In fact I did hook a Nurse hound on another occasion just outside the Gorleston Pier, with the condom ring deeply embedded into the flesh behind the gills. The inference being, members of the shark family will attempt to eat anything, including us! I am very pleased to be able to state that all of these raw sewage outlets are now gone forever. Unfortunately, through over fishing, so have most of the fish!

Expensive Bait!

During the late 1980ís Philip Burgess and his wife Muriel came over from the U.K. to stay with us on the South Island of N.Z. MY wife Carol and I decided to take them on a grand tour by car. Leaving Nelson, we headed south, through the beautiful Buller Gorge, to hit the coast at Westport. This is on the West Coast and on the approach, the Tasman Sea spreads out before you. The West Coast is very spectacular and is considered the coast to visit whilst in N.Z. We then continued south to the Punakiaki Pancake rocks. These rocks are a must see item. Layer upon layer of rock with the large Pacific rollers bursting up through blowholes below, sending great showers of spray far above our heads. (During the making of that brilliant series. Walking with Dinosaurs. They featured the huge flying reptile Pteranadon, resting on these very rocks, whilst on his epic migratory Journey. )

Carol & Linda at Punakiki Pancake Rocks 27-04-2001

The photo taken on a later trip shows Carol with our good friend Linda Archer behind her, on the Pancake rocks, minus the Pteranadon! (Lindaís husband Alan, features in the story of the Electric Ray.)

 After this we continued south 280 Klms.towards the mouth of the Haast River, noted for its Rainbow trout and large catches of whitebait. A few miles before reaching the mouth of the Haast, we came across a secluded beach named Ships Cove, with its sloping cliffs plus a lagoon, Muriel fell in love with it immediately and wanted to pitch our tents, and as she put it, Sleep like babes under the stars! I told her that we could camp here for the night, but it would have to be as far away as possible from the lagoon, at the far end of the beach. After pitching our tents, Phil and I thought we would try to get some bait and cast a line. This was a pretty remote area, with at that time, very few shops. So we finished up banging on the door of a wooden shack situated on the mouth of the Haast River. An old Kiwi guy, dressed in nothing but his jocks, came out. I asked him if he could sell us some bait. I donít have any, he said, but I tell you what you can have, and opening a large outside chest freezer, we were amazed to see it was full of Rainbow trout! Removing a 4lb Rainbow, he said you could have this, no charge, hope you catch something! We cast our lines just on dusk, and with a large hook and a chunk of Rainbow, I immediately hooked a 4-ft. shark. By then as I had feared, the sandflies came in their droves, and they bite you anywhere you show bare skin! We ran back to our tents, and deciding we would have shark for breakfast, zipped up our tents, hopped in our sleeping bags and stayed inside till dawn. We forgot about breakfast. The sand flies were queuing up in rows outside of both tents! The only other people on the beach that night were three Americans on a trip from Alaska. We had intended to share the shark with them, but they, like us, couldnít get away fast enough! (We have some pretty big bugs in Alaska, one guy said. But we sure as hell ainít got nothing like this!) and So, with a couple of packets of crisps instead of shark steaks, we hit the road through the Haast Pass, passing beautiful Mount Aspiring at 3036 Metres, set amidst the snow-capped Southern Alps, to a decent meal in a motel near Lake Wanaka!

Arthur. E. Bensley



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