Cracker by Damian Christie

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Cracker: Gone Fushin’

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  • andrea quin,

    Nice fish and all that, but the profligacy of it all makes me a little queasy. Are you fishing up to your catch limit just so you can eat snapper for breakfast?

    Auckland • Since Dec 2009 • 44 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    Interesting dialectual variation - south we call that exciting melee of fish & birds & predators 'a works': they're commonest with the huge shoals of kahawai we used to get...

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Damian Christie,

    @Andrea - that was between three of us, so nine each. Which granted, is still a lot of fish for one household, so I dropped one over to the neighbour, and a couple to friends. Not everyone has the time and wherewithal to go out fishing, but I think everyone deserves the occasional fresh snapper. And as I say, we threw back anything vaguely small (but still legal) and anything very big (good breeders). And that was the first time I'd had a good day's fishing in ages, so it's not like that's a weekly occurence. Appreciate the thought though.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1164 posts Report Reply

  • andrea quin, in reply to Damian Christie,

    I know, it is a tough one. In some ways it seems to epitomize sustainability to go out on a little boat with a rod and catch your own dinner. Certainly many of the problems with fishing are avoided in this way -- no long-lines, no trawling, no dolphin by-catch. But in Forest and Bird's Best Fish Guide (pdf) they point out that snapper stocks are still under serious threat and recreational fishers may contribute significantly to that. Maybe your mate's fishing charter might want to target something else over the summer....

    But seeing a sunfish! How cool.

    Auckland • Since Dec 2009 • 44 posts Report Reply

  • Tony Kennedy,

    Damien and Andrea's conversation epitomise all the is good about PA (oh, and the makeover)

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 224 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Warmed my heart to read your fishing adventure on Facebook, even nicer to get the full story. I don't grudge the profligacy - fresh snapper will always all get eaten.

    And the experience! That's what fishing is to me, far more than the 'product', which would usually be cheaper at a shop, once you count lost labor and all the boat/bait/tackle costs. Indeed, I prefer "catch and release" a lot of the time, keeping only the first fish and the biggest fish (but I never catch anything that big). It's no surprise it's such a popular sport, the way it takes your mind completely away from the mundane aspects of life.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Sunfish and a right whale? That's about 20 fishing trips worth of incredibly cool. The charter guy will be able to use this trip as marketing for years even if he never sees either of those again.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Damian Christie,

    That’s what fishing is to me, far more than the ‘product’, which would usually be cheaper at a shop, once you count lost labor and all the boat/bait/tackle costs.

    Yeah, I’ve definitely put more into it than I’ve got out of it over the years. Monday’s trip would’ve cost about $60-$70 each (so about $200) in basic costs – petrol, lost jigs, ice – not including depreciation of boat/gear etc. We would’ve probably got about $700 worth of snapper at retail. But the number of times I’ve spent just as much and ended up with nothing, or a single fish, well....

    @Andrea – I’d be happy to target other species if they chomped on my hook. Always happy with a couple of kahawai to smoke but oddly haven’t seen any of those for a while (they used to be like the rats of the sea). I know there are ways to target other species, i.e. big game fishing, but it’s a lot harder to do.

    I have a certain amount of faith in the quota system, but either way I’m not guilty about heading out every few weeks and chancing my luck. When it’s on, it’s on, and even when it’s not, it’s still a very pleasant way to waste the day.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1164 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Yes, there's a difference between occasionally fishing, and only catching to your limit on an amazing day, and doing it every day right up to the letter of the law, probably selling the excess. After dozens of goes where 2 or 3 legal sized fish is the work of 8 hours, can you blame the angler who comes home one day with a full bag, even though they won't eat them all themselves? Fun is had, and fish is eaten by family and friends. Hard to fault, really.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    We target fish by environment & location. At Moeraki, which is the area I know best for sea-fishing, you'd expect greenbone/marire round the reefs; groper would be in the known groper holes, and the major blue cod patches have known by locals for a looong time (and arnt disclosed.) Of course, there'll be strays and lucky catches (my favourite is a luckless salmon that got confused and wound up in the blow-hole channel: we got him in a - o, I better not say it. Searun salmon are fished for, respectably, round at the lighthouse rocks....)

    I am personally worried by the dramatic decline of kahawai. They are lovely eating (smoked, great, but as raw fish, truly delectable) and a beautiful fish in their own right. I havent seen a big works at Moeraki for over 2 decades, and the last big ingress into the mouth of the lagoon here was in the early 1990s (when
    people just stood and stared because the shoal was so huge the top fish had their dorsals out of the water...)

    The rule that I was brought up on (which was before any limits for sea fish were imposed) was simple: take enough for a feed for yourself, family, and friends who dont fish. The exception was when you wanted to smoke fish, and then you took enough to fill the smoke house (and distributed it as the rule required.) I was deeply horrified when I learned, first time fishing in Greymouth out at the tiphead, to discover locals reguarded kahawai as rubbish, and just caught them 'for fun.' There were dead sunbaked fish strewn all around...

    which is one reaqson why they have diminished I suspect-

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    I'm sorry but someone has to ask the question and mention the ethics.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3226 posts Report Reply

  • Damian Christie,

    Unless I also stop buying fish from the supermarket, which ain't gonna happen, there's no way I'm not coming home with a feed :)

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1164 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    So you are unlikely to turn vegetarian then?

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3226 posts Report Reply

  • Anonymous Author,

    The act of reeling them in is certainly thrilling and means good eating. However, the downtime on the boat/rocks/beach – and its efficient use thereof – is also a vital part of the experience. Your post reminds me of an adage which has held me in good stead on more than one occasion: Give a man a fish and likely he'll look at you oddly before suggesting a bribe isn't going to cut it with this fisheries officer; teach a man to fish and you've got a potential customer for your second hand fishing gear. Remember though, one man's meat is another man's poissons.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2010 • 64 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    Hilary - I find a deliberate catch&release for a targeted species kind of fish torture.
    I dont often fish for sea-run trout now, but I do make sure that what I catch & kill is a killable AND EDIBLE fish. (The screech might seem strange, but there are also fish you routinely kill because they are damaged or diseased. And dispose of, on land.)

    Whether seafishing, or targeting incoming-to-fresh-water fish, I always carry pliers to snap/cut/extract a hook from unwanted catch (dogfish, o me o my, dogfish) - I NEVER fish for "fun" - I am a confessed & proud food-fisher (who takes an especial delight when I catch a sea-run brown on one of my own flies...)

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • andin,

    nice catch and pretty pics, I've heard the Hauraki can be like a millpond on the right day.
    What was the boat? I ask out of voyeuristic interest. One of the reasons I came back to NZ was a boat. A Pelin Gullwing design. Funny thing is I'll never get to fish from it. Well, tragic really. Families who'd have 'em.

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1890 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    Kahawai take about 4 years to grow to 30cm long and be "mature". A 60cm kahawai might be much older. It doesn't take many big kahawai being caught to create a situation where numbers crash.

    Purse seiners clean up kahawai.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    Hilary: catch and release is just torturing fish for fun. I really enjoy fishing, definitely for the thrill of the hunt as well as all the bullshit about solitude and nature and the water, but fishing for food is the only way I can justify it to myself.

    Anyway, every story I read about the decline of fish stocks and imminent emptying of the oceans ruins my pleasure in it and so I rarely go fishing these days.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • Raymond A Francis,

    I am with Islander on this, a good life a, quick death and a meal for me
    And for all the tut tuters unless you are dedicated vegetarians (I hope those are not leather sandals) where do you think the fish/chicken/meat comes from
    And what about the rights of vegetables to live unmolested lives

    45' South • Since Nov 2006 • 578 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    My father loved fishing, which he managed to do about once a year on holiday, and occasionally caught a fish. Some of my earliest memories are watching distressed fish flapping and dying on the rocks. I understand about fishing being a great contemplative experience, and that catching and eating fish part of the cycle of life, but I am uncomfortable about using those nasty hooks, just in case it really is very painful for the poor fish. Isn't there a kinder way to catch and kill the fish you need, without it becoming a blood sport?

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3226 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    Hilary, I kill them as soon as I land them.

    Like most people who fish I've managed to hook myself and on the scale of pain I have felt it doesn't rate. I am confident it's a lot better than being progressivly chomped alive by a bigger fish.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace, in reply to Stephen Judd,

    But Stephen, you are a sentient human being exercising choice of occupation. The fish getting chomped by a bigger fish is more instinctive survival stuff.

    But I think I will bow out of this discussion as none or us are likely to change our positions. And I don't want to get on to bull fights or sow crates - or whaling.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3226 posts Report Reply

  • Jacqui Dunn,

    a good life a, quick death and a meal for me

    Forgive me if I'm mistaken, Damien, but "a quick death" - quoting Raymond Francis - is not something you or your mates gave the fish you caught. Shame on you if that's the case....you have a responsibility, if you are going to eat another creature, to ensure it doesn't suffer needlessly before it gives you the bounty of its flesh.

    Deepest, darkest Avondale… • Since Jul 2010 • 585 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    The judgeypants! It burns!

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • linger,

    a good life, a quick death and a meal for me

    Um, we should all aspire to end that way?
    ("... with a nice Chianti and fava beans")

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1940 posts Report Reply

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