After a bad start in June when the proposed trip was cancelled because of storm warnings for the Cook area, the hearty souls (Engineers outnumbered the Doctors 3 to 2) set off on Sunday 18th of July aboard fv "Cappy" of Seabird Charters Click Here for the d'Urville Island area. It must have been an omen, but it was the day following the "Blessing of The Fleet" in Nelson Harbour - a blessing for the fishermen.
We left Port Nelson at 7 am - just on daybreak, and headed North to the Port Hardy region of d'Urville Island. Along the way we could see Mount Egmont (Taranaki) on the Northern horizon.Lynley's scones were most appreciated. She has got the technique of cooking them in the boat's small stove down to a fine art.
On arrival at our destination we dropped lines and commenced to fish - and what fishing ! Soon we had on board some large cod and some snapper. There was only one other boat fishing in the area.
We shortly shifted closer inshore to vary the catch. And vary them we did - Tarakihi, Trevalley, more Blue Cod, and the obligatory Jock Stewart / Maori Chief / Sea Perch / Wonky Donk and Barracouta (fortunately only a few). A few Parrot fish a Conger Eel and a solitary Spiky Dogfish rounded off the catch.
Our big surprise was to catch three LARGE Warehou, a species that most had never seen before. A fourth Warehou was caught later in the day.
Following this we shifted to outside Stephens Passage where we caught snapper "hand over fist" . Who said that banana were bad luck on a boat - the lines were baited with banana skin and still the snapper were queuing up to get caught. We then shifted to Stephens Passage at slack tide to finish off our Blue Cod quota (3 per person) They were large ones. The crew (Barry and Lynley) were very forgiving and tolerated our mistakes without a laugh or derogatory comment.
In between fishing spots people ate their lunch - only one of the party felt sick, and she regained her appetite and stopped feeling sick when she started catching fish. So much for the ginger in the gingerbread men that she ate.
Prizes were awarded to the two fishermen who had never caught a snapper before. Barry B received a filleting knife and Alan a Serious Fishing Club beanie.
Of note were the very few tangled lines despite the many people fishing at one time. Maybe it was because of the calm weather with little boat drift. Or maybe it was just good luck.
On the way home the sea was mirror-smooth, and we saw an occasional dolphin. Barry, the skipper filleted all the fish for us - a fish-case full of fillets. The sun set as we approached Nelson Haven and it was quite dark as we left the boat.
Many thanks to Lyn and Barry of Seabird Charters for a most enjoyable day. Another outing with them is in order.