A word of caution
Welcome to the June edition. If you’re into gamefishing, this season will be remembered as the one that just kept on giving.
As I sit here penning this column the day following the Hutchwilco NZ Boat Show in midMay, marlin are still being caught in decent numbers off both coasts by the hardy souls still venturing out wide.
Is this an upside to global warming? Who knows, but long may it continue. The NZ Sport Fishing Council’s ‘season’ officially runs from July 1 to June 30, so we may well see a billfish again caught on the first day of the 2016-2017 year. I bet there will be a few out there trying, weather permitting!
As if this wasn’t good enough news already, right now is also a prime time to seek out broadbill, the gladiators of the sea – but with it comes a word of warning: do not take these fish lightly! In recent weeks social media has covered off incidents and near misses where these fish have put their strength and swords to good effect, dealing to anglers and boats.
Having spent a bit of time over the years with this country’s top swordfish skipper and angler – John Gregory off Primetime – I have heard the stories and seen the images of what an angry broadbill can do when let loose in the cockpit.
In one celebrated incident, a good-sized swordfish ‘totalled’ Primetime’s cockpit, including the game chair and large ice bin, before being subdued. Afterwards, the cockpit resembled a war zone.
Now this is in a large sport fishing vessel, not a small trailerboat with just a few millimetres of GRP or alloy separating man and fish.
John says he fears that anglers and boats are going to be seriously harmed or damaged as more and more people take on these fish from smaller craft.
The other word of caution comes with regard to the numbers of fish being landed. You will not get any argument out of me with crews taking a fish to be shared among family and friends – swordfish steaks are a treat to behold when prepared well – but taking more than one from the same session is just being greedy. Please treat this fishery with the respect it deserves.
The recently-released report into the value of recreational fishing to the domestic economy clearly indicated our industry is a force to be reckoned with. Indeed, it is enjoying positive times, and this was reflected in the buoyant mood among both boat manufacturers and tackle retailers at the recent Hutchwilco NZ Boat Show. Sales were brisk, with many reporting excellent show signups for new boats and motor re-powers, along with plenty of leads to follow up on.
One tackle importer says he was surprised at the interest in high-end product, which was noticeably up against less expensive and more highly-discounted items. Long may this continue.
There was a great response to our subscription promotion at the show too, with many readers pleased to see the chance to ‘Spin and Win’ back with the ‘wheel’. We also had our new project boat – an Extreme 700 Game King – on display, the vinyl wrap from Brave Design creating plenty of interest. Can’t wait to get it on the water!
In signing off, I would like to acknowledge the contribution Timaru-based Field Editor Peter Shutt has made to this magazine for around three decades. Peter has retired to spend more time travelling with wife Elaine and get back into his fly-fishing. Over the years he ensured the Mainland news was given a fair shake with his regular Southern Currents column, which has been taken over by Bryce Helmes. Pete’s contribution is acknowledged on page 69 of this edition.