A word of cau­tion

NZ Fishing News - - From The Helm -

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.

Tight lines,

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