NAF is not a derogatory term. It’s an abbreviation for New Age Fisho, which I believe describes the two Daniels. Daniel F might be a very strong, super-keen fisho of proud South African extraction (with the only possible chink in his armour being an apparent fear of rats), but he and fishing companion Daniel T set a great example for other rock fishermen. For a start, rubbish bags were located nearby to keep the area free of rubbish, with spares to clean up any mess left by less conscientious anglers. The boys carry out all the rubbish at the end of the trip and dispose of it responsibly.
I also liked how well they treated their fish. A wet cloth was used to hold fish for careful unhooking, and then either ikispiked (even the kahawai) and iced-down in a chilly bin or released in good health.
And, as already mentioned, opting for heavy tackle meant they lost very few fish, so could choose which ones to keep and which ones to let go. Heavy tackle also reduced the amount of busted-off gear left in these pristine environments. Certainly food for thought…<>
ended when Daniel F hooked it, enjoyed a smoking run before being bitten off.
And so it continued: school-sized snapper and big kahawai interspersed with occasional big thumps and steaming runs on massive baits, but somehow none of the latter stuck.
Then it was dark. I can’t describe how weird it feels to stand on the rocks, way out in the middle of nowhere, casting baits into the black night and hearing them splash down into an even blacker sea. And while I don’t like fishing straight after the full moon (during the day, anyway), at least the ‘big spotlight’ overhead provided some much appreciated illumination.
Despite high expectations, nothing too spectacular happened, just lots more pannie snapper and brawling kahawai, with the latter becoming a welcome addition to our dwindling bait supply.
In between fish, flocks of sea birds swooped around us, so close I felt the flutter of their wings at times, while penguins scuffled around amongst our tents, quarrelling and squawking.
Other creatures were less welcome: headlamps revealed large crabs slowly dragging off whole pilchards and monstrous rats feasting on anything edible. Indeed, the rats were hefty enough and close enough to make Daniel F emit a high-pitched yell that sounded unnervingly like a woman’s scream!
I was therefore thankful for the tent’s thin protective walls upon crawling inside just before midnight, while the two Daniels fished on doggedly…
Bloody rocks! They were so jagged that whenever I moved to lessen the pain in one part of my body, they’d attack me in two or three new areas. It felt as if I was being chewed up in slow motion.
Eventually I did sleep, waking briefly when Daniel T crawled exhausted into the other tent, and then at 4am when Daniel F woke me and suggested I get up for a morning fish.
I was sore all over and pretty knackered, but anticipation of dawn’s ‘magic hour’ encouraged me out into the blackness – at which point Daniel F promptly slipped into the vacant tent and bid us both goodnight.
Four hours later Daniel T and I admitted defeat, with only an apparently endless supply of pan-sized snapper and big kahawai to show for our efforts and the Anglers’ Lodge boat on its way to pick us up. But that’s fishing, and I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.