Coast a tonic for quake weary

The Press - Escape - - ESCAPE 5 - Peter Shutt

How can one talk about fish­ing when many Christchurch an­glers have been up to their knees or worse in an earth­quake disas­ter?

The truth is, if it were not for the me­dia, peo­ple out­side the im­me­di­ate en­vi­rons of Christchurch would have lit­tle knowl­edge or com­pre­hen­sion of the disas­ter that has be­fallen the cit­i­zens of that fair city. The ex­cep­tional ef­forts made un­der very try­ing cir­cum­stances by news­pa­pers, ra­dio, TV, and the many forms of dig­i­tal me­dia, have been cen­tral to spread­ing the word on the hor­ren­dous dev­as­ta­tion and loss of life.

Com­mu­ni­ties out­side Christchurch have ex­pe­ri­enced only lim­ited dis­rup­tion – and some an­glers will in­deed be out fish­ing as you read this.

Re­lief work will con­tinue for some time, but later an­glers from out­side the im­me­di­ate area might con­sider sup­port for their un­for­tu­nate coun­ter­parts.

I would like to see South Is­land angling clubs con­nect with the var­i­ous Christchurch angling clubs to es­tab­lish a net­work of on­go­ing sup­port to fel­low an­glers. It’s at times such as this that the power of net­work­ing re­ally comes to the fore.

Just of­fer­ing to take some­one who has lost ev­ery­thing away for an af­ter­noon to the Rakaia, Waimakariri, or Hu­runui rivers, or to a fish­ing club ac­tiv­ity or meet­ing, could be the lit­tle bit of re­lax­ation so des­per­ately needed.

We should re­mem­ber that many of the en­thu­si­as­tic Christchurch an­glers we know have had their lives shat­tered. The last thing on their mind will be the smashed fish­ing gear or any thought of rest and re­cu­per­a­tion. They will need time out.

And so, I ask an­glers ev­ery­where to check on their coun­ter­parts in Christchurch and be a sta­ble friend in the man­ner you would ap­pre­ci­ate if the roles were re­versed.

An­glers out­side of Christchurch will face noth­ing more dis­as­trous than dis­coloured rivers and spooked trout. On to­day’s scale of things these are only mi­nor frus­tra­tions.

But frus­tra­tions they are, and that’s when I tend to turn to the scenic beauty of the area to let that stim­u­late my pas­sion for the great out­doors. I be­lieve most an­glers feel like­wise about the scenery in which they fish and so, to­day I would en­cour­age an­glers not knee deep in the disas­ter to con­sider the West Coast as the tran­quil spot for their next fish­ing ex­pe­di­tion and, if pos­si­ble, in­clude a Christchurch an­gler in your group.

The West Coast is New Zealand’s true wilder­ness fish­ery. It of­fers fish­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties not seen else­where in New Zealand.

This is the heart of steep bush ter­rain, where a wrong turn­ing can add hours to a long walk back to the car and where birdlife, na­tive bush and beau­ti­ful fish­ing holes are al­ways within sight. Per­haps the most un­der-utilised fish­ery in the South Is­land, the West Coast of­fers lake, stream and river fish­ing that’s magnificent by any stan­dards, and best of all, you’ll sel­dom see an­other an­gler on the wa­ter!

From sub-trop­i­cal Karamea to pic­turesque Haast, the West Coast pro­vides breath­tak­ing scenery. Don’t be fooled by the den­sity of river­bank bush. It can be dif­fi­cult to tra­verse, but most an­glers wear wad­ing boots and take any avail­able short-cut within the stream bed.

High­ways usu­ally cross streams at the nar­row­est or most con­ve­nient point, and on the West Coast this of­ten means there is lit­tle to en­thuse about at the high­way. But a kilo­me­tre up­stream or down­stream the wa­ter is of­ten per­fect for trout angling. Mix­ing pis­ca­to­rial plea­sure into the day is a sur­vival tech­nique Christchurch an­glers could ben­e­fit from right now.

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