6000expected again for family event at Groynes
Thousands of youngsters in October will again have the chance to experience a day’s free fishing.
Dedicated volunteers will help children and junior anglers enjoy a full-day event, the 24th annual Take a Kid Fishing (TAKF), at the Groynes, Christchurch, on October 14.
Free licences are provided for easily New Zealand’s biggest TAKF day, with several thousand Christchurch participants again expected. The day has contributed much to retain fishing as the single biggest participation sport in New Zealand.
Take a Kid Fishing was started in the United States by President Ronald Regan in 1987 and followed in Britain. The purpose was to encourage children into a healthy outdoor pursuit.
It started in New Zealand in 1988 with the Queen Mother as patron. A committee included Sir David Beattie and Sir Murray Halberg, while two members from the sports trade were Jack Carter and stalwart .
‘‘My task was to establish the event in Canterbury, so with the help of some wonderful people and groups, we have grown an easy ramble into a full-blown event,’’ says Denton.
‘‘Take a Kid Fishing is aimed at giving all children the chance to enjoy the outdoors,’’ he says. ‘‘They are taught practical skills and learn to understand the environment. The events are free of charge. Given the opportunity to go fishing and catch a fish, most kids are eager to be involved,’’ he says.
Kids Fishing Charitable Trust runs the Christchurch event, with strong support from local sponsors.
‘‘Christchurch has held successful events for the past 23 years and has achieved a total attendance of 75,000 kids over that time,’’ says Denton.
At the Groynes, four lakes are stocked with hundreds of salmon donated by Lady Diana Isaac for the event. Loan fishing tackle is available and skilled anglers provide the expertise and assistance to help the kids catch a fish. While fishing is limited to children, families are encouraged to help. The families are shown how to catch fish, clean and fillet and cook them on a barbecue.
Attendance is capped to around 6000 and up to 100 volunteers supervise. It’s a happy occasion with families enjoying their involvement and being outdoors together.
‘‘I think there is a lot more to do,’’ says Denton. ‘‘In addition to the one-off event each season, there is great opportunity to hold workshops/clinics over the summer season that will help teach kids outdoor skills and increase their enjoyment of fishing.”
He says that to see and be part of the sheer enjoyment and excitement of children
With rivers turned upside down – silt flowing on the surface instead of stable on the streambed – it’s no wonder that few anglers have tested the winter waters along Canterbury’s coastline this past fortnight.
Last week the sea off Leithfield Beach was a perfect colour for fishing, but there were no anglers in sight. The sea was clear, flat and the multitude of birds working offshore where an encouraging sign. I’m told the birds were also active off Taumutu, suggesting perhaps that whitebait might have been present.
It’s thought boats working close to the beach off Kaitorete Spit have been chasing elephant fish, although it’s too early for this species to be present in any numbers.
At the Rakaia rivermouth a number of good sea-run trout have been sighted – and when the Selwyn River clears, fishing below the upper huts should be productive.
You can expect it to be very good further upstream when the season opens on October 1.
There doesn’t appear to be many silveries at the Rakaia mouth, although the relatively small flow in the Rangitata River would suggest rivermouth fishing could quickly become available.
The only place I can offer truckloads of fish is in the Mackenzie Country canals, although I’m told the scallop season is looking pretty good in the Marlborough Sounds.
The east coast whitebait season has not fired yet, but if the birds working off Lake Ellesmere beach are any indication then clearing river flows could be the attraction they need.
The cod ban starts on August 31, so anglers currently getting a feed will soon have to go further afield.
Good start: Rosa McNeil, 5, with her first catch of the day at last year’s Take a Kid Fishing at the Groynes.