6000ex­pected again for fam­ily event at Groynes

Thou­sands of young­sters in Oc­to­ber will again have the chance to ex­pe­ri­ence a day’s free fish­ing.

The Press - Escape - - ESCAPE - Peter Shutt

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.

Photo: STACY SQUIRES/FAIR­FAX

Good start: Rosa McNeil, 5, with her first catch of the day at last year’s Take a Kid Fish­ing at the Groynes.

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