For all ages and abilities
Happywomenand young anglers are well represented in hundreds of photographs submitted for an Escape competition.
Readers’ photographs in the Escape photograph competition reveal significantly smaller fish during the past 30 years and more women enjoying freshwater and marine fisheries.
Your entries through this column attracted hundreds of photographs – each depicting a fishing experience that proves fishing is an enjoyable pastime for people of all ages, all abilities, and provides an outdoor experience of fisheries for both the serious and not-so-serious angler.
The photographs covered everything from whitebait to marlin, and included crayfish, bluenose, blue cod, red cod, kahawai, mahi-mahi, yellowfin tuna and herring.
The freshwater resource was the focus for most anglers and included successful catches by both children and adults.
Many people will say they don’t see a lot of women taking part, but they are there. Many people will also say children are more interested in throwing stones into the water, but, going by the photographs I received, there are a lot of very happy young anglers out there.
While some photographs have featured magnificent scenery or have been obviously entered by someone with professional or near-professional camera skills, my focus all along was to see what readers value as a fishing experience.
I amastounded by your response. The quality of each photograph was always going to be secondary to the character and feeling each photograph engendered.
So many could have won. From day one of the competition it became obvious that I could not and should not determine the winner.
I gave up counting after receiving more than 200 photographs and subsequently composed a file for the judges at THL (Tourism Holdings Ltd) in Australia, sponsors of the prize. They were independent in not knowing any of the contestants.
Many entrants provided a brief commentary on where and why the photograph had been taken. Some had very interesting stories to tell, and these photographs will be published in this column during winter.
A couple of photographs were binned because they showed obvious alteration involving blatant attempts to use pictureediting programs to superimpose fish on a background.
However large or small the species – herrings off the wharf, and blue cod off Akaroa – it didn’t matter because the delightful faces of the happy anglers signalled great enjoyment.
Brown trout, rainbow trout and quinnat salmon provided excellent photographic essays probably more indicative of changes in the fisheries than you realise. The days when you could walk across the backs of salmon in the main salmon rivers, and the days when anglers caught trophy searun trout or wild trout are no more.
Will those days return? Who knows?
Just look at the way waters have degraded in past decades. Will the Canterbury Water Management Strategy fix that? I hope so, but only time will tell.
I can compare my research of 1983 for my fishing book on where to go and what to use against the photographic record you have supplied. It’s a telling commentary.
In the 1980s I didn’t bother taking photographs of a salmon unless it was at least 30 pounds. Not so today. Trout were more prolific back then, too.
The most satisfying aspect of the competition was the incredible way readers responded. If I could, I would give you all a THL holiday.
Judges’ decision: The winning entry of Dave Clouston, of Rolleston, in the fishing photograph competition, was taken by his partner, Toni Sheed. He had just caught this good brown trout on a fly from his wheelchair at a South Island high country location. According to the judges, this photograph captures the essence of fishing – patience, perseverance, willingness to seek the fish, and – best of all – the happiness that fishing offers. The winner receives free hire of a Britz fourberth campervan for seven days. The prize was sponsored by Tourism Holdings Ltd. See Dave Clouston, backgrounder, Page A8, today.