Monday, January 24, 2011

Benny Hill style videos

When your camera is set to take time-lapse video the results are quite funny - even if not quite what you're expecting... Reminds me of Benny Hill footage, now if i could just load a sound-track.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

A flyrod kingi virgin deflowered

During the week TT texted me that we should go for a fish Saturday.... the weather on Friday afternoon had me thinking because it was shocking. Saturday dawned chilly, moving frontal system has sucked some cooler air from the south and we had a sub 20 degree day for the first time in a while. Southerlies don't normally float my fishing boat, so I checked in with TT because the weather was supposed to be worsening.... his reply was ..."hell yeah lookn mint". It was calming down, but somewhere out to the south was a bunch of weather just waiting to pounce. Met up at TT's and met our third musketeer, Lucas, a mate of TT's. We had the boat in by 3 and headed out to the channel markers for a fly rod session on the kings before looking for snapper on soft baits. I rigged up a couple of rods, the 10 for Lucas and the 8 for me. I wasn't sure about Lucas's fly fishing pedigree and didn't want a broken rod so gave him a few tips about how to cast, strike and not raise the tip and point load my rod. First marker  I fired the fly in to the buoy, 2 maybe three strips and it was on. The rat gave a good account of itself on the 8, and with TT motoring us off the buoy steadily we led him out into clear water where he played a straight up and down game and was in the net after a good fight. I hit a fish at each the first 3 buoys we rocked up to, the final being my best of the day.

Grunting into it

Don't want to jinx myself but for once I landed 100% which is unlikley to happen again, normally the buggers seek out structure like the buoy chains and ping off, so that was neat. Lucas meanwhile struggled away - getting the hang of hiffing a chunk of T-14 (tungsten impregnated line) is not easy. We pulled up to another buoy, I got tail nipped and then tangled my running line when suddenly he was taken. He played the fish like a pro, not high sticking, handling it gently and not freaking the fish out. Now the rain had started.

A happy man

The fish led Lucas around the boat until finally it was in the net... by now the rain had started. The kingis were really on the chew, and TT had the next fish on.. and the next. And the next. His luck was out, pinging off 2 larger fish and landing perhaps the second smallest kingi I've ever seen.

We left to head down to Motuihe Channel to look for a snapper, and boy did we look. We each boated reasonable fish on plastics but it wasn't a hot bite... and by now the wind was not quite howling but we were getting wet and cold out there. We stopped and fished in a few spots before deciding to soak some pillies on local reefs. The tides were huge, so when we anchored at our final destination the current flow was something else again. Little did we know that within 12 hours much of low lying Auckland would be in flood. Er struggled for a few more small snaps before heading back to Okahu to pull the boat. I couldn't believe the time, and at about 9.30 we were in KFC looking and feeling like cold drowned rats.

Saltie fly at its best, 5 landed, 2 lost (broken) and a few missed takes. Snapper fishing at almost its hardest. A mixed bag.

Friday, January 21, 2011

A triumph for commonsense

After the last (Nov) AWF&G council meeting, a Councillor stalked off muttering because no one (not staff, not council, not the hunters) supported the premature closing of the AWF&G owned blocks, per last year's abbreviated block season. As such, it was not particularly surprising that he looked to have rallied some of the 'not newly elected' AWF&G councillors to support a motion for a special meeting to discuss the goose season length, and to overturn the council's decision to leave the blocks open for the duration of the waterfowl season.

There are some pretty important principles at stake here; those blocks were purchased with YOUR money, and MY money. As license holders, we are effectively the landlords of these blocks. Our license fees are actively spent in the blocks, yet we were being asked to deny the licenseholder the opportunity to benefit from the use of the facilities they own. This IS NOT what F&G is about. An additional detail was that in the previous council meeting, Councillor Carey asked the council to consider zoning the region into management areas, a remit that was roundly dismissed as "being unmanageable". So there we were, being asked to consider denying license holders their right of access to their own land asset; and by doing so set in place a separate management zone.

The meeting, which was not particularly well advertised, was surprisingly well attended. And the attendees, rather than relying on a proxy who was perhaps not representing their wishes faithfully, had their say. And the things they had to say were enlightening. They wanted their blocks open. They wanted a say in voting about issues affecting their blocks rather than having minority will imposed on them; they felt sideswiped by last year's block closures and they certainly had no inkling of it before the regulations were passed last year.

I think that last night the AWF&G council made a quantum leap - the paid staff's advice was adhered to (almost faithfully). The fact that we spend far too much time endlessly debating regulations WHICH HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO IMPACT ON GAMEBIRD POPULATIONS and then do the same next year, and the year after ad nauseum... the fact that this cacophony stops us from discussing and supporting real research... well as Guy pointed out quite rightly we just need to put this behind us forever and do some REAL work. And I think that shifting the powerbase in the council back onto a proper management course was a vital step-change in this particular council. The effect of the license-holders input and feedback was dramatic; from a position of what looked to be a split small majority of the council voting in favour of closing the blocks, the decision to keep them open was a landslide.

The license-holders saw that they do have a voice, and hopefully from this point onwards they will use that voice.

A triumph for commonsense and democracy and a massive vote of support for the paid staff.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

A 23 day break

Happy New Year! Stuffing about is fun. I decided to have an extra long Xmas break, starting Dec 24 and returning to work Jan 17. 23 days off in a row, the longest break I’ve taken since 2001. And it’s been a good break too – nice weather, beach days with the family, not too much work drama (you never really escape). Some really good fishing too and some new experiences. I took Marce’s nephew Josh down to Shank’s to do some work on the pheasant rearing pen, which we cleaned up relatively fast which gave me and Josh some time on the river prior to an evening pig hunt.

Our little charges - looking good!

Check out the camo

The river was discoloured (which it is 90% of the time) but we extracted a fat brown and hooked and lost dinner, a medium sized (couple pounds) rainbow. That evening we drove up to the airstrip which was planted in crops – the pigs had nailed it. As soon as we stopped the car there were pigs everywhere, but as we stalked in they disappeared – who knows where? Later on Shank’s neighbour came over and we had a hunting party of kids, dogs and spotlights. The dogs caught a couple of piglets and that was that for hunting. Next trip was a fly stripping day on the hydro lakes, fishing over the weed beds. Quite a big fish number day, I lost count after 20. Fish were mostly rainbows but I stalked a couple of browns in 50cm of water and nailed them, all in all quite satisfying but not what I’d call a challenging fishery. I put the yak into the harbour a number of times, but everyone was struggling to hit fish. Tons of anchovies in the channels but the fish were reticent, not really helped by the southerly. A trip to the Waikato spring creeks soothed my non-snapper conundrum, with sun beating down and insects buzzing the fish were looking up for food, another 20+ fish day but I didn’t net a brown, losing the 4 I put a hook into. Not good form really, but so nice to have such an array of rises from slow sips to splashy grabs – I missed a few on the rise but who cares? Dad and I snuck out real early one morning to fish the mussel farm at Waikawau Bay; again it wasn’t an easy session but caught some nice snaps on bait and soft plastic.

Mussel Barge on the move

Kingis were about and I briefly had a couple chase my lure cast hard against one of the buoys; and then later in the day a couple chased a yellow tail mack that I hooked up on a Clouser. I kept the fish down there and fished a livie for an hour or so but nope, the kings just weren’t in the mood. We took home seven reasonable snaps between us. A trip to the ponds to lay more bait in the stations, clear some willows and lay new carpet in the hut showed the ponds to be in superb order, still plenty of water although lower than it could be but good for high summer. Lowlight of the day involved smashing the prop on the same stump that dad hit 25 years ago, despite his warnings to “turn around, there’s a big stump in here…” yow, expensive… But yesterday was the crowning highlight of the break. Nik and I had arranged a trip on the harbour flats for kingis, chasing them on 8 weights with floating lines. The deal is that the kingis follow the big black rays and feed off the fish that the rays disturb. OH MY GOD.

Act like a fool Al, and you'll be published (...punished)

Kingi Fodder - Piper imitations

Spot the kingis - there are 2 there!


This seriously will be hard to beat as the fishing highlight of 2011, running around after rays with kingis sitting atop…. Yellow tails sticking out of the water… well we were both hooting. So there’s the holiday wrap up. Hopefully my brownie points jar is slightly fuller than it has been as well J.