Saturday 2 June 2012: Outdoor bath tub
The alarm went at 4.45am.
A quick breakfast and we were underway on the 1.25 hour road trip to our boat launching spot at Duncan Bay in Tennyson Inlet. Dawn was just breaking as we motored out from the boat ramp.
A first for me to be on a boat with 4 hunters and 8 dogs. The dogs love it. Some are in dog boxes on the back of the boat, the others hand their heads out the side just as dogs do out of car windows or off the back of a ute.
What a stunning place and an amazing day. We soon had a routine of pulling into remote bays where the local boys have access. 1 or 2 hunters and a few dogs would jump ashore. We'd watch from the boat as they'd battle through scrub. No pig scent and we'd load up again and head off to another favoured spot.
As we got further out and close to Cook Strait the hunting spots became larger. While a couple of blokes and their dogs took turns to comb faces and ridges, I got to fish for blue cod.
The hunter isn't a fisherman. He doesn't like boats much either. But he didn't feel sick once and we made a good fishing team. He'd bait my hooks, I'd catch the fish and between us we'd deal with my catch. A good arrangement :-)
The sounds has a complicated protection system for Blue Cod. In some places you can only keep Blue Cod sized between 30cm - 35cm. Anything smaller or larger you have to throw back. In other parts (maybe only a bay or 2 apart) the rules change and you can keep those 35cm and larer. But if between you and the boat ramp is one of these areas where the size has to be 30cm - 35cm, then you can't keep the bigger fish because you have no way of proving to a fisheries officer that you caught them legally.
Even though I understand it's all to build up the Blue Cod stocks, it's very hard to throw back beautiful big Blue Cod you've just caught. I'd literally drop my bait to the bottom and it would be all action. Great fishing!
The boys left it to me to catch our bag limit of Blue Cod and I didn't disappoint. Oh, and what do hunters use for bait when they discover they don't have any squid bait in the freezer? Venison! I couldn't believe it.
Other than the zillion Blue Cod (most of which were thrown back), I caught a small Kawhai (that became bait after we forgot to put the venison in a safe spot and dogs returning to the boat ate it), a few Spottys (Parkari), a horrible Barracuda (all razor teeth) and a couple of Spiny Dog Fish.
The boys got a couple of pigs. One too difficult to retrieve but we did get the other. I scrambled after them for that one. It's steep and tricky terrain with large patches of native nettle.
The bath tub?
The hunter and I explored a bay with relics from an old ship wreckers yard. Unfortunately I didn't record the name of the bay but it was once the largest yard in NZ. It was wonderful and full of interesting history I'd love to know more about, including the rotting remains of the last large boat.
An amazing day. I gratefully tumbled into bed at 8.30pm.