Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Who cares?

If we are to be believe what we are being told the world is ending. We are soon going to be on a planet that has the ambient air temperature of Mercury (where it gets very tropical), a planet that can't feed its people and has no money.

So what are the good people of Wanganui doing to put things to rights? They are arguing whether their town should be spelt with an 'h'. Apparently they had a referendum a few years back to settle this issue vital in the survival of the planet and decided to not waste further paint on the road signs and leave things as they were.

Not good enough for some mob who have again petitioned the council to get a decision in their favour so they can make a submission to the Geography Board (I think) so that an 'h' which has never been there can - be there. It is pointed out that in this part of the world if the 'h' was added the pronunciation of the place name would not change as the 'h' is silent and does not turn the 'w' into an 'f' as it does in Whangarei. Therefore changing the spelling will make no practical difference to the man in the street.

Yesterday the Council headed by the refreshingly tie deficient Mayor, Michael Laws, actually wasted time to discuss this and voted eight to five for no 'h'. Presumably the 'h' advocates will now appeal to the Human Rights Commission or the Pope for a further hearing so the Geography Wallahs can hear the case with as much pro 'h' bias as possible.

Please stop this nonsense. You can spell the name however you bloody well want to. Put in a silent 'ch' as in marmachlade if you want. Who cares? I'm sure the Post Office don't. A letter written to someone in Wanganui will get there if it is spelt as now or as Whanganui - or Wchanganui. One pro 'h' bloke on the News last night said it was important to get this sorted out - in his favour of course. It is not important. It is mind numbingly stupid and no one gives a big rats backside.

Meanwhile we will all get poorer as all the bank notes spontaneously combust with the earths temperature soaring past 200 degrees Centigrade because I have driven my V8 to work. Idiots.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Too clever for my own good

It had always been Boulder's intention to liberate Enki Toa from its Coromandel hideaway and park it in Toots for a succession of day trips/couple of day trips after the Waihau Bay escapade was over. When we returned from the East Cape it all seemed just too good. Plan already there, Toots producing fish seemingly at will and a great big high moored over the country for the first half of this week. It was arranged that I would drive up to Toots on Tuesday afternoon and meet Boulder and Bender there. We would then go and catch a marlin or five over the next couple of days (shouldn't take too long) and wander back home.

If a thing seems too good to be true it usually is. Adam Scott tagged a couple in the Bay on Monday. He PM'd me as we were discussing other things with the intelligence that the Ninepin Trench and down to Brett had marlin jostling for pecking order at lures (or something along those lines). The fish had appeared to have moved north and, what is more, the water of Whangamumu was starting to look a bit iffy. I telephonically transfer this information to the two Bs who are already on the road at this point. Boulder 'phones Grunta who tells of only four fish out of Toots on Monday. Us of the insatiable lust for information acted instantly. The chalet at Toots is cancelled and we are off to Paihia. I arrive first, find boat friendly accommodation and we repair to the Swordy for tea. All fish caught today are between the Ninepin Trench and the Brett. God, we are so smart it hurts. We are in the right place and all those poor suckers who haven't got their finger on the pulse are stuck down in Toots from whence all the fish have fled.

It has long been a desire of Boulder to have an Enki only day. I have always thought this to be a jolly spiffing wheeze and so we pooled our resources and could only come up with thirteen Enkis between us.

Bender had left his four at home and I later found another two in my lure rolls that missed the preliminary search. So we could have chosen from nineteen. A starting five (damned shottie is plaguing me this season) was picked thus. SC 22 Enki 'Bermuda', LC 16 Enki 'Casper', SR Shell Enki 'Drysdale', LR SHell Enki 'Ascension' and shottie Mini Enki 'Mackerel' (and no, Boulder and Bushpig, you can't have it - even for money)

The other ten Enkis were packed along with a few spare skirts. Nothing else in the lure department was allowed on the boat. Needed the spare lures as we were going to be so busy that it would be quicker and easier to change lures between fish instead of re-rigging lures that had just been successful.

Right not much more to do now. Checked the SSTs on the early version Weasel and that just confirmed how bloody smart we were. I've never caught three marlin in a day and tomorrow it was going to be like shooting fish in a barrel. Up to the spot at 137m (not 136 or 138) that the Weasel told us was just the place where the bait would be. Pick up a fish at the Nine Pin Trench, off to Queens Buoy with another fish on the way across and then perhaps another off Red Head on the way home. Back by, what, fourish for tea and crumpets.

Stuck to the plan, caught nothing and listened to Wetspot and Sambosi (the mugs who stayed in Toots, remember) catch the pants off us. When Lance caught his fish we were already off the Brett and it would have been silly not to go and have a look . Us and another dozen boats. Saw a tailer as soon as we got to the area, but that was our lot. The bite was over.

Good day (ten hours on the water) despite the lack of fish. I really like that sort of fishing - thinking about it, forming a plan and then sticking to it. Adapt the plan to what is happening on the water. At all times during the day know where you are, what the water temp is, how far the next mark is away in both time and distance, make another plan, look out of the window, act on what you see, look at the electronics, make more mental calculations, try something based on that - love it. I would prefer a day like yesterday and all the planning that went into it with no fish than wandering around the ocean like a headless chook and tripping over a marlin by accident. I really would.

Weather slated to go tits up by Thursday arvo with Friday being impossible. Already by Wednesday lunchtime the wind portents in the clouds were not good. Should get a morning's fishing in at least. Brown joined us from Whangarei bright and early on a day that brought him an early morning expensive roadside chat with the boys in blue and us an unexpected burst of rain. The ban on all things non Enki had been lifted and I saw a lot of Technical Jerk equipment being loaded. Out past the Brett at 0830 and it was already obvious that even half a day of towing plastic was not going to be a comfortable pastime. So after a run through the Hole in the Rock to help the Tourist dollar we did a bit of the TJ along the coast. Brown got half a kingie and a 90cm complete model; Bendie got a kawahai and a rat. Wind doing as threatened and back at Waitangi just after noon. Bender opted not to get hammered in the Swordy Club and we drove home.

And, as they say around here, that is all.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The RMA is stuffed

If you needed further evidence, and surely you don't, that the RMA is totally stuffed and ripe for the overhaul it is about to get then that evidence came to light yesterday.

Meridien Energy, which is owned by you and me, is paying $170,00 to DoC, which is owned by you and me, to shut up over a proposed wind farm in Central Otago. I stand up and say I am going to do something. I object to it. I transfer some money from my left hand trouser pocket to my right. I then stop objecting and go and do what I was going to do in the first place.

This country is nuts. We belly ache like mad (entirely reasonably) when the power goes off and then get all touchy feely and belly ache like mad when anything is put forward to rectify the situation. This is entirely unreasonable. Cake and eat it stuff. The instrument that has given mileage to this form of objection is the bloody Resource Management Act.

We can't dam any more rivers and we will use the RMA to to stop you doing it. Some damned endangered axolotl that no one outside of a research lab has ever seen might disappear (how can you disappear if you have never appeared in the first place). We can't have any more fossil fuel powered power stations because we can turn the RMA into a Moebius strip and use it to tell you the planet will fry in hell. Nuclear? We don't even need the RMA for that as it is in our DNA that nuclear will wreck our DNA and we'll all end up with six fingers covered in cancerous warts if we survive the inevitable holocaust when the plant blows up because we had it designed by vodka swilling nuclear scientists from 1970's Soviet Russia.

How about a nice cuddly wind farm? The RMA has a provision for visual pollution apparently and that is one of the bases for objection that is currently being used. DoC has presumably found some invertebrate that is unique to Central Otago that must be saved and Meridien is locked into appearing in Court until the end of time.

What are we left with to power our ever increasing population that does not live in caves and hunt bison with sharpened sticks? All I can think of is a perpetual motion machine as sold by that nice man who will turn all your lead into gold for you. And he'll probably run foul of the RMA as well. There is bound to be a clause in there specifically banning the Philosopher's Stone as it upsets the natural balance of the elements.

There is a way around all this and Meridien has found it. Dosh. You go round with a bag of gold (or lead) and dish it out in great (or in this case little - $170,00 hardly rates as beer money for the power generator) lumps to get people just to go away and not object to things. Hardly a novel concept the old bribe is it? The PM wants assurances that this largesse is not hush money. I wouldn't be holding your breath, John, because it is.

This, paradoxically, only reinforces the RMA. DoC, if they have half a brain (fat chance), will realise that have stumbled on a new revenue stream. Object to everything you can lay your eyes on and someone will pay you to go away.

In fact I can see this as a nice little earner for myself. Buy a bicycle, some socks to go with my sandals, some coke bottle bottom glasses and grow an inferior beard. I'm then ready to repair to the Public Library to find things to object to. The DB9 is getting ever closer.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Waihau Bay

Bushie and Bender arrived at Obald Acres simultaneously in time for a planned departure for Whaihau Bay at 0515 on Waitangi Day. Boulder was to drive direct from Matarangi so no 'pick me up at Onehunga-it's on your way' required. Easy drive (especially if you weren't doing it) to Whakatane to provision in Countdown. Much lambasting from Bushie at the surfeit of apricots and lack of biscuits after Bendy and I arrived in the car park to awaken His Worship the Mayor from his slumbers in the Hilux cab.

Waihau Bay is a long way away, even if you start in Opotiki. It is a bloody long way if you start in Auckland (even bloody further if you start in Kaiwaka I suppose). Straight to the ramp to get the lie of the land. The ramp looked good (it was),

the pub looked good (it was)

and they appear to like big boats down these parts.

Eventually find our billet after a lack of confidence from the Pig who assured us he was not lost.

The excellent Haywards had been teed up by Tzer and we arrived to find Craig and his mates 'quiet' Tim and 'you really ought to get that thyrotoxicosis treated' Mike. Excellent house companions for a few days. Nothing left but to check out the interior of pub and contemplate that our only contact with the outside word was the Payphone outside the general store. Credit cards worked sometimes and especially if they hadn't maxed out or so someone told us. Nearest Payphone to this one is in Hick's Bay the sign on the phone booth informed us and that is twenty minutes drive away. Nearest reliable cellphone reception 100km down the road in Opotiki.

On the water first day at a respectable 0815. Now this is alright even for the crack of dawn merchants as all the rumours of put your lures in ten minutes from the ramp are absolutely true. Craig had given us the drop on tactics at Waihau and without these we would have been even more at sea (pun intended) than we were. Troll back back and forward between Orete Point and Cape Runaway first at 200m, then at 140m and then at 300m. If bored do zig zags. Now if this seems a little simplistic it is because it probably is. A look at the bathy's reveals a lot more subtlety than this and application of anything approaching Weasel grade subtlety was a little hampered by not knowing water temperature, having only a rough idea of boat speed and, most importantly, a negligible feel for the place.

Still we soldier on with 16 Black headed Vulcan in 'Skipjack ' at SC, a Lumo™ 16 Krakatoa at LC, SR a Shell Andromeda 'Bermuda' and an Ascension Shell Enki at LR. Oh yes, there was a bloody shotgun as well. Saurie Unicorn or a black/purple Zucker 5.5 depending on whether Boulder or Bushie won that particular round of the Shottie debate.

Note the Master's careful positioning that he misses nothing going on in the spread

Trolled for a few hours and it was suggested that we go and do something else. This is a quaint Waihau custom it would appear. The something else often is going ashore for a cup of tea and a lie down to return to the trolling a couple of hours later. You can do this if the ramp is ten minutes away. Our 'something else' was to be wiggly waggly, mechanical jigging, technical jerk - well there's a surprise. On our way to partake of this we witnessed Tzer trying to wreck his new boat in search of a snapper.

Right, into the wiggly waggly. I hooked and played with masterful prowess (well I don't think it was that bad - only called a pussy on the winding every minute) a kingy which I thought was a jolly strong little chap. He was going to come to the boat and then be given his freedom to grow into a big strong boy. I later find out that Bushie wanted him to meet a friend of his, a Mr Bradley. No idea what this was all about. However, all this became immaterial when my jolly strong little chap developed acute wimpness after a visit from a man in a brown suit.

I found it a little disturbing that my shortened kingfish was still moving his mouth when I bought him into the boat to recover Boulder's jig. Boulder said that if I had signed up for the rest of the fish it might have gone 18-20kg. I thought that sounded OK. Mr Large Stone then shortened two more kingfish and Bender shortened his rod. Another rather half hearted troll and back to Hayward's for Bender's chillie con carne. Call that chillie? Pffft. I had to add neat chillie from the jar to wake myself up.

We're getting the hang of this' ten minutes from the ramp stuff' by day two and saunter onto the ramp at 0915. The plan today was, well, I'm not really sure. Tzer calls in a short billed spearfish and we are at Lottin Point before you know what is happening. An hour to get there and four hours bashing into a short chop on a long rolling swell to get back. This area has serious currents. Going west back from Lottin and I thought we were never going to get past Runaway. We might have had a knock down on the shottie today (or was it yesterday). I'm not sure, Bushie is and I don't care. Get back to the delightful pub and hear that ten marlin were caught on this day and one released was estimated at 400kg. Serious animal.

Weather slated to go tits up for day three and it didn't disappoint. On the water early (0715 - hellfire) for a trip to the kingfish mark to see if we could beat the taxmen to work. No kingfish in sight. Ineffectual trolling for a couple of hours and the fishing part of the trip is over. The day remarkable for the amount of Bostik applied to the previous night's plan. Weather closes in and, although we never seemed to get that much wind (15 - 18 knots maybe) the sea gets very uncomfortable very quickly. This gives the impression of being a stretch of water with more to it than at first meets the eye.

Back to Haywards for a lounge about and I suggest we take Boulder's truck for a look over the hill at the back of the property. Serious bit of four wheel driving in search of a new, and as yet, uncaptured species leads to a spectacular view of the coast.

Boulder, I think quite sensibly, decides not to drive down the other side of the ridge to the coast - the Cape in the near distance is Cape Runaway.

Not much left now. Tzer's mates leave with their spearfish in chunks destined for a smoker

and the remaining five repair to the pub for a meal as all the Whakatane provisions had been ingested. As a culinary footnote Bender and I had a pork chop. Nothing remarkable in that you may say but this was a proper old fashioned pork chop with fat and crispy skin and a bone. Nothing like the reprocessed trampoline mat they sell in Auckland.

The promised rain has started now, we have a power cut and go to bed. Get up and there is still no power and still lots of rain - and the country at the East Cape really needs it. Drive home. All done.

Excellent four days and I couldn't give a rat's arse as to what has been going on in Toots. I am very glad that Bushie was persuaded to stick to the original plan and go to Waihau. The East Cape is a part of the world I had not been to before and I would not have missed this trip for anything. A bonus was meeting up with Tzer and his mates. throws up another gem of a bloke. I will definitely return. I think it will take a lot of trips to know how to fish this place properly - I felt very lost. The Weasel needs to come on a trip and be used for all his cunning. Various suggestions have been made to the Mayor as to how the Gay Munter/ Ultimate Mongrel can be made into an even meaner fighting machine and the response to some of these was even printable - but not to others.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

An unexpected hiatus

A couple of weeks back Tagit mentioned he was taking the boat 'up North' for a five day trip at the end of January and would I care to join him. 'No chance at short notice, but thanks for the offer'. Last Sunday my facial shingles was getting the better of me and I toodled into the hospital for some anti virals and the prescriber also gave me a sick note with the explicit instruction that I was NOT to go to work for ten days. On the blower to Tagit and the trip North was on.

Day 1

Mr Tagit arrives at Obald acres bright and early on Tuesday morning and transports self, one 50W, The Weasel, a lure or two, my rigging box and a few vestments to Westhaven. Spent the morning preparing the boat which for my part entailed making my fingers sore splicing new safety lanyards for the goldies. Mid afternoon sees the rest of the crew assembled - Tagit, Boulder, myself, a couple of Norms and Mark/Skippy/Oompah-Loompah. That'll do. Leave Westhaven at about 1700 for an easy steam to a bay on Great Barrier who's name I've forgotten.Prepare for the morrow with Tagit running through a few gamefishing basics for the neophytes and laying a few ground rules. Democracy is a wonderful thing on boats as well as in countries (well sort of - I'm quite keen on dictators) and it was decided that we would take (OK, kill) the first marlin and subsequent fish were to be treated properly.

Then we had the thorny problem of the strike roster. Five anglers (Dave was going to drive) and four rods. Then Boulder comes up with a genius idea - not. We would run a shotgun. Brilliant. Not only would we run a shotgun it would have a Unicorn on it. Even better. We will run a lure that doesn't catch marlin in a useless position on the boat. Top stuff. OK, Two anglers per side changing every half hour on the real rods and some poor muggins on shotgun all the time. Cunning plan time. I volunteer to take the damned shottie as it will catch nothing and I won't get landed with this marlin killing business. Off to the land of nod a contented soul.

Day 2

This is what running 46 foot gameboat is all about

And you spend a lot of time with an excellent view of the ocean with a bank of electronic gizmos twixt you and the view to help you with your mental gymnastics. You even get to use a laptop - can't go fishing without a computer.

What pelagic teleost would not want to swim around in here snacking on bits of plastic?

Still not feeling a hundie as I will find out later in the day. Off to the Barrier Knolls, Bank and the Achilles (sic) Canyon. SC BIg T African Queen re-skirted black and purple in some barn in Dairy Flat, LC 12 ProRange Enki in blue/pink/silver, SR Shell Enki in green and gold, LR Green/lumo Hydra and a bloody chromed Brass Unicorn in blue/silver over black/purple on the damned shotgun. Water warmish, a good colour but absolutely devoid of life. This to be the theme of the week. Water on the Barrier Knoll OK but a little bird (OK, Malcolm Pollard) tells me that the Bank is better. Head off over there and an easterly appears. And appears and appears. In a short time becomes very sloppy indeed even in a heavy 46 foot boat and we head back the Barrier in a nasty beam sea. Mal de mer hits Obald with a vengeance I have not known for many a year. All gone as soon as we are inside the Needles. Off to another anonymous bay where we fail to dredge any scollops and are witness to the most amazing phosphorescence I have ever seen.

Day 3

Wind all gone and off north. Spent some time in the Bream Knolls where we stopped to try and snare some hapuku. These fish do not take lures trolled on the surface. Boulder tells me it is mechanical jigging time. Now this is very odd. The rod is about three foot long, the guides are all on wonky (and you pay $900 for this piece of shocking workmanship) and the line on the reels is all different colours. Well you get this odd kit and wave it around a lot. I was told I was doing it well (well good enough not to get rubbished by Bushpig) but it caught me no fish. Boulder and Tagit got a small hapuku each and they were lined up for tea. After all this acrobatic nonsense some semblance of sanity prevailed and a Merlin in Koheru is put on LR, a 22 Krakatoa skirted black purple is put on SC and we are off to Toots via the Sugar Loaf in a much more seemly manner. Good colour water, good temp but no bait. We saw no bait for a day - well it was a day and a half now. And you spend a lot of time doing this, sitting down, watching, watching, watching and supping on the occasional ginger beer.

Coming in past the pinnacles and bang, we are on.

Out of the blue completely and its on the damned shotgun. Now this was not in the plan at all. Fight my first fish from a chair (not hard as long as Tagit goes easy on an old man in the backing down department). Pleasing amount of the aerial stuff, a bit stubborn just short of the double but no dramas. Boulder does a sterling job on the trace and then it is 'do as you had said you would' time. Lots of unpleasant stuff with baseball bats, ropes and gaffs sees me sitting next to a dead marlin. Not pleased at all but tried not to look too grumpy. In to Toots to have it weighed. If the bit earlier was not to my taste I found this bit hideous. Getting a weight was OK (ish) but having the chalk board filled and having it announced on the Tannoy I hated. I refused to have a picture taken. We motored back to our berth with all sorts of mixed feelings running through what I pass off as a brain. Small Norm did an excellent job of cutting the beast up - no waste at all. If it is dead at least it will all get eaten. I think Boulder took the bill.

Not a picture I'm proud of - but fishee is currently in a smoker in Kelston and at least she will get eaten. But putting her on crackers as an hors d'oeuvre is hardly subsistence fishing, is it?

Day 4

Out reasonably early after we drank the Toots diesel tanks dry a couple of hundred litres shy of what we wanted. Another day of good looking warmish water with no bait in it. How can such a large portion of the ocean contain no bait at all? Didn't even look like getting a strike. But still cruising past Cape Brett on a summer's Friday morning isn't all bad.

Motored into another bay whose name I can't remember this time in the Cavallis. Anchored up next to Te Arik Nui who caused no trouble. Customary roast dinner (thanks to Big Norm who cooked superbly all week) and off to beddy bye byes a little later than usual - might have even been tomorrow when we got to sleep.

Day 5

Back to Toots. Generally same as before - blue, warm water containing nothing. Got round the Brett by mid afternoon and things change dramatically. Big temperature breaks and at last some signs of life in the water. This is 250 metres off Whangamumu. Managed to get a tailer to have three rather disinterested looks at the Merlin on LR, but no cigar. The two hours in this bit of water was the only time in the whole trip I thought we were about to do something. Big Norm and the Ooompah-loompah spent the day pulling the lips off skippies.

Day 6

The good oil from Mozz via Boulder was that the action was to be had behind the Hen and Chicks. Yeah right. Passed through that and had a mechanical jig off Groper Island in the Mokes. Well Boulder, Big Norm and the Ooompah-loompah did; I had a cup of tea and watched. Bit wobbly here as was the first hour of the passage across to the mainland. Quietened down considerably before we snuck behind Kawau for a scollop dredge which produced only a handful of keepers and then it was game over and back to Z Pier.

Great few days - as always good company is the key. Thoughts? I like big-boat fishing. I like the height of eye, the shower, the big-boat motion, the tea, the height of eye, the room. I like. I will not run wind ons if I get on a big boat again - no point and I wasn't aware of what a bubble trail a swivel six foot from a lure puts out. The Weasel likes being on a big boat but would like a bit more input. I like going away for five days or so at a time. This is the first time I have been proper fishing for nearly two years and I didn't realise how much I missed it. I really enjoy gamefishing.

Idle blogger

Well not really but I look and realise I have only posted four posts all year and we are into February. Well I'm not obliged to post things if I don't want to but I do like to keep things trundling along. Excuses? Dog ate my keyboard? World price of tin falling through the floor? None really except that this is a busy time of year for doing things like enjoying life.

My fascination with politics has waned a little as there isn't any really. The Goof is pathetic and time warped in 2007. The PM announced a whole load of things he thought were a jolly good idea to ease the pain of the recession. I understand about 1% of what he said because I am not an economics/money type bloke. Nor is the Goof. He should just shut up and let the elected government get on with things. He wants, basically, Labour's election manifesto put in place in this area. Tough. You lost. Just keep quiet and let the people who won get on with it. If they are wrong and it goes even further tits up than it appears to be at present, then so be it.

When I started this blogging business I put in the headlines (and it is still there) that it would have a bit of gamefishing in it. Well there hasn't been much as I haven't done much. Went out not at all last year due to the moving to Obald Acres but normal order has been restored and I spent five days on the briny last week. Off for another trip tomorrow and a couple more weeks planned in March.

There is a report of last weeks fun (and it was) in the next post.