casting bread upon the waters

I’ve blogged previously about casting bread upon the waters, this is a slightly different concept. I went fishing today. I’m not given to torturing fish for ’sport’ but fish for the table is another story. My bro-in-law gave me the call and away we went to go fishing with Pete Lamb. I’m something of a fishing duffer – before today I have caught in fresh and seawater the following: my jersey, my fingers, my hat. The wharf. Seaweed. Trees. Rocks. You might notice a singular lack of piscatorial protein. Uncle Joe says catching fish is a bonus, it’s all about the day and the experience. Um, yeah.

As we pull away from the wharf I did have a fleeting thought about how perhaps taking sealegs tablets might’ve been wise. As it happened, I was absolutely fine – there was supposedly a one metre swell – I don’t know how this is measured, but the waves looked rather more than one metre to me. It took about an hour to get out to the hapuka/grouper reef, and despite a number of my colleagues turning that subtle green shade unique to sea sickness, followed by a vigorous casting of bread I felt fine. Chirpy, in fact.

We paused on the grouper reef, and the guys started to gear up for fishing. And my world went green – and I joined the party on the side of the boat. Wierd – felt fine, my body just needed to download big time. Meanwhile, on the other side of the boat, Steve hauled in a huge grouper – a real ripple of excitement amongst the guys – a grand looking fish, gathered while drifting across the reef. (You can email the photo as soon as you like, Steve)

We got underway again back to the reef, and I immediately felt better. We paused again, and the guys geared up. I felt the urge to visit the side of the boat again. By this stage I’m feeling slightly stupid and somewhat unsteady on my feet. One of our colleagues had vanished into the cabin not to be seen until we touched land some six hours later. More fish are landed and we get underway again. I perk up as the boat starts to move.

The boat pauses. I head to the side of the boat – what is with this? While the boat is underway I’m all good. When the boat stops I’m seasick. Bizarre – I don’t feel sick, my body just has this urge to mark its territory on the ocean. Needless to say, I left the fishing to the others – I’m not about to do war with a big strong fish while just trying to hold everything together.

After five passes (and me communing the ocean four times) we headed back to more sheltered climes for lunch. Lunch? Yummy, yummy. The reality was, once again, once the boat got underway I was fine and when we anchored in the lee of Mana Island I was ready for lunch. We did some fishing in a couple of spots and although I didn’t catch anything for the table I did at least mostly manage to avoid catching myself, the boat, or the ocean bed. That’s huge for me. John and Pete dealt to the fish and we were all sent off with plastic bags of shared booty, including our pal emerging from the cabin now pale, instead of green…

So, what did I learn from all this?

  • Sealegs tablets just might’ve been an investment – planning ahead might be good.
  • Pete and John run a good ship, and it was a great day, despite the breadcasting.
  • It was a real lift after talking to John – here’s a man who’s found his niche and loves doing what he’s doing.
  • The only times I’ve seen guys being genuinely supportive of other guys is when fishing is involved – everyone has good luck and bad luck and there’s not much you can do about it – you’re all in the same boat, so to speak.
  • I loved the amazing blue colours of the ocean.
  • I loved the birdlife – gulls, shearwaters, and mollymawks.
  • My ancestors, who came out from England in 1841 in a small sailing ship, were made of sterner stuff than I am. Although it is unrecorded if they participated in drift fishing for grouper off the coast of Wellington.

And to my fellow green men, thanks for your company. It was a great day, and I’m keen to go again, perhaps with just a notch more planning on my part.


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