Birds on the sea are a welcome sight. It means fish are in the area. Drop those lines off the back of the boat if you haven’t already. You don’t need GPS to alert you on this one. Don’t forget your natural instincts, don’t rely on modern technology, use your eyes, your sixth sense, your common sense. Be safe. Be well fed! Happy Fishing. 🙂
Title: William Owen’s Hauraki Gulf A Fishing and Cruising Guide
Author: William Owen
Publisher: David Bateman
Date Published: 2010, 4th Edition
Price: NZ$39.59 (Fishpond.co.nz)
A fishing and cruising guide for the Hauraki Gulf area that includes anchorages and an in depth guide to fishing in the area, the how, the what and the where guide to fishing. For someone new to fishing or new to the area and boating to fish or fishing to boat then it will be a worthwhile read.
Title: Flood Tide
Author: Heather Heberley
Publisher: Cape Catley
Date Published: 1997
Price: NZ$19.47 (Fishpond.co.nz)
A sequel to the autobiography Weather Permitting by Heather Heberley. Heather talks in more detail about her family and their adventures living off the land and the sea. She goes into the history of her husband’s family and the relationship with Arapawa Island in the Marlborough Sounds at the top of the South Island, New Zealand
Title: The Royal Akarana Yacht Club Coastal Cruising Handbook
Author: The Royal Akarana Yacht Club
Publisher: The Royal Akarana Yacht Club
Date Published: 2012, 11th Edition
Price: NZ$55.00 (Smart Marine) Hardcover
A Cruising guide for Cape Reinga to Cape Kidnappers on the east coast of the North Island, New Zealand.
An informative guide on anchorages and services.
Best to buy the latest edition as information is updated regularly.First published in 1972.
From sea to the plate. Jack mackerel was on the blackboard menu. It couldn’t have been fresher if we tried.
I had a few learning curves on preparing fish on board.
When cutting fish on board a boat seagulls tend to hover about expectantly. They love fish heads and will scavenge what you throw into the water. Nature’s way of cleaning up. Do not leave fish unattended on the boat as it tends to look like an offering.
Have a sharp knife. Have a grinding stone.
To remove the scales I began by leaning over the rail and holding the fish in one hand while I scraped with the other. Whoops. You guessed it. I dropped the fish and it sank to the bottom. I decided after that to use a bucket half filled with seawater to scale the fish. The best lessons are learned on the job. What a waste.
Using a tooth brush to remove the blood down the spine after removing the guts is also easier to do in the bucket.
Turn the grill on earlier than you need to warm up the hot plate.
Use chopsticks to turn the fish.
With mackerel cook well so that the fish meat is easier to pick off the bone.
JACK MACKEREL PREPARATION FOR GRILLING
STYLE: HEAD’S OFF UNO
salt and pepper
- Remove the head by cutting just behind the pectoral fin, see parts of the fish for more.
- Remove the guts by cutting in front of the anal fin forward. Remove guts.
- Use a toothbrush to scrub along the spine of the fish inside, working your way from back to front. This may take 2-3 brushes. Rinse well.
- Remove the back half of the lateral line (spiny ridge along the side of the fish).
- Partially cut the fish just before the tail to make a cut. Cut too far and you cut the tail off so a light cut, but not too light. This takes practice.
Run your knife along under the lateral line to about half way.
- Salt and pepper each side of the fish
- Grill each side until well cooked. Chopsticks are easiest to use.
- Transfer fish to the plate.
- Squeeze lemon juice on the fish.
COOKING AT NIGHT
A light that straps onto your head is ideal for cooking at night.
Your hands are free and you can see what you are doing.
Have spare batteries for the light. LED lights are best.
Salt, pepper, lemon and garlic are all packed.
I have the gas burner and the plate for cooking.
The only thing missing now is the squid.
I have a light to attract the squid and I have the squid hooks. I am ready. I have checked to see about the fishing rod movement to see what seems to be best. The jerk 5-6 times and then hold, then repeat will be a good place to start. And to go shallow. They are after all coming to the light. The fancy squid hooks look like mini double grappling hooks.
Preparation is the key is life, but sometimes the unexpected give life the edge.
I thought I would get the light out of the box and turn it on. I unscrewed the light and pushed the “Key” button.
And then magic….
Wow. Beautiful. I am going to enjoy squid fishing. It feels like Christmas.
Wish me luck!
Destination: Station Bay, Motutapu Island, Auckland, New Zealand
Location: Northeastern coast of Motutapu Island, north of Mullet Bay
Holding: Thick mud bottom
Shelter: Well sheltered from the Westerly winds, but very exposed to East and Northeasterly winds
I had been waiting for this event for a long time. The first overnight stay on board the boat.
Checking the weather for two consecutive days of lovely calm, checking the bays for shelter from the prevailing wind, preparing the boat with provisions. I think that I prepared so much that I made myself a little on the nervous side. Okay a lot nervous.
Worrying about the anchor, whether it would hold, would we be blown out to sea in the middle of the night, never to see land again?
Would we moor too near other boats and cause unrest amongst the cruisers?
Would we be able to sleep? Would we be raided by pirates?
Would we be eaten by mosquitoes?
Ah the imagination went into overdrive and got stuck in gear. The joys of over-thoughtfulness!
The overnighter was anticipated so much I think I exhausted myself! I really was looking forward to this, but I was mindful of all that could have gone wrong.
The weather was perfect.
The water was calm.
The other anchored vessels were amicable.
The anchoring went without a hitch.
I slept well.
The stars were clear and abundant.
I brought dinner and we dined well.
We caught some fish.
We used the white anchor light for the first time.
It was bliss.
There will never be a first night on the boat again. There will be a second night and a third night and many more. But it will never have the build up that this night had.
We were not raided by pirates.
We weren’t blown out to sea.
There were no mosquitoes.
I made sashimi for breakfast. Jack mackerel with shiso leaves, ginger and a splash of soya sauce.
It was perfect.
Next time I will sleep even better. Knowing now what I know I will sleep like a baby.
Using this jig I caught these snapper…
This was my first time to catch a fish using a jig. The rod needed to be moved constantly to mimic fish movement.
If you want to munch on a sandwich while jigging, don’t. Unless you can multitask. I can’t.
The following day I caught nothing on the jig.
I think using the rod like a sparkler and making large lazy eights on the first day helped. I didn’t know what I was doing so I just had fun. A jiggy dance in between. So I think that attracted the fish.
Sparkler eight, a jiggy dance and repeat.
10:27AM local standard time
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND
This is what the solar eclipse revealed, a solar eclipse through cloud cover. Still spectacular but fifteen minutes later and the sun was clear surrounded with blue skies and the occasional dot of cloud.
I read that you shouldn’t look at the sun. That’s like telling a child not to eat the biscuit on the plate that is sitting in front of the child.
Tempting. Could you refuse?
I looked up about how to see the eclipse without hurting my eyes. I came across the eclipse projector.
2 pieces of card
Pierce one card in the centre with a pin.
Stand with your back to the sun during a solar eclipse.
Hold one card in each hand.
Hold the card with the hole closest to the sun and line up the card so that the other card is in shadow.
You should be able to see an image of the eclipse reflected onto the card furthest from the sun.
Two cards held up to the eclipse. You can see the shadow of the serrated edge of the card closest to the sun.
Image of the sun projected onto the card.
Does a solar eclipse help or hinder fishing?
Helps a lot!
The solar eclipse occurs during a new moon which is a great time for fishing. We went out fishing yesterday and had our best catch ever. One day either side of the new moon is supposed to be best. We were also able to view a spectacular thunder and lightening display from the boat looking at the Auckland coastline. Better than Guy Fawkes Day celebrations.We discovered that there was a hail storm when we checked a newspaper online once on dry land. We only got a little rain once we decided to return to shore otherwise we were in bright sunshine and blue skies. Oh and the water was the calmest ever, like floating over maple syrup. I had French toast for brunch so I had maple syrup on my mind. Little wind also. The weather can be so different out to sea and on land. Yesterday I witnessed first hand how visually it was so.