Backtracking slightly, the blog post from Saturday 18th explained the fact that it was Roy’s 70th birthday and the resulting celebrations.  What we neglected to state was that the birthday got off to rather an early start.  As some of you will know, Roy is an early riser (and I am not!), and on Saturday morning someone came knocking in the door at 5.30am, I must add here that they saw the lights on in the front of the van  so they knew someone was up.  The chaps are Friday night regular campers who come to set a net in the bay now that the set net ban is over.  They arrived at our door on Saturday morning with a sack and said, “here’s a kahawai for you”.  Roy thanked them, and put the sack in a bucket out of the way to deal with later in the morning once daylight arrived.

On opening the sack we got one helluva surprise, no there was not just one fish, but six!  They were quickly cleaned up, and the fillets removed.  We took 6 of the fillets with us to share with  Steve and Leslie, the other 6 fillets we dealt with on our return on Sunday.   We hot smoked them as we prefer this particular  fish smoked.   As well, on our return to the van, we were greeted with another wee gift, there on the step was some chocolates left  from some other campers we had in over the previous few days.  All of theses campers had no idea that it was Roy’s birthday which, was even nicer.  And it was not to end.

Just as we were taking the fish out of the smoker on Sunday evening, Bruce the friendly Ranger arrived with a gift of freshly caught crayfish! Nice!  Crayfish for dinner it was to be.  We gave some of the smoked fish fillets to a couple of young tourists to try and the rest I made into a couple of fish pies one of which made its way to the freezer for later consumption, and the remainder was made into smoked fish pâté. 

Tuesday we decided to put out our net out to see if we could catch anything.  We had tried the the previous week but that resulted in a zero catch however this time we thought an overnight netting may be more fruitful.  So the net was set, with plans to pick it up again at 6am on the outgoing tide.  We retired for the evening, and we were just drifting off to sleep when Roy said “whoops, I’ve made a  miscalculation, the net needs to be picked up at 2am not 6am!” You are supposed to clear the net of fish whilst it is still covered with water so that any undersized fish can safely be returned to the sea (which shouldn’t be a problem as our net mesh size means that small fish can easily escape). 


5 kahawai were caught overnight with one of them being a good 75cm in length.  They were all filleted and smoked, with half the fish given away to the Rangers to share between them, and the rest we vacuum packed into the freezer.

The net was reset with a mid afternoon pickup time scheduled. And yes, we checked and rechecked  then checked again the times to make sure we had it right this time.  As we were heading off to pick up the net, a family who were in staying in the camp asked if they could come and watch the retrieval process.  As an aside, this is another large family consisting of  8 children ranging in age from 3 to 18, with just 6 of the children camping on this trip as the eldest two have apprenticeships and are working.  All the children are home schooled, and I must say they are without doubt most pleasant, polite, bright and articulate young people.  Back to the fishing, they all came along to help pull in the net and retrieve the fish, they were interested and curious about how it all workedand were most helpful. They asked if they could come and watch Roy fillet the fish.  This resulted in a lesson on fish anatomy with the workings of the fish explained, from its internal organs to the gills to the different functions of the various fins and how fish eyes are different to ours.  We sent them home with a large container of freshly smoked fish for their dinner, and an hour or so later, we were rewarded with some lovely warm, freshly baked chocolate brownies.  

There was just one more day of putting out the net, this time the catch was 3 good sized Parore and one very large stingray.  The latter made a right tangle of the net and had to be cut out to be set free.  The net is now off to be professionally repaired but that’s another story.


2 Responses to “Fish ”

  1. liz Burrett Says:

    Fish were biting. How about a recipe for fish pie please Bernice. Happy 70 birthday years Roy. Looking very fit and healthy. Liz

  2. Alex Says:

    You’re looking good dad!! xx

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