GONE FISHIN': Dragging the flounder net out of 18 degree water temperature to 16 degree air temperature at Pounawea.
GONE FISHIN': Dragging the flounder net out of 18 degree water temperature to 16 degree air temperature at Pounawea. Contributed

Festive trip to New Zealand brings fun and fishing

WELCOME to 2013 and I hope Santa treated you all well.

While you were all sweltering in high humidity here in the Gladstone region the bride and myself thought we'd slip over to see the in-laws across the ditch and get some relief from the heat.

How wrong I was with temps knocking on 30 degrees in Dunedin, 33 in Queenstown, and 37 in Alexandra with absolutely no humidity and that was on Christmas Day.

Staying at a little seaside village called Pounawea, on the bottom right hand corner of the South Island in a district called the Catlins, fish can be quite adventurous as you have to contend with penguins, New Zealand fur seals and the biggest problem being enormous sea lions which are the size of a small car or a large jet-ski.

Arriving at the family's favourite floundering beach and unrolling the net we were greeted by one of these ground shuddering beasts as it scampered, in its own blubbery way, back into the water, but it left you wondering, where did it go?

Or does it like the taste of an ex-pat Kiwi? Or just how many fish are left in the vicinity given this big fella's size?

Two apparently, and they cooked up nicely.

GONE FISHIN': Hunting and Fishing plus Camping and Tramping store.
GONE FISHIN': Hunting and Fishing plus Camping and Tramping store. Contributed

The Hunting and Fishing shops scattered around the main centres of NZ are certainly a mecca for the outdoors man with vast arrays of lures, line, leaders and other tackle aimed at either catching blue cod, snapper, hapuka (groper) or bill fish.

The west coast of the South Island is known for its southern blue fin and yellow fin tuna but the same gear is used.

These shops also have an arsenal of hunting gear, from air rifles to the large calibre hunting rifles and also hunting bows.

There are many things to hunt from pigs, to deer, to Thar, and Chamois, all of which have been introduced a couple of centuries ago for hunting and now have populations which have become a problem.

They also have your own personal scallop dredges, which you can tow behind your boat.

Across this side of the ditch we are blessed with a variety of fishing from the light stuff being whiting, flathead, grunter, through to medium which includes the reds, sweeties, and coral trout right through to the big fellas being billfish, spanish mackerel and big cobia.

Before Christmas a very good mate of mine, namely the world famous Johnny Mitchell, dropped in a few crays as a treat for us to eat.

Painted crays and rock lobster are abundant throughout this region and the spearfishermen usually grab one or two as an added bonus for the table that night.

I have to say these were totally awesome both being cooked in a different way.

One was cut in half but left in its tail shell then marinated in a little oil, garlic, sweet chilli and then cooked shell down on the griddle basting it with a dash of lime juice just as it finished. Yum.

The other was shelled and cut into medallions then rolled in a melted garlic butter mix then roiled in Panko crumbs which you can buy at the Goondoon Street Asian supermarket.

They were then shallow fried in canola oil until golden and rested.

This weekend will see the biggest tide of the year I think about 9am Saturday and coupled with the new moon phase fishing in this region won't get any better.

The wind should be around the 10-knot mark and the sea about a metre if that.

Sunday I'm planning a trip out the front.

Take your mask and snorkel with you, because I reckon you might want to jump over the side to cool off.

GONE FISHIN': Scallop dredge for towing behind your boat in New Zealand.
GONE FISHIN': Scallop dredge for towing behind your boat in New Zealand. Contributed