Saturday, 23 August 2014

A Tourist in Takaka

Well, when in Takaka do as the tourists do. Go salmon fishing. Go salmon fishing because it probably the only chance of catching a fish at the moment.

OK, to be fair, it is winter and every person my beloved speaks to says there’s no fish out there until the spring; “the snapper haven’t arrived yet”. Well, no fish unless you go at least 5kms out into the bay & there’s no way he’s going out that far in our little rubber boat that contains a lot of hot air!

So it was off to Anatoki Salmon to catch dinner......and lunch......and  h'orderves........& dinner again....

This is a switched on operation, not only do they supply salmon around New Zealand to restaurants, supermarkets & Kiwi homes through on-line sales, they have an another feather in their business cap, a large pond stocked with salmon for tourists & locals who might like to try their hand at fishing and catch a fish for lunch or dinner. Something most people would never have a chance to do and it's free. Yeah right. Until you catch a fish that is.

We walked around the pond and the breeding pens first, each pen (covered with shade cloth to protect the fish from shags, kingfisher & the sun) holds tens of thousands of salmon. From the first pen with over 40,000 fry in it to the last one that has about 8,000 salmon ready to be harvested. It’s a 3 year cycle from hatching to dispatching.

At first, David wanted to “catch & release”, but unfortunately for him & the fish that wasn’t an option. “Just think of the fresh fish we can eat” I told him. He wasn’t impressed.

But with a bit of persuasion and the irresistible call of the rod,  I managed to get him to go fish. It was a no win situation for the poor fish. The bait on the end of the hook looked very similar to the fish pellets they are fed daily. Like lambs to the slaughter.

Two good sized fish were caught. They did say to come and get some real pellets ($2) if we had no luck after 15 minutes. "C'mon guys you're talking to a real fisherman here", no pellets necessary- the first landed within 5 minutes, the second about 10 minutes later.

For someone who didn't want to catch and keep a fish he looked pretty pleased with himself!

We (the royal we) would have liked to have continued fishing but at $21 kilo per fish caught (average 1.5 kilo each) we couldn’t be greedy.

Another guy joined us in the fishing contest, he had pellets, & he caught one within a few minutes. It was his lunch hour so we gave him the benefit of the doubt. He was a meter reader(electricity) and told us this was the first time he had done this. Yeah right…..

We carted our catch to the preparation station to have it expertly filleted and then sliced, diced & smoked to our specifications while we waited. And while we waited we spent some more; coffee, salmon bites & ciabatta. Talk about coals to Newcastle! But hey, you only live once.

We’ll be eating salmon for the next few days; sashimi-ed, fresh fillet & smoked with two different flavours.

YUM…... and you know what? We’ll be passing by this way on our way back over the “hill” and we might just have to take a slight detour….


  1. Yup, lambs to the slaughter, I'm with David, the call of the wild uns is much more gratifying and taste better too. Ciao J

    1. Maybe Jimu, but after that first initial "mud taste", these ones just slid down and quickly disappeared! :)


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