By Sierra, Grade 10 Student
Sierra is on exchange at the Waikato Diocesan School for Girls in New Zealand.
We all woke up early on February 21st, 2020 in Matarangi. We had planned a day trip to catch some fish for dinner. We started by biking down to the corner store to get some bait. We then towed the fishing boat down to the wharf and went on our way. It started off very calm...but then we went through these massive waves to get out to sea. The boat was crashing down after every wave, making my stomach drop.
After we made it through the surf it was time to start fishing. This was my first time fishing so I didn’t really know what to expect. It began with Renee’s dad cutting up all the bait (which smelt so bad) to put on our fishing rods. We put the rods in the water and waited, and waited, and waited. After thirty minutes or so, I got my first bite! It was quite the adrenaline rush… I started winding up the rod, this part was pretty tricky, as the fish was putting up a good fight! After I brought it out of the water we realized it was a snapper!
We were waiting for the other rods to get some bites but the fish seemed to only like my rod, so we decided to try another method of fishing called long-lining. It uses a long line, called the mainline, with baited hooks attached throughout the line. This line is held up by two floating devices. We left that in the water and drove off to get some more fish and scallops. We started off with more fishing. We were at this spot for quite a while because all we had at this point was one snapper, and that was definitely not enough fish for five people! But each catch we got at this spot was under 30cm, which meant you had to let them go free.
We started to make the realization that there was probably a school of baby snapper below us and that we weren’t going to catch anything over the size limit, so we started to pack up to move to a different spot. As I was reeling up my rod, I saw something on the surface of the water, it was pointy, grey, and moving fast… it was a shark. It smelt the bait we had in the water and was circling around us. We really didn’t want to catch a shark on my first fishing trip so we quickly pulled up our rods. Once we left the shark it was time to get some scallops.This task was for someone more experienced than me because you had to put on an oxygen tank and go down to the bottom of the ocean, so we left it to Renee’s dad.
After thirty minutes, he came back up to the surface with twenty scallops. Once he came back on board, Renee drove us to Stingray Bay to have lunch. At first, I was quite alarmed by the name of the bay, but once we got there I didn’t see one stingray. This was one of the prettiest beaches I have been to. The water was turquoise and the sand was so white. We found this really cool tree that was shaped into a cave-like structure.
After we finished eating lunch we went back to the long-line to see if we had caught any fish. As we were pulling up the line I could see the shiny fish reflecting in the water. In total, we pulled up eight fish: three gurnards and five snappers.
After the long day of fishing, we started to make our way back to the sheltered bay that we came from. The wind was really picking up so it was a pretty bumpy ride on the way back and I was starting to feel a little queasy. Suddenly out of the corner of her eye, Renee’s mum spotted a pod of dolphins swimming past us. We quickly turned our boat around to get closer to the dolphins. They came right up beside us and were jumping out of the water. It was almost as if they were having a race with our boat. This was definitely the biggest highlight of the day for me as I have never been so close to that many dolphins before.
Once we stopped driving our boat the dolphins moved along to race with another boat. We made our way through the surf and went back into the bay. After this long day, we were very hungry and ready to eat all of our catches. We started up the barbeque and cooked all of the delicious fish and scallops we caught that day.