The recent resurgence of Covid-19 in Auckland and the resulting level 3 lockdown there has been a wake-up call for us all and bought back memories of the full level 4 lockdown we all endured earlier this year. March, April and May are prime months for targeting Yellowtail Kingfish in our Bay of Islands waters so there were some very long faces from both Steve and our clients booked and ready for the challenge.
As frustrating as the full lockdown was, it did give keen anglers a chance to undertake tackle maintenance. Trailer boat owners could also take this opportunity to tidy boats and attend to any maintenance they may have put off in favour of getting out fishing. As Earl Grey II is berthed in a marina this was not possible for us during full lockdown so Steve was restricted to dealing with fishing tackle maintenance, and maintain it to an inch of its’ life he did. All reels were stripped down and serviced, and gear sorted ready for when we could get back on the water and after those Kingfish.
But this didn’t fully alleviate the withdrawal symptoms for a skipper born to be out on the seas fishing. You know it is bad when you catch him casting a rod on the lawn. With a sheepish grin Steve explained that he was practicing his flyrod casting skills.
So it was with great relief we came out of level 3 lockdown and anglers could get back aboard their boats and out on the water fishing. Perhaps as much so for the partners of these fishing enthusiasts who had to cope with the caged lion scenario for almost 2 months.
There was hope that, with the recreational fishing fraternity unable to be out fishing during lockdown, perhaps it would give our snapper stocks a chance to rebuild. But a couple of months is a short time in the context of the marine environment. As NIWA recreational fisheries scientist Bruce Hartill says, it takes an adjustment to the annual catch limits for the commercial sector and the daily bag and size limits for the recreational sector to make significant changes in the abundance of our fish stocks.
All seemed well with only the usual winter weather getting in the way of charters when WHAM… another blow as Auckland went back into level 3 lockdown August 12th. Although the Bay of Islands region is in level 2 and we are able to get out on the water, once again we have clients from Auckland and further afield having to reschedule their booking…. at no cost to them of course. It has been a real juggling act for a large part of this year.
So in the interest of positivity, let’s hope we can move on as soon as possible and get everyone out on the water for those much-anticipated fishing excursions.