The sunburn I managed to get on my shoulders aside, it was a great day out.
I've never been anti-fishing but I've discovered that what makes the experience absolutely fantastic is:
- Having all the right equipment.
- Going with somebody who knows what they're doing.
Baiting the hook I'm fine with.
Casting or releasing the line - in the case of weighted-line fishing, which this was - again, completely fine.
Reeling the fish in and using a cloth to grasp it when taking it off the hook so its spines don't stab you in the hand**, no problemo.
Killing the fish and turning it from entire creature into edible chunks, errr...
It isn't that I have a moral objection to killing the fish.
As an omnivore, I believe that any animals within the normally accepted 'edible' subcategory' raised and killed humanely are fair and delicious game.
I've just not been taught how to do it and have no practice and wouldn't want to bodge it up and cause the fish distress.
But the guy who took us out on his boat not only had good quality fishing rods, a suitable vessel, and built-in chopping boards and knives set up for cutting up your appropriate bait; he also swiftly and efficiently dispatched our fishy bounty and then skillfully turned them into fillets on the spot!
With all the equipment provided being of proper quality and suitable to the task everything runs a lot more smoothly than if you - as a casual fisherwoman - try and get the same results with a kit you've bodged together without quite knowing what you're up to or wanting to spend too much money in case it turns out that you're rubbish at fishing.
Without having to worry about inept or accidentally cruel fish execution, the 5 hour jaunt was one of the most relaxing and enjoyable afternoons I've spent in a while.
I think between the four of us we reeled in about 40 fish.
We only got to keep about 16 as the others didn't meet legal size requirements but that's OK.
There's only so much fish you can eat and as most of the fun is reeling them in, it was no hardship to throw the lucky tiddlers back to try again.
And apart from the fact fishing is a lot of fun, and that the sun on the waves*** and the light breeze and the scent of salt on the air were wonderfully soothing, when we did get our bag of ice and neatly sliced fillets home, the fish was delicious.
So moist and tender and fresh and full of flavour!
Just a touch of lemon and pepper and it was one of the most amazing things I've ever eaten.
At some point in the future I intend to go fishing again.
And for maximum fish and fun, it'll be with someone who knows what they're doing.
*One of which was taking an overnight flight, getting into Auckland at 5:20am and then waiting until the sun came up to get the bus to the ferry terminal because I didn't want to be found at dawn bobbing up and down in the water like a crime drama cadaver.
**They were predominantly snapper.
***And on my stupid shoulders which I kept forgetting every time I reapplied sunscreen to my arms.