I suppose it should be no surprise that profound moments of realisation or understanding are linked to one’s greatest passions, but fishing sure has a knack for inspiring deep contemplations in my noggin.
We were in Gisborne for the holidays – the sun was shining, the gamefish had turned up in the form of bigeye tuna and striped marlin, and the hayfever was rampant. I was landbound and could think of nothing better than heading wide offshore, far beyond the goddamn pollen, in search of those enigmatic pelagic predators. I had responsibilities, however.
I made myself a morning coffee and looked out the window. My toddler was (again) in his birthday suit, chasing my in-laws’ hapless border collie around with the hose. The lambs out the back had grown wary of the regular bombardment of fruit down the bank, and so much fish food had been emptied into the pond that there was a serious risk of eutrophic conditions claiming goldfish lives.
We needed a new activity. It was time to attempt once more to merge my passion with parenting… it was time to take the young man fishing. Unfortunately, shipping a two-and-a-halfyear-old around the continental shelf dropoff in a small trailerboat with a full spread of game lures wasn’t feasible. He had played the role of first mate on the Waitemata Harbour many times, although there was far more interest in ‘driving’ the boat than holding a rod. How would he fare on the wharf, I wondered?
There was only one way to find out. Softbait rods and sabikis were commandeered, and we were away. Upon arrival, toddler expectations were running high.
“I’m gonna catch a big schnappa!” 
“Haha, we’ll try our best mate… but sprats are really cool, too.”
It was not a promising start. Lines lay listless in the outgoing current along the length of the wharf. The snack supply was running out, morale was dwindling, and the dreaded, “I wanna go home,” was surely only moments away. Suddenly, a rod started jiggling.
“We’re on! I’ll hold the rod and you wind it in, young king!”
As a modest yellow-eyed mullet flapped on the weathered wooden planks and celebrations ensued, I found myself feeling incredibly nostalgic. My mind harked back to my first fishing trips with Dad and Grandad on the wharves of the Tauranga Harbour, when a big spotty or small kahawai would become the talking point for the rest of the day. I remembered the little life lessons and quality time spent during those humble fishing adventures. I had come full circle. I was once again excited to catch a sprat.
Nick Jones Editor