|Great Barrier Island
2 & 3 February 2008
|So, it had been a day of fun at Great Barrier Island– mobbed by 30 pound kingies several times almost within touching distance, missed a tarakihi on a 65 foot dive – loving the warm clear water and wearing my summer 3 mm suit again. My parents were onboard their 43 ft launch with us, so baby-sitting was taken care of. But so far, just one very small snapper speared, and no big ones seen. My father dropped in on Scuba for some scallops and came back with a disappointing haul of 8.
Back at our anchorage we concluded that some fish was required for dinner.
|Just around the corner is a fishy little spot. I must be able to get some butterfish there for dinner in 10 minutes. We steamed around, and in I went with my trusty 8 foot 3-prong, the perfect weapon for reef fish. Several dives in clear water later, and I realised there was not enough current to bring in anything good and not enough swell to rouse the butterfish out of the weed where they were no doubt happily bedding down for a safe night.
I plodded on. In the clear water I could see fish gliding on the sand. Nothing worthwhile, just some porae, undersized trevally, parore, some baitfish. Then, a bigger darker shape cruised along the sand. A giant boarfish. Well, the species is ‘giant boarfish’; this one is average sized. It saw me and scooted ahead – it must have been spooked by divers over the summer already. I followed as it swam on, just at the edge of visibility. After 50 metres, the fish sank into a sand patch and nestled down beside a piece of weed, believing it was safe. It wasn’t.
Boarfish are very good eating and have become more prolific in recent years. Better still, they don’t take a line and there are few nets catching them, so spearo’s are pretty much their only human predators. Just as well, because they are not very smart fish. I thought this as I dropped silently o it from directly above. Down, down, down, waiting for a shot and watching the anal fins twitch as it sensed impending doom. I released the 3-prong about a foot from its head, then dropped on the fish to pin it to the 40 foot bottom, swimming it back up with my fingers in its gills.
A perfect 10 minute dive to end the day.