Dawnbreakers at Anatoki

Brianna Govier’s first Anatoki salmon

After checking the multitude of weather apps multiple times, it was a weekend forecast of rain, sunshine, wind and a small fishing window. Together with the daunting prospect of towing the boat over the winding Takaka Hill to Golden Bay, we knew very well the only time it may get wet was with the forecast rain, but we thought, bugger it, let’s just do it! So we set off for Pohara, Golden Bay, where we were to meet up with 50 fishy friends from the Dawnbreakers Fishing Club.

Upon arrival, the sun came out and it was hot! A few other club members had also ventured over the hill that morning with their boats and, with a few hours to spare before everyone else arrived, we agreed (over a cold beverage) that fishing was what we came for and that was what we would do.

Boats unhitched, we all piled in the car and were back on the road with a desire to get some fresh fish on the table that evening. Ten minutes down the road and we arrived at Anatoki Salmon Farm.

Sue Hawkins just singing in the rain

Being the group of keen fishers we are, and being told there was a prize for the first fish of the weekend being caught, everyone was straight into it. You could see the hundreds of salmon just swimming by, only interested when someone cast their hook and sinker into the pond, imitating the ripples and effects of bait pellets being fed to them. They’d take a sneaky swipe at the plastic bait on the hook and then swim away.

Every now and then one would take the pellet, then spit it out again! We thought this was going to be the easiest catch of the season, but not so. After multiple more casts we all heard, “I got one!!”

Chris had hooked the first fish of the weekend.

Now knowing it was not impossible, we kept casting. Suddenly, it was fish on—Cooper, our youngest, hooked his first salmon.

Once he reeled it in and Dad Brent scooped it into the net, we realised he’d gotten the biggest one so far. Off the hook and measured on the board with his club card for competition points, he was keen to get right back and cast in again—Dad not so keen—you’ve got to pay for every fish you catch!

We called it quits and once we’d dragged in the last few stragglers, who just needed “one more bigger one”, the rain came in and it was time to weigh in. Cooper’s fish was the biggest salmon of the day at 1.4kg! A request for Cajun smoke, and then it was filleted and hot smoked by the team at Anatoki. Over a cold drink and ice-cream for the kids we laughed about towing our boats all the way over the hill to end up fishing in the rain at the Salmon farm, but hey, at least someone else was filleting and cleaning up this time!

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