Shortly after my previous post Northland went into another Covid lockdown. Aidan still managed to get out for a shore dive just as the scallop season started. Aidan also went out and bought his own boat, one that is ideal for his use and the conditions on the Northland east coast. It’s a 14ft Senator 400 Inshore aluminum boat, similar to the hull of a Stabicraft or a Kiwi-Kraft. He named it Pandemonium 😆😎
With the action filled plans he has for it it was likely to be aptly named. He had it out for its first couple of test runs with two of his work mates from Burnsco (NZ’s largest boating, sailing, fishing, motorhome and outdoors gear and accessories retailer). On one of those trips they had the luck to be joined by a Bryde’s whale. As pictured below, the fish finder went a bit crazy with a whale under the boat. In November I also managed to come out with him twice. On the first trip we got into some massive boil-ups of big ocean going kahawai and something bigger chasing them beneath. Likely both kingfish and sharks. We caught a few kahawai & trevally. On the second trip we were specifically after yellowtail kingfish and for that purpose caught some Jack Mackerel to use as live bait. Again we found some big boil-ups, some of them were kahawai, some were blue maomao – a fish that I find is hugely underrated and in fact very versatile. Occasionally we catch them on a line but if we’re spearfishing we can often shoot quite a few if we chose to do so. I mainly use a couple of Norwegian recipes and make fish cakes or a fish gratin. At other times I might bake, fry or smoke them or even use them as raw fish in ceviche. We also saw a huge number of parore (in Australia called luderick, a fish not particularly rated as food fish in NZ). Aidan had brought a brand new pencil stick lure just arrived in stock at Burnsco. It turned out to be brilliant on the kahawai and also had some kingfish following it without taking it. We did however catch two kingfish on the live mackerels. A stunning day along the Whangarei Heads coastline and as it often happens we were joined by dolphins cruising past.
How time has passed does hit me sometimes. That is also reflected on this website, now in its third version. I remember when I lived in Denmark and the world wide web was a new and exciting thing in the mid 1990s. The very first birddog website that I could find back then was that of Jeremy Zellers in Queensland, Australia and his family’s pointer kennel Zelgren. When I came to New Zealand in 1998 I got to know him a bit and through him got in touch with the Victoria old-timer Owen Dawson, pointer kennel Lucknow. I visited Owen and interviewed him in December ’98. Through him I got to know another great Victoria pointer enthusiast called Giuseppe “Joe” Bernardi, kennel Rocca. Through my contact with Jørgen Andersen in Denmark, he wanted to import a pointer pup from the litter Agertoften Kazan x Agertoften Silvia (both dogs that I had reared and trained in Denmark). The choice was between the two pups Agertoften Darwin & Diarmid (pictured below with Jørgen). Unfortunately, it dragged on to get that deal ready & done in Denmark and Joe Bernardi unfortunately later passed away.
Around 1999 I started building the first version of this website and back then it also had more scuba diving content. It was our common passion of scuba diving that brought my wife Hayley and me to the Whangarei area. We had met while travelling and diving around South East Asia. I also worked for a while at the Aquanauts dive shop in Koh Phi Phi, while Hayley did a stint as divemaster on a P & O cruise ship around Vanuatu and New Caledonia. When I first arrived in NZ I did a lot of passionate research about ship wrecks around the coast of New Zealand. Some of the early parts of these pages were about ship wrecks but they would soon give way to my long-time (since childhood) passion of hunting. The wrecks pretty much disappeared from this website and the scenic diving gave way to the hunting and gathering for food. Underwater hunting brilliantly combines the interests of hunting and fishing.
(Picture below from 20 years ago after a crayfish dive at Bream Tail, with an interested Quinn photo bombing.)
Pictured above are some very different style dishes that I enjoy making. My Mussel Mulligatawny with preserved lemon risotto, my lobster bisque (from leftover crayfish shells and legs) and the Norwegian national dish Fårikål. The latter one meaning “mutton in cabbage” is a very straight forward thing to make but very hearty & tasty. What many Norwegians don’t realise is that the dish originated in Denmark but then as “Nedlagd gås i hvidkål” using goose. In the 1800s and even still today mutton would be far easier to get hold of in Norway than goose meat.
Now in the beginning of December Aidan and I had planned to have a week off and go on a little road trip to Kaikoura in the South Island. Since the 7.8 magnitude earthquake happened there in November 2016, shifting some of the seabed out of the water, the gathering of pāua had been prohibited to aid in the recovery of this delicacy. We dived there in early January 2019 and it was already then a huge abundance of them and very large ones. As described in my blog post “Summer Diving” from back then, we still found some good crayfish while we had to leave the pāua alone. On December 1st this year the pāua fisheries has opened up for three months only. Due to the Covid lockdown in Auckland we weren’t able to travel from Northland. That meant we got to have some good kingfish action onboard Pandemonium instead, so no worries.
Lastly, I’d also like to give credit to the different people who have taken some of the photos that now appear as headers on these pages. Obviously, some of them are taken by myself (FTO) but not all of them.
Photos by FTO:
Frontpage: Lapphaugens Moulin on Ocean Beach
What’s Happening: Hayley in Vava’u, Tonga 2005
Breedings Setters Downunder: Wingfield Warrior, Whangarei Heads
Northstream Dogs: Northstream Aragorn in Waikato
More info on Moulin: Moulin on brown quail, Uretiti
English Setters: Moulin on pheasant, Maungatapere
ES in New Zealand: Moulin on brown quail, Tokerau
Photos by Craig Wells:
About Kennel Northstream: FTO on 90 Mile with Moulin & Bella
The dogs behind Moulin: FTO with Moulin duck shooting
Photo by Geir B. Larssen:
Early F-T Photos: FTO at Nordkvaløya with Setpoint Ibis & Giga
Photo by Simon Riera:
More info on Warrior: FTO shooting Cali quail over Warrior, South Island
Photos by Jørgen Andersen:
English Pointers: Agertoften Jalco backing Myrteigens Ola-Per, Norway
Agertoften Pointers: Texas av Frygne & Agertoften Santos, Denmark
Photo by Thore Johansen:
ES in Europe: Falkbergets Rosso flushing ptarmigan covey, Norway
Photo by Emily Spolyar:
American ES: Bitty’s Big Sky Jetson on the North Dakota prairie
Photo by Leon Mortensen:
This last picture from a fishing trip to Moureeses Bay, taken later the same morning as the photo at first light at the top of this post.