Monday, November 28, 2011

Oh my God! Eating fish is dangerous!

This from the nutters at PETA.

Probably 6.8% of the population will believe this. Another 11% will promote a policy so stop us eating fish!

I know, because they voted for NZ First and The Greens respectively. MUUUUwaahahhahaa.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

6 weeks, 10 dabbling ducks

.. and 1 shoveler for the length of next year's gamebird season. Yesterday was AWF&G's November meeting followed by the AGM. Councilors Reardon and Carey who represent the remotest northern and southern ward of the region pushed for regionalised limits on game birds. Yet again the "too hard" agument came back, but honestly, its not, just requires some database changes and more volunteers. Funnily enough I work with databases. Yup they can be expensive to change and maintain, but not that expensive... so we can do that. The gamebird management group is gathering pace but funding will no doubt slow progress there. But overall it was a reasonably progressive meeting.

For those with short memories and who are prone to yelling about the game birds regs - last year we had a 6 dabbling duck per day 7 week season.

Things are moving slowly, but they are moving.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Replacing the dam & hut chimney - Swamp Working Bee

The old pond dam was put in 13 years ago, with a solid concrete foundation around a 12” pipe with a cut-off valve. So far it’s been the longest lasting dam, taking into consideration the constant threat of willow tree roots and eel digging action. This season the dam finally blew in a reasonably big way, so we knew we had a big job on our hands. Dad rounded up the materials needed to effect repairs, 1.5 tons of builders mix, cement, tongue and groove treated timber. Paul and dad moved the materials down to the hut which in itself was a horse sized job.

Concrete precursors

I arrived at the hut on Saturday morning – dad, Rick, Jason, Tom and Andrew were in residence and we got started. Dad put in a coffer dam to hold back the flow, and then we dropped in another just upstream of the dam. The tide was way out, which helped us immensely with draining the working area.

The old dam
After a quick meeting to work out the scope of work, Tom got started on the chimney. He toiled all day on the roof cutting away the burned out old chimney, seating the new chimney and capping it off.

Andrew planning
Then, we started digging. Digging was the recurring theme of the day.... we had to remove the clay filling to find the cavity causing all our problems. We removed the fill to below the level of the pipe, drove in new boards on the front facing of the dam and removed the short boards at the rear which appeared to be the root cause of the issue.
Jason Excavating

Removing & replacing facings

We removed the spillway and then under Andrew's professional geotech engineering guidance we cut a channel in which to pour concrete. The trenched concrete was to cover both sides of the pipe down to below stream bottom level and for extra strenth we drove boards down into the base of the trench. Rather than boxing the concrete, we elcted to fill the dam completely with concrete so the big mix was on. Concreting took several hours of grunt in itself, joy, joy joy.

Then we set about building "wings" from the dam facing, to reduce water turbulence and cavitation associated. This in itself required another cubic metre of clay for the filling... by now we were pretty stuffed. The boys were pretty much walking wounded. Tom was dehydrated. But the end was in sight.

We finished after 6, the job having taken 10 hours of grunt. The coffer was released and we packed up and headed back to the hut. I dropped Andrew, Jason and Rick at the ramp and headed back for dinner and a sleeeeep.

Man the mosquitos were thick as pig poo that night!

Sunday it was 3 tired blokes who finally hit the floor. To be honest I awoke at 5 am and went upriver at about 6.15 to get the plants that we had to plant out. There were about 20 cabbage trees and 40 or so flaxes. We had breakfast and then planted the new plants around the ponds. Then we pulled the pin and went home.... a big weekend indeed.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Quick post

Took JBFC on her second ever fishing trip last Saturday. We launched not really early enough for a dawnie and ignoring the rangi channel headed straight over to the 15 m mark north of Rangi. Sounded a few good humps for future reference, but not much doing. Moon phase just plain awful, big and bold and hanging in the sky. Decided to head wide and look for birds and ended up NE of the Noises. We started to sound bait schools and snapper marks appeared on the bottom, but the bite was feeble. JBFC caught a spiney dogfish which are really good eating. I saw a big blob on the sounder mid water, dropped a soft plastic, and while setting JBFC's rod up my little 4kg outfit started screaming. there was a huge splash and kerfuffle behind us and I turned in time to see a fin disappear - not a fin but the tail of a thresher shark. 10 minutes of tail thrashing drag burning runs ensued. Another boat stopped for a look and offer of assistance ("we have a net") which I declined (I had a big F off gaff). Finally it was subdued and after a bit of a gawk boatside I cut it free. We drifted around and JBFC caught a nice snapper which we released. Then I got a couple of throw backs as well. Not a work up to be seen either, the gannets in view were simply milling around not doing all that much. We came back in in time for lunch, then I took the boat down to get its warrant. Have to say I'm impressed with JBFC's staying power, no sign of the dreaded "I'm bored lets go home" syndrome!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Wheely rough hub... this has some bearing on The Booger's failed WOF

Ok enough stupid puns. I should've installed Bearing Buddies back when I got the boat. She failed her trailer WOF because of rough left wheel bearings. What happens is that as you drive along the hubs heat up and air expands, so when you back it in to the water the air cools and contracts, and can suck water in through the dust cap over time. And yup, that's what happened. I removed and greased the bearings and went back for a sneak at getting through WOF... but nah, they wanted the bearings replaced. Stink, this was supposed to be my cheap weekend.

Warrant $24
Timken Bearing kit $27
Fuchs Axle Grease $16
Bearing Buddies $30

To be fair there was water in the dust cover and a bit of corrosion in there. I checked the right side wheel and it was fine, so I packed it with grease and put the Bearing Buddy on, no dramas.

The Inner Bearing was pretty stuffed

Seal on, and greased

 Oh well, all done and shouldn't happen too often in the future. Better borrow my neighbour's grease gun and pack the Bearing Buddies out...

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Up North

It was good to catch up with my old buddy Simon after a space of nearly 5 years. Andre unfortunately was on a yacht returning from Fiji so had to miss the trip. I headed up to Whangarei on Sunday morning and arrived at Si's place at about 9. Had a decent chinwag with Si & Denise, then we sorted out a few bits and pieces and went down and hit Stumpy's Bait & Tackle, walking away with 10kg of prime NZ pillies. We headed north to Si's mum's bach at Oakura Bay a lovely part of the world. We planned an afternoon fish around the falling tide, and with Si having a bad back we could spend no more than 4 hours on the water. We launched at Rawhiti, with Si doing the driving.

The Old Man and The Sea... or just the Old Man!

We fished a reef, having sounded it and found it to be alive. Si predicted the bite time and within 5 minutes of his prediction it came alive. We boated fish after fish between 3 and 7kg, but the big one eluded us. I lost something heavy on a massive strike --- Simon just grimaced. Then laughed. Everything about Simon's rigs and methods is simple and as damn near foolproof as can be managed. Snoods instead of knots. Strong hooks. 100lb trace. Nothing is left to chance.

He also caught a pretty big grandaddy hapuka.

It was pretty lumpy so after the bite died (we were now sport fishing, releasing everything) we packed it in and headed home. We got back on dusk and set about cleaning 18 big snaps. We were both pretty sore to be honest, and one of Simon's mates dropped by with some painkillers. We gave him half a dozen cleaned fish and all the heads & frames for smoking. Cleaning them took a while, so it was good to sit down with a beer after that. Soon I hit the hay, quite stuffed after a big day.

Next morning I woke at 6 and got up for a walk down the beach. We cooked some grub and hung around waiting for the shop to open so we could get milk for coffees... we planned the day to be a bit more leisurely. Bite time was 4.15 to 5.30 so we planned our trip, prepared the baits (including salted 'couta from the day before) and made ready for the drive up to the Bay. We launched and decided on some really horrible shitty reefy arseholey territory. We anchored on the mark and then deployed some really stinky burley..... I nailed 2 good fish straight away, and then just on the heat of the bite had the mother of all tangles. SHIIIIT. Simon slowly but surely began to clean up. Then his big rod just bent over and the drag sang... this was a BIG fish. He fought it well and just when he was on top of it the hook pulled. Then the same happened to me. We just shook our heads and carried on. He did manage the biggest fish of the day, a fine male of 8kg.

Just as I pushed the shutter his other rod took off - fish on! The one he was holding ended up in my lap!

We had 15 fish onboard in ice slurry and they were a different class again, nothing less than 6kg... so we hatched a plan to drop fish off to friends, neighbours, for me to bring home 5 (as in about 35kg of fish) and for Si to have some. We got back to Oakura, cleaned up the bach, got ourselves together and drove back to Whangarei. Just as well too as the weather just went seppo, so we got a bit wet. The Booger was full of shit from fish poo, to guts to ground up pillie so a nice bit of rain would keep it from baking on. We unpacked and then I headed back home.

Next day I took the boat to Wash World to clean her, then to testing station for warrant... the trailer failed, but that's another story.

Thanks Si for a great couple of days in Paradise. Its good to be mentored by the best. ;)