I first met Nigel when we were both involved in Hot Air Ballooning in Christchurch. Nigel is a qualified Balloon Pilot and I worked many times as his ground crew and chase vehicle driver. Like my other friends, Nigel has a real attraction for adventure and business. For a few years now, he has run a Motorbike Tour Company out of Christchurch in the South Island of New Zealand. Christchurch in recent years has become infamous for the devastating earthquakes, especially Feb 2011. I was there through it all back then as well but have since moved to the far north of New Zealand. Anyway Nigel rode it out and now has a very successful business that allows people to either hire a bike and take off on their own or join one of his fully organised tours around the picturesque South Island. The thing about the South Island is you get really open roads and amazing scenery as you ride along. But wait theres more Nigel does not hire just your ordinary bikes; he has iconic bikes in mint condition from days gone by. You know the bikes when you were younger you wished you could afford. He covers all the main brands from BMW to Yamaha with a bike to suit any rider. I haven’t been back down to Chch for a while, but when I do, a cruise on one of Nigel’s bikes is at the top of my list.
I guess it is a sign of the type of lifestyle myself and my friends live the fact that this post is about another friend in the tourism industry. Gavin has lived in Ohakune National Park at the base of Mount Tongariro now for 20 years years and was investing in the area 5 years before that. Gavin first started off investing in and building the reputation of one of the older lodges in Ohakune up on the hill. It was King Georges Lodge I think?! Anyway he continued investing in property in the area and notably owned and ran the YMCA in the main street. After a few years and many times having to turn people away due to being full; he purchased what was then Matai Lodge which sat on the adjacent property. This was a perfect fit as it doubled the size of his offering and majorly increased the beds available. He didn’t stop there either; the keen skiers needed to get up the mountain so Gav purchased a few rental cars and also a couple of buses to take people up for their day on the beautiful Tongariro Mountain. This was an ideal lifestyle for Gavin; plenty of happy adventurous people around, lots of parties (often instigated by him) and plenty of work to keep him and his business partner Don busy and moving forward.
Then came the next chapter! Seeking more fun and adventure, they purchased Yeti Kayak Hire and Tours on the Wanganui (Whanganui) River. Yeti Tours offers anything from bare kayak and Canoe rental through to fully guided and catered tours down the beautiful Wanganui River past native New Zealand trees full of birdlife. There are other offering trips on the river; however if you want a true adventure with people that absolutely love what they do; then I would look no further that Yeti Tours.
I have a friend Carl who lives with his wife and daughter in the Bay of Island; specifically they live in Russell. Carl is one of those really good guys, he has a great all round ability to fix and build anything. Anyway the reason I write this post is; I had the chance to go out with Carl fishing, he runs 4 Reel Bay of Islands Fishing Charters! Carl has a lot of history when it comes to fishing – firstly he is without a doubt the uncredited Kayak or Canoe fishing inventor! Well before kayaks came out with rod holders and the sport was even thought of; Carl was going out off the shores of Waiake on the North Shore in Auckland in his canvas covered kayak and bringing back his quota of large snapper. I can remember going down to meet him coming back from his 200 metres off shore jaunt – only to see the kayak looking like a scene from Shallow Hal with the front of the canoe buried in the water and carl almost floating above the water with every stroke. So back to the fishing trip out from Russell; Carl had said the night before – “Here is the challenge, we have to catch our own bait and have a legal Kingfish on board before 8am!” We headed out at 7:15am so that put us 15 minutes late. By 7:25 we were lowering the bait rod and pulling up 6 livies at a time (You need live bait for Kingfish). So after another 10 minutes motoring to one of Carl’s number 2 spots (Carl like to keep his number 1 spots as a back up haha) we baited up and lowered our kingfish rigs into the water. I have to be honest here; I thought there was no way we were going to have a Kingy on board to meet Carl’s challenge. Then the reel screamed into action and I started winding up the fighting fish, it was a nice size snapper. I thought well at least we caught a fish before 8am. It was now 7:50 and the minute hand on my watch seemed to have speed up! Then wham, the rod bent at least twice what it did for the snapper and it was all on. Carl yelled instructions as I slowly played the fish to the boat. Well this is Gods honest truth we had a legal Kingfish on the boat at 7:58am. The funny thing as Carl barely managed a smile, nor did he look smug. It was just another NORMAL day for him. Carl is one of only a few people I know that is living the dream; he really does do for a living what he would be doing anyway in his spare time after a normal days work.
I will leave the comments on for this post and would love to hear your fishing stories, especially if you have been out with 4 Reel or have had a similar challenge set before you departed. Happy fishing!!! I WILL delete spam.