Saturday, August 23, 2008

Taking the Bait

Whitebaiting, Avon River, Christchurch. August 2008. Ajr.
After prowling around dark car park buildings yesterday, accosting whitebait fishermen on the banks of the Avon River seemed mild and almost decent by comparison. There was a little stumbling embarassment the first time I asked “Do you come here often” – given that I was interviewing for a feature on urban whitebaiters rather than testing my pick-up lines – but we got through that with a coy giggle and moved on to the ins and outs of fishing for these strange, transparent little juvenile fish that are considered by many to be the ultimate delicacy. The whitebait season started last week and while the fishermen aren’t out in their droves yet, I managed to find a few good interview subjects tucked into the weedy cover of the river banks. And like all good fishermen, they came complete with tall stories, fishing yarns and a few good laughs. It was a great way to spend a morning.

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