Ok picture this…
3 kids, 1 partner, fishing off the back of the boat, suddenly someone catches a fish, where is the net Viki?!? Where shall I put the fish!? fish flipping all over the deck, knocks over the hook container, hooks everywhere with bare footed children, partner needs a cloth to hold the fish in while he attempts to unhook the fish, fish slips, more flipping, blood & scales everywhere, need to measure the fish to see if it is legal to keep or not, can’t find the measurer, narrowly avoid stepping on an escaped hook, me all tangled up in fishing line, eventually find a bucket to put the fish in. Its legal – great! Now where is the filleting knife? Can I use the kitchen chopping board? “I’ve caught another one!!!” Arraaaagghh!
Yes that was us on our summer holidays on board Wildwood in Marlborough last year. Sounds relaxing and fun doesn’t it…?!?! Don’t get me wrong, I am more than happy to dangle a rod in the water with one hand, beer in the other, and then I am even happier to eat freshly caught fish for dinner. It is just the bit in the middle that I have trouble with. So much so that my when I bought my poor son Seth a fishing rod for Christmas when he was 4, I cruelly put a cork on the end for bait while he fished so that I wouldn’t have to either (a) spend the rest of the day in hospital getting a fish hook removed from either his or my eye lid and (b) so that I wouldn’t have to deal with any fish he caught. It was just him and I cruising alone in Akaroa so I didn’t have any handy fisher people to assist should we have caught something.
Sorry about that Seth. I feel really bad now about this.
I am happy to say that I have moved on from that person, and I can now bait hooks, and even take fish off, but I still get a bit sad when they have to be killed and I am not really up to filleting yet, although I am a mean scallop shucker!
So given that the kids are so keen on fishing, and that I’d spent what felt like the last 10 weeks in a row prior to our holiday sanding and painting the cockpit, and hence was reluctant to have it covered in blood and fish scales – I invented an amazing and revolutionary fishing accessory!
“The Fish Bin System”
It is fair to say that many of our friends looked very jealous and envious of this incredible creation and I can feel that you my dear readers are all sitting on the edge of your seats just waiting in anticipation to find out “How you too can catch delicious fish for your dinner without messing up your boat!” Just like my stunning model Andrew has done here.
So the key to the fish bin system is its amazing two parts…
First of all, head down to your nearest hardware store and buy yourself two decent sized plastic boxes that stack inside one another. While you are there, look for a chopping board that fits inside the bottom of your bin.
Then head along to your local fishing regulation place and see if they have any free measuring stickers or fish identification charts. New Zealand has very strict fishing regulations, so you need to firstly know what it is that you have caught and secondly know the size and limit on how many you are allowed to catch. You can check out the rules online or as I mentioned before, get a handy sticker with a measurer, allowed sizes, and pictures of the fish on there. Handy! Stick the measuring sticker in the bottom of one of the plastic boxes.
“But wait there’s more!”
When you get home, dig out all the various bits and bobs of fishing related things, hooks, sinkers, filleting knives, line, etc etc and put them in the other plastic box. Then you just stack them, the one with all the stuff inside the one with the sticker and chopping board in there.
Voila! It is all ready to go.
All your fishing stuff in a neat container, and conveniently stacked inside the fish bin – where your fish can easily be deposited following capture, enabling them to be easily measured, and then filleted using the dedicated fishy chopping board!
See how I have very nerdily labelled the cloths in the system with ‘FISH’ quite clearly, so no one mistakes them for a dish or face cloth – eew. Also the chopping board which is sadly missing from the picture has a picture of a fish on there, so the smelly fish board does not get mistaken for one to slice up fruit on or something…
“Send no money now!!”
No more blood and scales on the deck, no more ferreting around in cupboards looking for the hooks & sinkers, no more kids using your favourite facecloth to hold fish in while they remove the hooks, no more searching for a bucket or a measurer – everything is all nicely together!
So now you are all organised and ready to fish and to catch lots of delicious tasty things to eat for your dinner. Just like we did here. Notice the fish bin system pops up in a few of the pics!
This article featured in the Cruising Helmsman Magazine in February 2016
Happy fishing everyone!