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For fyke's sake!

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Post Options Post Options   Likes (10) Likes(10)   Quote The Tamure Kid Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: For fyke's sake!
    Posted: 02 Aug 2021 at 10:46pm
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Titanium
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The highlight of the recent school holidays for my boys was our first try at eel netting on a family farm in Northland. After my 7-year-old fishing mad boy had spent hours trying to catch an eel on a hand line in summer when I was back at work, his auntie thoughtfully gave him a fyke net as a surprise gift - hoping that might reward his patience and determination.

Our winter trip up to the farm was our first chance to try it. Having zero knowledge of, or experience with, that kind of net, I did the obligatory YouTube search and found a video of someone using a fyke in the Wairarapa. Very helpful.

It had bucketed down like a typical Northland winter, flooding the stream that runs through the farm. So the next afternoon saw us beside a swollen, chocolate-milk coloured drain running from a swamp to the main creek - with me in my old neoprene fly fishing waders putting a chunk of rump steak into the end of the net, and attaching the net and also a plastic berley basket with a roast chicken frame in it (for extra luck!) to an electric fence standard.

Next morning the boys sprinted across the paddock in gumboots and wet weather gear to - beyond all expectations on my part - find seven eels wriggling in the end nearest the meat. What excitement and fun for the boys as they wrestled the eels and released them into the drain. And the wily elderly retired farm dog got a surprise breakfast of steak amid the excitement, when I had my back turned.

We all knew what we'd be doing late that afternoon. For our second attempt we chose a different side creek entering the now dropping main stream. It looked promising when I decided to slightly re-position the net five minutes after I set it, and there was already one eel inside. The next morning saw me struggling to haul out a net bulging with an astounding 21 eels - including some very sizeable ones. Again, they were released out of the open end and quickly slithered towards the water and down the bank to the creek amid shrieks from the boys about slime and instructions to "come back here, eel!".

I can report that absolutely no eels were harmed in the making of those indelible memories for our two boys.

Partly because I'm dubious about the eating quality of eels from that kind of muddy farm creek, and also because I have no clue about how to process them (soaking in water, then skinning, I've since heard). And I didn't have a smoker to hand.

But I'd recommend eel netting as one of the cheapest and most enjoyable rural pastimes for Kiwi kids who like the outdoors (and mums and dads too!).








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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote smudge Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Aug 2021 at 5:54am
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Nice, I had great fun as a kid catching eels. You're right about the taste though. In that water they will taste like mud.
Best gurnard fisherman in my street
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Alan L Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Aug 2021 at 7:17am
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Great that you released them anyway. They are special creatures that deserve some protection. Their life cycle is amazing.
Sounds like good fun for the kids. And by releasing them you have an endless supply.
Alan
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Muppet Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Aug 2021 at 7:49am
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Haha great fun

I have fond memories of headless eels squirming in my grandads bath tub before being fried in butter šŸ˜‚
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Steps Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Aug 2021 at 8:13am
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Cool story , brings back lots memories.

We used to put them in a 1/3 drum for 24hrs. Feed them bread. And pulling out a couple buckets water , pour new in with a lot of water disturbance (oxygen according to our grandfather.) 4 or 5 times in that period.


Cook made a fire, get a good bed of embers going.
 Gut and wash any slime off the eels, then roll in wet newspaper, put in the embers.
Cant rem how long, Couple outside paper layers had burnt off.
 Unroll the eel, the skin stuck to the newspaper, ended up with this beautiful white length of meat near falling off the bones.

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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote v8-coupe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Aug 2021 at 8:16am
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Have caught and released a few.
However never processed them.
All pre done by the rallies. Smile
I remember reading somewhere or someone telling me you have to be a little careful when dealing with them as their blood can be toxic. Confused
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote bazza Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Aug 2021 at 8:35am
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As Alan rightly says ... our eels in NZ have an amazing life cycle & are far from the slimy revolting creatures many consider them to be.

Having sparked your youngsters interest it would be an ideal time  to expand their knowledge ( as well as your own perhaps ) & hand it on to them ... reckon you would have a captive audience.

I am no expert but as I know it :-

NZ has the largest eels in the world ... mainly two species namely the
long fin & short fin one of which can be found in NZ not sure which one. 

They can be trained to interact with humans by regularly feeding them until until they will eat out of your hand. I recently witnessed an eel & a golden retriever playing together & apparently it was a regular event when they would both arrive at the same time each day. Sadly it no longer happens as presumably someone has caught the eel.

They can travel a fair distance at night after rain over land ... hence why they can often be found in isolated ponds & waterways.

At a certain age ( think about 4 or 5 ) they are ready to spawn so leave en masse for Tonga & on the way a lot of the males turn into females & carry fertile eggs.

On reaching Tonga the adults release their fertile eggs then one by one die as the eggs develop into tiny creatures known as grasslings.

Now for the really amazing part ... these tiny creatures find their way back to NZ via ocean currents. 

The really large eels in NZ are barren females that have fattened up repeatedly for the impending trip to Tonga but being barren stay at home. 
"If women are so bloody perfect at multitasking, How come they can't have a headache and sex at the same time?"
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Marligator Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Aug 2021 at 8:57am
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That is awesome, it brings back fond memories for me, I used to do commercial eeling in school holidays when I was at secondary school, even had my own commercial license.

If it is a muddy creek one way to get the muddy flavor out of the eels dad used to do was put them in a cow trough for a couple of weeks and they would clean out. Occasionally they would climb out of the trough ad escape but most times they just stayed in there. 
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Alan L Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Aug 2021 at 10:51am
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Bazza, I think their sexual maturity does not begin til 30-40 yrs. They are long lived creatures - some they reckon have made 100 yrs.
Basically they will stay resident in that creek for decades before wanting to breed.
There is a stream running thru the Mt Bruce wildlife park and it has eels. They feed them at 3pm each day - mainly with the pests they trap - rats/stoats etc.
They ring a bell at 3pm. 
But the eels start congregating at around 2.45 every day. They come from kms along the stream every day.
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote bazza Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Aug 2021 at 12:57pm
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Must say your young uns are pretty adventurous in being quite comfortable handling eels ... doubt many their age would ... or a lot of adults for that matter.

Must confess that I am not totally at ease  when cleaning a trout at the rivers' & suddenly notice a huge black eel is nibling at it not far away from your hand.
"If women are so bloody perfect at multitasking, How come they can't have a headache and sex at the same time?"
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Reel Deal Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Aug 2021 at 12:59pm
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I understand that they return to the creek they left and that they are tribal. If you get one from one area and drop it into a different creek in a different area they are canabalised. Very territorial. Been told always take back to where Iā€™d found them when catching as a boy. 
The gods do not subtract from the allotted span of men's lives the hours spent on fishing - Assyrian Proverb
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote smudge Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Aug 2021 at 1:49pm
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We get both long fin and short fin eels in NZ. It is the long fin that get to huge sizes
Best gurnard fisherman in my street
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (4) Likes(4)   Quote MB Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Aug 2021 at 2:34pm
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This is how we do it.


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Reminds me of a old girlfriend.told me to keep my hands to myself.Heck I hadnt enter the creek yet.I saw the eel and thought ,Nah let it give her a fright. Forty yrs on and we stll laugh about it.
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote MATTOO Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Aug 2021 at 5:34pm
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What a great family outcome.
Memories golden in experience.
Well done in getting the right result.

I've done a few experiences, don't like eating them.
We used to hunt them in the whau, upper waitemata.
But when the tide was out and delving into the holes, it was always the dare you formula.

Oh the days off youth and experiences.
Just cruising in my now sweetas pimped out Southern 755 HT0!
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (1) Likes(1)   Quote Alan L Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Aug 2021 at 5:53pm
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I can remember biking home thru town with them hanging from my handlebars. A length of green cord string on a stick and a hook and some red meat and that was the w/end sorted.
Had some neighbours that valued them.
And the rabbits I shot with my air rifle. Again biking thru town with rabbits and rifle. I must have been about 12 yrs old.
Those were the days. Today the town would be locked down and the AOS would be hunting me down with assault rifles and balaclavas.
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote krow Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Aug 2021 at 7:23pm
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Great read and yes memories came back too and no doubt your young ones will have these locked in now too. Special laugh about the steak. LOL 
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote The Tamure Kid Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Aug 2021 at 7:44pm
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Originally posted by MB MB wrote:

This is how we do it.



Nice one, MB. I enjoyed that. First, catch your snapper...

As with my boys, a fantastic experience for your lad. Endless fascination. Simple, yet so rewarding. In summer, I might try that with my boys in the farm creek. THanks for posting.

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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote The Tamure Kid Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Aug 2021 at 7:48pm
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Originally posted by bazza bazza wrote:


As Alan rightly says ... our eels in NZ have an amazing life cycle & are far from the slimy revolting creatures many consider them to be.

Having sparked your youngsters interest it would be an ideal time  to expand their knowledge ( as well as your own perhaps ) & hand it on to them ... reckon you would have a captive audience.

...

Thanks for the comments Bazza. My older boy wrote a story in his primary school writing book (not something he particularly enjoys, but the experience inspired him), and I'll definitely tell them about the amazing migrations you guys have mentioned.
We can look it up online and read together.

Strangely, given it's not far from the east coast of Northland, the stream drains west and eventually the water runs through other big rivers into the Kaipara. 
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote The Tamure Kid Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Aug 2021 at 7:50pm
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I'm glad my wee story has prompted memories for so many of you. I've enjoyed reading the comments.

Obviously most of us have a love of the outdoors, and fishing in particular - so I'm not surprised it's something a lot of you have done in childhood.
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