What is it to be a fisherman? For many, it is a lifestyle that consumes us. It takes up our free time, drives the food we eat, and provides a platform for enjoying the outdoors. Often, it is a way of life passed down from older generations that becomes embedded into our psyche from a young age.
From a non-fisherman’s perspective, it can look barbaric and akin to a selfish trophy hunt when they see a picture of a smiling angler celebrating the capture or death of a fish. What images do not portray, however, are the sacrifices, time, dedication, and preparation that we put in to achieve our goals. Many do not see the long-harboured dreams, hours of driving, and years of failure behind the picture.
What angling dedication develops in us over time is an immense passion and respect for the fish we are trying to catch – such feelings can be felt from catching our first small fish as a kid from the local wharf all the way to capturing a gladiator of the ocean miles beyond the sight of land. This connection also filters through to the process followed that ensures we put the highest quality food on our own table or those of friends and family who may not have the opportunity to gather for themselves.
When we target a fish, catch it, look after it, break it down, and prepare it ourselves, we feel a sense of primal and completely natural satisfaction because we have the closest connection possible to the food we have worked so hard to enjoy. In turn, the process and the result become part of our lifestyle, and we have a vested interest in the sustainability of our ocean resources so we can share this lifestyle with future generations.
his Campaign, THE SWORD PLOTTER, documents a broadbill swordfish caught on the Hauraki Express with close JAF friends George Bourke, Mitch Bunting and Aaron Styles. It was a 48-hour mission from the centre of Auckland city to the outer banks behind Great Barrier Island. After voyaging 90 nautical miles and fishing for 20 continuous hours without any action, the fish was hooked just before daybreak and landed after a fight of an hour and a half. The sword was iced down after capture and treated with the utmost respect as it was gutted, gilled and scrubbed before being delivered to our friends at the Kai Ika Project. The Kai Iki Project broke the fish down with care and made sure the frame and head were smoked and turned into nutritious meals for people in need. The Crew were very proud of their achievement – the photos are a representation of the journey, dedication, and connection they had with this remarkable fish and a reminder of why they live the lifestyle they do.