Whitebait Season Beginning Early Spring
Fishermen and hut owners busy themselves bundling up supplies and materials ready for whitebait season beginning early spring on New Zealand‘s southern west coast. The occupants of around seven huts or dwellings of various styles, shapes and sizes converge on site with their supplies within a few days of each other to prepare for the on coming season.
Everything arrives by air, including fuel to run the generators, materials for repairs and maintenance on buildings and fishing structures, food and staples and of course sufficient beverage.
A very high rain fall and wild seas on an exposed coastline sometimes causes changes to the river mouth and beach that can have an effect on the fishing and the airstrip, being the beach, during the whitebait season.
Last season, damage wasn’t just confined to those parts, there was superficial damage around one of the huts in particular. For example, the water pipes, being the plumbing from the rain water tanks were torn apart at the joints, items stacked nearby were strewn about and electric wiring stripped where two red stags had been fighting during the rut a few months before hand. They were clearly evenly matched and fought aggressively around the yard until they finally locked antlers unable to part, and so died of exhaustion locked together outside the long drop toilet.
Most of us had heard of similar occurrences, but not actually seen it. An old resident fisherman and past meat hunter had come across stags with their antlers caught and tangled in a flax bush on which they had been taking out their aggression. We are mistaken to think nothing much happens in the camp during the off season when no one is there.