FishJet: A fantastic eco-adventure in Te Anau, New Zealand

April 23, 2013 in Inspiration

Family Travel New Zealand

If you ever find yourself in Te Anau, on the western edge of fjordland, on the South Island on New Zealand, may I recommend that you take a day to go fishing?

Mark and Christine, the lovely owners of FishJet took Tony and Gabe for a morning of drift fishing on the Waiau River. It was the perfect birthday gift for our boat loving boy, to spend a misty morning sliding across water as clear as glass in his very first jet boat.

We crossed our fingers as the guys took off and spent our morning picking blackberries on the river’s edge, fishing from the shore and listening for the roar of the engine when they’d fire it up to reposition their drift. Christine and I stood and talked for a long while about their family business, the love her husband and sons have for the river and how she hopes very much to grow their one of a kind in New Zealand business into something of a legacy for her family and show visitors some of the best of the small town, small group adventures in the area. I love her passion and her enthusiasm for her family and for her corner of the world. These are just the sort of people who are best suited to guiding, controlling group size and environmental impact as they go, because it’s not just their business, it’s their backyard as well.

They do drift fishing on the fast moving river and the jet boat allows them to maneuver more carefully than a propellored boat would. Most of the time is spent in perfect silence, listening to the birds and watching the surface of the water for fish zipping below the surface. There are tons of trout in the Waiau River, approximately 600 per kilometer, according to the official wildlife count. It makes for exciting fishing!

Mark has a strict catch and release policy and I was really impressed by the lengths they go to to limit the trauma to the fish, from special gloves while handling the fish to mats that they lay them on while removing the hooks to minimize any damage. Only fish that are harmed during the catch are kept for food, this helps to ensure that the population will remain strong for generations to come.

Family Travel New Zealand

The fishermen returned, victorious, with three trout having come aboard and one injured to the point of becoming dinner: a beautiful 3 lb rainbow trout that Tony had pulled in.  Gabe was grinning from ear to ear, in spite of the fact that he’d done all the “fishing” but his Dad did all the “catching.”