An overnight fishing trip...

The Guardian newspaper published the following story on Saturday 10th September 2011:

We took the camper to Tauranga for an overnight fishing trip. Our youngest boy, then six, had only been fishing once but, having glimpsed some of Robson Green's extreme fishing on TV, he had fallen for the idea of casting a line not from the riverbank but from a boat in the deep Pacific. So we booked an overnight trip with Mike, a Scottish-born engineer who had travelled the world before settling on the other side of it, taking novices like us out on his 12m boat to see if they could learn their nibbles from their hooks.

The day was a delight, standing on deck in the warm sunshine, either throwing out lines while the boat bobbed in one spot, or trailing bait behind us as we sped ahead into the Bay of Plenty. Before too long all of us were reeling in our share of tarakihi, snapper or kingfish.

But the real pleasure came as the sun began to set and day turned to evening. Mike steered the boat into the relatively sheltered waters behind Motiti Island, where we anchored for the night. In the small, cosy quarters below deck he gutted, breaded and fried the tarakihi rapidly devoured by two boys usually reluctant to have fish anywhere near their plates. Exhausted from the day at sea, they were ready to get into bed and be rocked to sleep.

Mike, however, knew the best was yet to come. He beckoned us back on to the fishing platform. The sun was long gone now, the ocean apparently black and empty until our skipper turned on the bright deck light. Suddenly the waters were revealed as throbbing with life full of silent, almost translucent jellyfish, swelling and pulsing in an elegant ballet around us.

The show was not over. Mike reached for a rod, gently lowering it into the water, as if stirring a pot then turned off the light. Once our eyes had adjusted, we saw that, though the jellyfish had disappeared from view, the darkness was no longer absolute. Instead, the surface of the water was marked by trails of neon-bright green light: the phosphorescent glow of plankton. The sight was somehow reassuring, like seeing landing lights, ready to guide our craft home.


To read the whole story, written by Jonathan Freedland, go to