While many fishermen in our area have never seen or even heard of a Butterfish, or “Greenbone” as they are sometimes called, they are a popular eating fish in the more southern parts of the country, as are Blue Moki.
So there’s certainly nothing wrong with a Butter or Moki for dinner when you’re starting out spearfishing and splashing around scaring off most of the other fish in the ocean. Even when being noisy and clumsy, as most of us are when we first start, these fish are relatively easy to find and shoot as they don’t tend to flee when approached.
But after you’ve got the hang of Butters and Moki, you’re keen to improve your spearfishing and move on to more challenging species. Two that are particularly tasty – and challenging in their own way – are Snapper and Terakihi (or Snaps and Turks as the pros say.)
I remember when I first saw some of our more proficient spearo’s bringing in these fish that I had always thought could only be caught with a rod and reel, I wondered “How did they do it? I didn’t even see those fish when I was swimming around!” Did they have secret spots only they knew about? Or were they able to hold their breath for long periods of time and go to great depths? So many questions…..
But as I spent more time in the water and sought advice from those more experienced, it became clear that neither of the above was the answer. As with any sport there’s no substitute for match time, and with ours, that means being in the water, learning to identify the different area’s most likely to have the fish you are after and then perfecting the techniques required for that particular species. Most of my Snapper are speared in 2 to 6 metres of water and Terakihi can be found in as little as 10 metres. Many people don’t under-stand why we spend hours swimming around to maybe only get two or three fish, but the satisfaction of spearing the likes of a Snapper or Terakihi with not much more than the air in your lungs and some cunning is hard to describe.
So the next time you’re on the trail of some Butters or lining up a Blue Moki, consider spending your time honing your skills by looking for something more challenging. Believe me, your bragging rights go way up with your fellow spearo’s when you return with a Snap or Turk.