Our favourite eating fish Blue Cod
Dolphin swims along side our boat

Marlborough Sounds Seafood Bonanza

Article submitted by Charlie

February 10th, 2008

The best way to explore somewhere new is with a local who knows the area, all the best spots that you won't find in a guidebook or on a map. For our Marlborough Sounds expedition, we were lucky enough to be shown around by resident 'Soundies' Rick and Mac.

Historic Havelock, the gateway to the Pelorus and Keneperu sounds is only an hour from Nelson or 1/2 hour from Blenheim. Today's journey would see us venturing up the Pelorus Sound to the Cook Strait and then back again, our mission: crayfish, blue cod, snapper and scallops!

Shortly into our day we spotted a large flock of gannets, seagulls and petrels circling and diving down to the surface. Too good an opportunity to pass up, we had to go and investigate. To our delight we had stumbled across a massive school of kahawai darting around just below the surface and no sooner had we cast our lines, were we reeling them in. Our detour was really just a bit of sport fishing fun, i.e. catch and release. Wild kahawai are great fun for catching, but our goal was to bring home our favourite eating fish - blue cod. Optimistic about a bountiful day ahead, we carried on up the sounds. Passing a never ending array of water farms, it was easy to see why Havelock is known as the Green Lip mussel capital of the world.

Arriving at the mouth of the Sounds, we dropped anchor in rough sea (as to be expected in the Cook Strait). We got suited up and went diving around the rocks for about 20 mins, returning with a beautiful crayfish.. Heading back into the Sounds and still all kitted up in our diving gear, we pulled into a shallow bay known for it's plentiful supply of scallops. A quick 10 minute dive along the sandy floor and we were hopping back in the boat with a bag of plump juicy shellfish.

With the diving done, we made for our lunch spot which just so happened to be a prime location for catching blue cod. Due to over fishing, the numbers of blue cod in the Marlborough Sounds have dropped considerably, but it didn't take long to catch our quota of this delicious fish, despite releasing a few undersize specimens. In no hazard of being fished out, however, is the maori chief. This spectacular, yet not so tasty fish made it's way on and off our hooks much more frequently.

Unfortunately our "snapper spot" didn't pull through with the goods so we decided to call it a day.. On the scenic drive back towards Havelock, we had some unexpected companions in a pod of friendly dolphins. The group consisted of about 8 large adults and a baby, which to our delight swam right beside us for a perfect photo opportunity.

About five minutes from the Havelock marina, we passed an outcrop of oyster covered rocks so we felt it only right to stop and pick up a few, adding the final touch to our very impressive seafood platter. A day out boating in the Sounds just wouldn't be complete without enjoying a beer at the "Slip Inn" so we did just that before heading back to prepare and eat our ocean delights. Mmmm mmmm kai moana :)

Charlie Evans
Charlie Evans

Charlie Evans is a proud Kiwi who loves to experience all his amazing country has to offer. Having travelled extensively at home and abroad, he currently lives in Sunny Nelson at the Top of the South Island, New Zealand.

Charlie is a co-founder of KiwiWise.co.nz and Technical Director at SunRoom Web Design Nelson.

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