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Whitebait evade hungry punters

Troy Henderson out whitebaiting near Onoke Spit on Sunday. PHOTO/ CAL ROBERTS

Cal Roberts
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Keen fishers hoping to catch whitebait for lunch at Lake Onoke had to tighten their belts instead on Sunday, as the season got off to a slow start over the weekend.

Troy Henderson, trying his luck near Onoke Spit on Sunday morning, said the prospects of whitebait for lunch were “not good”.

“We’re catching one whitebait on average every 15 minutes.”
He had made the nearly two-hour trip from Kapiti, arriving to set up on the shore near Lake Ferry Motel around 6.30am.

After about five hours, he was being practical about what to eat.

“We might have enough for half a fritter by lunchtime.”

Further down the shore, Sam Pepper was waiting patiently by his net.

He had come from Featherston in hopes of getting a jump on the season.

“This is our first time out so we’re just trying to assess the situation — it’s trial and error really.”

As noon drew closer, punters started to covet their neighbours’ respective spots.

“Those ones seem to be doing a lot of fluffing around, whereas the lady over there seems to be quite knowledgeable,” said a fisher who did not want to be named.

“But we’re just out enjoying the weather.”

A man waiting in his truck for his wife to return with some food said while the grass might be greener on the other side, too much blue water meant fewer whitebait near the shore.

“She hasn’t got much in her today.”

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