Oamaru and Otago Fishing Memories
by Ron Sim
Ron Sim Oamaru’s local chiropractor has been a keen fisherman for almost as long as he can remember. Early fishing used to be from the Oamaru harbour wharf then the harbour was much deeper with regular dredging and coastal Shipping. With the loss of coastal shipping, the harbour gradually silted up and only since after the channel has been dredged has the wharf fishing improved. Here are a few of Ron’s Oamaru and Otago Fishing Memories.
Ron enjoys both sea, river and lake fishing and for part of his holiday has been crewing on a fishing boat over on the West Coast working out of Jacksons Bay.
Ron‘s Father the late Douglas Sim. Also, a chiropractor was a very keen angler and shooter and was a member of the Waitaki Acclimatization Society as it was known for many years.
Doug Sim was an honorary ranger in those days and there are still a few of that era about. Others of that era include Ted Morton a paint shop retailer, Howard Stott was a local accountant, and the late Jack Wray who was a gas works engineer, Eddie Butler was a local GP, James Robertson a photographer and Dan O’Connor the Principal of Otekaike Special School.
In those days these men did a great deal of voluntary work to promote fishing and game. The Taylors of Taylors Lime Works, Weston (Lindsay, Ivan and Alan) all deceased, were men who in their day did a lot of “fishing and hunting” in the rivers, lakes and hills of North Otago, and in the Wanaka area.
Promotion of the area in those days was almost exclusively done on a voluntary basis from the Oamaru area. When the fishing was not going well Doug Sim would check licenses and would often be seen on the rivers with his old trusty brown retriever “Chum.” The old ’39 Chev was almost a four-wheel-drive at times and, as the old timers would recall, the 2nd gear in the old Chevs was a pretty flexible gear on the tracks and riverbeds.
Today, the pressure on the fishing resource is much greater with tourism and the professional guides. This was something almost unheard of until the 1980’s, and the overseas tourist was not present in the numbers we see today.
The trips into the likes of the Hunter and up the Haast in those days was much more of an expedition with rough roads, plenty of dust, and washouts a plenty on the Haast Road. It was a good thing the old Chev V8 had plenty of clearance and could climb through river beds and crossings quite well. Now like everything else, communications have vastly altered the areas which our forbears fished and enjoyed so much. Perhaps more than anything today the access to the sea fishing is now so much better – weather permitting.
Today‘s boats, sounders. G.P.s and much-improved craft have made the ability to cover distances at sea much better and indeed much safer if the rules and advice are heeded.
Hoping some or all of the above Oamaru and Otago Fishing Memories may be of interest. Keep up the good work.