No telly - and not much whitebait either

John Carvalho warms his hands at an open fire as wind and rain buffet his whitebait camp near Henley yesterday. Photo: Gregor Richardson
John Carvalho warms his hands at an open fire as wind and rain buffet his whitebait camp near Henley yesterday. Photo: Gregor Richardson
When the whitebait are running, there is very little that will stop keen baiters like John Carvalho from missing it - not even freezing wet and windy weather.

The 71-year-old Mosgiel whitebaiter said the weather could get very unpleasant at his whitebaiting spot on the Taieri, near Henley.

But thanks to a bit of Kiwi ingenuity, he has set up a small temporary camp to protect him from the elements while he looks for ''liquid gold''.

''It would be unpleasant for other people, but I've got a hut made out of tarpaulin and a fireplace, so I don't get cold or wet.

''The only thing I don't have here is a TV, and I don't like TV anyhow.

''It's quite comfortable. I like sitting there, and if you get whitebait, then that's a bonus.''

Mr Carvalho said it was necessary to go baiting every day, because Murphy's Law stated: The day you fail to turn up will be the day the bait runs in the kilos.

''I've only missed one day so far this year, and it was when the whitebait was running a bit.

''I had to go to the hospital for 10 minutes in the afternoon and I missed it [the whitebait run].''

While some baiters netted up to 5kg last weekend around the Taieri and South Otago, Mr Carvalho said he had only managed to pull in 150g.

He said his season had been relatively poor, but all it would take to change that was one good run.

And when it came, he would be ready.

''It's not much good up here yet.

''It'll come. I'll wait until the new moon on September 20 and we'll see what happens then.''

john.lewis@odt.co.nz

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