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A sole-destroying revelation

September 2009, and it's the scallop season in Wellington harbour. The weather has been kind enough to push the visibility up to 4m! And the scallops are there if you know where to go, sharing the bottom with the occasional flounder.

The first of these fish I came across had me out with the diving knife, and a quick stab in the fish's head, a lifting of the knife and whoops, departure of aforesaid flounder as he made his escape. Damn! Didn't do that too well. Message to memory, Don't move the knife next time."

It was my lucky day though. There was another one. In fact, it was the largest flounder I had ever seen. Trusty knife in hand, a lunge at the fish's head and successfully skewered the damn thing near the tail. His moving was not part of the programme. However, I'd remembered enough to know that it was not a good idea to pull the knife out and let it swim free.

So, into the scallop catch bag with it. Back on land this flounder looked enormous. It was so thick in fact , say 7cms, that I wondered about taking off fillets. Whoever heard of doing that with flounders. Certainly as heavy or heavier than 2kg fish I've speared. With its head and tail off and cut into portions it was a tasty meal for some of us.

Only later did I find out the NZ Record for flounder is 1.59 kg set way back in 1968. Yeah, I stuffed that option up too! I think I am learning. Now it is back to floundering around the scallop bed to see if that fish has similar sized brothers or sisters.

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