Kids, not so long ago, you could fish off Auckland Point wharf. In fact, you could even drive on it.
No, I am not making this up!
Honestly, it was open to anyone who wanted to wet a line, or three, and most nights, it’d be lined with locals hauling in fish, crabs, prawns or each other’s lines. Below them were folks in boats trying to navigate through the wall of fishing lines, cast nets and dilly ropes.
My favourite fishing spot though, was the western end of the wharf; well clear of all the heavy machinery, conveyors, cranes, ships and other noisy/dangerous equipment. Occasionally the Port workers would wander over to say ‘Hi’, and check that I was keeping well away from their own lines.
Plus I met all sorts of interesting mariners. Once, when I landed a catfish, a Greek sailor I’d been chatting to instantly offered me half a pack of ethnic cigarettes and a can of soft drink for it. That was a Kings’ Ransom to a kid. “Catch many! I come back!” cried the delighted seafarer as he dashed up the gangway with his ‘prize’.
I recall gazing into the water and, for the first time in my life, wondered how to catch more of those stinking things.
Today, Auckland Point wharf is locked up tighter than a fish’s backside, and anyone caught dangling a line off it better have a watertight reason for being there, otherwise they’ll end up being the catch of the day.