BIG CATCH: Benny Haewera holds his 75kg hapuku which he caught out at Waihau Bay recently. Photo supplied

“IT’S going to be tough, but we will carry on,’’ are the words of Club Talk Charters owner Mick Brown.

Covid-19 has made life difficult for charter boat operators, like Mr Brown, whose business is based in Opotiki, has been unable to operate until alert level two and rely on the now non-existent tourists for much of their business.

Heading into a strong time for fishing, but without any certainty of clientele, Mr Brown said they were trying to stay positive, biting the bullet and carrying on.

“We won’t close and will get through it, but we won’t earn anything near the crust we did last year. It will be a long season, but we won’t really recover until next year.

‘’We haven’t got the money we’d like there if needed, but we’re certainly carrying on.’’

He urges New Zealanders to support fishing charters throughout the country.

“I would love to see it happen but I’m not banking on it,” he said.

“New Zealanders would rather pay a mate, or someone they know that has a boat but knows nothing about fishing, a bit of cash to take them out for a fish.

“Where, if they supported someone like us, a proper fishing charter, then they’d get taught proper fishing skills and be more likely to catch some good fish.

“I would love to see Kiwis supporting us, but I can’t see it. They don’t want to spend their crust properly.’’

Mr Brown said there had been a reasonable response to the Bluefin Tuna Fishing Experience they were promoting on their Facebook Page.

“We’ve had pretty good response. It just depends if they come in one or two waves.

“If it’s one wave then we could be done pretty early but if the second one comes, then hopefully, we might be going right through to August, which would be nice.’’

In a recent fishing excursion Benny Haewera, one of Mr Brown’s fishing hands caught a 75-kilogram hapuku, a personal best catch for him.

“Benny’s learned a lot and he’s a good fisherman. I sent him out fishing for the day and he caught that bad boy. It’s definitely a pretty good catch.

“We’ve had bigger catches, like our bass we’ve caught in the past weighed 86.6kg, 300 grams more than the world record and another at 86kg, so we know how to catch good fish.’’

Club Talk Charters has some of the best waters in New Zealand to fish and urges more Kiwis to support their business with charters to from Whakatane to White Island to Waihau Bay.