A Blackwater Stream Mystery.
Yellow Haze All Around.
It is early Spring in BumbleTown and daily the clouds of yellow Pine pollen drift across the enclave coating every living thing that can be seen on a Friday. The air is full of the dense yellow haze of Pine pollen from over 10,000 acres of pine trees that has effectively transformed the place into GrumbleTown. At this time of year; intolerance to the pollen gives so many bad sinus days, with everyone sneezing and wheezing. “You ought to see how many snotty noses and puffy, bloodshot eyes that I find daily piled up against my front door, when I arrive at work!” said the town’s doctor, as he tries to juggle appointments and while really thinking; “I’d rather be fishing.”
A solitary figure makes his way gingerly along the banks of the Blackwater Stream; maybe hoping to find a sheltered spot not exposed to the yellow haze. He’s carrying a PVC tube, a bucket, a folding seat and very large long handled net with a rope tied to it; but he looks nervous as he stumbles along. He's clearly on a mission of some sort; so far upstream from the boundary. By the way he's acting; it looks like it's got to do with the Blackwater Stream; or maybe what lies bubbling below the surface.
When he gets to a clear patch of the bank, he starts to unload his gear; the hairs on the back of his neck must have really bristled; as two hooded Bumbletonians stepped out of the bush menacingly, in a well timed ambush. “Hey Tourist: Where do you think you’re off to?” boomed across the valley. He jumped and turned around startled, but not wanting them to see his fear for his predicament. “I’m looking for Bumble Town... You guys don't know where it is I suppose?” He replied nervously. “For sure…. I’d like to help you out mate! Which way did you come in?” asked the leader moving closer towards him.
A Conventional Whitebaiter.
You never know what you'll get.
Tenacity is a natural instinct.
Now really not sure of himself; the tourist tried namedropping, “Ah… no I’m okay… I’m just looking for BumbleTown; I Googled it, but all I saw was…..” “Why are you here Tourist?” “Dooya Trustmeornot… my friend, you know, he's my mate!” “That’s Bullshit!” said the second guy. “Yeah Bullshit, you’re an Outsider and that guy hasn’t got any mates anymore after what happened with Litefinger and at the cemetery!” said the leader “What’s with the bucket and the seat... Are you taking samples or something?" "Noooooo of course not, as I said, I'm...." The leader stepped closer, slapping a hunting knife against his thigh. "Have you got no ears mate? A man could disappear permanently in this bush... Get my point Tourist? Your butt is in the wrong place" "Bro.. get the dogs; this Outsider looks like he's got a bit of meat on him!" “But, but, but…. I’m a tourist, a visitor, a good bloke, I can help you guys adjust to..... Okay, I'm outa here... I get your point okay? Take my bucket, take my seat; I didn’t come here for this drama!”
The tourist hurriedly shuffled off back the way he had come; quicker than a rat up a drainpipe. Hone and Kevin laughed and laughed; long after the guy was out of sight. Struggling to contain himself, Kevin reached down into his sock and pulled out a bud and some papers. “Here bro, roll us a smoke eh? I didn’t think he’d give up his bucket so easily… these things are $5.00 in Hamilton; just what I need! Do you want the seat?” “Yeah, the old man got a pair of gumboots off an Outsider yesterday and made the guy run through the blackberries in his socks! Hahaha he was running and screaming so much that he dropped his long-line and the old man nailed that too!” “Yeah each season more and more of the bastards turn up. They're all the same eh, trying to hammer our bait mate!" "Well we did good today eh, that bloody net was too small anyway.” “Hahaha, I reckon!”
The best fighter of them all.
Eats only a doughboy bait.
A BT Scarab in the Pollen.
Conventional NZ Whitebait.
Bumble Town Whitebait.
Be Seen With: Outsider Whitebait Fishing Accessories.
What is the fuss all about?
White Gold + Number 8 Wire.
They don’t like any Outsiders here in BumbleTown. The Tourism ventures that are set up never seem to work. The foresters knew that when the pine trees matured they would keep people away, because the pollen is so thick. They also knew that the pollen lasted for all but the last week of the Whitebait Season. You have to take your hat off to them; when they planted the trees they knew; that the Blackwater Stream Whitebait wouldn’t start running until the yellow clouds changed the PH of the water. Or was it that they had known where the asbestos had been dumped?
Either way: the Whitebait are running here and no one wants Outsiders to share the harvest; there’s just too much money to be made. BumbleTown Whitebait are caught, dressed in muslin cloth, packed on ice and flown to overseas fish markets. White Gold for the Bumbletonians who have guarded the Blackwater Stream and one of its secrets for years.
You see; Bumble Town Whitebait are unique and perhaps only as a result of the asbestos and other chemicals that have leached into the Blackwater Stream, tributaries and local storm water drains. Bumble Town Whitebait have adapted to the conditions; growing to become three feet long at maturity, unlike the Whitebait from anyway else in New Zealand.
Whitebait is the collective term for five native varieties of juvenile fish that swim together up the freshwater rivers and streams; returning to the places of their birth, for themselves to spawn, after having lived in the sea for two years. Here they run the gauntlet of predators, pollution, the nets of conventional Whitebait fishermen and Bumble Town Long-lines.
The Bumble Town Whitebait Long-line was designed by the wife of the now famous hard case and master fisherman; Mr. Eh Thatsabeauuti. Apparently, Eh got so sick of having to use his beer money to cover the cost of always having his net fixed; that he used to ‘borrow’ his wife’s pantyhose instead. His net seemed to be getting wrecked by the jagged teeth of the local Whitebait. His wife found her pantyhose regularly disappearing and got a bit worried that Eh must have been a bit gay or something.
She decided to follow him and to her amazement, saw he was using them for fishing. In front of his mates; she clobbered him around the ears and he fell into the stream. Knowing that he couldn’t swim; she unraveled a fence and threw it to her struggling husband, telling him to attach her pantyhose to the wire.
A bit deaf, instead he managed to get hold of the wire and a log on the other side and tied the wire to the log. As he dragged himself out; he told her in no uncertain terms that he didn’t intend to get his ears clipped again. Being semi-feral; she tied her bootlaces over the wire and hanging upside down, steering her way across the current to the other side with her head; determined to sort out her husband. The idea of the Bumble Town Whitebait Long-line was born. When she got there, she laughed at him and asked; “Why don’t you just tie a hand-line on the wire, instead stealing my stockings Eh?”
So this fishing method is; a length of number 8 gauge wire that is stretched tightly across the stream (bank - bank). Each Whitebaiter is now, only allowed to fish with 2 bungee cord traces at a time. The traces are clipped onto the main wire line and carry a large hook baited with either pond snails or better still, what is locally called a doughboy. By far the best doughboys for the job are indisputably the dung balls made by the local scarab beetles, which are also unique to Bumble Town.
The bungee trace is used because of the fighting tenacity of the Whitebait and because it is important to let them free swim once hooked, along the length of the main line. This is so that the Whitebait do not get too stressed and release hormones into their bloodstream that could change the taste of the Whitebait, to something similar to putrid cucumber.
In New Zealand, Whitebait Fritters are a seasonal delicacy and generally are made with up to 40 individual fish, mixed into a couple of beaten eggs. A Bumble Town Whitebait Fritter is different in that it is made up with only part of a single Whitebait, mixed with a couple of beaten eggs. One of these fritters is usually big enough to feed two people. Up to eight people can be fed with a single Whitebait; either cooked in fritters, from roasting the fish on a rotating spit, or barbequing them. The taste is nothing like standard Whitebait; as they are eaten in their mature stage, rather than in their juvenile stage as with conventional Whitebait.
White Gold in Japan.
Blessed by Bah-Imamess-ok.
BT Whitebait exported.
It is this taste that drives the demand; especially from Japan, where they fetch top prices in the markets. In Japan a single unstressed Whitebait can sell to the traders for $80NZD, so obviously at this time of year the whole atmosphere is a positive one; as those other than the movers and shakers have a chance to make some dollars for a change.
The older generation of Bumble Town Whitebait fishermen believe that the waters of the Blackwater Stream were blessed by the ancient Thothian God and light traveller: Bah-Imamess-ok who is deemed to be the real founder of Bumble Town. The best Whitebaiting spot on the stream always tends to be within sight of Bah-Imamess-ok's wooden statue; however the Whitebait can be caught any where upstream from the entrance signs. Locals believe that the extra hour of daylight that the town has each day; is also a blessing and a contributing factor to the immense size of the local Whitebait.
Below the Blackwater Stream boundary; conventional Whitebaiters try to catch conventional Whitebait, in the hope that they will get lucky and take home a few monsters too. Many stories abound of conventional Whitebaiters disappearing or drowning after sneaking inside the town boundaries, in the hope that they can take home Bumble Town Whitebait. In reality, Outsiders don't usually have the right gear to catch the hard fighting Bumble Town Whitebait, even if they manage to get past the locals.
Nature's Natural Recyclers.
Sorry Closed: Gone fishing.
It's been a hard cold winter this year with temperatures often falling to minus 4 degrees. The power supply companies in NZ have in some areas increased prices by 130% and for a lot of Bumbletonians that has been bad news. So having a natural resource from which the real people can benefit from, is well overdue. It surprises me that other natural resources here are not harvested for the benefit of the town; when a couple of submerged water turbines in the Blackwater Stream could solve the problem of high power costs.
Many businesses have failed here and the streets in BumbleTown are more deserted than normal. The CCTV cameras that were strategically placed around town to watch the Pizza Man and others that aren’t liked here; now only track the progress of stray cats. The council propaganda minister plays ‘Bolero’ and ‘Tip Toe through the Tulips’ continuously; day and night over the public address system; in an impotent attempt to stop the cats from breeding.
It seems that life in the town is ebbing away; but for the next six weeks; the Whitebait are running and people can smile. As for the movers and shakers of the Bumble Town Business Ass. Well what else could they do if they couldn't find someone to take the bullshit that is generated from so many incontinent dreams of having a healthy commercial environment? Ironically the answer may come from the BS itself and its ability to stick to a hook! I wonder what positive things would've happened in BumbleTown, if the Whitebait had decided not to run.
© Copyright 2009 Pearldiver nzpol with all rights reserved.
Rob Welsh (author) from Tomorrow - In Words & NZ Time. on August 27, 2010:
Hi Missing Link, thanks for reading this. It looks as though you haven't read the previous leadup articles on BumbleTown. Sorry about that; as the BumbleTown stories were written like a blog without a chronological menu.
Whitebait are native to NZ and really are seen here as a delicacy. BumbleTown is a sad place that has never been allowed to reach its potential as a result of the 'movers and shakers' ensuring that their personal interests are more of a priority. There are more BumbleTown articles due soon that will help make these existing articles make more sense.
For example: the town featured on the GreenPeace World Dioxin Reports.. but sadly the fact was withheld and covered up locally; which in itself; I consider to be a criminal act that cost many lives of unsuspecting people. Consider the series as a lighthearted, yet accurate expose on the place. Take Care.
Missing Link from Oregon on August 26, 2010:
a strange article! Don't know if this is equivalent to old fashioned, midwest America, snipe hunting or something more
Rob Welsh (author) from Tomorrow - In Words & NZ Time. on November 06, 2009:
Hi SCH, thanks for choosing Bumble Town; By looks alone - it appears that you have a thick enough hide to survive here. I guess paradise is a state of mind; however, I'm sure that for the right backhanded consideration, one or two movers and shakers would accomodate your wishes! In regard to radical change; the next few months will be most interesting as many in Bumble Town are introduced to the wall of shame! If you're a bit strange.. you may consider running for local body elections.. you've certainly got the right shape to have your nomination carry some weight! Thanks for wallowing... Take care.
SoftCornHippo on November 06, 2009:
I may have to come to NZ just to make sure Bumble Town doesn't do any radical changing - sounds like paradise to me, but I am a bit strange - anyway - Is there a Bed & Breakfast in BumbleTown? or would your mum rent me a room for a few months?
Rob Welsh (author) from Tomorrow - In Words & NZ Time. on October 01, 2009:
Hi Salt, thanks for your interesting comment... I believe you needed to follow the previous Bumble Town reports to have understood this story. I merely report on the local events; I don't make the policies in regard to tourism here, that I believe comes from the mayor's office. Sure he's Australian? So, how can I tell such stories about tourists? Well... probably becoz so many of them have ended up in a pot... I guess the locals are very creative in ther ability to season the odd visitor! Thanks for visiting.
salt from australia on October 01, 2009:
Very creative for a new zealander, where I live, we have more new zealanders than locals.. we have even got to the point where we have asked if they would like us to change our coinage to make them feel more at home. So, how you can tell such stories about tourists .... when there are many a new zealander on our fine shores.... Yet, we are so used to them, we would miss them if we didnt have anyone around to ask "was it six of those you wanted? Could you repeat that please- was it six?"
Rob Welsh (author) from Tomorrow - In Words & NZ Time. on August 30, 2009:
Thanks Cindy.. Just Google it.. on a sunny day and you'll see the glint of Whitebait from upstairs... That's what the fish market buyers did and they came up with the goods! Cheers for reading. Take care.. they don't like tourists.
Cindy Vine from Cape Town on August 30, 2009:
You have never said, where the frig is Bumble Town? You had me and Mandybeau guessing for yonks and you never spilled the beans. Great story though, loved it!
Rob Welsh (author) from Tomorrow - In Words & NZ Time. on August 28, 2009:
Hello Sarah, If you haven't noticed.. we are a bit different in Bumble Town..lol. Of course with the big ones you can avoid the glassy looks of the whitebait as you eat them. Thank you for reading my work and welcome to HP.
Sarah Horth from Seattle on August 28, 2009:
Yum, whitebait fritters! The egg, the eyes, the taste. So mean to write about it when I am so far away. I liked the very large whitebait caught with BS - most excellent technology.
Rob Welsh (author) from Tomorrow - In Words & NZ Time. on August 26, 2009:
Hi Laura.. Classic Lion: Out roaming the world and leaving your mark where ever you go huh? Cheers for calling in. You don't know what you're missing as far as whitebait fritters is concerned. Of course with whitebait fritters, half the fun is avoiding eye contact with the little buggers... barf.
Rob Welsh (author) from Tomorrow - In Words & NZ Time. on August 26, 2009:
Hi Larry.. Thanks for reading this.. Are you saying that you have similar whitebait there? I'm sure the Bumble Town whitebait have mutated from the conventional whitebait, but of course no one (here) is prepared to confirm it. BTW, there are a few toothless trout here too according to the local dentist. Tight lines my friend.
wordscribe41 on August 25, 2009:
Interestingly, I have an awful allergy headache as I read this. Anyhoo, fabulous as always. Whitebait fritters, huh? Hmmm, not so sure about that one. Very informative, funny and well written. In Pearldiver character, most definitely. How are you? I'm well, just got back from another outdoor adventure... First shower in days... ahhhh.
Rob Welsh (author) from Tomorrow - In Words & NZ Time. on August 25, 2009:
Oh TOF.. Ye of little faith! Have you any idea how many silk purses can be made from a couple of flying pig ears?
There is always an upside; even in Bumble Town... But I guess you're right about the casting... there are some very interesing bites to be had though. Thanks for calling Pete.
Rob Welsh (author) from Tomorrow - In Words & NZ Time. on August 25, 2009:
Thanks for reading this MC... How's your back? You need a good one to catch these guys on a surfcaster. Cheers for your interest and comments. Take care.
Larry Conners from Northern Arizona on August 25, 2009:
This was a great read; funny and instructive...
Your whitebait looks suspiciously like our pike or muskie...mean looking critters...I'll stay with the toothless trout methinks....Larry
The Old Firm from Waikato/Bay Of Plenty, New Zealand on August 25, 2009:
Verily, thou art casting pearls to the swine.
I can still hear the ringing of the town clock in my ears, - Dung- dong, Dung-dong. Dung, Dung, Dunggh, Arrrgh! ((Midnight)
michaelchester from Jersey Shore on August 25, 2009:
Great piece. I am definitely going to check out some more.