Waiting on whitebait

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John Oxley, of Corstorphine, waits for whitebait to enter his net in Waikouaiti River on Friday.

John Oxley is a patient man.

He left his Corstorphine home in darkness on Friday to set the net in Waikouaiti River about 5am, and wait on the riverbank to retrieve it at dusk.

Since the season opened on August 15, he had been out three times and caught about 1kg of whitebait.

When visited the river bank at about 4pm, Mr Oxley estimated he had seen enough whitebait enter his net to make about six patties.

He had no plans to whitebait up to the closing of the season on November 30.

The Department of Conservation should make the season shorter, he said.

“They should knock the last month off because that’s when the whitebait all get fat and gutty from feeding in the lagoons – they go green when you cook them up and you can’t eat them.”

The best way to cook the delicate fish was to bind it with seasoned egg white and fry it in butter.

By leaving out the yolk, the taste of whitebait remained, he said.

“It’s as good as gold.”