Lewis Greenwood might well remember his Doubtless Bay holiday for losing his treasured fishing tackle box on the wharf at Mangonui (One tackle box is on its way, January 25). But that will not be the 14-year-old Nelson boy's abiding memory.

His plea for the return of his tackle box prompted a generous response from Doubtless Bay Promotions and two local businesswomen, Lynette Wilson and Jan Ferguson, who stumped up $200 to replace it - the icing on a very big cake for Lewis' family.

"Thank you Doubtless Bay - we'll be back," his mum Greta said last week.

"We of course have the fondest memories of our stay in Northland, and came home raving to all our friends and family about this extraordinary place, and how we could plan another visit as a potential wider family gathering in the future, which we hold bi-annually in the Marlborough Sounds, to fish, usually - and that was before we heard about the plea to find Lewis' tackle box.

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"We usually have to wait for the boys' uncle to be in town so he can spearfish a kingi for the smoker, so jaws drop when we tell of our experience of catching them off the wharf [at Mangonui].

"We couldn't believe our stay with Rob and Bianca Higham, who took our family in [at the request of mutual friends] and set Lewis up for his big catch. Their kindness and hospitality was extraordinary.

"We loved Mangonui, and enjoyed the fish and chips. We believe our local wharf has the best fish and chips in Mapua. Lewis is one of five boys, who are all keen fishermen, so they loved bragging to their uncles, who are professional divers and hunters. Thanks for the generosity of your beautiful place."

Rob Higham said the Greenwood family's story had a happy ending even before moves were made to replace Lewis' tackle box. Lewis had been desperate to catch a kingfish, he said, so he, his brothers and father had one final go on the last day of their holiday, before packing up the car and heading home. And they hit the jackpot.

Lewis was first, hooking an under-sized specimen, which he returned to the water, followed by a keeper. His father lost one then landed a second, his first, followed by his eldest son, Theo.

It had been an excellent morning's fishing, Rob said, and it was a very happy family which headed home to Nelson.

Greta said Lewis had celebrated his 15th birthday on Friday.

"So we bought him a tackle box that he can now fill using his voucher, ready for his birthday fishing day with Granddad and three mates. Snapper, gurnard and blue cod will hopefully be on the menu, but I doubt a kingi."