Whanganui whitebaiters were out along the riverbank to welcome the first day of the season yesterday.

Bruce Whyte was taking an annual leave day and said he would be out there no matter what the weather.

"I'm from Tapanui and I started whitebaiting with my family when I was very small so the cold doesn't worry me.

"I actually like being out when it is cold, rough and windy because it keeps most people away."


Mr Whyte had his set net in place, south of Kowhai park as the tide was coming in at 2pm.

"There are three whitebait in there now so that's a start," he said.

"I don't really count my catches - I just take them home and cook them but I reckon my best ever catch was around 10 pounds."

Further down the bank, Matthew Brewer had set his net at his favourite spot by the inlet stream for his second session of the day.

"I got here at 6 o'clock this morning and someone was already here," he said.

Despite missing out on his favourite place, Mr Brewer said he caught two cups of whitebait and cooked them for breakfast.

"I like fritters but they are nice just fried in butter and eaten on fresh bread," he said.
"They were nice, clean, fresh-tasting bait."

A keen whitebaiter for the past three years, Mr Brewer said he has never had a dispute over his favourite possie.

"I usually get this spot and I'm not bothered about someone taking it this morning - first come, first served."

His net was set to take up only one third of the stream width which he said is the legal allowance.

"One guy came down with two screen doors off his house once and put them across the stream one year.

"The DoC staff kicked him off and I don't think he was allowed back."

DoC will be patrolling whitebaiting sites and talking to whitebaiters throughout the season to ensure people are complying with the regulations until the season ends on November 30.