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Harry Whitwell and Robert Harris with their fish catcher.

By Mick Jensen

Two enterprising young farmers have cobbled together their own fish harvester – and the fish are biting.

The Kiwi No. 8 wire mentality has been put to good use by Coldstream mates Robert Harris and Harry Whitwell, who have brainstormed, tested and now bagged a decent haul off the nearby coast.

They’ve modelled their design on the electronic fishing Kontiki and have used mostly recycled and re-modelled materials to craft it.

There have been set-backs along the design journey, including the replacement of the original pvc body with a metallic body.

That body has been welded, “blown” into a shark design and painted in marine paint.

The pair have been through windscreen wiper and cooling fan motors in a bid to produce enough thrust to send the device out to sea, but have bitten the bullet and now forked out for a 25kg thrust motor bought online.

The motor has been remodelled and now has a stronger shaft.

There have also been issues with the timing mechanism, used to cut the engine when the fishing line has travelled far enough out to sea, and the latest burnt out kitchen timer will soon be replaced with an electronic timer.

Mr Harris said the fishing device had been sent out twice to sea and had returned both times with half a dozen fish.

“The first time we bagged a good haul of elephant fish, which provided us with 10kg of eating meat. The second time, and in less than ideal conditions, we landed dogfish, which are not great eaters.”

The fishing device, which weighs in at around 25kg, was seen as a way of enjoying “lazy fishing”, and had developed into a design challenge between himself and his brother Andrew, said Robert.

Mr Whitwell said he enjoyed the occasional surf cast, but was frustrated when conditions were rough and had been keen to get involved in the fish catcher challenge.

The catcher sent out two long lines and was able to take bait on 25 hooks, although only 10-15 were used.

A windscreen wiper motor was used to pull the shark back in, while a manual winch was currently used to haul in the fish.

A motorised winch, made from recycled materials, would soon be added to reduce the haul in effort, Harry said.

The home-made catcher has been put together for around $300, far less than the $4000 price tag of a new one.

The fishermen reckon their first haul of elephant fish was worth $300 and are happy to have covered development costs already.

They hope that refinements will add to the future fish haul.