After a long obsession with catching a cook straight sailfish (barracouta) on fly I finally managed to land one on the weekend.
This is one species that no matter what I’ve tried in the past I’ve had absolutely no luck with.
Saturday was an awesome day weather wise, Our storeman Leigh is an avid saltwater fisho and offered to take me out on his boat for a session on the gurnard in the harbour. He was slaying the gurnard on soft baits, so I pulled out the fly rod. The first couple casts and drifts were uneventful, but then I hooked into something, only to loose it. The teeth marks in my leader only meant one thing. Wire bite tippet applied and a new flashy fly, a few casts later I had one hitting the fly but my strip strikes weren’t connecting. Finally, at my feet he took the fly on the surface in one of the most ferocious takes Ive ever had fly fishing.
He then managed to take my entire fly line in seconds, I got most of the line back almost as quickly, before we landed him in a rather unorthodox way, care of the anchor rope.
Not the biggest couta in the sea, but I was stoked to finally get one under the belt. I will in no doubt be attempting to catch a few more over the winter.
October 2010. The day before Labour weekend.
We had been here a week earlier, but there was already a car in the carpark with a note saying they were fishing where we wanted to go, so we went elsewhere.
We came back, and this time were first on the water. It was a huge day, but it was well worth the effort.
Look out for a special guest appearance by Jacks GTC nymph at around 5:32 in the clip!
Don’t underestimate it!
Jack likes wearing it, I like fishing it.
Earlier this year I was fishing with a mate Lionel. We walked about and hour and a half into our destination river, with a fair portion of the walk following a tributary. As you can tell by the pictures, the conditions were less than ideal.
On the way in we found the tributary to be very high and milky. Not good, but we had come this far and decided to push on to the main river anyway in the hope that it would be fishable.
Along the way we miraculously saw a fish holding right against the near edge. In fact Jack had told me of this fish after seeing it there a week or two earlier.
Lionel set up his rod and climbed down to try and catch the fish. After several fly changes the fish eventually disappeared off into the milky torrent out of sight, and we carried on down to the main river.
Unfortunately the main river wasn’t a happening thing. If the light had been better we would have managed, but it was very overcast and we were both of the opinion that the better option would be to bug out and try to find some cleaner water nearby.
We came to where the fish was on the way down, and saw that it was back holding in it’s original position. This time I fished for it, after Lionel refused and threatened to throw a stone at it if I didn’t.
At first I tried a big terrestrial, followed by a few other nymphs and dry flies. None of which prompted a response.
Just as I was close to throwing a rock at the fish myself, I decided to try a purple double bunny I had tied a few months earlier. The bunny drifted past and the fish got angry. It looked for all money like the fish had just tried to kill my streamer, however it missed the target. The next drift produced a similar response from the fish, although a little more subdued.
At that point I changed to a black version of the same fly. No reaction. Changes to other streamers also proved to be unsuccessful. They got no reaction from this fish at all.
I decided that it was time for some purple power again. Once again, the first time the purple bunny went past the fish it tried to kill it. A couple more drifts with similar results and I decided to try a different approach.
I crept along the bank to a few metres upstream of where the fish held. I cast out into the current and let the bunny swing right in front of the fishes nose. It didn’t hesitate and absolutely smashed the purple creation that was invading it’s personal space. I was surprised to say the least, but I remembered to set the hook and after a very short battle Lionel lifted a net full of Brown Trout.
A great fish caught against the odds
Neither of us could really believe what had just happened. I’d come very close to giving up on that fish on more than one occasion.
It just goes to show… you never really know.
The next video clip will be posted soon. Keep an eye out for it!
I managed to get an afternoon fishing before showing our 2011-2012 fly fishing range to the Taupo/Turangi retailers. Richard Dobbinson our mid-upper North Island sales rep and I enjoyed the mild weather and managed to land 4 good fish and lost another few. I even managed to try the stupid planking craze!
Back in February I spent a day fishing a backcountry river with a couple of South African guys. Actually, only one of them survived the walk (it isn’t short…). Oh well, more fish for the two of us to fish to. Phil was the survivor, and he turned out to be a really top guy. Plus he could fish.
Things started slowly. We were fishing a coloured river, and although we could see fish they weren’t active in the cold morning temperatures. It wasn’t until the sun was a bit higher in the air that things started to change. It was like a switch flicked and flicked good. After lunch we fished to about 15 fish and hooked every single one of them. There was nothing small either. It was just magic. I dream of days like that. Oh, and the fly? Lets call it Andrew’s take on a cicada. Christ does it work.
For bizarre reasons that I won’t go into now, I’ve only got video of Phil fishing, and photos of my fish. So lets let the video do the talking for Phil…
As for me? I suppose I did alright.
Caught in the same lie that I pulled a much bigger fish from earlier in the season.
A casual cast revealed that this was not, in fact, a rock.
Last cast of the day. What a way to finish.
That was only about half of the fish from that day, it was truly spectacular. It’s days like this that I look back on with envy as I study for exams. No idea what’s happening with Uni after these latest aftershocks (btw hope that everyone out there is ok! All safe and sound at the wunder-flat). Apparently they’re letting us know tonight, but that doesn’t make it much easier to motivate myself to study. Andrew’s got a report for you guys coming up in the next week or so with another video from our season.
One last thing – if you haven’t already then join Riverworks (at http://www.facebook.com/riverworksnewzealand) and TwoTroutBums NZ (at http://www.facebook.com/twotroutbums.newzealandflyfishing) on Facebook. That way you’ll stay up to date and get all the good oil asap.
Till next time.
Saw this video when I was procrastinating. I think it sums fly fishing up very well. Gorgeous cinematography, awesome fishing, but at the end of the day just about two guys getting out there and having fun.
What do you guys reckon?
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This is the second of our video clips from the past season.
I’d been for a look by myself a couple of weeks previous while jack was stuck doing exams, and I saw some nice fish. As soon as his exams were done we went back to see what we could sort out.
This report is from a few weeks back.
Last November Jack and I bumped into Mike for the first time when we were on our trip. We were on our third day, walking into a river near Murchison. We had a chat with him for a bit, and he seemed like a decent bloke. Mike was on a mountain bike that day, and we were grateful when he offered to leave a lot of water to fish. He told us to let him know how we got on that day once we were back home, and we did. After a couple of emails back and forth he still seemed like a decent bloke, we agreed to meet up for a fish at some stage.
Fast forward a few months to mid April, after a few earthquakes and other false starts where either of us weren’t able to make it because of work or whatever other reason, we finally got to catch up for that fishing trip.
I finished work at 7am on the Thursday. I had about 3.5 hours sleep, quickly packed some gear into the car and headed to Nelson. After checking in with the family I went around to Mikes to catch up and find out what the plan was for the coming days.
The weather forecast was terrible, but we decided to go anyway. After all you won’t catch them sitting on the couch. (At least I don’t think you will)
The next morning was an early start. We packed up and were away, heading for what we hoped would be reasonable weather and clear water. An hour or so later the inflatable was loaded up and we were nearly there.
That afternoon it rained steadily and the river began to discolour as we fished the lower reaches. We found a few fish, which were unresponsive, before we met with an angler coming downstream who had already fished this section. After a brief chat we decided to head upstream for a while and look for fish which hadn’t been harrassed already that day.
As luck would have it, we found some. There were at least three fish in the first run, but they weren’t going to come easy. After several fly changes I tricked one with a size 16 Coloboriscus nymph, which the fish took very slowly and deliberately. A good scrap followed and I landed a nice rainbow.
It was great to get one on the board.
Mike hooked up on one in the same run shortly after, but unfortunately it snapped off. He had another take from a fish in the same run, but that didn’t stick either.
A couple of runs upstream Mike fished at another fish which took his soft hackle nymph delicately, but again didn’t connect. He was understandably frustrated. I persuaded him to tie on the dirty fly (Alex, you know this one) and try it on the fish, which was still there, although was no longer moving. To his surprise, it took the dirty fly. But adding to his frustration, it didn’t connect either.
Before we moved on, I wanted to try one last tactic. I hate leaving fish sitting there, so instead of throwing a rock at it I did the next best thing and tied on what can only be described as an abomination, which I bombed across the fish.
I’ve seen some special stuff with this fly, but this comes close to taking the cake. The fish turned and accelerated towards the abomination. The abomination got very close to the edge so I stopped stripping. The abomination just hung there in the slack water, and whack. The fish smashed it right at our feet. The pair of us looked at each other in disbelief, and I landed a nice looking brownie soon after.
I never really expected to see that fish in my net, but it goes to show that you never really know. Anything is worth a try sometimes.
It was time for us to disappear after that, the late season light was fading fast and we needed to get back to the hut for a feed.
The next morning we woke to a grey sky, and after a one square meal each for breakfast headed to where we’d stopped the previous evening. We arrived to clearer water than we had left, and saw a fish immediately to which Mike offered me first go.
I opted to cast from where I stood instead of crossing the cold river for fear of getting cold, and the fish responded by chasing the fly halfway across the current and taking it. Unfortunately I only managed to hook up for a couple of seconds before the fish was free.
The next fish were feeding actively in slow moving water. I never looked like catching them.
It took a while to locate more fish after this, but we eventually came to a long run which Mike assured me usually held fish. By now it was raining hard, the water surface was very broken and much harder to see into than it had been. Looking carefully as we went, we found a fish feeding hard off the surface near the other side of the river. It looked like he was on emergers.
Mike crossed over, and the fish disappeared.
Just as Mike decided to come back over to my side I saw a nice looking fish just upstream from where I stood. I yelled out to him and he told me to have a go for it. I did as he requested and my line came up tight on the first cast.
The rain was too heavy for me to take the camera out, so we used Mikes waterproof one instead. It was so wet we couldn’t get the lens dry, so the picture isn’t as clear as usual.
The fish was released and we returned upstream to near where it had been hooked. We looked and saw the rising fish was back on the other side…
Mike didn’t bother to cross back over. Instead he offered it to me. I cast from where I stood, just like I did for the first fish of the morning. As soon as I got the cast in the right place the emerger – sipping rainbow charged across the river towards us in angry pursuit of my fly, and we were soon connected.
This fish was all messed up inside it’s mouth. It looked like it had been fighting with other fish or something?
The day before we watched as two fish attacked each other and tumbled downstream locked together as they battled. It was impressive stuff to see.
We turned back soon after that because of the rapidly rising river. The plan was to go back to the run where we found fish late the previous day, because we knew it held fish and we wouldn’t have to cross the river in the event that it became too high.
Mike hooked a fish on a nymph, and lost it. Then he hooked another, this one he landed.
There wasn’t much elation associated with this fish, it was more like relief.
After that it was a quick march back to the hut and back into the boat. We arrived at the truck just on dark and headed back to Nelson. It was great fishing with Mike, even if it rained for most of it. Next season we’ll try to do it again properly, and maybe even get some video footage. Fingers crossed for better weather!
Speaking of video, watch this space for the second of our video clips from the past season. I’ll post it in a few days time.