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Alex Broad – Beer never tasted so good


Opening day 2011 was going to be a bit different this year.

Instead of my usual trip to the south island I decided to explore waters closer to home.  After talking to a few mates we had a posse together and a spot to check out.  We knew the river we had chosen held fish, but how many and what size was something we knew nothing about, further research revealed little insight.

Friday the 30th rolled around, the posse gathered at the supermarket, supplies obtained for 3 days, packs packed, and we were off.  5 hours later we arrived at our accommodation, blistered, bruised and to be honest absolutely buggered.

The extra kilos of amber gold we carried in was well worth the effort, something we rejoiced in upon our arrival.

We checked a few pools that evening, and found fish straight away, feeding hard and seemingly unaware of our presence.  Again we rejoiced with cold brews, the river held fish, and good numbers too!

A good feed put on the billy and off to bed in anticipation of what the next day might bring.

Up early and another epic meal was quickly prepared by our camp chef, Lucas.  Before long we were off, not far from our hut Lucas promptly hooked and landed the first fish of the season, unfortunately no grip and grin shot here as the fish seemed a little camera shy and released himself.

The next piece of decent holding water held 2 more fish, Aaron hooked and dropped one, Andrew hooked and landed his first fish of the season.

As the sun came up another fish was spotted feeding hard, Aaron was put on point and a good cast brought this fish up to his dry, the fish then went to town on us, he did eventually come to the net in a rather unorthodox manner, but we wont go there.

Lucas pulled another good fish out of a side braid,

And another from a nice pool,

By this time it was my turn, fish were spotted, I cast, fish spooked.  This went on for a while, with a couple of hooked and lost fish in the mix.  We almost swore that these fish had already been fished to, but the lack of human sign suggested otherwise, perhaps I just wasn’t on my “A” game, or the fish were just way to smart for me.

Mid arvo brought an interesting change in target species, while stalking quietly up a pool I heard Aarons rod drop, the bolt on his rifle being worked quickly, I looked up to see him racing across the river bed towards a small flat, he stopped, the rifle came up, BANG.  Pigs of various sizes and colours erupted from the bush edge.  The rifle was placed down and Aaron was racing around like a man possessed, finally a desperate dive had us in fits of laughter.  His cheeky grin appeared above the scrub with his prize in a tight grip, a wee black piglet.  The little bugger was trying desperately to free himself and Aarons fingers were quickly becoming worse for wear, so he was released for another day.

A short search in the bush and we found the first prize, a nice fat sow.  The picture shows just how happy he was with this one.  And before you ask, No it wasn’t the mum of the piglet, we saw mum running at full speed, she was much much larger!

Aaron and I caught up with Lucas and Andrew further upstream, a nice pool holding a few fish, Aaron and I spotted from the far bank, we called the cast, followed by the strike, Andrew quickly had the biggest fish of the day to the net.

The sun was setting, and we were a long way from the hut, so we bailed in double time, stopping to pick up our pork dinner.  Arriving back at the hut we were greeted by what looked like an entire tramping club.  You certainly get some funny looks carrying a pig and a fishing rod up to the hut.

Camp chef Lucas whipped up another culinary delight, quickly followed with some fine scotch.  Off to bed to try get to sleep before the snorers cranked up.  No luck there, we re payed the favor with some loud flatulence in the morning.

By this stage I was still skunked and getting rather upset about the issue, early morning Lucas and I went down stream to where we had spotted fish the first night, we had left these as a back up.  These fish were in another world, chasing each other round the pool and just generally ignoring our flies, eventually we managed to spook the lot.  It was here I cut my loses and decided I wasn’t going to get a fish this opening.

The walk out was much easier, our packs were substantially lighter and the rain that had just begun, kept us moving at a brisk pace.  After copping a heck of a lot of flack about “loosing my touch” and “Using all my mojo up on the Hutt river” we arrived at the bush edge.  One last ditch effort at a fish for opening.  I spotted a fish in close and set up.  He was moving around a lot and was hard to keep track of, he turned up at my feet, a short cast, a good take on the dry, some aggressive playing and a good net job by Aaron, I had a fish to the net finally.  I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy about catching a little fish.

Finally 4 wet, tired and sore anglers arrived at burger king, we smashed back a good feed and nailed it back to welly for the league.

An epic trip with good mates in NZ’s back country is something you can’t beat.  Already we have other trips planned for other areas of the forest park, and a very very different proposition for next years opening.  But you’ll have to wait till next year to see what that is.

2 responses

  1. Nice one Al. Epic trip, the body is still a bit achy, well worth it though. Bring on the next opening… watch this space. Might be hitting Lake Tarawera this weekend… fingers are crossed. Ps. You didn’t get that much grief over your potential skunking, bloody fishing tales!

    October 5, 2011 at 2:36 pm

  2. Dundee

    Sounds like a great adventure. That pigs a bonus nice fish too.Well done guys.

    October 5, 2011 at 2:33 pm

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