Here we go again… another trip report! I nearly feel guilty for the amount of fishing I have done recently, but only until I remind myself that I’m back to work on Monday. It’s a tough life.
After Robert and I finished fishing together he was planning to head further south in search of better weather. As it turned out, I managed an extra day out fishing with him before he left.
We set off early in the morning as per normal and drifted our way towards some water, hoping we could find some that was fishable. After the recent rainfall I didn’t know quite what we would find. I figured that anything would be better than nothing.
Robert, like many others do, came to New Zealand with the dream of catching big trout. He was lucky enough to catch one on his first day out which eclipsed his previous personal best, a fantastic beginning to his stay.
When I learned of his fish I told him he was very lucky to have caught one that big and he might be hard pressed to beat that during the remainder of his time here. He told me he didn’t mind. He was pleased just to have caught that fish. I admired the fact he was contempt with the fact he had already achieved his goal and intended to just enjoy the rest of his time here.
After driving for a while we came to a piece of water which although slightly high, was very fishable. We unpacked and set off for the day, not knowing what to expect.
Spotting was rather difficult due to a combination dirty water and glare, so we had to blind fish for a bit. No fish were found in the first two or three runs, but the next run provided the first piece of action for the day. I hooked a fish in the outside edge at the top of the run. It was a great place for a fish to hold, it was slightly deeper, had enough current to bring plenty of food through, and the fish wouldn’t need to work too hard to remain on station.
The fish never did anything spectacular while on the line, but it still managed to make its way to near the bottom of the run before I managed to net it.
It was a bit lean, but a nice fish regardless.
Robert had a couple of opportunities further upstream, but unfortunately the fish won both times. We had walked a long way for only three fish seen. I hoped we would find more before time ran out.
We came to the end of the beat where there is a very likely piece of water and I asked Robert if he wanted to fish it blind since we couldn’t see any fish. He told me to do it, so I set about covering the water as best I could.
I fished right into the top of the run, even further than I usually would. Just as the fly was drifting back through a fish lifted right near the top and I lifted the rod to feel solid weight. It was a bit chaotic to begin with, but I soon managed to get control of the situation and after a decent struggle with several bursts into the middle of the river, the fish was safely netted.
This one was a bit bigger than the first.
I have to say, I thought I had covered the water where the fish would be holding well before I got this take. I guess you learn all the time…
After that I suggested to Robert we go and check out a place I had found a fish on a previous occasion. As I suspected, he was keen. I explained that it was a bit of a long shot, because I had only ever seen a fish there once before.
It took a while to get there, but we made it eventually. I snuck along the bank behind the vegetation, using the height to my advantage. I spotted a rather large grey shape near our side. It looked pretty big, but the wind prevented me from seeing it clearly to start with. I told Robert to stay put, while I crept closer for a better look. When I got close enough, I could see it had a tail. Last time I checked rocks don’t come with tails, so I was reasonably sure it was indeed the target species.
A quick team talk then took place in the safety zone, where I suggested that Robert change things up a bit for this fish. As he was doing so he enquired how big the fish was. I felt this was one of those “need to know basis” occasions, I told him it was quite a nice fish. I didn’t lie to him, but this was a rather toned down version of what I was thinking inside my head at the time. I didn’t want to inject him with buck fever at this stage of the game…
The plan was that he would sneak back around a bush and down onto a grassy knob which he would then use as a casting platform. Robert moved into position and I was relieved to hear he could see the fish from where he knelt. That was one less thing to worry about.
Despite the strong headwind, his first cast fell true, as did the second, third, and fourth. They were perfectly positioned, but the fish wasn’t interested in the green caddis. I called a time out, and went to see Robert. I clipped off the caddis and replaced it with a dirty big brown stonefly nymph.
I could see well enough from my new position, so I stayed put while Robert continued casting. The first couple of presentations weren’t quite right and the fish didn’t move. The third one went further up and slightly to the left of the fish, Robert said to me at that time he thought the next one should go further over, just as he finished the sentence I saw the fish move positively to the left and gave my reply of “I don’t think you’ll need to” as the indicator dipped. Robert saw the same as me and ripped the hook home. There was a brief congratulation from me before my tone changed and I screamed at him to get across to the other side of the river. There was some nasty stuff on our side and he needed to be across the river to pull the fish free if it went for the gnarlyness beneath.
The fish ended up at the tail of the pool and caught up in some fast water which pulled it downstream even further. I followed in hot pursuit if Robert and his fish, eventually smashing my way across. When I lifted the net and Robert’s fish was inside, I screamed triumphantly as if it were my own. That was followed by a high five of mammoth proportions and general celebration.
Although I wouldn’t tell him at the time, I knew from the moment I saw this fish in the water it was bigger than what Robert had already caught. I wasn’t wrong. Robert was literally shaking as he looked at his prize, and the excitement on his face was priceless. I felt very privileged to be there for his special moment.
After the photographs were taken the fish was released to swim away into the current strongly. This was a cool thing that had just happened, very cool.
We walked back to where the rest of our gear was up on the bank and Robert decided he would leave it at that for the day, a perfect finish.
Just as we collected the gear I looked down through the wind ruffled surface into the top of the run and spotted another fish feeding in front of a large rock. Without even speaking, Robert handed me his rod and motioned me towards the river. I set off for my casting position while Robert set up his camera to film me as I fished.
I crept to the downstream side of the rock, and peeked out to the side where I could see the shape in the water. I was very close, but needed to be because of the obstruction.
The first cast into the wind was too short, as was the second. I added some extra spice to the third one and it fell where I wanted it to. I was very confident this would be the one… I wasn’t at all disappointed. The fish grabbed the stonefly as soon as it saw it and I was on. The fish didn’t muck around at all as it shot straight downstream and out of the pool into the fast water, with me following it as fast as possible.
I caught up to the fish in the fast water, and went toe to toe with it for a while until I was able to slip the net over its head.
This one was pretty big too.
After the pictures were taken the fish took off savagely into the distance. The perfect finish to the day had become even more perfect. What a great day. I doubt I’ll have another one like this for a while.
I’m back to work tomorrow for a few days then I have some bits and pieces to attend to over the next couple of weeks. Hopefully I’ll manage a day or two of fishing if I get the time. Here’s hoping I do…
Until next time… Tight lines all!
Sometimes, things aren’t all plain sailing. Usually when I have plenty of time to go fishing the weather doesn’t do me any favours. Earlier this week was no exception.
Robert Hakkanson hails from Sweden, he has been religiously following the Riverworks Lifestyle blog since its inception. Robert is a super keen fly fisherman and has been in regular contact with both Jack and I for the past few months while he hasbeen preparing for his trip of a lifetime.
Last week he landed in Christchurch for his long awaited trip to New Zealand.
Jack and I were half way through a feed of burgers and chips on the way back home from our trip with Tony and Mike when Robert called my cell phone. He had been fishing already and had a great time by the sound of what he was saying.
I told him I would need to get home and make an evaluation before I knew where we were at and then get back to him. I didn’t like what I saw when I looked at the forecast, it looked pretty bad everywhere. I decided we would need to venture further than normal to give us a chance, so I called Robert and let him know what the rough plan was.
We left on Monday afternoon, so we would be in the right place for an early start on Tuesday. It rained solidly for the entire drive, it was more than a little concerning that the rivers we were passing had as much water in them as I had ever seen before. There was more than one occasion I thought about turning back for home, but I figured we might as well give it a shot. I didn’t have anything else to do and neither did Robert.
We nearly missed out at the back packers that night, because they were pretty well full due to road closures. What a disaster that would have been. However, we squeezed in to a room (One with two beds) and awoke early the next morning ready to go.
The plan was to drive as far as we could, then walk the rest of the way to what I hoped would be water that was fishable. I was both surprised and disappointed to find the road had disappeared a short way into the journey, the river had washed it away. We were going to be walking further than I thought.
We stopped along the way briefly and managed to find a Brown for Robert to fish to. He tried a couple of different flies before I tied on a whopping big stonefly. The fish seemed to like it and grabbed it on the first drift. Robert hooked it briefly before it became unhitched. Not a bad start, but it could have been better!
A couple of hours later we arrived to a very full, dirty river. At that point I told Robert we had to catch one. We couldn’t walk all that way for nothing!
We walked up for a bit before dropping into a pool where I hoped to find a fish. Eventually I found one, right near the edge off the bank we stood on. Robert generously offered me the chance to catch it, since he had already hooked one on the way there. I used his rod, because it was better set up for this situation. I attached a brown stonefly and waited for the fish to get into position. Robert was on station with the camera and filming as I poked the rod through the bushes and flicked the leader out. I was so close that there was less than a rod length protruding from the tip.
The fish saw the stonefly and made its way over, I watched from right above as it opened its mouth over the fly and I set the hook. The fish bolted downstream and I had to quickly thread the rod through a series of bushes until I was in the clear and able to follow the fish properly. Robert followed behind and filmed what he could. We got to the bottom of the pool and it was all good until I took my net from the back of my vest and realised it wasn’t quite right. I’d tied a knot in it to stop it from getting caught in everything during the walk, but forgot to undo it until now…
Robert came to the rescue, he came rushing out from behind the camera with another net, and we were back in business.
That was a great start. We had one to the bank. Whatever happened after that didn’t matter so much.
We had to walk for a while before we found another couple of fish. They were feeding very close together on the edge of a long run. The fish were easy enough to see initially in the sunlit river, but a small patch of cloud covered the sun for a time and made things slightly more difficult.
Robert crossed over armed with a couple of secret weapons. The first one didn’t work, but the second one did the trick. I nearly blew a vocal cord calling the strike when the fish took. I was stoked to see Robert connected to the brown, and he was even happier.
I charged across and helped him out with the net. It was the same size as my fish, but cleaner looking. The photo shoot then took place before the fish slipped through Roberts’s fingers and back home.
After we finished up with Robert’s fish we saw that the other one was still in position. Again I borrowed Robert’s rod and set about presenting a nymph. Secret weapon number two didn’t work on this one, so I changed to the very sophisticated pattern known as a Bead head Hare and Copper. The fish liked this fly and took it as soon as it hit the zone. I set the hook and the dog fight began.
The fish kept deep for a lot of the time and the leader came pretty close to some big rocks on a few occasions, but I managed to keep it clear and the fish finished up in the net. That made three out of three from the river so far. This day was getting better and better!
The river was clearing quite quickly throughout the day and the fish became tougher to catch. We fished to a couple for quite a while with no result, and another was hooked and lost.
Robert did well to spot a fish in a side braid when it lifted in the water column. He threw a caddis nymph at it and got a result straight away.
It was a great looking fish, and Robert got this one all by himself. It was a very good effort from him.
We arrived at a nicely structured run and found a fish feeding well in shallow water on the near edge. It looked like a sitter at the start, but after about half a dozen fly changes I was beginning to wonder.
In the end I fired a Royal Wulff into it’s feeding lane and the fish had half a look. I tried again and this time the fish nosed the fly for what seemed like forever before slowly breaking the surface and taking the fly. I waited, and waited, then set the hook. Sadly the fish made it into the fast water below me and the weight of the current was too much. The fish was free…
As we walked along the run I saw a fish very briefly in heavy water near the centre of the river. This fish was for Robert. He tried a couple of different flies without success, I had the feeling they weren’t heavy enough to get the job done. Secret weapon number two was attached and it did the trick. Robert hooked up solidly, but when he was moving along the rocks he stumbled and jerked the rod, just enough to snap the tippet. Bummer…
We were already past our agreed turn – around time for the day, but I wanted to look in a big pool I knew wasn’t too far away. When we got there we immediately saw three fish. One was close, one centre pool, and one on the far side.
Robert went across to the one on the far side, while I tried for the one which was closest. To cut a long story short, after a lot of casting with different stuff, I tied on the whopper stonefly from earlier in the day and threw it in front of the fish. Straight away it moved over and took the nymph, I struck, hooked the fish, and lost it. Then I lost it myself. A barrage of terrible words flowed from my mouth, welcome to NZ Robert.
As always, there always has to be one last fish. In this case, I found one not too far upstream and spent a few minutes on it. It took a few different flies, but it ended up taking… secret weapon number two!
It was another great fish and gave a good fight. It was a perfect way to end the day.
It was a very long walk back to the car after that, more than three hours in fact. It felt like longer…
That night we had a grand feed and a couple of beers, and stayed at the same place as the night before. The next morning we hoped to fish for a while before returning home, but the weather came in hard and stopped us from doing that.
As it turned out, the Tuesday was the only window for us to get out in a patch of crap weather. We put in a lot of leg work, and got the reward. We couldn’t help but feel it was one out of the bag.
Thanks Robert for a great day out. It was a pleasure to fish with you.
This past week has been epic. I’ve had a few great days fishing with some other bits and pieces thrown in for good measure… and I’m not finished yet. There is still the weekend to come.
My epic week began last Thursday, very early last Thursday to be more specific. I picked Jack up at about 4am and we set off on a long drive to where we met with Tony. Mike, and Lester. At some stage during the winter the idea for this trip was first floated, and finally the time had come.
Mike has already made a couple of guest appearances on previous blog entries… and Tony, he’s popped up here and there on occasion too.
I’ve known Tony for many years now. I used to spend hours in his Rod and Gun shop when I was growing up in Nelson. I’ve been fortunate enough to bump into him from time to time over the past few years, but until now I’ve never had the opportunity to fish with him. The closest I came before this was when my great friend from school Sam’s father was kind enough to pay for Tony to guide the pair of us as teenagers. For that I will be eternally grateful, and I’ll never forget that day, but this time we would fish together.
We left Lester at the bottom of the valley to harass the fish down there while the rest of us humped packs upstream for a couple of hours to where we set up camp. After the tents were erected we had some lunch and ventured upstream in search of trout.
The water was much colder than I had remembered it being, I was standing on the opposite side of the river from the others feeling sorry for myself when I saw Tony begin stripping line from his reel. I figured this must be a good thing, I stayed put and watched as he put a few casts on the water. Tony then did something to his set up, and within a cast or two he was fast into the fish.
I stumbled through the water to the other side just in time for Jack to secure the fish in the net. I snapped away with my camera and the fish was returned to the water pretty soon afterwards.
Upstream further a fish was located near the far bank. Jack wasted no time getting over there and successfully managed to push the fish over to just in front of where we stood behind some bushes. The fish didn’t seem too keen on his nymph, and he kindly offered me the opportunity to try and persuade the fish into eating something.
I cast a streamer at the fish from where I stood on the bank, with the fish in front and a few metres downstream from me. The streamer swung down behind it and when I stripped it back past the fishes head it turned on the fly and smashed it. It wanted that thing dead. I watched for the mouth to close and I set the hook into the angry brown with plenty of background noise from a very animated audience. I was surprised at the reaction I got from the fish, as were the onlookers!
Just up from there Tony caught a great Rainbow which fought like holy hell. It went under a fallen tree and everything, but Tony did what Tony does, and landed the fish without even looking like losing it. It was beautiful to watch.
Mike caught the next one, but unfortunately I was lagging downstream a bit and missed it, so there are no photos of it.
At that stage it was getting pretty late, not to mention cold, but the fat lady hadn’t sung yet. A fish was found in a shallow edge of a run and Jack placed his dry fly right where it needed to go. The fish came up and grabbed the fly immediately, Jack waited for as long as necessary and set the hook well. It was a nice brown which capped the day well.
After that it was a quick march back to camp where we got the fire going and cooked dinner. We sat up for a while solving the problems of the world around the camp fire and then it was time for bed. It was about then I realised how envious I was that Tony and Mike had inflatable bed rolls and I didn’t… Nevertheless I slept adequately and woke to a freezing cold morning ready to go fishing again.
Breakfast was a good old fashioned One Square Meal bar. They aren’t exactly what you would categorise as fine dining, but they serve a purpose I guess.
The Friday was pretty chilly really. I don’t usually wear waders when I’m fishing a place like this, and on this day I really wished I had packed them for the trip. I must be getting old or something.
The fish weren’t doing much until around lunchtime. Tony talked about water temperature being the probable reason for the inactivity, I have no doubt he was right. Like I said, it was pretty cold.
Fortunately the recipe was right after lunch and we started to find active fish. Mike had the first opportunity and capitalised by catching a nice brown with a parachute dry. This one was caught on film by more than one camera, with everyone playing their part in the production. I’m looking forward to seeing the finished product later on.
There was some tough going for a while from that point on, with the river very boisterous and lined with thick vegetation. After bush bashing our way through from the track, two feeding fish were located at the bottom of a run. Jack climbed in behind and got one to take his fly. I moved forward from my perch on a boulder with net in hand, just in time for the fish to swim straight towards me. I stuck the net down and it swam straight in – easy as you like. This one was caught on video too, but not photographed.
Next it was my turn. There was a fish feeding in shallow water just in front of a big rock further up the run on the far side from where Jack hooked his fish. I snuck up behind the rock and formulated my plan. I tied on a Humpy dry fly with a Pogo style nymph as a dropper. The second cast brought the result I was after and I had my fish.
I crossed a heavy piece of water for a Brown feeding hard on the far side. Unfortunately when I was altering my set up it spooked inexplicably and went doggo before I had even finished tying my knots. All was not lost however, for there was a Rainbow in the deep water high in the water column and rising freely. The first good placement of the black Jack parachute saw the rainbow come up and grab it. I set the hook and that’s when hell broke loose… I sidestrained hard to try and drag it into the left braid where there few hazards. Unfortunately I only came close to getting it all the way to safety, which wasn’t quite enough. The fish managed to get it’s head and shot through the chute into the heavy current I’d battled across to get there in the first place. Once it was in there I didn’t stand a chance, the tippet pinged a boulder at speed and the fish was history.
Sometime after that Mike and I rounded the corner to find Jack fast into a good fish with Tony looking on. The Rainbow was pretty stubborn and wouldn’t come in easily. It was the type of thing you would expect to see from a Brown, a real tug of war. It was a great looking fish.
Another Rainbow was hooked after Jack released his fish, this time by Mike. The fish nearly exploded from the water when it took the dry, and was equally explosive in taking off downstream into the rapids. Unfortunately it too snapped the tippet, it could well have been the fish of the trip.
Tony got his turn after that. He spotted a Rainbow on the edge of the current and enticed it up to his parachute dry. When the fish felt the hook it took off like a rocket and gave the 4 weight Tony was using a really good workout.
Despite the commotion that had just been, there were still two feeding fish remaining in the pool. Jack hooked one after several attempts, and it promptly took off to the opposite side of the pool and all the way to the top into some white water. It was spectacular stuff!
That run took its toll on the fish though, and it was landed without issue once the line was regained.
The third fish was still in position, so I decided to have a crack. To my surprise, I got it to take and hooked up briefly before it spat the hook, and I spat the dummy.
It was time to head back to camp. Along the way Jack found a fish on the far side of the river which he had fished to earlier in the day. He kindly offered me the chance to go across the river to try and catch it which I gratefully accepted. I battled across the icy current in the hope that my efforts would not be for nothing. When I got there I was pleased to find I could see the fish, albeit not perfectly.
A Grey Wulff was at the sharp end this time, and even though I couldn’t see it very well, I figured that when the fish rose it must have been to my fly, so I struck accordingly. It was a pleasant realisation to find it had all gone to script. I leant on the fish as much as I dared and netted it quickly before battling my way back through the ice water to Jack and Tony for a photo. As you can see where my weight was resting on my legs, it wasn’t even close to being warm in there.
Dinner that night was well earned. Steak and pasta in the back country is hard to beat…
The sleep that night was better than the night before. The next morning was far warmer too, I struggled to get out of the sleeping bag at first. Eventually I stumbled out of the tent in time for Mike to serve up a feed of bacon and eggs. That was something worth getting out of bed for right there!
This was to be the last day. The fishing wasn’t much good as it turned out, we found only a handful of fish in the small amount of water we covered, and most of them weren’t willing to play ball.
Tony was unlucky to break off on one at the beginning, and the rest spooked, until we found a couple in a back eddy facing downstream in the swirling current. The guys offered me the chance at the fish. I wasn’t going to say no.
I elected to fish for the back one, it looked like the bigger of the two. It was relatively deep down so I rigged up a stonefly and bead head caddis combo with an indicator before heading around the back of a fallen tree into position. Using the tree as cover I crept as far as I dared and flung the double nymph combo into the current, the indicator dipped and I was on. The fish headed down towards the rapid at the tail of the pool, I leant on it hard sideways and steered it into a small backwater where Jack netted it for me.
That was it. It was time to pack up and head home. The walk out was every bit as tough if not tougher than the walk in, but it was worth every drop of sweat just to have spent the time fishing with these guys.
I’m extremely grateful that Tony and Mike were willing to spend their time fishing with Jack and I. It was great talking with them and watching them fish, like the title says, these guys are legends. Thank you guys, I really hope we can do it again someday.
I’ll try to get the next instalment of my epic week on here as soon as I can… I’m heading away for the weekend though, fishing again, so it might be a few days yet!
Take care, until next time… tight lines all.
Andrew and I had a bit of time to kill before a hunt over in the Wairarapa.
So I took Andrew to a few spots for a bit of exploring and just generally checking out new water. We only saw one fish, a very dark slightly slabby looking jack in very shallow water. I set up and cast several flies over him for no real reaction. I changed to a dirty fly, but that just seemed to put the fish down. He swam out deep then around straight below us. We waded down past him, he seemed not to care, chucked a few more flies at him for no reaction, then he decided to come and check me out. He was within a rod length of me, I was drifting a large fly past his nose and bouncing it off the rocks in front of him, he would follow and try and bite the split shot in front of my fly on my leader!
Eventually he bit the sharp end and I had him on, quickly landed and released, but I have to say that this was the weirdest trout behavior I have ever seen, he even pretended to rise, bringing his head right out of the water without opening his mouth. Weird fish.
Andrew and I continued on to our intended destination for a hunt, check out how Andrew’s first hunt went here:
I’ve had an interesting couple of days really. I guess it’s always on the cards when you agree to go fishing with a guy who goes by the name of Rodney McSuperchrist…
I picked Rodney up from his place nice and early on Friday morning. Usually when we fish together it turns out to be a complete disaster, so my hopes weren’t very high.
Rodney got us off to a flying start even before we made it to the river. He needed to get some smokes on the way so we stopped off at a tearooms on the way. Rodney went over to the fridge and grabbed a bottle of V then made his way to the counter. Just as he was asking for a packet of cigarettes he let go of the bottle and it exploded as it hit the floor. It went everywhere.
Rodney was soon on his knees mopping the drink from the floor. If only I had taken my camera into the tearooms…
Right before we got to the starting point for day one’s fishing a four wheel drive came flying up behind us and not long after that soared past and along the road into the distance. I had a bad feeling he was headed for the same place as us. Fortunately when we arrived the car park was empty.
The sun was out, which was a nice change from what has been the norm for my season so far, but the wind was strong right from the start. At least where we were headed was slightly more sheltered.
We saw a few fish at the beginning which weren’t interested in anything, but after a while we came to one which was sitting in a nice shallow pocket swinging away to the right from time to time intercepting bits and pieces from the current.
Foolishly I suggested Rodney should fish at it. He accepted the offer and the fish took his nymph straight away.
A short while later and I lifted the net with his fish in it.
The trip was already better than a couple of our previous attempts. One to the net is far better than none!
Further upstream Rodney decided to cross over and search the other side. I was busy changing flies for one I was casting to when I thought I heard a goose. I heard the same goose noise again and looked back to see Rodney disappearing downstream with a bent rod. I dropped my bag off and took off after him in pursuit, it was tough work getting there quickly but I made it in time to net his second fish.
Well done Rodney.
I continued up to where I had left my gear and carried on trying to catch the fish I’d left. I didn’t catch it. Not far up from there I found another one in a good position near my bank, I put a small parachute Adams over it and it took straight away. I waited, then struck, but felt absolutely nothing. The fish stayed there for a while, but after a few more casts with a different pattern it disappeared towards the other side. I don’t know quite what happened there, but I think it might have bumped the tippet with it’s snout when it came up. Who knows?
Even better than that though, Rodney came along and found a fish right opposite me on his side. He pitched his nymph in front and got the reward immediately.
Fortunately this time he did the decent thing and came across to my side to land it.
Superchrist: 3 Me: 0
Shortly afterwards he found another one. Again it was on the opposite side from me, and again he caught it. This one came from a tiny little pocket between two tree stumps. Rodney did well to drag it away from the obstacles and down to safety.
After that I found one on my side which was swinging to and fro, eating off the surface and just beneath. I placed the Adams above and to the left of the fish and it came straight to it. The fish lifted and took the fly, I waited for what I thought would be about the right time and again when i lifted I felt nothing. The fish wasted no time in disappearing after that. By now I wasn’t really seeing the funny side of things…
Rodney managed one more for the day and I got nothing. It was officially a downtrou.
After a long walk back to the car we headed off to where we thought we were staying for the night, only to find out when we arrived there was an event in town and all accomodation was booked. With the threat of rain we decided not to pitch a tent and pushed on to the next town where, after a few failed attempts, we eventually found a place that would take us for the night.
We put our gear into the room, went across the road for a late dinner, then came back for a drink at the bar below our room. We sat and listened to the men wearing dungarees and playing banjoes while we drank our beer. It was different from what we were used to, but enjoyable.
The sleep that night was as good as any I’ve had lately. It wasn’t the longest sleep ever, but it was solid. The alarm went off at around 5:30ish and neither Rodney or I could be bothered getting up to even turn it off. We just waited for it to stop before continuing with our sleep.
It wasn’t until around 7:00 that we eventually rose from the bunks and decided to vacate the premises. After a less than healthy feed across the road we headed off, with no idea where we were going to the driving was a bit aimless to start with. After several kilometres we decided to head inland, and hoped the road we took was going to take us to the right place. As it happened, it did.
The river was in great condition, and there were enough fish to keep us busy. None of them were very big, but they were all healthy looking specimens. (Except for one Rodney caught which loked like it had the AIDS)
The fish were pretty fussy. Most of them were actively feeding but wouldn’t respond to our offerings. After a while I found one in a side braid moving nicely from side to side and after I changed to a small grey nymph I got a result.
Rodney had to cover some ground to get there, but he did it with time to spare. The fish gave a good account of itself and it took a while, but I landed it safely with the assistance of my trusty sidekick.
Yep, I look thrilled don’t I…
Rodney crossed back over to his side and soon found another feeding fish. He lost it momentarily before finding it again and as soon as it saw his Adams dry fly it lifted from the bottom of the river and took it confidently. As soon as it felt the hook it took off upstream and then across to just in front of where I stood. According to Mr Superchrist, it nearly had the backing out.
He kept the pressure on and brought it closer, while I looked for somewhere to get across. No matter where I chose, it was going to be deep. As I got to him the fish was quite close, and started playing dirty. It buried itself in amongst the rocks on more than one occasion before I managed to position myself and slip the net over its head.
It was a great fish, the best one for the trip.
They were the only fish we caught for the day and it was a long drive home after that. I’ve got a lot of time up my sleeve at the moment, so it won’t be too long before I can get out again…
This is a bit late but better late than never…
A few weekends ago Alex took me to a couple rivers in the Hutt Valley that I didn’t even know existed. The plan was to just have a quick look on Saturday afternoon. We looked and we found.
The first fish Al spotted only five meters in front of him but managed not to spook it. A couple casts later and he got him to eat. He threw out a few big tarpon head shakes but Al held on to net a nice 4.5 pound fish! Good work.
This was the only fish we saw in this part of the river so we jumped in the car and moved on. The next river we hit was a tributary a bit higher up the Hutt. We walked down stream then fished our way up with Al on point (as usual when I’m fishing with him). His spotting skills leave me for dead. Next fish was going to be mine and it didn’t take too long before Al had me lining up a nice brown working a run hard. It took me a fair few casts and a fly change but eventually the dry was sunk and I had the slugger on. He put his head down and I went for a quick walk down the river before Al put him in the net.
Seeing as we had a fairly successful afternoon, we thought it best that we then go beat ourselves up by throwing everything we had at some Hutt River residents. Two hours of throwing at fish that are rising but won’t take anything you offer will always bring you back down to earth..
It’s nearly finished now, but today is Jacks birthday.
So, we went fishing of course. My apologies for the lack of pictures for this one, the weather was pretty bad all day. I didn’t quite fancy having the camera out for too long in the torrential rain.
Unfortunately it wasn’t the birthday fishing trip Jack had hoped for, today was the day of the fish (plural) that got away. It started right off the bat when I lost one in the first run after only a few seconds. I handled it very well at that stage. I just continued doing my thing. Soon after that Jack had the same thing happen to him a couple of pools up. Likewise, he too handled it rather well. It was early days after all…
I hooked another one about ten minutes later. I thought for all money I was stuck tight to this fish, but I was wrong. It popped the hook too. I was frustrated by this one, but I contained it within.
A few hundred metres upstream Jack and Ryan took the high road while I battled the river. As I struggled my way along I saw a fish ewas pretty close to where I stood, the rain was obviously helping here. I tried a few flies at this one until I found the right recipe. This time I was in for sure… nope. It got away as well. This time I was more vocal in the way I expressed my anger. (I had moved along from disappointment by now)
Jack spotted a fish sitting very close to where he was standing and managed a take on a dry fly, I was pretty surprised to see it take from the top considering the amount of rain that was falling. Jack hooked up for a reasonable time but again the fish threw the hook.
Next up Jack actually caught a fish. Unfortunately it is probably close to the smallest in the river. We didn’t bother with a photo because of the rain at the time.
After that it was my turn again, I fished to one close in for a while, it refused a couple of different nymphs before finally coming up for the Royal Wulff – the fly which was there the entire time! The number of times I’ve had this happen is amazing. I still can’t figure it out?
Anyway, I waited for what felt like 5 minutes too long before striking and it did the trick. I hooke the fish and even better than that I hooked it well enough to land it, just. The river was pretty wild here, and i was a bit scared of what might happen if we were to venture downstream, so I fought the fish in a rather disgusting manner. I pretty much just hung onto it and sent birthday boy forward to do his thing with the net.
Amazingly, it worked.
And no, I don’t have pinkeye. I’m just a bit tired – getting up at 5am for a few days in a row does that to me.
Now for the grand finale. Jack spotted a fish over on the far side of the river. He was here earlier in the season and has unfinished business in this pool, so he marched through the fast water at the bottom end risking life and limb as he went. He employed the tactics we had discussed prior to his departure and although it took a while, he eventually connected with a fish. A rather solid fish I might add. I couldn’t see everything from my vantage point, but I didn’t miss it when his rod straightened, nor did I miss it when he let his feeling known to the world.
Unfortunately, today was one of those days which could have been great if we made the most of our chances, but I guess that is fishing, isn’t it?