I haven’t put much up here lately, mainly because I haven’t been out much. I was at work the other day and a guy by the name of “Big Paws Hensley” asked me when I would be putting up another report, I assured him I would get one done as soon as I could. (He’s a big man and I don’t want to make him angry)
So here goes nothing…
After what seemed like forever, I finally had a few days available to get out for a fish. There was only one problem… it was blowing gale force almost everywhere. The forecast was for it to remain that way for a couple of days, so I decided to wait it out.
After three days of sitting at home the weather was finally settled enough that I wouldn’t feel like snapping my rod across my knee. I summoned the ever available Shagger to accompany me on the trip, and I collected him at the horrific hour of 4am on the Monday, along with a mountain bike borrowed from Rodney McSuperchrist.
Once Shagger was on board it was straight to the nearest BP for some gas and the mandatory Wild Bean coffee. Then it was full steam ahead to destination #1, with Shagger entertaining me with his war stories the whole way.
It was worse than cold when we exited the car and mounted the bikes. It was close to freezing. Fortunately we warmed up reasonably quickly riding with full packs on.
It was a pretty misty, gloomy start to the day. We were hanging on the hope the sun would burn through by the time we started fishing, I’ve been to the valley a few times, and its pretty tough trying to find fish there in overcast conditions.
After a couple of hours slogging away we locked the bikes up and were ready to start fishing. Our wishes for better light had been granted and the valley was in full sunshine without any hint of wind. It didn’t take very long to find fish.
This fish responded immediately to a deer hair cicada. It is the smallest fish I’ve ever caught from the river, but it was a positive start to the day.
Shagger got onto another fish in the same run.
This one wasn’t huge either, but it pulled plenty of string. It nearly had Shagger’s backing through the top eye of the rod at one stage.
Soon after that I found a fish while walking along a high bank. Shagger was otherwise occupied at the time, so I crept down to river level and put the cicada over the fish. It responded the same way as the others had done, and we became attached at opposite ends of the line.
Shagger emerged from the bushes looking about two kilograms lighter and just in time to assist with a photo of my second victim.
The second smallest fish I’ve ever caught from the river.
After that another fish was spotted near the top of the same run, feeding nicely in shallow water against the near edge. I stayed put while Shagger moved into position behind the fish. At that point I realised I hadn’t captured many fish on video so far this season, so I set the camera up for the action that was to follow.
The fish came to the cicada on the second cast and Shagger hooked up. After a long tug of war he netted it safely downstream.
Soon after that we came to a run which seemed to be teeming with fish. They were literally only a few metres apart and all of them were feeding. Some of them spooked from being disturbed by others, but we spent quite a while at that run hooking and landing fish after fish.
This one must have been through some hard times… As you can see, it had a really munted head.
Shagger hooked and landed another nice fish which then pulled a Houdini act as we were setting up for the photo. (Becoming an all too common occurrence for the two of us)
After we finished reaping the riches of that piece of water we didn’t see anything for a while, until we came to another run which was long and wide, with a high bank on the true left. We stalked along the bank and found a fish holding tight against the edge over the brown rocks. It was hard to see, but it was there, and it looked to be larger than what we had caught so far.
It took a few attempts, but eventually the brownie lifted to the cicada and I set the hook. The fish got a bity stroppy at this point and used all the dirty tricks.
It took a fair bit of time and pressure, but eventually the fish was subdued to the point he could be netted.
It was bigger than the others, but had seen better days. He could use a Mac Attack or two to help him put on some condition. I might take one with me for him the next time I’m passing by. This one had a scuffed up head too for some reason?
It clouded over pretty quickly after that and spotting became very difficult. We found the odd fish, but more often than not they were being spooked as we got too close.
It wasn’t all bad though, it seemed that some fish were allowing us to get pretty close in the diminished light. The next fish caught was cast at from 90 degrees off a bank.
They weren’t as keen to come to the top by now, so a certain little nymph was atached as a dropper to do the job, and it worked well.
Things went quiet after that for quite some time, until right near the end of the day when the fish became active again, taking from the top. Unfortunately they were also a bit skitterish, and were quite easily spooked at this time. The light wasn’t helping much. The fish were all moving quite rapidly and it was hard to pinpoint their location until they broke the surface.
Only one more fish was taken that day. It was caught blind on that same nymph.
This one could also do with some Macca’s or something similar. It looked like it had been on the Jenny Craig diet for a while.
That was all for the day. It was time to retire for the night and we would fish again the next day before returning home.
Shagger was in charge of the cooking that night. He whipped up a couple of “Back Country Cuisine” meals. It was my first experience of these, and lets just say they’ve got nothing on steak and pasta. But it was a feed nontheless, and I was grateful that Shagger went to the effort he did.
Sleep came easily that night, and I slept right through my alarm in the morning. I eventually woke up feeling a bit second hand from the previous days effort. We packed our gear up and set off for destination # 2.
The day was a good one. We had full sunshine and there was bugger all wind.
Once we started fishing it didn’t take long to find a fish. Shagger did a splendid job of fooling the fish with both nymph and dry fly on the same cast, and landed it after a good scrap.
There he goes…
That was a decent start. We continued on our way, spooking a couple of fish in the process of trying to catch them. We approached a deep pool which looked for all money like it would hold something, and sure enough it did. The thing is we only saw it when we were virtually standing over it. The combination of the water depth, light, and the paleness of the fish meant it was tough to see until you got really close to it.
The fish darted out into the curent, and I thought I had spooked it – until it returned and repeated the action. This one was very deep down, but it just so happens I have a few patterns in one of my boxes which were tied with this very situation in mind.
Shagger watched in disbelief as I attached the biggest, baddest nymph in my fly box to my tippet. I was riding bareback so to speak… (To coin a phrase from a certain well known angler who may or may not have appeared here on the Riverworks blog in the past) There was no point attaching an indicator to this rig. I wouldn’t describe it as casting, but whatever it was I did I managed to get the nymph in the water and in front of the fish. I saw it shoot sideways and when I lifted I felt that satisfying thud that only a fish can provide.
It was on for all money from that point onwards. The fish went deep and long – fast. I leant on it as hard as I dared and after a while I had the fish in a position where Shagger could trap it with the net.
This was hands down my favourite fish for the two days.
We continued upstream for a while after that without success. Shagger had a take but missed out, and that was about it. We turned around and headed for home.
The fish Shagger missed was back in place. He had taken his fly off at that point, so I cast to it with the biggest, baddest nymph. It spooked. However, there was another one in the run, over the other side of the river and downstream from where the first one held.
I launched the big bad nymph over to the fish, taking as much care as I could not to;
- Break my rod
- Knock myself out
- Knock Shagger out
Fortunately for all involved I managed to avoid all three of these things, and as a bonus I even placed the fly in front of the fish!
It was still operation bareback at this point, and we both watched in eager anticipation as the fish swung to intercept its prey. As it straightened up I lifted the rod in perfect harmony with Shaggers call of “Yup!”
This one fought hard too, but not quite hard enough.
A nice bonus on the way home.
We came across a couple of guys on the way back down the river. They hadn’t had much luck… they probably didn’t expect the river to have been fished already that day. We talked to them for a few minutes before continuing downstream.
We got to one of the runs where we had spooked a fish earlier in the morning, and I was surprised to see it was back. Shagger took my rod and tried a couple of nymphs over it before it appeared to spook. At that point he pulled the pin and gave me back my rod.
I watched as the fish returned to its spot, and I muttered under my breath as i began stripping line from the reel. I had a feeling about this one for some reason.
I cast over the fish, this time with a different nymph from the one I had caught the other fish on. Again we watched aas the fish swung to the right and again I lifted into solid resistance. Shagger said some of his special unkind words to me while I fought valiantly against my fishy foe. I wasn’t feeling the love.
Shagger soon softened and netted my fish, despite his explicit statement that he would neither net or photograph it for me.
We were both surprised and disgusted as the fish lay in the bottom of the net with something emerging from its vent. I still don’t know what it was…
Whatever it was, it got caught on the mesh and the remainder emerged from the fish.
It must have been welcome relief to get that one out. I’m pleased we used Shaggers net on this occasion too!
I guess it must have been a small fish, or eel or something? Whatever it was – it was disgusting.
That was the end of that. We high tailed it to the packs, and then the bikes after that. It was a horrible experience getting to the car, it took forever and I even crashed off my bike… falling from a bike isn’t too flash with a full pack on either. Not to worry, no harm done.
And the special nymph… the biggest, baddest nymph in town. If there is enough interest then I will reveal the identity of this creation, otherwise it can remain anonymous. If you’re keen to see it, then post a comment. If I get 10 or more requests, you’ll see the fly.
Anyhow, that is all for now. I’m heading south in the next few days, hopefully I’ll have something to report once I’m back.
I’ve spent years working in the tackle industry and I realize every angler is different, some view reels as an important part of the fishing arsenal, while others think that they are just over priced line holders and would rather “palm drag” their fish. Well, to be honest in the early days I was a line holder kind of guy, but have now been converted to the ways of the gear freak. I love nothing more than a hot looking reel, that has an exceptional drag. Sometimes we depend on a good drag, a stroppy sea run brown or a wild back country pocket water rainbow will test your gear to the limits, and generally a palm isn’t going to give you the upper hand (excuse the pun) especially when you need a hand on the rod and the other helping you to negotiate the rough country.
Many many reel companies have redesigned the disc drag system over the years. Whether its conical, disc, click, cork, stainless, teflon etc they all work on the same principal. They all exert pressure on the spool to slow its rotation down, thus slowing down the line peeling off and in turn the fish pulling on your line.
Here the more complicated physics comes into it, we start looking at torque, inertia and centrifugal forces. But I’m not going to get stuck into the nitty gritty, simply put, if something is spinning, its much easier to stop it spinning at the outer edge than if you tried to grab it in the middle. For example a bike wheel, you would have all turned your bike upside down as a kid and spun the pedals, well try stopping that wheel spinning, its way easier to grab the tire than it is to grab the spokes by the axle. This is torque or turning power created by the reel, or in this example the bike wheel. The further you move from the axle or center of rotation the larger amount of torque can be applied to the axle or center of rotation, basically meaning its easier to stop or start spinning.
So why would we want some kind of compact drag? with small surface area, small diameter or funny angled cone systems, which in turn mean little stopping power? I can’t actually answer that. It beats me, and goes against all physics based laws of motion. It would be great to have a drag the size of the reel itself, but we have to be practical. There will be trade offs somewhere with size vs drag, the tricky part is finding the balance.
I’m not about to go slagging other companies designs and systems, but I am going to draw some real world comparisons and explain why these work and why we have tweaked our design to be better.
Take a car disc brake. Fundamentally unchanged for ages I know, but they work. Bigger and faster cars have bigger brakes, not more of them. Space and weight is at a premium on a performance car and brakes are super important. Much like a fly reel, we want a light weight reel that isn’t bulky and stops fish. When we designed the R series reels we started with the 3 reel sizes, and designed a drag around these. We soon realised that we could use the same drag in all the reels reducing our production costs and in turn the end cost of the reel to you guys. The drag needed some prerequisites however, it needed to be laterally compact, light, durable, smooth, sealed and easy to maintain.
We came up with the “Orbit disc drag”, a simple system based around car disc brakes. The “Orbit” drag consists of a stainless steel pressure plate to which a high quality cork brake pad is bonded, and another stainless pressure plate which spins with the spool. We realize we probably could have saved some weight by using a different material other than stainless, but its the strongest most durable corrosion resistant material that could be used in this application with out pushing the price through the roof. Stainless steel responds well to polishing, giving us an unbelievably smooth drag surface, which means a super smooth drag. We also realized that even though, as I stated before the drag size is directly proportional to the amount of drag exerted, we only needed a drag size of 32mm diameter to give us more than enough drag for any fish that one may encounter in the size reels we designed.
Cork? you ask, yeah we could have made up some fancy name for it, but at the end of the day its cork. Its old school, its proven and best of all makes awesome drags! We could have used teflon, rulon, carbon or any combination of all these plastics, but they just don’t give you the same feel and longevity of a good quality cork drag. I have to emphasize “Good Quality” here, there is cork and there is cork, all are not created equal. We have found a really good quality product and have tested it extensively in both fresh and light salt water applications in New Zealand and it stood up just fine to the abuse.
Cork wont get as hot and it also wont melt when it gets hot. Because as another rule of physics informs us, energy can’t be created or destroyed, only transferred. In this case, rotational kinetic energy is turned into thermal energy (heat) through friction from the drag. So the drag will get hot, now if in the real world we happen to be connected to a stroppy back country fish that is really working our gear through some gnarly water, the last thing we want is our drag to get hot, then fail because the designer didn’t think about how hard our New Zealand fish pull. Luckily for you guys Riverworks gear is designed by kiwis who are out there thrashing it hard at every opportunity. The last thing we want is for one of our customers to take a reel to Atutaki and get spooled by a massive Bonefish, our reel fails, their trip is ruined. Cork is also relatively inert, its properties don’t change much with temperature, whether your swinging big streamers and drifting bombs in the depths of winter, or tiny dries and large terrestrials in the summer heat, our cork drags will always perform at the same level.
An often overlooked function of the drag is its ability to slip. We don’t want it to stay rock solid when we are hooked up, otherwise we would snap tippets, loose fish or worse, break rods. The Orbit drag system is easily adjustable to cover a huge range of drags. The pitch on the drag knob thread has been designed so that with less than 2 full rotations you have gone from full drag to no drag. This allows the angler to quickly adjust the drag not only a substantial amount at a time but also easily fine tune the drag mid fight for the best feel and control over your fish. The best of both worlds.
As the last Reel related blog post said we have a real flash reel coming later in the year, now the drag in this is different again, but based on similar principals. Keep an eye out for a post explaining its drag system in the near future……..
First of all thank you all for your help and suggestions for the new wading jacket. We really appreciate our customers input.
It appears we definitely have 2 very separate camps here, 1 for the wading jacket similar to what is already on the market and 1 for the more compact, simple, packable shell. All I have to do now is convince Rob to do 2 jackets so everyone has an option!
I received a few jacket designs, which were all really good and well thought out. Here they are:
From Calum McKenzie, a keen young fisherman and outdoorsman:
From Lisa McKenzie:
From Daren Gamble:
Thanks very much guys for all the effort you put in.
Everyone’s ideas have been taken into consideration and will form a check list to help us design a wading jacket for our customers. The design process for this jacket will be blogged continuously and at every stage our readers will be included in the discussions and decisions relating to this. We want you guys to see and be involved in everything from the concept right through to production.
Thanks again and keep an eye out next month for the initial concept sketches, we will need your votes!
I was starting to wonder if working 9-5 had many advantages from a fishing point of view. Then came a little something called Wellington Anniversary and a weekend filled with 3 days of backcountry fishing in some truly stunning spots.
I drove up after work on Friday and made it to the river rather late after being shouted a meal by the hitchhiker I picked up in Otaki (cheers Andrew!). It took a couple of red bulls to get me there, but excitement was peaking when I arrived. Isaac had been there for a couple of hours and jumped at the suggestion of a night fish. Fish is a rather inclusive term, as Isaac proceeded to demonstrate. Despite putting a bend in his rod this wasn’t quite what we were after:
A few casts later he got absolutely smoked by something that certainly wasn’t an eel. Unfortunately this was the pattern for the biggest fish of the trip.
Eventually, after removing my somewhat ambitious mouse fly and putting on a streamer, I struck into something solid. It wasn’t quite the spirited fight I hoped for, but more a dogged resistance. When the fish made it to the net we understood why.
Jandals all the way. It would have been a spectacular fish in good condition, but times didn’t favour it at the moment. Still…my trip was underway.
We struggled at our intended spot the following morning, so bounced around a few locations before settling on a river. Only problem was, how in gods name were we meant to get down to it? Our problem was solved in the form of Bob, who we serendipitously met on a dirt track in the middle of nowhere. He gave us a couple of hints which we eagerly took up.
After a bush bash and a half we arrived at the river and immediately got into fish on bright and flashy nymphs.
This bow was so pretty that I convinced Isaac to hold my fish for a photo…
After that I picked up a couple more rainbows that fought like banshees with a firecracker somewhere painful.
Then I notice Isaac has a pretty serious bend in his rod. And that this one was taking a little longer to get in than the others. Curious, I thought. So I landed my fish, took the snaps and went up to discover that he had a really rather good fish on the line. Two man netting team did the damage and he landed the fish of the trip.
We picked up a few more after that, but nothing of note. Except for that ENORMOUS bow that inhaled Isaac’s stonefly…but that’s not a happy story. I also learned the benefit of a wading stick after gracelessly pirouetting more times than I care to remember. Should have worn the wading boots!
The next day followed in a similar vein with a steady stream of good fish without anything spectacular. I dropped what was certainly the fish of the day after a confident rise to my royal wulff.
Isaac landed this nice fish after one hell of a battle.
They punch well above their weight!
By this stage I was getting rather frustrated at dropping a good fish, falling over and being inept at casting.
That afternoon we got the squall we had been expecting. Fishing through the rain I picked up a couple of OK fish and Isaac landed several good ones. Unfortunately the camera didn’t come out for that one.
The next morning awoke clear but with a bitter cold. After a quick trip around the campground to find someone with jumper leads to jump start Isaac’s car we hit the road. This was one of those rare trips where we saved the best till last. Bush bashing through overgrown tracks for two hours saw us eventually emerge battered and bruised to a crystal clear little stream with well defined pools and runs. The excitement was tangible.
Sneaking our way up the first run we sighted the quarry. This was the first chance for real sight fishing during the trip and we capitalised on it. Casting a large blowfly humpy with a trailing nymph ahead of a feeding fish brought about immediate results. The fish rose in the column intent on eating my dry. The take was slow and my strike was patient. It was at about this moment that Isaac started mumbling something about a tangle. That’s fine I thought, he could untangle his rig after I landed my fish. Then I looked down to see that this was a team effort tangle. As I hauled for the final cast I caught his fly which proceeded to loop around my line. Well, there’s nothing like an excuse to fight a fish hard. Giving line just wasn’t an option. After a few hairy moment I guided a great rainbow to the net.
Yep, this one made me happy.
Two pools up we came across a beautiful thing…free rising trout. I refused to let Isaac fish to this one with the nymph, so he reluctantly tied on a big rubber legged cicada. It only took two drifts before snout broke surface and the dance began. After catching mostly browns for the past few years I’d forgotten how good a real rainbow fight is. Isaac was sure enjoying this one.
After the fish was released we saw a sizeable eel doing the rounds and harassing the 10 or so fish in this pool. They seemed to forget about us while concentrating on the eel, and after he left them they promptly returned to the feed.
Making the most of this memory wipe I quickly landed two great bows in pretty quick succession.
The count, as we left that pool, stood at three great rainbows all caught whilst standing on the same rock.
Fish got a little fewer and further between after that, but they were there nonetheless. It seemed to be my day as an errant cast brought this fish to the fly.
By this stage it was late in the day and we had a long walk ahead of us. It was hard to turn around knowing we were leaving behind more great fishing, but the fact that we’d had such a great day so far made it that little bit easier. We did stop off briefly on the walk and Isaac managed to hook a solid bow from a difficult spot, but it stormed through the pool and utilised the prominent rock to full effect.
I was pretty stoked to see the car after that walk. Red bulls in the chilly bin went down a treat. It was a long drive home and a very welcoming bed.
Cheers Isaac for a great trip!
This is a letter given to me by a former store owner. John has been great at giving feedback over the years. Below is a letter from John on the Riverworks XRT Wading boots.
Well another season has finished and it is time to drop you a line on the performance of the XRT Wading Boot that I purchased in December 2010.
Since December through to June 30, 2011 I have clocked up just on 450 hours, no mean feat but they have covered bush walking, cutting tracks, coastal estuaries, Hawke’s Bay rivers right through to back country streams covering mud, sand, boulders and stones.
During this time I found the boots extremely comfortable and supportive, even after a 10 hour day they were still great to have on. The total design of the boot gives you maximum support from the balls of your feet right through to your ankles. The hexaform inner sole was especially noticeable when boulder hopping, cushioning the shock allowing the feet to take less impact during each step. Just a quick note, I do wear neoprene inners when I am not in breathables which does give a little extra cushioning. I have even used them during a morning hunt before continuing a fishing afternoon saving weight and space with no effect.
The only downside which is only minor, is that I am onto my third lot of studs. I find the soft nature of these tends to wear them out a little quicker than usual. Maybe a stainless stud will help solve this and a loss of weight on my part! Looking at the boot as I write it is hard to see any exccessive wear from either the uppers or soles for the hours I have spent in them.
Robert, I would not have any hesitation in recommending these boots to anybody who wants 100% satisfaction from an excellent product that will serve them well in the years to come.
I know you are continually trying to improve through research and development on all your products you source and I wish you all the very best in the years to come.
Say what? I’ll explain soon.
Over the last few days I’ve been MIA with my Dad in the central North Island. We had a few rivers to go searching and had made the proper arrangements to gain access into some highly regarded water. As it turns out my Grandfather and him occasionally frequented these areas many moons back.
So after getting to Taupo on Wednesday I promptly went straight to the Waitahanui lower reaches for a look at some XXL Browns. As thought they were in there and they were not interested, it takes some luck and constant drifts to get them to even sniff a fly. I felt I was fulfilling my duties as a “guardian” to them. As Andrew Christmas wisely said in a recent report, “some anglers or locals may think I’m mad giving away information like this but with anglers on the rivers these fish will stay safer than if the river was left quiet for a few days….if you get my drift”. The number is 0800 POACHING by the way.
Thursday dawned fairly fine but as we got deeper into the National Park the cloud cover thickened, not ideal for spotting fish. We looked at a few areas on our river of choice, only seeing one rise and a small fish. Something didn’t feel right as we’d tried most methods, areas and flies with nothing coming our way. I’m sure to go back though as now I have unfinished business.
We pushed on and made our way to Owhango to sort some accommodation for the night, the pub there is as rural as it gets and well worth staying at. After a quick feed of burgers we went to the nearby section of the Whakapapa for an evening fish. Once we’d found a spot to fish we sat down and observed the pool for a bit. Soon enough I had my favourite fly combo working the edge of the current near the head of the pool. It only took a couple of drifts to see the dry disappear and everything come up tight. A short dogged battle and a nice looking brown was to the net.
This continued for the next 40 minutes with 3 more fish succumbing to the dry/dropper. One greedy fish even had both flies embedded in it’s mouth! The fish had started rising and made for some good fun as it got darker.
The next day we’d decided to have a look around some smaller rivers nearby. Apparently they hold sparse amounts of large fish but we never saw any despite our best efforts, another stream that I will explore more in depth.
Next port of call was the infamous Big O to see if it was going to give up any monsters. Apart from the 2 junior Trout I caught it produced a muddy, sore arse and a broken rod! Yep, turns out 4 divided into 6 is 0.6666667. A deceptive, sloping patch of mud took my feet out from under me quicker than I could react and the rod was bitch-slapped on the water. I had a bad feeling about the tip section after a tungsten bead came flying back from a tree and sconed it a few trips back, not a nice sound. Thankfully we’d packed a spare, although it was an absolute dog.
After all that debacle and not hearing many positive reports from campers we left and made our way to Grace Rd on the Tongariro. We saw more fish in the allotted hour than we’d seen in 2 days. Some of these were big and one or 2 were freaking huge! If only it was near on dark and they had come on the feed…
All up it was a good trip into some great country with me ol’ mate. If only the fish had been a little more obliging.
This week is my last week off so I’m hoping to get out for one last day of freedom, I’m thinking Rotorua needs some attention. Not to mention a couple of days up at the tip of Coromandel this weekend, almost forgot about that. Oh, and the trip from ‘Nam is fast approaching, watch this space.
Not much has been happening for me lately. I’ve had a couple of half assed days out on the water, but that’s about as far as it goes.
These fish are my most recent. They didn’t come easliy! They were caught on separate days, both were taken on a cicada.
I really nailed the self timer shot on this one didn’t I !
This fish was one of three I saw in the pool. The only three fish I saw in the river all day. It inspected the cicada for a long time before slowly breaking the surface and inhaling the fly. Once hooked it went absolutely ballistic and scared everything else in the pool. Never mind, it made the day.
I’m looking forward to seeing what Jack is able to conjure up from his three day trip. In the mean time, I’m off fishing tomorrow. The plan is to stay out for a couple of days and do some exploring. Here’s hoping for some reasonable weather, and fishing!