Fresh water and salt water fly fishing in New Zealand and Australia. Brought to you by Riverworks waders, wading boots, vests, jackets, fly rods and reels.

Archive for March, 2012

Andrew Hearne – Old school.

A while back I got a message from Chris, one of the boys I used to go to school with way back in the day.

It turns out Chris has been into fly fishing for a wee while now. He has been spending a bit of time during the past couple of seasons fishing with Ben, who we also we went to school with.

The boys have even been reading the Riverworks Lifestyle blog!

It was long overdue, but today we finally got out for a fish together.

We didn’t travel all that far from home relatively speaking, so we left at a reasonable hour in the morning and found ourselves on the water just as the sun was peeking over the hills. The idea was to explore a piece of water none of us had fished before. Although most of the water we passed looked very promising, it turned out to be very disappointing indeed.

We saw one fish. (We didn’t catch it)

 

There ain’t no fish here…

Plan B was hatched after we came to the realisation that plan A sucked. We marched back to the car and took off up the road.

There were a few fish in the short stretch we fished, and they were as difficult as usual.

Right near the end we found one in the lower part of a pool which was feeding happily. Chris went forth and tried to entice it… unsuccessfully.

Ben went next, and after several fly changes he had it fooled.

 

 

It fought a good fight, and when it came to the net I could see why.

 

And there it is, Ben’s biggest trout.

It wasn’t long before this I’d been saying to Ben that often a single fish can make the entire day worthwhile. This was one of those fish.

It was time to leave after that. We had to get back to town, and I was losing my sanity fast as I became the food supply for several thousand sandflies.

We’re gonna do it all again before the season ends. Next time we’ll head somewhere with a few more fish, even if they are slightly on the smaller side.

Here is a little fish I caught a week or so ago, it was a fat wee pig. I caught it on a black terrestrial pattern.

 

Somehow I’ve managed to swing the whole month of April off… so I hope to get out fishing once or twice during that time. Watch this space…


Hamish Carnachan – Welly wilderness

Having arrived in Wellington to live after 30-odd years doing it tough in Auckland, I’m still blown away by the quality of the fishing in this region and how close it is to home.

Whereas my freshwater forays used to involve two hours drive across the vast Waikato dairy wasteland to find anywhere half decent to fish, now I have the Hutt River on my doorstep and the Tararuas and Rimutakas not to far beyond. Bliss!

I’ve been getting out exploring as much as family life  will allow, but a visit by a good mate  from Auckland – down  to sample some of Welly’s wares – provided a great excuse to bail into the bush for a night… or three… on a backcountry fishing expedition. The weather looked ok, not the blue sky days we were hoping for, but we pushed ahead despite the forecast patchy rain and winds.

Middle of nowhere

The first half day involved walking, walking and more walking in order for us to reach the hut before nightfall. We had to pass up some pretty stunning water but the prospect of a full day ahead soothed the itch to cast a fly. Despite waves of torrential rain and wind in the night, we awoke to  find the river running high but still incredibly clear. We packed up, rigged rods and set off. It was an hour, and plenty of barren water which looked ideal for holding, before we spotted the first fish crusing a large pool. As soon as the Stimulator landed on the surface the brown slowly glided over and took the fly at the most leisurely pace. Wait, wait – set. With the prick of the fly he woke up and it we were shortly on the board after a typically dogged brownie fight which gave me a chance to put the new Riverworks R2 reel to work… it past the test with flying colours, the drag silky smooth or, as one of my buddies would say, ‘As slik as snot’.

On the board

Riverworks R2 reel's first test

From herein the fishing improved with browns  spotted at regular intervals ll the way up to the next hut, depsite the slate grey skies and gusty wind making live a little dfficult.

Tim latched on to a beauty hump-backed jack that was one of the prettiest coloured fish either of us have ever seen – the pics don’t really do it justice…

Tim's backcountry beauty

The day warmed up, the wind dropped and the fish started looking up, hitting large terrestrials with explosive takes. And as often happens the further up a catchment you get, the fish started to get bigger too…

We topped the day off with eight fish to hand, a few spooked in tough conditions and a couple of blown opportunites – all in all not bad going in some pretty stunning surrounds.

Stunning water

A deer stalk along grasy flats that eveing revealed plenty of sign…

…and an unlucky stag a hunter had nailed some weeks before.

The next day we slogged it up over a saddle and down into another catchment where, instead of the comforts of a hut opted to camp beside the river where we thought our chances of running into a deer would be higher.

No deer but more fish…

…Followed by the long and weary walk….

I love Wellington!


Competition – Fish Of The Season (Update)

Hey guys we have decided to push the entry date of the competition back until the end of April now as there have been a few issues with end of season fish not being able to be entered until a bit later. That said there have been some great fish rolling in so please make sure you get your entry in, to be in with a chance to win yourself some Riverworks gear.

A few of the entries so far. Think you can do better?

————————————————————-

We want to see your best fish of the 2011/12 season!

The Fish Of The Season competition will be open for entries until the 30th of March with the winner receiving a $50 Riverworks voucher.

We will select our favorite five entries to post up at the end of the month and we will then let you guys choose the winner. The fish we are looking for are not necessarily the biggest fish from this season, but other factors such as condition, colour, surroundings and difficulty will be taken in to consideration.

To enter please send in a photo and no more than a few lines on how your fish was caught.

The selected five finalists will be announced Saturday the 30th of April.

Good Luck!

Entries must be submitted to: andrew@evolveoutdoors.co.nz

All entries will be considered and Riverworks New Zealand Terms and conditions apply. Entrants must have a New Zealand or Australian postal address and Riverworks New Zealand holds the right to make or overrule the final decision.


Andrew Sturt – The Wonders Of Duct Tape

During a private fly-in fishing excursion into the Alaskan wilderness, the chartered pilot and fishermen left a cooler with bait in the plane.

A bear smelled it and did this to the plane…

The Pilot used his radio and had another pilot bring him two new tires, three cases of duct tape, and  a supply of sheet plastic. He then patched the plane together, and FLEW IT HOME!


Video

Itu’s Bones


Lucas Allen – Dead dog burley

Just got back from an eventful night fishing trip. Matt was on form and got smoked by something that may have been even bigger than this specimen.

Best be going to sleep. V is good for the drive home but terrible when it’s 1.30am and you have work at 6.30. Have a great fishy weekend.

 

Lucas

 

Ps. The dog burley is great. Didn’t see it until the fish was landed, must have put out a mean trail. The horiness of that alone and the amount of cops we saw are the best clues as to where we were.


Andrew Sturt – Protecting Our Rivers

Sorry about the late notice for those of you who weren’t already aware. The protection and survival of our waterways  is a worthy cause that affects us directly as fishermen. For those of you in Wellington this weekend, this may worth going along to.


Lucas Allen – Weekend Warriors

Last weekend saw a break in the weather and the better halves were out of town. Holy shit, what to do, where to fish. So many options and so little precious time. Matt and I made a plan to mix it up with some fresh water action then attempt some SWF the next day. He had a river near Te Kuiti in mind that was long overdue a visit.

After one too many Friday bbq indulgences I was ready to roll nice and early. We headed South with a quick stop to pick up our companion for the day. Andrew was just as keen and we soon had his gear in the truck en route to one of the regions holy grails.

There’s one thing I’m really enjoying about the Waikato and that is the diverse range of flyfishing opportunities. This river was to be a first for Matt and I. Andrew having fished it a few times prior in the lower reaches.

A quick look-see over the bridge and we were kitting up in short order. The trout were visible within minutes and after spotting a “gimme” Matt was casting to a somewhat stubborn brown. It sulked under a bank after it got annoyed by us.

Hopping and crawling under cow fences we pushed on. We soon found out some of them were hot after one sent Matt sideways and had us in fits of laughter. This seemed to be the tipping point for the day and things started looking up. 

There were trout in every pool and they all had breakfast on their minds. The boys cast at some fish I’d spotted while hiding in the trees above. Andrew picked up a fish after busting one off previously lower down due to no chance of a net job.

What we hadn’t banked on was the amount of walking we were going to do. So in the interest of making a long story short I’ll let the pictures speak more from here in.

Walking, walking, walking...

Matt and Andrew with an active Rainbow

See ya

Steeeeerike. Skull draggin at its finest. Spot the spotter.

Result. One of the prettiest I've seen in a while.

More sweet water

The river was producing pool after pool of good, solid fish that were more than ready to receive our offers. Not to mention the scenery, it was one of those days that will be etched in the mind for a while yet.

This take should have been on film. We all whooped as it took the dry.

Thanks for coming. Back she goes

This pool was also a honey. I sat and watched the trout feeding before finally moving in for the kill, only to drop the fly a few meters short and to the side. The fish turned and raced after it so fast I got too excited and smashed my tippet on the strike!

Going long, only to bust off on the strike. Dang!

Another quick release

That was one river that will be forever on my favourites list. It had so many attributes and ticked all the boxes for me. We walked back to the truck absolutely buggered and pretty chuffed with scoring a near perfect day on the water.

The following day saw Matt and I bowl over to Waihi. We were in search of some Saltwater flats style fishing. Kingfish were on the target species list, well anything was to be honest. I’d been hearing reports of good fishing in shallow water and also had softbaits at the ready for a stealth mission.

Lets put it this way, the weather dictated our locations. We didn’t pick up much at all after doing a few recces near markers, in the channels and over the sand flats. But it was so fishy, we scratched our heads a bit and had almost given up hope until the tide changed and the harbour came to life.

Our saving grace were a few snapper pulled from 2 meters of water on fresh fly caught Kahawai. Just as I was considering throwing them a fly the bite dropped off and we had to leave. I’m going to be getting into this more as I can see the potential excitement of this type of fishing. Just need the gods to be good and we’ll be hooked up in no time.

Hooked up aboard the good ship Disco Volante

Worthy for bait

This week is bollocks on the weather front. Unless you like standing at a river mouth on a dark stormy night, which is exactly what I intend to do tomorrow. I hope to have more pictures and stories to tell for the next installment.

Cheers

Lucas


Short Film – Catch & Release


Competition – ‘Fish Of The Season’

Hey guys we have decided to push the entry date of the competition back until the end of April now as there have been a few issues with end of season fish not being able to be entered until a bit later. That said there have been some great fish rolling in so please make sure you get your entry in, to be in with a chance to win yourself some Riverworks gear.

A few of the entries so far. Think you can do better?

————————————————————-

We want to see your best fish of the 2011/12 season!

The Fish Of The Season competition will be open for entries until the 30th of March with the winner receiving a $50 Riverworks voucher.

We will select our favorite five entries to post up at the end of the month and we will then let you guys choose the winner. The fish we are looking for are not necessarily the biggest fish from this season, but other factors such as condition, colour, surroundings and difficulty will be taken in to consideration.

To enter please send in a photo and no more than a few lines on how your fish was caught.

The selected five finalists will be announced Saturday the 30th of April.

Good Luck!

Entries must be submitted to: andrew@evolveoutdoors.co.nz

All entries will be considered and Riverworks New Zealand Terms and conditions apply. Entrants must have a New Zealand or Australian postal address and Riverworks New Zealand holds the right to make or overrule the final decision.


Jack Kos – Give me faith

I’d been starting to get a little disenchanted with my fly-fishing. The weather and the fish just didn’t seem to want to play ball. Sure, we were still picking up fish but they didn’t seem to be of the same calibre as previous seasons. I knew I just needed one good day – some sunshine and a big fish.

 

Over the weekend I was struck by a rather irritating fever – just bad enough to make me want to lie in bed all day, not bad enough to justify it. So I was a little hesitant about my chances of fishing on Monday. I thought about it for a long time… and, surprisingly enough, decided to go.

 

When we arrived it seemed like things were destined to repeat the pattern of overcast days with tough spotting conditions. And that’s certainly how things started out. We crept along the edges and managed to spot a couple. I covered one, then Andrew covered another. He certainly got a more positive reaction, but the end result was the same – nada. The next pool up Andrew spotted a smudge holding close to the bank – we were standing about 2metres from this fish and still couldn’t confirm that it was piscine. Until it swung. From close range, with about a foot of flyline out, I drifted a blowfly humpy over it. It rose and slashed at the fly. I waited…then struck. It was a little bit like a pocket rocket exploding at launch. The aerial acrobatics were instant, and then the booster engaged and we were on our way downstream. It was one of the smallest fish I’ve caught since coming back to the South Island, but also one of my favourites. It had risen confidently and fought like a champion – and to top things off it was beautiful. Solid to the point of being chubby with a myriad of leopard like x shaped spots on a pale buttery body.

The blowfly was embedded well.

 

A very nice start.

 

We saw a few more fish, but it wasn’t until Andrew attempted a new tactic that things changed. I don’t think he’s named his method yet, but it was effective. Basically, as I understand it, you cast your fly out a couple of metres just to clear some line, untangle the remaining line from the bushes, notice a substantial boil around where your fly landed, then simultaneously strike and clear the tangled line. If you can pull it off as well as he did then I’ll be impressed.

 

The efficacy can’t be questioned.

 

 

The fish seemed to be getting bigger?

 

A couple of pools further up a very substantial shape shot forward to intercept Andrew’s fly and appeared to erupt on the surface – surely he’s hooked it? But the mystified look on his face, quickly followed by a flash of anger, explained things. How it failed to hook up I’m not sure.

 

The sun was just starting to poke through the clouds as I approached a run with a good permanent bank. The angle of the sun meant sighting it was nigh on impossible, but it looked too good to ignore. I took one side, Andrew took the other. As it transpired I picked right. As I was prospecting my way up the run, just starting to get into the money zone, my fly was intercepted by something that felt very solid. It lacked the fireworks of my initial fish, but there was a lot of weight strumming through my 5wt. The fight was determined, if unspectacular. Until it came to the netting. I’d expect a broken finger is a bit of a hindrance when netting, but as soon as Andrew saw the fly pop out of the beached fishes mouth he pounced on the fish and secured it using a move I think I saw on a wrestling show. I was stoked. The fish was as solid as expected.

 

 

 

 

The pattern continued, the fish got bigger.

 

Sadly, this was the last fish. I won’t mention that fish that Andrew covered that definitely would have continued the pattern…it would just bring up bad memories.

 

That day was exactly what I needed. I feel content, my faith is restored. Until Friday anyway.

 

Jack


Short Fly Fishing Film – Rojo


Andrew Hearne – Its not about the fish.

Well we went fishing again this week… twice.

Tuesday was pretty tough going, with most of the fish we found not really willing to play our game.

The weather forecast for today was looking pretty good, so we decided to have another go, and hopefully maker a better job of things.

It isn’t always about the fish though, all I really wanted was a good day out. As it turned out, it was a pretty fun day on the river.

As usual, the weather wasn’t quite as good as it could have been… it was a bit grey all over, but at least it wasn’t windy.

 

It wasn’t all that long and Jack found a fish against our bank. It took a couple of casts, but the fish played ball.

 

That’s a pretty good bend in the rod. This fish went hell for leather from the beginning.

A pretty good start to the day really.

We carried on up and I hooked one myself, which also went hell for leather… unfortunately my disability prevented me from landing the fish. Yup, my busted finger got in the way and became tangled in the line and the fish broke me off. It continued jumping for quite a while afterwards, obviously it wasn’t all that keen on the new addition to its face.

I didn’t let that speedbump get me down, I found another fish. Just as I was casting to it another one came down towards me so I redirected and put the fly in front of it. As it got near I lifted the fly off the bottom and the fish swam onto it and opened its gob right up. I struck, and it was game on again.

I quickly suggested to jack he might want to be on my side of the river to fish for the other one, which, coincidentally looked to be about twice the size of the one I had on the end of my line. I kindly hung on to my fish for dear life while jack made his way over… my fly line got tied around some bushes during the fight, so even if I wanted to let the fish take line I wouldn’t have been able to. How my rod didn’t snap in half I’ll never know…

I landed it on a small clump of dirt, not ideal really but it was the best I could do. It wasn’t a great location for a photo either.

The big boy must have been a bit stirred up from all the commotion, because he took off pretty quickly when we made our way up to him. Not to worry, we’ll find him again.

At one point we had to negotiate a bit of matagouri bush, which involved climbing halfway up the side of a rather large hill. At some point along the side of the hill Jack found a fish in the water, and since I was closest, he nominated me to climb down and smash through the bushes to try and catch it.

I did catch it. However, it looked way bigger from up on the hill. It was a nice enough little brownie, but didn’t quite warrant the effort required for a photo at that point.

I had yet another turn after that. By now the sun was trying to poke through the clouds, and the conditions were really good. I was fishing the eye of a nice pool when I hooked a bohemoth of a rainbow.

Look at him, what a beauty!

I had to really show this fish who was the boss… I think it got the picture pretty quickly.

In the end I just let him away with a warning, and he swam free to think about what had just taken place.

Time for Jack to give it a crack.

He had to throw a long cast, virtually to the other side. He got it right straight away and was on again.

 

This really is a pretty cool place to be on a nice day.

This fish was a bit like a bat straight out of hell too, it took some beating.

 

We both hooked another rainbow each after that. They were of similar size to this one and they both got off. My one escaped just after I told Jack I would make it jump for the camera… and his one escaped just as quickly. The precise moment Jack’s one popped off, the wind went from non existent to about warp factor 3 in an instant.

We’d had our fun for the day, and it was time to go home…

 


Lucas Allen – Late Summer Missions

Hello again, sorry for the absence.

Well I figured after many quick after work fishing trips there must be something worth reporting on by now. To be honest, I’m still in a state of shock and am still found reminiscing about the good ol saltfly trip we did a few weeks back (click here incase you haven’t read it yet). It seems there’s another saltfly trip brewing but we won’t go there just yet…

My latest forays have been somewhat quick and almost rushed. With all the weather situations (bombs) that we are experiencing this summer the options to go trouting have been limited for me. Don’t get me wrong though, I’ve had my share and what lies beneath is a sum up for February.

The start of the month was frantic with family and weddings although I did sneak a trip into the Ngongotaha after hearing so many Cicadas I couldn’t control myself. What I found was a load of scrappy little rainbows that seemed to climb all over most offerings, except the Cicada pattern, go figure! There were a few heart stopping moments as they came up for a look only to then snap at the dropper.

There were a few decent browns basking in the calm waters and this one was kind enough to let me crane style cast a big Royal Wulff right onto its schnoz. It sat there for a long time just staring while I repeatedly told it to eat my fly. A change to a black wooly bugger saw it snap out in fury, the fly bouncing off its lips and frustrating the crap out of me.

After the Sister in laws wedding I ended up in Tauranga with the boys for our saltfly trip. It was bloody fantastic. I may have commented that trout fishing was dull in comparison, sorry I got a little carried away. Watching Alex pack himself and reassuring him enough to cast at some hungry sharks was priceless. There is video footage out there, it just needs voicing over to remove cuss words and girly squeals.

Back to the local waters I ventured to the Mangatutu one rainy (surprise) evening with a new found fisho. Matt and I had been promising each other a trip and finally we connected. There must have been some serious karma stacked up between us because we had a ball. Fish just seemed to throw themselves at us, all within plain sight of the truck. The rain and rising river had the trout feeding hard and it didn’t seem to matter what we did.

Which brings us to Tuesday just gone. I repaid the driving duties by taking us over to Rotorua and showed Matt a few spots that have done ok for me lately. Sure enough we saw good fish within a few minutes and did our best to disrupt them from their activities. They were super spooky and hard to hook, either bolting off to alert their mates or lying doggo with mouths firmly shut.

Finally on our way back to the car we managed a feisty little brown on the dry that had a death wish. The big’uns stayed deep in the pool and dispersed once the little fulla tore the place up. You’ll have to believe me Matt was holding a fish, it just pulled the ghosty real quick when the camera came out.Since then I’ve read a report stating there are massive browns cruising where we fished that night. Given the full moon pattern and still night we blanked but have dedicated a night very soon to go have another crack, can’t wait.

With all the weather halting some plans I have spent time at the bench and have a few flies to show for my troubles. Some reworked, some new ones and also restocking the classics. I’m certain to give them all a going over in the next few weeks.

That’s about it for now. While finishing this blog I saw a clip on Nightline with William Trubridge campaigning for the Hectors Dolphin, looks pretty interesting. Wonder how they’d go on the fly, just kidding.


Andrew Hearne – Always take the weather with you… we always seem too!

Last weekend Rob came down from Wellington for some fishing with Jack and I. We had the plan sorted… and then it rained. A lot!

Despite the weather, we still went fishing. It just meant we had to travel further than we wanted to, a lot further as it turned out.

It seemed appropriate that most of the pictures were taken in black and white. It matches the doom and gloom that followed us wherever we went for the three days…

The first day was spent on a river which was very high, but usually remains reasonably fishable after even very heavy rain. There wasn’t a lot of photography taking place that day though, the rain kept coming on and off throughout the day. The camera was tucked away safely for most of the time… except for when Rob caught a fish.

That was all for the day as far as it went for fish on the bank. They were tough to find in the conditions, but at least it was a start.

That evening we headed off in search of cleaner water. After nearly a couple of hours we eventually found some. We arranged accomodation for the night, and headed off to the pub for some sustenance by way of steak sandwiches, burgers, and beer.

That night I slept pretty well, as did the other boys I believe. I’m not so sure about our Mexican friend who was unfortunate enough to have to share the room with us that night… the snoring might possibly have been a bit much for him to handle.

The next day dawned reasonably fine, although it quickly clouded over. It seemed like whatever we did to avoid bad weather, it was going to find us anyway. It wasn’t looking flash as we headed for the river. We arrived to an empty carpark and as we started getting ready patches of blue sky began to show through the cloud cover. It looked far better than before, but we resigned ourselves to the fact the weather might change a bit during the day.

The river had a touch of colour in it, but it wasn’t really a problem. We were reasonably confident we could find fish.

Jack found a fish, and after a couple of fly changes it took his nymph. Unfortunately it didn’t stay on for long… it spat the hook pretty quick.

Rob was next in the batting order.

It didn’t take long for him to connect with a fish.

This one stayed on.

It looked like it had been on the lean cuisine diet for a wee while, but at least it was a fish caught.

After that we walked for a bit without seeing much, then I found a fish holding in a small bit of pocket water against a solid bank. I managed to put a fly in front of it and it took, but like Jack’s fish it came off pretty quickly.

At this point in the day, it was almost threatening sunshine.

Not far upstream from here we split up for a bit. Jack took one side of the river while I went on the other side with Rob. It turned out that jack was on the wrong side!

If you have a close look at my right hand, you’ll appreciate that catching this fish was a bit harder than usual. I broke my middle finger right down near the knuckle three days earlier. Casting wasn’t very much fun… but where there is a will there is definitely a way!

Soon after that we found another one which Rob fished to. It was on the move, but as soon as it saw the fly it accepted nicely.

We carried on for quite a while after that, but didn’t manage to land any more fish for the day.

It was a decent walk back to the car, but not as bad as some of our past hikes to the car. We ate and drank at the same place as the evening before, and stayed another night. The Mexican dude was gone when we arrived back, I hope he didn’t leave because of us…

The next day we opted for a smaller piece of water. For whatever reason though, the fish weren’t willing to co-operate, and we blanked. We didn’t even look like getting a fish that day, but it was a day out nontheless…

Not long after lunch we had to pack up and head back to Christchurch so Rob could make his flight back to Wellington. It’s a shame the trip was a bit of a fizzer as far as the weather and fishing went, but we still managed to have a few laughs and made the most of a crap situation. Cheers guys…