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.
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’.
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…
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.
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!