Alex Broad – My best 5 fish this season
It was a slow season for me this year trout wise; however the salt water side of things was not too bad at all.
Early in the season Jack and I did an overnight mission into the Tararua’s, the river was nice and clear and the fish were feeding. We only managed to hook into a handful of fish, none of which was particularly large, however near the end of the day I managed to hook into this wee gem. A true pocket rocket, I’ve never been worked so hard by such a small fish before. Jack did a bang up job of snapping the pic for me too, great shot.
I have a mild affliction, I collect and use old school film cameras, there’s something about it for me, and sometimes you pick up a sweet piece of equipment for next to nothing that whips the pants of any digital camera. I had picked up an old Olympus pocket camera and decided to head out for a fish and give it a test. Threw some black and white film in it and took off for the river. I was greeted by a mayfly hatch of epic proportions and free rising trout, which for a change took normal dry flies instead of some sort of size 20 emerger. I quickly secured several fish in short succession, if I remember correctly 3 fish in 3 casts. They were all small scrappers, but this photo I managed to snap really portrays what the evening was like for me, on my own, fading light and a few fat little trout to keep me company.
Cicada’s really get me going in the summer, there’s nothing better than seeing that brownies nose break the surface and swallow your big ugly foam and rubber concoctions. This fish was another pulled from my local, the Hutt River. He was lying pretty doggo on a lip in some rough water; I could barely make out a smudge that would sway to the side occasionally. After a few casts he decided it was time to have a closer inspection, I hit him hard and he jumped and went ballistic for a bit then slogged it out slowly like most brownies tend to do. A nice solid fish from very very public water on a brand new cicada pattern I was testing. Can’t get much better.
In February we got a syndicate together and headed north for a week of salt water fly fishing out of Tauranga. The first couple of days were spent trying to find Kingies, which just weren’t anywhere to be found, on the surface or down deep, but we kept ourselves amused with Kahawai. By this stage we had basically figured out it was Kahawai or Skippies, as schools of Skippies kept busting up around us then disappearing. We figured them out pretty quickly, but what took a little longer was figuring out how to control yourself and one of these wee barrels of muscle on a fly rod. I was testing a new Riverworks concept rod and reel in a 9 weight, this performed flawlessly, but getting used to the sheer power these small fish had was something different. Busted leaders and pulled hooks had us “green horns” getting pretty frustrated. But we conquered a few, and it was some of the most fun I’ve ever had on a fly rod.
Before we left on our trip of the year I had laid down some requests, a Kingie on fly, a Tuna on fly and a Shark on fly, well I had ticked the Tuna box, the Kingie box just wasn’t going to get ticked, which left the Shark. I had come prepared with knot able wire, some 9/0 hooks and some chum style tube flies. We set up the heavy gear and proceeded to chum up with Kahawai and Skippys. The idea was to get some Makos in close to the boat, throw a cast and hope they liked the look of the fly, then hold on. The Makos never arrived but the Bronzies did. After circling the boat for a while they built up confidence and smashed our chum hanging from a float. Several casts were made, hoping the smaller fish would take the fly. It’s not often you want the small one to take a fly. Instead big brother mouthed the fly for a bit then took off with the 9/0 firmly imbedded, all I could do was hold on and take the inevitable spanking like a man. After Mr Bronze Whaler had taken the shooting head, running line and a lot of backing the line went slack. I was gutted but relieved at the same time, after all what the hell was I going to do with a very large pissed off shark at the side of the boat? My “awesome knot able wire” had untied itself. I was shaking like a haunted shit house, but amped to have been attached to such a large fish on a fly rod. This is screen grab from the video footage we shot, me bending a 14wt rod and a shark of around 180kg doing his best to spool an ultra heavy duty salt water reel with the drag cranked up. While no sharks were landed, this memory will be forever ingrained deeply in my mind. Perhaps a moment of stupidity? Or perhaps just trying to push the boundaries? I’ll be back to hit them up again that’s for sure.