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.
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!
Since Jack has been back in wellington we have had many discussions about fishing and overnight adventures in search of pristine north island water and brownies. Due to our current lack of physical fitness we settled on an easy one to break ourselves in.
Friday afternoon came around and I received a txt message from Jack, it was a stunning day and he was ready to ditch his suit and tie and get into some fish. I wasn’t far behind him. The essentials were purchased (sun screen and hay fever tablets) the truck packed and we were off.
A dinner at Subway followed by Jack checking his exam results on my phone, Ill let him tell you how he got on, Ill just say it was good start to the weekend. A few beers bought to celebrate at our campsite and into the bush we headed. Talking smack about fishing killed the time and soon enough we were sleeping like babies, only to be rudely waken by the alarm. Sausages for breaky, then into the fishing!
Jack always manages to get the best shots:
First decent pool held a couple of trout, Jack managed to pull a wee battler out with out too much trouble.
Next fish was mine, well I had trouble getting the right drift, but eventually hooked up, only for the fly to pull, this was entirely my fault, I didn’t strike nearly as hard as I like to. The fish went back to feeding pretty quickly, but I just couldn’t get him to look an anything else.
We pushed on to fish to several very spooky fish who wouldn’t take anything, When I spotted a fish sitting on a seam high in the column. I had changed my rig, swapped my indicator for a dry and ditched the nymph. I pumped a cast up, little too wide and too far above him, second cast about a foot in front of him and slightly to one side, smashed it down as hard as I could, he swung and smashed it. So I smashed him back and we had a wee tussle, a nice brownie landed.
A few more spooky fish were encountered, Jack not having much luck on these. I spotted one feeding hard in a small deep pool / pocket, First cast ended up in the tree behind me, once I had that sorted my fly was flicked up. Again the fish didn’t hesitate to wallop my dry, I hit him hard and he went ballistic, for a little fish he had me dancing on rocks and switching up the rod angles to keep him in the pool and away from obstacles. We landed a nice fat brownie that had well and truly given me an epic run around.
Couple more spooky fish were spotted and Jack had a take fishing blind, but unfortunately it was the start of our long walk back to reality. We did capture some great video footage, so as soon as I get it sorted I’ll post it up. For now enjoy the pics and keep an eye out for the next adventure…………
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:
Over the weekend I managed to get out with a couple of the boys from one of the local stores.
We were rewarded with free rising fish and managed a few pretty good early season fish, was also good to fish with some light gear, the 3 and 4 weight rods are just awesome!
A nice fish first up for Joel:
Andrews first wellington fish for the season, this one is still a little skinny:
A good fish for me after dark on the dry:
And another good fish for Andrew, also on the dry after dark:
Plenty of good fish around, looking like it will be a good season!
This is my intro to the blog and it comes at the least enjoyable season of the year. At least for me that is. I have an avid passion for fly fishing and my first love is salt water fly fishing which is why winter in Wellington is slow and painful for me. I make do with the odd kahawai where I can but most of my winter fishing ends up being for trout. So over the next few months I will be tying flies, tying leaders and prepping my gear for summer. Over this time I will go through some of the setups I use and hope to put together some post introducing the gear I use and tactics I employ.
In the mean time here are a few pics to whet your appetite,
After a long obsession with catching a cook straight sailfish (barracouta) on fly I finally managed to land one on the weekend.
This is one species that no matter what I’ve tried in the past I’ve had absolutely no luck with.
Saturday was an awesome day weather wise, Our storeman Leigh is an avid saltwater fisho and offered to take me out on his boat for a session on the gurnard in the harbour. He was slaying the gurnard on soft baits, so I pulled out the fly rod. The first couple casts and drifts were uneventful, but then I hooked into something, only to loose it. The teeth marks in my leader only meant one thing. Wire bite tippet applied and a new flashy fly, a few casts later I had one hitting the fly but my strip strikes weren’t connecting. Finally, at my feet he took the fly on the surface in one of the most ferocious takes Ive ever had fly fishing.
He then managed to take my entire fly line in seconds, I got most of the line back almost as quickly, before we landed him in a rather unorthodox way, care of the anchor rope.
Not the biggest couta in the sea, but I was stoked to finally get one under the belt. I will in no doubt be attempting to catch a few more over the winter.
And this arvo Im off to Rotorua. It was supposed to be a short break with my girlfriend and some of her mates. Luckily for me she understands the plight of the fishing addict and has allowed me to stash a few rods and a bit of gear in the car.
I’ve heard of some awesome fish being caught by shore based anglers already this autumn, I’ll be catching up with a good mate, Lucas, and hopefully we can get into a few of these kinda fish:
Ill report back on Monday.
I’ve been pretty slack this season. I haven’t done any where near as much trout fishing as I’d hoped, But I thought I might as well make an effort on the last day of the season.
Trout at the tail end of the season have always been a little hard for me, usually not interested in anything as they’ve got other things on their minds………..This time I had a special fly that Jack tied for me, not something to be showing your mates, it goes against everything traditionalists stand for. I was confident I was gonna slay fish with it, after jack had told me several stories of how well this creation worked on the south island browns. I tried it on closing day. Jack, it spooks fish like nothing else, straight to plan B.
The day was awesome, no wind, bright and sunny, and the river was higher than usual but dropping and a beautiful clear emerald colour. Last time we fished here we were second on water and it was impossible to catch a fish, this time we made sure we were the first there.
The first 2 fish wouldn’t have a bar of anything and both spooked on the second cast, the cast’s were good and presentation was good, I just guess some fish are much harder than others.
The next fish was sitting in a funny spot, Id seen him here before but never managed to get him to look at anything, my cast was a little off, but he moved a long way for the nymph, his mouth opened, his head turned and I came up tight, he fought hard in the fast water and I could feel my leader on rocks, I got the feeling he’s been through this before and knew a few tricks. We managed to get him back into slack water and land him, a little slabby and scarred up quite badly, he still went a shade over 5lb.
Now it was Andrews turn. Andrew has been taking me out on his boat saltwater fly fishing. I found out he had never caught a brown trout before, so I was determined to pop that cherry. We found one feeding deep, a couple drifts and no dice. The fish started to become more active and started feeding the entire depth of the water column, we changed tactics and position to get a better drift and what do you know, before long Andrew was hooked up to a very active brownie who spent spent a lot of time in the air, Andrew was screaming like a school girl at a Justin Beiber gig. After a good scrap I netted a nice brownie around 4lbs, Andrew was ecstatic to say the least, few grip and grin shots and he put him back for next year.
The next 2 fish behaved the same as the first 2, 2 casts and gone. Then we spotted one feeding the width of the river, he was probably the most active fish Ive seen there, I guided Andrew into his location, as he false casted his nymph and indicator the fish came up and took a dry! he rose again and again, Andrew changed up his rig. Andrews new dry and dropper combo did the trick after “several” good casts, and another good brownie of 4lb was netted.
That was the last fish spotted for the day, and what a day. Andrew kept telling me it was his best days trout fishing yet. I was happy to help get Andrew his first browns. We couldn’t have asked for a better day really, maybe some bigger fish……….
I was testing a new prototype fly rod, an 8’6″ 5 weight, and what a honey of a rod! I can’t wait for these to hit the market, my very expensive high end rod will be getting retired! Keep an eye on the blog, we will keep you all updated with the design and testing of some new fly rods.
I know its not fly fishing, but, I was recently invited out for a fish with local salt fly gun Andrew Marshall.
We were armed to the hilt with salt fly, jigging and trolling gear, unfortunately the weather didn’t allow for any salt flying, but we did get into some good Kingies on the jigs.
My first ever Kingie, around 11kg, not massive, but I was stoked to pop that cherry, the raw power of these fish is amazing!
Andrew landed a 15kg specimen, and another mate Brad got into a 23kg horse on some seriously light gear.
I dont imagine we’d have much luck trying to land these on fly rods, but we might be silly enough to try it one day…………………………
Andrew informs me there have been a few Albacore Tuna caught out wide, a great target for the fly rod, watch this space!
After a busy few weeks with weddings, stag parties and just general time wasting I finally managed a free weekend to get into a few trout in the back country, the only problem was the weather……………
But I thought bugger it, better off fishing in the rain than sitting on my backside doing nothing. I put in a full day covering plenty of water, seeing a heap of trout, landing a couple, dropping a few more, and getting a wet backside.
The cicadas worked a treat
There were a few locals hanging about (look out the roar isn’t far away)
It was also a good chance to test some of our new hunting clothing, the New Prime Summer clothing is awesome! you can check it out here:
I layered up with prime summer and an Aspiring hunting jacket and was dry and comfortable the entire day. Despite being designed for hunting this gear works just as well for fishing.
The cicadas are chirping hard, get into it!