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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.


Alex Broad – Season drawing to an end

Thats right, the 2011/2012 fishing season is nearly over.

For most of us we either stop fishing and start tying flies for the next season, head to winter spawning rivers and lakes that remain open or battle it out in the lower reaches of our favourite rivers.  I had realised I had been concentrating of salt water fly fishing this summer and hadn’t done enough trout fishing, so decided I needed to cram a bit of fishing in before the season closed.

Last weekend had me down at the local (Hutt River), after hooking into a beaut jack of around 4.5lb I was very quickly in trouble, he had run into the rocks under me and I could feel my leader on the rocks.  Determined not to loose this fish I ventured into the river to try and pull him out, it got deeper, and deeper, and a bad decision had me in water up to my neck doggy paddling across a short deep part, while holding the rod above my head, still firmly attached to the trout.  I landed him, but was rather wet and dejected, managing to drown a camera in the process, unfortunately no pictures for this reason.

This weekend, I had some time to kill on Sat morn, so thought Id have a quick look around some of the water that is due to close around Wellington.

It wasn’t long before I had spotted a fish feeding away, however he managed to disappear into the murky depths before I got a cast.  A few pools further up I had another fish in my sights, swaying gently in the current and feeding well, I tied on a special fly that rarely fails me.  A couple of casts to get the drift right and he swung over, the white flash of his mouth was the only indication I needed, I stuck hard before my indicator had a chance to move, fish on!  After a rather slow but dogged fight I had a nice conditioned jack in the net.

A few more pools and another fish was spotted, same rig cast and this time I had the cast perfect first time.  The fish swung, the mouth opened, the indicator dipped and I struck.  I was met with brief but solid resistance before the fly came screaming past my face.  The fish obviously disappeared into the heavy water not to be seen again.  Unfortunately that was it for the morning, another 1 fish day, but 1 fish is better than no fish, and going fishing is better than not going fishing.

Only a couple of weeks left in the season, Ill be making the most of it.


Alex Broad – Andrew Marshall made an awesome captain.

We had just returned from a week of saltwater fly fishing, I was going through all the photos and video footage, and it dawned on me that I didn’t have a single photo of Andrew Marshall holding a fish.  Now I thought this was weird, all the rest of us caught fish.  Turns out he was so determined to get everybody else onto fish before he had a crack, the fishing was super hard and we simply ran out of time before he got have a decent go at it.  What a good bugger.  Thanks Andrew, you made an awesome skipper, maybe next time someone else can drive the boat……

Andrew Marshall, Andrew Sturt and myself set off for an epic saltwater fly fishing adventure late one Saturday night.  The plan was to drive up the line to Tauranga, with Andrews Dad’s boat, for a week of chasing anything that swims in the sea on fly.  After a less than desirable start, auto sparky wired the brakes up wrong, we made it to Taupo, slept on the edge of the lake rather poorly, then pushed through to Tauranga in the morning.  Lucas came over from Hamilton that morning and before long we had the boat sorted, made friends with the local residents at the motor camp and had done a bit of exploring in the upper harbour close to our accommodation.  A rather lethargic afternoon followed with the consumption of a few brews and a good feed whipped up on the BBQ.

The next day, well, it rained.  But that didn’t stop us, we threw popper after popper at all the markers in the channels, nothing doing.  Off into the upper harbour, still a bit rough out wide, nothing doing up there either.  Finally back at the harbour entrance, kahawai working the surface.  We eased into it with a small one,

Then a bigger one,

It was just good to finally put a bend into a rod,

The next day was a cracker, out wide early, sea calm and glassy, not a kingie in any of Andrews spots.  This was to set the scene for the elusive kingie for the rest of the trip.  However before long we were greeted with a small school of Skippies moving through, in very very shallow water.  We weren’t used to the fast moving nature of the tuna and couldn’t connect.  New spot, still no kingies, few kahawai on the surface and huge schools of blue mao mao sipping.  These guys were hard work, very very fussy following tiny flies right to boat before turning away.  We gave up eventually and found another school of skippies working over a rise.  The sea was so calm and flat that  we struggled to get in front of the school and get close enough for a cast without them going down.  Kahawai were the consolation prize here,

Giving up on these guys we headed for the harbour, only for the wind to come up and us finding several small schools of skippies working the shallow water close to the harbour entrance.  This time we connected, the chopped up surface seemed to make all the difference.  A few landed on trolling gear, and just one landed on fly by lucas,

Several others were hooked on fly, but totally unprepared for how hard they run we lost them.  Mostly pulled hooks with the odd bust off,  the importance of having your flyline neatly coiled in the boat with no tangles became second nature.

The next day we had a crack at a few more skippies, again Lucas landing the only one on fly.

The rest of us either pulling hooks, busting tippets or hooking into “Tuna” for them to turn into Kahawai at the boat.  However, we had kept a handful of kahawai and a few skippies for something a little more adventurous.  It was SHARK TIME!

This has been a minor obsession of mine for a while, after I popped my couta cherry the next most logical step was to have a crack at something bigger with bigger teeth.  I had done my research and thought I had it dialed, Chum up, Mako’s turn up, tease, cast fly, set hook, hold on.  Sounds easy, however none of this went to plan.  We rigged up Andrews 14 weight, shooting head, running line, 500+ meters of backing all on a super grunty bluewater reel.  Heavy butt section in the leader, wire tippet section to a tube fly of my own design and a big dirty 9/0 long shank hook.

Chum went in, 10 mins later, Bronzy of around 2.5 – 3m turns up, fish frames pulled out so he didn’t eat them (think this was more of a nervous reaction on my behalf) and the shark spooks.  Right we know they are here, how the hell are we going to hook one then land it? Well we all fly by the seats of our pants, so we just figured we would worry about that when the time came.  The waiting game commenced,

A tide change and about an hour later we soon had several bronze whaler sharks circling the boat, building up confidence to come in to the chum.  Finally a little fella of around 100kg had a swipe at the fish frames, this seemed to signal to the rest of them “get into it!”  I was very very nearly not going to throw the cast, however the boys told me too, and I didn’t want to loose face.  So I manned up and started throwing a fly in the sharks general direction.

After a minor feeding frenzy off the back of the boat, no fish frames left for obvious reasons, our new mates were hunting round looking for more, another cast was made, the fly sunk slowly into the sharks line of sight, the angler (me) shaking like a leaf, was dead silent apart from “Lucas mate, can you please hang on to the back of my life jacket? I really don’t want to end up in there with them”  line tightens, I pull back, no effect, shark is off like a steam train, straight back towards the swimming beach he had just come from.  I get Andrew Marshall to tighten the drag for me, as all I can do at this stage is swear and hang on to what I think is a mediocre sized Bronze whaler, increase in drag has no effect, after a brief time of me+14 weight fly rod vs shark the line went slack.  The wind of shame ensued, thankfully the running line was still attached to the backing, more winding and the shooting head came through guides, more winding and the leader was visible, better still my wire tippet was still there, what happened? well I had some of that fancy knot able wire leader stuff, turns out its real hard to actually tie good enough knots in it cause it stretches like you wouldn’t believe.  Mental note: stick to normal single strand wire and haywire twists……….

We re rigged with a new fly of a new colour, the sharks were still hanging round, however they all came up to the fly for an inspection then denied it right off the ends of their noses.  Exciting stuff, sight fishing for 150kg sharks and having them refuse your presentation, kinda like back country fly fishing, only the fish is a damn sight bigger, there’s no way in hell you are wet wading and you definitely wont be posing with your catch.  This was enough shark action for me, still shaking like a leaf, cat had my tongue and the boys were ribbing the crap out of me.  I managed to get out “how big do you reckon that thing was?” The boys said this “It was the big one, I dont know, maybe 200kg, 180 – 200kg”

Trying to calm the nerves,

We don’t have any more shark pics, but there is some pretty crazy video footage to come……….

The next day was a ripper, so it was out wide to have a crack at a marlin.  This was what Andrew Marshall had come for, a crack at a Marlin on fly.

Sadly we couldn’t raise any to the lures, however we did find loads of skippies and practised our tease and switch on them trolling hookless tuna lures.  This was awesome fun but again hard to stay connected to the tuna.  Andrew Sturt had lost alot of skippies on fly by this stage and hadn’t landed one, his frustration showed with phrases like “Nows not a good time to tease me guys”.

Heading towards home we jigged over some pinnacles to try find some kings, Andrew Sturt managed to hook a couple of rats and land one,

14wt deployed again this time for kings, with no reaction.  Drift after drift we failed to raise anything on either the jigs or the fly despite the sounder showing good kingy sign.

Heading for home I spotted a school of tuna busting up, we get close, I throw a fly and it finds the mouth of a tuna, a long dogged fight and I finally manage to land my first tuna on fly, glad to get that monkey off my back.

The Andrews had a few casts, both hooking up but nothing landed.

Our last day on the water was a damp one, we packed up all our gear and checked out of the motor camp, one of the old timers who we had made friends with came to see us off in the morning with the warning “Be careful out there today guys, the weather man said there are going to be RAIN BOMBS!”

Back on the water and back to our favorite tuna grounds, it was lumpy, but we thought it was doable.  After plenty of attempts and a few false kahawai starts, Andrew Sturt was firmly hooked into a good skippy, a long scrap and finally it was netted, much to Andrews relief.

We tried our hardest to get Andrew Marshall hooked up, but it wasn’t to be his day.

Boat on trailer and we thought we were off, we soon noticed brake fluid leaking out of the reservoir on the trailer.  Off to the mechanics and they fixed it up real good.  We were off again Wellington bound we thought, only to stop at the gas station to find smoke pouring off one of the brakes on the trailer.  We spent the rest of the day figuring out what the problem was and how we were going to fix it or at least get the trailer back to the mechanics.  Finally we managed to jack 4 odd tonnes of boat and trailer up enough to remove the tire and offending brake caliper.  We hobbled back into to Tauranga to drop the trailer and boat off to the mechanic, he stayed open for us on a friday afternoon, what a good bugger, thanks heaps to the good dudes at Steve Long Automotive, we can highly recommend their service.

4 guys, close to 40 fishing rods, god only knows how many flies, lines and reels.  Not a single broken fly rod despite our best attempts, however there were many lost flies and busted leaders.  I was testing some new high end Riverworks Fly rods and reels.  What can I say, I put the hurt on the fish with the rods, the reels stopped them in their tracks, neither had any performance issues and I cast the set ups long and hard all day for 5 days.  The only issue was that I wind with my left hand, it was pretty funny watching the boys pick my rods, hook into a fish and reach for a handle that wasn’t there………Pretty sure I was the only one laughing.

So as I write this there is a boat still in Tauranga packed full of fishing gear that needs picking up, couldn’t really ask for a better excuse for round 2 now could we…………………….


Alex Broad – Drags with grunt

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……..


Alex Broad – Wading Jacket follow up

Hi guys,

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!


Alex Broad – R Series Fly Reel, Part 2.

Couldn’t leave all the trout fishing brothers and sisters hanging out much longer, here are a few more details of the new “R Series” fly reels.

This reel has been the result of a long drawn out design process (well over 12 months), getting the balance of features and manufacture methods just right.

The aesthetics were inspired by the arrow head / dots we use in our Riverworks imagery, giving us a reel that looks a little different yet still retains its core look, feel and strength.

The R Series reel is machined from a solid billet of T6061 aluminium.  This alloy is commonly selected for use in heavy duty structures requiring good corrosion resistance, eg  truck and marine components, railroad cars, tank fittings, and high pressure applications.

R Series reels are Type 3 anodized, giving us the most durable wear and corrosion resistance available.  The Frame has been anodized matte black and the spool matte gun metal, producing an eye pleasing contrast look, without being too “blingy” for the South Islanders.

The prototype testing was awesome, we were seriously impressed.  This reel balances my rod perfectly and seems to have an uncanny knack of finding the fish (catching them is another story).  We have developed an “Orbit” cork and stainless drag, a combination of “brutal tippet snapping” stopping power and weight reduction to create a fantastic drag suited for all freshwater and light saltwater applications.  The “Orbit” drag is silky smooth with a nice click just to let your mates know your hooked up without being too ear piercing and annoying.

The large arbor spools reduce line memory and coiling, and also enable the angler to retrieve line quickly when that fish decides to run straight back at you!  The spools have been designed with a slight “V” which creates a little more room for backing as well as helping to align the line and backing on to the spool.

The reels will be available in 3 sizes, R1 = #3/4, R2 = #5/6 and R3 = #8/9.  While we don’t actually have the shipment in our hot little hands just yet, they are on the water and are expected to arrive very soon.

While this reel has been in development, another higher spec reel has also been developed.  However this one is way more technical so wont be ready for a while yet.  Expect a bomb to be dropped on the fly reel market this September…….


Alex Broad – Sneak preview

Here we go guys,

Riverworks is about to take possession of some very very hot reels………………

Just a wee teaser, more pics and details to come over the next day or 2.  Keep an eye out……..


Riverworks – Wading Jackets, help us out

With the end of 2011 drawing close its time to start looking ahead and revaluating the Riverworks product range for the 2012 – 2013 season.

The Tongariro wading jacket has served us well over the years. However, technology has changed and improved, new fabrics are available and styles and fashions are always evolving.  The Tongariro jacket is not dead! We are looking to create a new jacket to add to the range for the 2012 – 2013 season and we need your input!

While we fish as much as we can here at Riverworks and we use the gear we preach and sell, we aren’t everyone.  There’s nothing better than getting feedback and criticism from the people that are using our gear and making the purchasing decisions in the stores.

So here are a few questions to get the creative juices flowing in all your fish riddled brains:

What do you want in wading Jacket?

How can the Tongariro wading jacket be improved?

When do you wear a jacket, to stay warm? To stay dry? Both?

Do you wear a vest under or over your jacket? Or not at all when wearing a wading jacket?

What’s your style of fishing when wearing a wading jacket? Tongariro style? Rivermouth / rip? Back country? Multi day trips?

Do you see a market for a basic lightweight packable shell style jacket, tailored (short wading cut) for trout fishing?

How important is the length of a wading jacket? Should they be longer? Shorter?

What are the key features you look for in a wading jacket? Big pockets? Zingers? Fly patch? Water tight cuffs? Style?

What’s your colour preference? Does it really matter or influence your purchasing decision?

Is price an issue? Would you be prepared to spend more for a better jacket? Or is there a certain price point we should aim to hit?

Post a comment below with your suggestions, and hell, if you’re feeling artistic pinch the kids crayons and draw us a picture of your ideal jacket, email it through to me alex@evolveoutdoors.co.nz and if you don’t mind Ill even throw it up on the blog.

I might get in trouble giving the bosses stock away, but why don’t I run a little competition.  The 3 most creative designs sent in will receive a little something.  If it’s a really shit hot design I might even be able to persuade Rob to give away one of the new jackets to the winner……………..


Alex & Jack – The footage from the weekend

As promised, here is a bit of footage from our weekend.

Im pretty new to this whole video footage and editing thing, but it seems to have come together ok.  The fish aren’t huge, but it was a good day out in the bush.

Enjoy:


Alex Broad – S%!*s & Giggles

I wasn’t sure whether or not to post this video,

However after throwing it up on vimeo it was very quickly reblogged on a French fishing blog, and received over 150 hits in its first day and some very positive votes!

We were likened to Beavis and Butthead with all the giggling and praised with the down to earth style of fishing.

So here it is:

I have to add that after targeting wary brownies in clear water all season that this was a breath of fresh air, I haven’t had this much fun on a fly rod in a long time.  Perch are voracious feeders and will predate on just about anything, I tried to get them to eat a popper, they didn’t hesitate.  This has opened a new world of fly fishing up for me, popping for perch in “workups”.  Give it a hoon one day, you might be surprised just how much fun it is.


Jack & Alex – Getting away from the city

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…………


Alex Broad – Sunburn and Sea Sickness

Finally a break in the weather, a chance to get out wide for some saltwater action.

The forecast looked best for Sat arvo, so a few ph calls / txt messages and a plan was hatched.  The 4 of us hooned out to an offshore reef only to be greated with a very green looking sea, a large rolling swell and little to no wind.

A few drifts and several kahawai later, Andrew hooked into the first king for the season on the jig, not a big specimen, but was awesome to get on the board.

A few drifts and a few more kahawai later I was starting to feel pretty rough, As was Jacks mate Jeremy.  We decided a few more drifts and we would head back.  Well I lost the lunch I had just thrown down on the way out, and had set up a pretty good looking burley trail, when Jack hooked up.  We knew from the get go this fish was solid, I yelled statements of encouragement for Jack, something along the lines of “Rip its face off Jack!” and “Give him death boy!”.  Finally this king got a good solid run straight into the reef, busting Jack off.  We will be back!

Poor old Jeremy was looking pretty green by this stage, so we started heading back.  Half way there I spotted some birds working, and made Andrew investigate, I quickly set up a fly rod and gave it to Jeremy with the instructions of cast as far as you can, strip as fast as you can, don’t strike like a trout, just  pull the line to set the hook.  First cast, we watched the kahawai smash the fly, trout strike = no hook up, Jeremy knew instantly why it hadn’t worked, a couple more casts and after a solid strip strike he was hooked into a good kahawai.  It didn’t go quite as hard as they normally do, but Jeremy instantly forgot about the sea sickness.

A few more drifts and after plenty of refusals, these buggers were being fussy, we decided to pull the pin.  Now a new plan was hatched, one that involved Jacks BBQ and a few Beers.  Andrews BBQ skills and Jacks vast culinary expertise resulted in this:

A feed fit for 4 hungry fishermen, a great end to a really good start to what will hopefully be a summer filled with fishy goodness!


Alex Broad – Quick Morning Fish

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:


Alex Broad – Season continues

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!


Alex Broad – Beer never tasted so good

Opening day 2011 was going to be a bit different this year.

Instead of my usual trip to the south island I decided to explore waters closer to home.  After talking to a few mates we had a posse together and a spot to check out.  We knew the river we had chosen held fish, but how many and what size was something we knew nothing about, further research revealed little insight.

Friday the 30th rolled around, the posse gathered at the supermarket, supplies obtained for 3 days, packs packed, and we were off.  5 hours later we arrived at our accommodation, blistered, bruised and to be honest absolutely buggered.

The extra kilos of amber gold we carried in was well worth the effort, something we rejoiced in upon our arrival.

We checked a few pools that evening, and found fish straight away, feeding hard and seemingly unaware of our presence.  Again we rejoiced with cold brews, the river held fish, and good numbers too!

A good feed put on the billy and off to bed in anticipation of what the next day might bring.

Up early and another epic meal was quickly prepared by our camp chef, Lucas.  Before long we were off, not far from our hut Lucas promptly hooked and landed the first fish of the season, unfortunately no grip and grin shot here as the fish seemed a little camera shy and released himself.

The next piece of decent holding water held 2 more fish, Aaron hooked and dropped one, Andrew hooked and landed his first fish of the season.

As the sun came up another fish was spotted feeding hard, Aaron was put on point and a good cast brought this fish up to his dry, the fish then went to town on us, he did eventually come to the net in a rather unorthodox manner, but we wont go there.

Lucas pulled another good fish out of a side braid,

And another from a nice pool,

By this time it was my turn, fish were spotted, I cast, fish spooked.  This went on for a while, with a couple of hooked and lost fish in the mix.  We almost swore that these fish had already been fished to, but the lack of human sign suggested otherwise, perhaps I just wasn’t on my “A” game, or the fish were just way to smart for me.

Mid arvo brought an interesting change in target species, while stalking quietly up a pool I heard Aarons rod drop, the bolt on his rifle being worked quickly, I looked up to see him racing across the river bed towards a small flat, he stopped, the rifle came up, BANG.  Pigs of various sizes and colours erupted from the bush edge.  The rifle was placed down and Aaron was racing around like a man possessed, finally a desperate dive had us in fits of laughter.  His cheeky grin appeared above the scrub with his prize in a tight grip, a wee black piglet.  The little bugger was trying desperately to free himself and Aarons fingers were quickly becoming worse for wear, so he was released for another day.

A short search in the bush and we found the first prize, a nice fat sow.  The picture shows just how happy he was with this one.  And before you ask, No it wasn’t the mum of the piglet, we saw mum running at full speed, she was much much larger!

Aaron and I caught up with Lucas and Andrew further upstream, a nice pool holding a few fish, Aaron and I spotted from the far bank, we called the cast, followed by the strike, Andrew quickly had the biggest fish of the day to the net.

The sun was setting, and we were a long way from the hut, so we bailed in double time, stopping to pick up our pork dinner.  Arriving back at the hut we were greeted by what looked like an entire tramping club.  You certainly get some funny looks carrying a pig and a fishing rod up to the hut.

Camp chef Lucas whipped up another culinary delight, quickly followed with some fine scotch.  Off to bed to try get to sleep before the snorers cranked up.  No luck there, we re payed the favor with some loud flatulence in the morning.

By this stage I was still skunked and getting rather upset about the issue, early morning Lucas and I went down stream to where we had spotted fish the first night, we had left these as a back up.  These fish were in another world, chasing each other round the pool and just generally ignoring our flies, eventually we managed to spook the lot.  It was here I cut my loses and decided I wasn’t going to get a fish this opening.

The walk out was much easier, our packs were substantially lighter and the rain that had just begun, kept us moving at a brisk pace.  After copping a heck of a lot of flack about “loosing my touch” and “Using all my mojo up on the Hutt river” we arrived at the bush edge.  One last ditch effort at a fish for opening.  I spotted a fish in close and set up.  He was moving around a lot and was hard to keep track of, he turned up at my feet, a short cast, a good take on the dry, some aggressive playing and a good net job by Aaron, I had a fish to the net finally.  I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy about catching a little fish.

Finally 4 wet, tired and sore anglers arrived at burger king, we smashed back a good feed and nailed it back to welly for the league.

An epic trip with good mates in NZ’s back country is something you can’t beat.  Already we have other trips planned for other areas of the forest park, and a very very different proposition for next years opening.  But you’ll have to wait till next year to see what that is.


Alex Broad – Pre Season Training

With opening day just a week away I decided I was in desperate need of some pre season training.  Its been a long winter with not a lot of fishing.

I had a bit of time to kill on Saturday so went for a drive down to my local, the Hutt river.  First fish spotted wouldn’t have a bar of anything, and he was only fish I found in the first run.  A pair of canoeists came down the river past me, so I decided my chances had just been blown in this stretch.

I re positioned upriver a bit to a favorite summer stretch.  I spotted an ok fish in the back of the pool, but decided to scope the rest of the pool out and come back to him.  2 more good looking fish were spotted on the opposite side at the head of the pool.  Battle plan hatched, and I was back down the bottom of the pool, hiding in flax bushes, timing casts with the wind so the fish wouldn’t see me casting.  A few good drifts, followed by a fly change had me hooked up to a scrappy 3.5lb jack.

After crossing through the run I snuck up to where I had seen the other fish.  The glare on the water stopped me from spotting the fish, so blind casting in the lie and slowly and methodically covering the water saw me hooked up to yet another jack, this fella was bang on 4lb.

Both Fish still a little skinny after spawning, but recovering well.  The hutt looks like it will be in very very good shape this coming season.  Fish are in good nick and the bug life looked really good.

Im off into the back country this weekend for some opening day action with other pro team members, Lucas and Andrew, no doubt this blog will be flooded with good reports of all of our opening day missions come Monday………….


Andrew Marshall – Intro

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,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cheers,

Andrew.

 


Lucas Allen – The Nui

I fished the upper pools quickly on Saturday morning with Dad. The river was very clear and had a fair number of Trout spawning. We found the going a little tough given the timeframe and conditions. This section of river is in great shape and with the current weather blasting the country will now be on fire for the next few days at least. I know where I’d rather be than working all week!

For those of you planning on hitting it we did well on small size 12 tangerine glowies with red dots. Small tungsten H/C or Caddis were also used with a .4 splitshot where needed. Also trialled a new fly but lost it to a snag before doing any damage! I’ll try adding a quick tying list later in the week for anyone wanting to make a prototype and give it a whirl.

Speaking of flies I’ll be making a few in the coming week. If anything of note turns out you’ll soon hear from me. Happy fishing, stay warm and drive safe.


Lucas Allen – The Mount

Hello fellow Fly fanatics.

I have just been taken under the wing of Riverworks and will be updating you on my exploits from around the greater Waikato region.

My name is Lucas Allen, I was born and raised in Napier and grew into fishing via my Father. I got a stupid vice for my 9th Christmas when I really wanted an LA Lakers cap, thanks Dad. Some cruddy flies and no clue how to catch fish set me on a quest to discover what it was that had me so intrigued, something that still continues to this day.

So what does one do when you are told to provide information and photos of your travels? Go fishing obviously. I have to admit though it wasn’t a trip involving Trout, off to a bad start sorry guys). To validate hitting the waters off Mt Maunganui I snuck the 10wt onboard. We had a small weather window that made it a bit touch and go so an early start and a few back up plans were put in place.

Sparrows

The main agenda was to get out to Penguin shoals for a jig and blood my mate Jakes new rod. The sign was there but the kings must have been full or were too smart for our shiny toys and us. The boys had a few other spots to try so we gapped it nearer to Motiti Island and threw some baits in the water. We picked up small snapper after small snapper and had a few hits but nothing major came our way. Fishing an area where you know one of NZs biggest snapper has been caught definitely has you on your game and any little bite may well end up as a good specimen.

Fat, scrappy Kahawai

Jakes brother Tomo was up for a dive and dragged Jake along while I kept watch. They lucked out on any crays and blamed each other and the terrain for their shortcomings. It might have something to do with all the buoys and the commercial vessel working as we turned up. A few birds working off starboard had the anchor up and us charging over to see the commotion. The softbaits came out and soon Tomo had a dirty couta at the boat. I was absent to witness the batting practice but emerged from the cabin with my flyrod attached to a small flashy white fly, shortly after I was hooked up to a scrappy Kahawai that tore around the boat several times. A saltfly first for the good ship Optimus I’m told, just wait for the kingi boys!

Crossing swords!

After all that I thought we should try deepwater softbaiting to see if any Snapper were picking up the scraps. A quick drop to 50 mtrs with a 4oz lumo head and Zman jerkshad gave us what we wanted, a 3kg Snap came over the side. We each picked up good sized fish and dropped a few more amongst the madness, trust me if I could get a fly down there I would have. There’s one in my box that the jury is still out on, surely it’s worthy enough.

Dinnertime

After a few more drifts the sun was going down and the wind was doing as forecast, going up! A good old fashioned hang on tight ride home ensued and the 7.5m Senator was airborne a few times. We got back in time to clean up, drink beer, have the fillets battered at the local chippie and fall asleep during the last 20 minutes of the All Blacks whipping the Aussies. A damn good day thanks to the Scott Simmonds boys.

I promise the next report will have plenty of Trout as the Lady and I are heading to Napier next weekend. We’ll have to stay the night in Taupo on Friday so an early morning Waitahanui  visit can be squeezed in (start fluffing your budgies Dad). I’ll let you all know how it eventuates.

Until then hold ‘em high and keep ‘em tight.


Alex Broad – Finally, I did it!

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.

Cheers,

Alex.

 

 

 


Alex Broad – Off to Rotovegas

Its Friday!

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.

Cheers

Alex.


Alex Broad – Closing day

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.


Alex Broad – Not fly fishing, but pretty sweet

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!


Alex Broad – Back Country Cicada’s

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!