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.

Fly Tying

Lucas Allen – The Deep End

A while back Hamilton Anglers Club held a trip in Taumaranui to fish the well regarded waters surrounding this region. I was fortunate enough to pick up a spot and jump in on the action. Matt, his partner Sophie and I bowled down the line after work on Friday and got into the camp dining room just as the others were about to start 2nds for the nights meal. The shit talking was already in abundance and somehow amongst this we arranged our beats for the following day.

Our sleeping quarters were on the better side of not too bad – pretty warm and no rocks in the mattresses. This ensured a well needed rest and sleep in until 7am. Porridge and fresh coffee were devoured and in short order we were on our way. The camp ground at Taumaranui is so close to the river we could hear it. A quick check to see if the rain over the last few days had affected it heralded smiles all round.

We headed South and straight to the beat that is fast becoming one of my new favourites. No cars in the car park and we were straight into it, in fact so quick I popped out of the bush and stared directly at a trout. I had the honours and thought my new R2 reel couldn’t be blessed better – I was wrong. Somehow in the slightly murky water it picked us up and slipped the cordon. All 3 of us fished  through the likely spots and started to question ourselves…

With the sun still low and at our backs we edged upwards. I left Sophie and her coach to explore the next pool. A decent brown feed in a bypass but the sun and positioning of myself made it impossible to fire one out to it. Hugging a tree I attempted a few lack lustre shots at it. No joy. Another fish metres up and the same result. Bugger this, I pushed on and tried a stretch with better angles.

Sure enough the tactic worked and soon after I had a fight on my hands. If you want a scrap these fish pack some serious grunt and will push you around like you were Beth Hekes bitch. Even the little tackers go like stink. I’ve since been advised the 8wt is a better option at times!We had more club members coming along and they headed up further. Sophie and Matt caught up and we tried another pool before we called lunch and turned back to the Truck. A quick drive and we had the best tailgate Ham and Cheese rolls in town at our new location. From here we walked to a spot that was recommended by a fellow member.

This resulted in a nice wee brown and another flighty ‘bow. One of those pools that has major holding promise and massive summer terrestrial potential. As Sophie was feeling rather ill by now – seems the flu was doing the rounds of a few others to – we decided to head closer to the camp grounds. We jumped back in the ride and floored it back to the Whanganui. This stretch gets a hammering but for some reason just keeps on keepin on.

As funny as it seems there were fish at each end of this rainbow. It was touching the bank on our side so this is where we started. Soon enough Sophie had a fish to the net then promptly had a much deserved sleep next to some (a lot of) sheep shit. I was just up river and at times we had double hook ups culminating in some unsavoury words yelled from Matt as he dropped “the brown of the trip”. He was having a rough day but was a stellar guide to Sophie.

That night we all regrouped and tallied our days efforts. I was pretty chuffed with my days total hooking 9 and landing 9, not every day you nail a 100% strike rate. 31 fish landed by 10 anglers, biggest brown was 3.3lb to Craig and a 4.25 lb rainbow went to Steve. There were a few stories of trophys lost so it’s good to know they’re about. We all piled into the Taumaranui RSA courtesy van and went to watch the first Ireland v ABs game. Talk about being on the set for Once Were Warriors x Boy movies, what a hard case bunch of local characters. Once back at the camp we set about solving the worlds fishing problems over some reds and a good blue.

The next morning dawned pretty much the same, foggy and threatening to drizzle. Perfect if you ask me. The rivers were still clearing and we decided to put Sophie onto some fish from where we finished up the night before.

The plan worked in no time and she nailed a few fish in quick succession. All nice rainbows in tiptop condition.

After scoring a handful more fish each we started the drive home. Matt had a lovely King Country stream to try that fed the Whanganui. We dropped in near a country sports ground and set to work. In the second pool a slight twitch had the indicator struck at and I was away.

Hot potato
This Jack was a feisty little bastard. It only took 3 attempts with the self timer while he splashed water all over the show, including the lens! Sophie “tag and released” a beauty brown and soon after we turned back to the truck to push up further. This section had the lovely setting of native bush blended with farmland. We made friends with the huge local Fantail population – at times 3 would be cheekily perched on your rod.

Matt spied a good fish gobbling away in the tea-stained water and crashed down the bank while we peered over the cliff to spot for him. After ironing out the drift it moved sideways to intercept. Then all hell broke lose as it found the closest log to hide under. It happened to be right by Matt and he tried in vain to stop it but to no avail. A flash of colour and it snapped free.That was to be it for the weekend. Bloody good fishing in some familiar water and exploring some virgin water – good times. There were no stand out flies although a Hot UV spot did help. Anything from a H & C, Pheasant Tail or small Olive Naturals were being picked up in the grubby water.

It has rained nicely over the last few days and coupled with the cold snap last week the Winter fishing around these ways should be sparking up even more so. A quick look at reports suggest the Tongariro was around 50 cumecs and highly fishable.

As I have a few things on over the next few weeks I’m going to sneak off for a fish this Friday. Here’s hoping for a cold, miserable dark night.

I’ve also been busy at the vice making flies and hope to post up a new Green Caddis that will be ripper for the Tongariro this Winter. Stay tuned, stay warm.


Rob Wilson – SIP Films – CXI Reef Sharks

A mate of mine Eddie Fraker has started a fly fishing film company Striking Image Productions check it out!

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 – The biggest, baddest nymph in the world!

I’ve just returned from a few days in the South. I had a pretty good time with a few of the boys away in the bush chasing fish. There will be more on that in the next couple of days or so… watch this space!

In the meantime I thought I had better keep my word and reveal the biggest, baddest nymph ever!

Remember this fish?

This is the fly which did the job.

And this one…


There it is. The big purple Stonefly. I saw them tied like this a few years ago in a magazine and I’ve been tying them like it ever since. I used to limit myself to the smaller sizes but in recent times I have become a big fan of the larger model.

God knows why they take it, it isn’t exactly natural. I’ve had takes from both Browns and Rainbows though, so there must be something in it.

The recipe for this wee piece of magic is;

Hook: Tiemco 200R

Thread: Black – whatever size you are comfortable with using.

Underbody: 0.35mm lead wire

Tail & legs: Purple goose biots

Abdomen & Thorax: Purple dubbing – abdomen is overlaid with clear flexi body

Wingcases: Black flexi body or thin skin

Antenna: rubber legs

I tie it pretty heavy. I start by binding the length of the hook shank with thread. Cut a strip of flexi body and angle off one end. Tie it in right at the back by the angled bit.

Then I tie in a length of lead wire along each side to widen the profile. I follow up by wrapping lead from one end of the shank to the other, covering the two pieces you’ve just tied down.

By the time you’ve done this it should be feeling pretty heavy.

The next thing to do is start dubbing the body. I use some purple stuff which is quite bright and sparkly – these flies require quite a lot and I’ve nearly run out…

When you get to about where you think the tail should be, stop dubbing and tie in a goose biot on either side of the shank. After that resume dubbing to about half way along the shank. That’s about where I start the thorax.

Now is the time to wrap the flexi body over the dubbing. Bring it forward and position it so the tail sits naturally. This can take a bit of practice, but you’ll get there.

Tie it off when you reach the end of the dubbing and trim what you don’t need.

I tie in a strip of black flexi body or thin skin with a V snipped out of it at the rear of the wingcase. Once this is in place, tie in the first 2 legs. Then you can tie another bit of the black stuff down and start dubbing the thorax. At about halfway, bring the black stuff over and tie it down. Tie in another couple of legs, and repeat the process for the front half of the thorax. After you’ve tied the front section down you can finish off by tying in the last 2 legs and a couple of rubber legs poking forward as antenna.

Whip finish it, and it should look pretty good.

It isn’t the easiest fly on earth to tie, but it can be done. I use these for when I need to get a nymph deeper than usual. It seems to work.

Lucas Allen – Summer time

Well as you read this it has officially ticked over to Summer. After a typically unsettled Autumn it is good to feel some warmth in the air and with this brings a lot of anticipation.

Over the last month or so I have had a fishing session or 3, managing several good bins of Snapper and another tale of the big one that got away, damn it! The next few weeks are going to be a blur as I’m helping a mate with some building as well as my normal 9 to 5. After that I have a decent block of time off to do the Kiwi Summer thing, thankfully I won’t be far away from the water in most destinations. Stay posted on the blog over the holidays, it will light up in the next few months. There’s even a rather ambitious plan being formulated for the middle of February with a few of the Team…

A while back I locked in a Flyfishing trip with the old man, so this Sunday I’m escaping the Waikato and we’re meeting up in Rotorua. In preparation for the trip I got out the vice, a parcel had arrived from Rod & Reel and this helped get the sweat shop cranking. After getting in the Summer mood with a reggae mixtape and some beer I had a selection of flies tied up and ready to thrash over the next few weeks.

Lumo Cormorant # 10

The Lumo Cormorant will be one of my flies of choice for Stream mouths while night fishing the cooler outflows as the Lake temps increase over Summer. Some of the fishing can be red hot when big numbers of Fish congregate to chase smelt and seek the cooler water.

Hi Viz Klink # 14

I always keep these at hand for when you’ve tried and tried on a fish and somehow haven’t spooked it! The small amount of pearl tinsel gives it life and the Hi Viz post makes it a little easier to spot. Try not to grease the body up or it won’t drop through the surface film, just keep it to the hackle. The slow motion sips can almost be painful…

Triple Foam Cicada

…Then compare the takes on these terrestrials, more of a snap than a sip. A true sign of quality New Zealand Summer fishing is being deafened by a million or so chirps from Cicadas all at once. Tie these on strong, quality hooks, it’s worth it.

Clouser Variant

Now for the Salt! The harbours around New Zealand will be loaded with predatory fish looking for morsels so I tweaked the Clouser to get a bit more contrast and movement in the water. The colour schemes were based roughly around popular softbait patterns.

Bleeding Mackeral Baitfish #4/0

The Rod & Reel package included some awesome SF flash blend. Can’t wait to spy some Kingis in the burley trail or around the markers. My mates have been jigging them up nearer the surface so it’s only a matter of time until they become more prolific.

Pink Baitfish #4/0

Don’t knock Pink! I copped shit for fishing it while on a stag party once, the Kingi shut them up pretty quick. If anyone wants more detailed tying instructions just drop a message and I’ll try best to point you in the right direction.

Well that wraps up this blog, the next one should have pictures of trout after this Sundays session.

Good luck out there and have fun.



The Double Up

This is what happens when you are waiting for summer…
Tied this today for when the whitebait are running. This should work on a few of the saltwater species like Kahawai, Trevally and Skipjack and maybe even a trout or two as well. Probably not the most time effective fly to tie but was a bit of fun any way.

Hook: Gamakatsu SP11 2/0
Wing: White Craft Fur Plus
Flash: Crystal Flash but anything pearl will do
Head: Clear Cure Goo (Like epoxy but sets with UV light)

Next will be a school of whitebait.


Lucas Allen – The BB

I promised last week to share a pattern I recently created. “Dubbed” The BB it was planned with durability in mind and also a touch of subtle X factor appeal. Oh, and some hot UV orange! The tying list below can be tweaked to your liking.

Hook: Black Magic B12/B16

Tungsten Bead: Black (sized to suit)

Thread: Orange UV thread

Lead: 1.5 wraps 0.010 from mid hook to head (nothing near tail)

Tail: Black Fluoro Fibre

Rib: Gold ultra wire

Body: Fine Black dubbing

Thorax: 2/3 Black Seal 1/3 UV dub (roughly chopped and hand blended)

Legs: Tan Zebra Legs

I found a few things that improved the tying of this fly. Cut the fluorofibre on a harsh angle prior to tying in (this keeps the tail from being too blunt in appearance). The body dub needs to be fine and tight to make a slender back end. Dub the Seals fur blend using a dubbing rope (makes for a nice secure hairy finish) then brush it out once tied in. Seals fur is wonderful for trapping tiny air bubbles, giving sparkle and life to flies. Also the Orange UV hotspots should be even and close bound.

I noticed that using the dubbing rope method also allowed the Orange UV thread to show through more than single strand methods when viewed under black light. This will make your fly stand out from the crowd, especially on the Tongariro during the peak spawning runs.

Speaking of which, it seems all the crew are going to be in Turangi next weekend. I’ll have to put The BB through it’s paces. Here’s hoping for a good dose of rain this time next week, sounds like the river is somewhat reminiscent of distilled spirits currently.

Well I’d better get back to the vice. Glowies are low and the Caddis need attention, you know the drill.

PS. Alex, I’ve got the reservations at Turangi Pie Shop sorted.

Jack Kos – Some more fly tyin’ funk for you guys…

If you’re looking for a bit of inspiration on a cold winters night then have a look at

Mike Wilkinson’s a really innovative fly tier but even more so he’s an absolute perfectionist. Watching his flies evolve is fascinating as you can tell he thinks a hell of a lot about how the fly could be improved before implementing it. The artic-bully is a great example (as well as being a spiffy looking fly). By the time I got round to trying to tie a copy of v1.0 he had already posted pics of v2.0 and v3.0!

Anyway, check out his blog – heaps of pics of cool flies along with some great information from a thinking flytier.

Jack Kos – Go Go Gaylord

Quick vid for you guys. Most of you have probably already seen it on Facebook, but for those that haven’t then here it is.

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.

Jack Kos – Meet the Ratpack…

What other colours should I do??

Andrew Hearne – a colourful creation

I’m still mucking around with the stuff I got from the states. After my previous experience with a purple bunny streamer I thought I’d try one with marabou and a deer hair head… I can’t wait to see if it works.

Andrew Hearne – an abomination of sorts

Last week I got sent some fly tying gear from the States by our great mate Isaiah M. Perez. Lots of it, and quite different from what is available over here.

I’ve been mucking around over the past few days tying a few different things.

Any suggestions for what I could name this one?

Jack Kos – Simple Green Caddis Video

Figured some of you guys might be interested in seeing how I tie flies. First up’s a nice simple pattern – a green caddis.

Hope it’s of some help. Keen to hear any comments you guys have.


Jack Kos – Need some fly tying inspiration these holidays?

Well check out <a href=””>

Matt’s been tying and posting a picture of at least one fly every day for the past 57 days! There are some awesome flies on there with a heap of variety.

Jack Kos – A treat from an international contributor

Got a special treat for you guys today. My friend, Robert Hakansson from Sweden, has sent me a step by step for one of his fantastic semi-realistic nymphs. I’ve seen some of these flies in the flesh and can honestly say that they’re absolutely brilliant.

So here goes… Massive thanks to Robert by the way!!

GENERIC NYMPH (Up side down style)

Hook: Partridge BNX size 16

Thread: For this fly I use 2 bobbins. Both hold a white Uni thread 8/0.

Weight: Flat lead wire.

Body: Virtual nymph skin 3mm.

Tails: Brownish yellow, Porcupine guard hair, Syntetiska Fibers from a paintbrush or whatever you fancy.

Wingbuds: Stalcup’s medallion sheeting or raffia.

Legs: Ostrich herl is used for this nymph, however you could use pheasant, turkey biot or peacock.

Colouring: Prismacolor or Pro markers in various colours. For this fly I use yellow, brown and dark green.

Step 1 : Tie in the thread.

Step 2: Tie in the tails. They should be around 5mm long.

Step 3 and 4: Take a flat lead wire and lay it on top of the hook and tie it in.

I usually never go past the hook point with the lead wire and I cut the lead wire off 1.5-2 mm before I  reach the hook eye.

When applying the thread over the lead wire try and create a tapered body, thin at the hook bend and thicker towards the hook eye. This is kind of important if you want to have a smooth and good looking abdomen for the fly.

Step 5 and 6: Now we will be using the second bobbin. Take the other bobbin and tie it on towards the hook bend. Hang it out of your way for now and we will return to this bobbin later on.

Step 7, 8 and 9: Take a 3 mm virtual nymph skin and cut it at an angle like the picture below. Use your first bobbin and tie the corner of nymph skin on to the hook, when the nymph skin has been secured with 2 wraps of the thread, pull on the nymph skin to stretch it out, now start to tie down towards the hook bend and back up to the hook eye. Let the thread hang here at the hook eye.

Step 10: Pull on the nymph skin to stretch it, be sure to stretch it quite a lot so you get a thin body.

Wind the skin up the abdomen. Make sure that for each wrap you take the nymph skin should be placed on top of the previous wrap with about 1/3rd overlay, creating a nice segmentation. See attached photo below for picture explaining how much of an overlapping I am talking about.

For the first 3 wraps you should pull the skin quite a lot. After that you should release the pressure on it bit by bit for every turn you take, this will make the body fatter and create a nice taper towards the hook eye.

When you reach the hook eye secure the nymph skin with your tying thread that you had hanging there and make a few knots and cut the thread.

Step 11: Now we return to the second bobbin. Start winding the thread towards the hook eye, The thread might have to be wrapped in a different direction to be able to follow the segmentation, it all depends on the direction you folded the nymph skin to create the body.

Anyway make sure you wind the thread at the edge of each wrap of the nymph skin. Like this.

Just follow the segmentation edge on your way up the abdomen. When you only have 4 wraps of the nymph skin left, stop winding the thread and let it hang there while you prepare the legs.
Step 12: Take 1 herl from your ostrich and pull it straight out from the stem. This will create a little foot at the end of the herl.

Step 13: Cut away a little bit of the foot at an angle if you feel that it´s too long. Now place your herl on top of the abdomen and wind the thread over this herl. As you do that pull a bit on the bobbin to make the herl be pressed down into the segmentation edge, however be very careful to not break the thread.

Do this for each leg as you move your thread up the abdomen.

Tip: If you need to reposition the leg, just use you finger nail and and press the leg up towards the hook eye gently. This will make the leg stand straight out, then grab both the leg and the extra material that is popping out on the other side of the thread and move it to the position you want it in.

I always position these legs in a V shape, so when you look at the fly from the front the legs should be standing up as a V.

Step 14: Make two knots with the thread but do not cut it.

Step 15: Now place the hook upside down in the vise.

Step 16: As we are tying this fly as an UP SIDE DOWN style we have turned the fly on its belly. Now we are at the really fun part of this guide – the coloring of the body! This can be done in various colors and styles, with dots on the body or other highligts. However I have kept it simple in this guide so use your markers and color the back of the fly. Leave the belly side without color. If you really want to color the belly side then try and use a brighter color for the belly.

Step 17: User your bobbin and place the thread just behind the front legs.

Step 18: use your medallion sheeting or raffia and cut a 2 mm thick strip like this and color the tips of each wing bud in a black color.

Step 19: Place the wing bud on top of the back of the fly and secure it with one wrap of your thread.

Step 20: lift the material that is in front of the wrap that you just did and wind the thread up towards the hook eye.

Then tie it in with you thread and cut off the extra material and make a knot at the head

Congratulations you just made a semi realistic nymph.

Please note that I am not responsible if you still don’t manage to catch that 14 lb trout that you been trying so hard to hook.

I do not think that these types of flies catch more fish than regular flies would, however I do hope that in some conditions when the trout is super selective these flies might work better a normal fly would.

You can create very different looking realistic nymphs like this with just a marker, with different colors and sizes of the fly you can make a lot of different looking  nymphs.

Hope you enjoyed my guide.

Best regards

Robert Håkansson.

I know I’m going to be having a serious go at tying this fly over winter. I’d love to see anyone’s attempt at this fly, so if you give it a try then post a picture of it on the Riverworks facebook page. Hell, we might even be able to arrange a prize if someone does a particularly nice job.

I’ll have a report from my trip to Fiordland – it was awesome!!! – in a few days once I’ve got the photos from Chris. I also got a roll of film developed from Dad’s old Canon AE-1 SLR, so I’ll post a few of those in the next little while.


Jack Kos – Fishing and Freedom

Yesterday was good. Really good. I don’t think it would have mattered in the slightest if we hadn’t caught anything at all, it was just so good to get out there again. As it was we did manage to catch a couple of fish…

I told Andrew the night before that I might be having a few beverages to celebrate the end of exams, so he sagely decided to do the driving. Left around 5 40 and were at the river before 9. Things didn’t start too well to be honest. I missed a strike on a good fish early on, then broke off a big fish which took a liking to a rather poorly placed log. Andrew on the other hand nailed the first fish he presented to. There’s an interesting story behind this fish. Andrew caught it two weeks ago, but the flash on his self-timer shot ruined the photo. So he was determined to catch it again…

The term bastard springs to mind…

Bona fide big fish this one…

Now as it transpired I had got an email from Andrew a couple of weeks back saying that he’d seen a couple of quite big fish in this stream. I replied ‘I must see these fish.’ Turned out I’d do more than just see them. I knew the run he’d told me they were in was coming up, so I was stoked on two levels when he caught his. It’s always good seeing a mate catch a cracking fish like that…but when it also means you’re going to have a shot at the big ones…well, it’s just icing.

I first caught sight of a paddle, kicking in the current. Then fins, and finally a head. My adversary. One other thing Andrew had mentioned in his email was just how spooky this fish was. It was going to be a first cast or nothing fish. I’ll be honest with you…I was shaking. It was a big tail.

The cast went true, the flies unfurled. I could have sworn it took 10 minutes to drift to the fish. A sideways swing, a fly intercepted. Bang. My rod bent through to the butt. Thankfully the fish was quite well behaved and did its thing in its pool before drifting down to the next pool. I saw a wee opportunity to beach it against some rocks, so gave Andrew the call and he rushed in with the net. And finally, it was mine.

Not too shabby… For once mine was bigger than his.

Oh hell yeah…the secret fly works again.

It was two very very happy boys that made the trip back. We didn’t stay too late, we’d got what we wanted from the day. God it was a good day. The feeling of freedom, of knowing that I didn’t have to go back and bust my ass on the books, is a sweet sweet feeling.

Welcome back summer, I’ve missed you my friend.

Russell Anderson’s Latest creation – The WASP!

Check out Russell’s latest creation. The WASP!

Zane Mirfin’s Wildside Column – Fly and Lure Making

Roll your own: Making your own flies, spinners, jigs and sinkers is fun, easy, enjoyable, economical and best of all, catches you more fish.
Making your own flies and other lures is a rewarding way to spend winter while awaiting the start of the new
fishing season – and the only limit is your imagination.

Every angler can tailor lure-making equipment to suit their own particular fishing style, water depth, water conditions, fish species and fish behaviour.

Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve loved mucking around with fishing tackle. Later, I started making my own fishing gear in the form of rigs, sinkers, lures, flies, nets, setlines, rods, spears and other associated equipment. These are skills I’m still learning and perfecting, but the enjoyment and satisfaction continue to this day.

There is always something exciting about catching fish with your own equipment, and my favourite fish have been caught on gear I made or assembled myself.

Winter is a great time to get ready for the best local fishing in warmer months by using the bleak days and long evenings to get your fishing tackle assembled and organised.

Anglers are great dreamers and innovators, and winter can get you inspired to create new fishing systems created in your own mind and experiences, or through reading fishing books and periodicals.

Making your own gear can save you a significant amount of money but, most importantly, it can make sure you have equipment that will catch you more and better fish.

As a saltwater angler, you can make all manner of rigs from stainless steel wire, kevlar cord and heavy nylon, ranging from flasher rigs to groper traces to jig assist-hooks, using components as simple as hooks, swivels, fluoro tubing, heat-shrink tubing, metal crimps and a pair of crimping pliers.

Commercially-made rigs are available at local stores if you aren’t into ‘‘rolling your own’’, and such rigs can be fine templates on which to build your own, tailored to your specific fishing circumstances.

Lately, we’ve been busy making lots more sinkers, lures and jigs with melted lead. This is a pretty simple exercise but one that should be undertaken with care (and lead is becoming increasingly difficult to find).

One of my favourite books on making lures is a classic called The Complete Book of Tackle Making, by C Boyd Pfeiffer. He is adamant about the need for safe practices when working outside with molten lead, and advises anglers to ‘‘never become so confident that you are not scared of it’’.

I’ve heeded that advice and have accumulated all manner of equipment, such as a leather apron, extension leads, RCD current protectors, a bottom-pour electric lead melter, forearm-length leather gloves, safety goggles, and breathing apparatus to filter out lead dust and fumes. I’ve also got tools like gate shears, split ring pliers, side cutters, crimping tools and wire formers.

Now that I’ve got the OSH warning out of the way, I can talk about all the fun recreational lures, sinkers and jigs you can make in all types of shapes, weights and configurations, mostly unavailable commercially in New Zealand.

The internet has opened up a world of opportunity and choice. While foreign purchase fees and shipping costs can be
pricey, quality lure-making components are usually here within a week or so, and if a purchase is less than $400, you should avoid paying customs duty and GST. The world really is your oyster, and you can find anything to create any lure you can dream up in your mind.

My brother Scott and I have been fortunate to have collected a range of different aluminium lead moulds, making all manner of things such as egg and worm-rig sinkers; jigs heads in roundhead, stand-up and seahorse configurations; oddballs such as larva jigs, ear ball weights, lure bodies and removable split shot; even conventional moulds that make kingfish jigs, trout lures and 32-ounce puka bombs.

Every angler can tailor lure-making equipment to suit their own particular fishing style, water depth, water conditions, fish
species and fish behaviour.

When it comes to trout, I’ve been a mad keen fly-tyer since I began fly fishing at 10 years old. I’ve probably tied tens of thousands of trout flies, and have accumulated an impressive collection of tying gear along the way. It’s no accident that fishing guides are some of the best and most innovative tyers in the country, and exceptional tyers like Murchison’s Peter Carty and Marlborough’s Clayton Nicholl make flies that look so good you’d swear they could crawl out of the vice by themselves.

Fly tying is fun, too, because anglers are always problem-solving, thinking about ways to create better flies and sharing ideas, techniques and theories with other anglers. As trout have become more educated and sophisticated, trout anglers have needed better insect and baitfish imitations to enhance catch rates. ‘‘Technological creep’’ has seen space age materials such as chemically sharpened hooks, tungsten beads, synthetic fibres and genetically modified rooster super-hackles improve modern trout flies exponentially.

The advantage of tying is that you can make what you need to suit the water conditions and hatches, creating trout flies that are not commercially available.

Over summer, I write notes to myself with ideas about what is missing in my fly boxes, so when winter rolls around I know exactly what to tie for the following fishing season.

Commercial guides need large numbers of trout flies in specific patterns, sizes, weights, colours, shapes and designs. When you spend a lot of time on the river getting flies chewed by trout and having anglers breaking them off in fish or, worse, repeatedly whacking them on rocks or high into bankside trees with errant back casts, it can soon deplete whole boxes.

Guides get paid for results, so having the right gear tied on anglers’ lines is particularly important. Last season, we caught more big trout than ever, but we also lost plenty more, because big mouse-fattened fish often straightened standard fly hooks.

This year, I’m tying most of my flies on extra-strong hooks to hopefully solve the problem – so watch out, Mr Trout.

Zane Mirfin