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.

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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.

Lucas


The Hair of the Frog… Product review – by Andrew Hearne

Frog Hair –  a product soon to be supplied by Riverworks.

It took me a while to come around to the stuff, but I’m there now. This is how it happened…

Some time during the middle of the fishing season Rob sent me some new tapered leaders and tippet material to try out.

I was a bit dubious to begin with. When it comes to my set up there are two main things I need to have absolute faith in. Hooks, and tippet. You can get by with a less than perfect rod, but I won’t compromise when it comes to the hooks and tippet I use, for obvious reasons.

So this stuff shows up in a courier package, I divvied it up and gave Jack his share. From there it sat in my vest for a while… Even though Rob was keen for us to try it out and get back to him with the results, I wasn’t quite ready just yet.

I’d been using the same brand for a few years now. I had, and still have, absolute faith in it. I can count on one hand the amount of times it has failed on a fish. It takes a lot for me to move away from that.

The first time I used Frog Hair was on a day when jack and I were in the High Country chasing big fish. The fish were as spooky as anything you have ever come across and we were having a tough time. Just before lunch we spotted another fish, and I made the call to change things up a bit and tied some 4x (6lb) Frog Hair on as tippet material.

The cast landed as it should, and to mine and Jack’s surprise the fish actually took the fly. Unfortunately when I struck the line came shooting back at me… an inspection revealed the line had snapped. At that point in time I was none too happy, and the Frog Hair went back into the vest for a while after that.

A few weeks later and we were in the deep south. Again I was fishing with Jack, and again the fish were playing hard to get. This time it was Jack who decided to take the plunge. He tied on the mighty Frog Hair in an attempt to get the result which had so far eluded us for the day. This time around the Frog Hair proved a success… the first fish took the fly, put up one hell of a fight, and was successfully landed…. with a wind knot in the tippet to boot!

With my confidence restored I replaced my leader and tippet with Frog Hair and we both went on to have a pretty successful day. The fish we caught were as hard fighting as you can expect to find anywhere, so the line was well tested. I’ll even own up to discovering a wind knot in my line after I landed a fish later in the day.

I used Frog Hair for the remainder of the season without any issues. I’ll have no problem using it from now on… we got off to a rough start, but now I’m a believer.

Keep an eye out for this magic string in your local tackle shop. It shouldn’t be too far away. here are some photos of some of the fish we’ve caught on Frog Hair so far. (You may have seen these fish already)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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!


John Maulder – Wading Boot Review

This is a letter given to me by a former store owner. John has been great at giving feedback over the years. Below is a letter from John on the Riverworks XRT Wading boots.

Hi Robert,

Well another season has finished and it is time to drop you a line on the performance of the XRT Wading Boot that I purchased in December 2010.

Since December through to June 30, 2011 I have clocked up just on 450 hours, no mean feat but they have covered bush walking, cutting tracks, coastal estuaries, Hawke’s Bay rivers right through to back country streams covering mud, sand, boulders and stones.
During this time I found the boots extremely comfortable and supportive, even after a 10 hour day they were still great to have on. The total design of the boot gives you maximum support from the balls of your feet right through to your ankles. The hexaform inner sole was especially noticeable when boulder hopping, cushioning the shock allowing the feet to take less impact during each step. Just a quick note, I do wear neoprene inners when I am not in breathables which does give a little extra cushioning. I have even used them during a morning hunt before continuing a fishing afternoon saving weight and space with no effect.
The only downside which is only minor, is that I am onto my third lot of studs. I find the soft nature of these tends to wear them out a little quicker than usual. Maybe a stainless stud will help solve this and a loss of weight on my part! Looking at the boot as I write it is hard to see any exccessive wear from either the uppers or soles for the hours I have spent in them.

Robert, I would not have any hesitation in recommending these boots to anybody who wants 100% satisfaction from an excellent product that will serve them well in the years to come.

I know you are continually trying to improve through research and development on all your products you source and I wish you all the very best in the years to come.

Kindest regards,

John Maulder


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……..