The new Riverworks site is now live!!!
The new bigger and better web site contains both the Home Page and the Blogging on the same site. This new page is much smoother and easier to use.
There will no longer be any posts on the Lifestyle Blog so jump over and check it out.
My season started off in good fashion but things certainly went quiet after Christmas for a few different reasons. However along with Alex, Lucas and Andrew Marshall a lot of time and money was focused on the saltwater side of things and we had some success in that department.
At the start of the season Joel and I headed up the line to spend a few days paddling around on Lake O to try and satisfy the winter trout fishing cravings and bend some rods. We put in a lot of hours and a lot of energy over the three days we fished and were rewarded by the fish gods with quite a few fish landed. The typical Lake O bows were full of life and extremely strong. On one of the afternoons we jumped on a mates boat and I was able to snag this beautiful fish who ran me through all his tricks before finally accepting his fate.
Although this fish wasn’t a particularly big one, or in fact two, they are fish I will remember for a long time. The day after I caught the bigger one above, we awoke to torrential rain. Our friends had arrived in the comfort of their warm dry truck and were out on the water as we woke up. We crawled out of tent and had breakfast and got ready in the rain. Soggy and tiered we rowed out up to the top of our drift. Or friends on the boat had had no luck so spirits were fairly low. First cast I hooked into a decent fish and as I turned around to brag I saw that Joel had also hooked up. The guys on the boat must have been spewing and so we had a great laugh as we played them. These fish were pretty special to me because I remember thinking at the time that even though I was cold, wet and tiered, there was no place I would rather be in the world. (photos looking back at each other)
Back at home a few weeks later I headed out with the old man for an afternoon fish after work. The weather was looking great and there had been a good rise in the river temperature so we were keen as mustard to get over the hill and see what we could find. Sure enough not long after we arrived the hatch commenced, as did the evening rise. I was trying to make sure Dad picked up the first fish as he hadn’t heard his reel zing in quite a while, so he was on point. Luck just wasn’t going his way that day with a couple of false hook ups and a couple of fussy feeders. We came up to a favorite pool and there was a fish feeding like a maniac up in the eye. Dad had to re-rig and insisted that I try for him. Murphies law being the way it is, first cast he slurped down my offering. Feeling somewhat guilty that I had stolen an easy fish that Dad would have had for sure, I put the hurt on him and lent back hard on the rod. I hadn’t seen any part of the fish at this stage apart from his nose so I was surprised he was so strong. None the less I kept dragging him up to the net and was dumfounded when I lifted him out of the water. Unfortunately the image doesn’t really do this fish justice as the flash bounced back off him. He was covered in the most beautiful red and brown markings and fat as a house across the back. If I had any idea of what sort of fish he was there’s no way I would have put that much weight on him with my little sz16 emerger and 4lb leader. Thankfully luck was on my side.
A week or two later we jumped on a plane and headed down south for our annual, high country opening pilgrimage. On the first day of our six day trip we headed out and chased a few browns around in the morning. Later that afternoon it was off to the rainbow spot to see what we could see. I had been fishing in a favorite spot for only about ten minutes when there was a heavy splash out in front of me just within casting distance. Although I couldn’t see the fish I just tossed out my fly as far as I could in the direction of the rise. A couple of aggressive twitches and jerks and the line came tight. Just as the browny from earlier I never saw this fish until it reached the net. This one however I knew was a solid fish, It made a few good runs but it just felt heavy. I was ecstatic to land what would be my heaviest trout for the season and a new personal best. For the rest of the trip I had a big grin on my face.
As Alex mentioned in his post, February this year we headed North to chase down Tuna, Sharks and Kingies on the fly. As it played out we spent much of our time trying to land Tuna. I emphasize the word LAND as these things are in a league of their own. Although they don’t look that imposing to the uninformed, these things are bullets. They are built of 100% muscle and are stream lined to be exceedingly fast through the water. After spending the trip hooking up and loosing fish due to broken leaders and poorly seated hooks I finally managed to land this guy at the end of the trip. I can honestly say I have never been so relieved to land a fish in all my life. I can’t wait for round two next year.
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.
Riverworks is proud to announce the introduction of Frog Hair to our range of products. Frog Hair leader materials and accessories are at the forefront of technology and are undoubtedly the next generation in fish deception. Super tough materials, thinner diameters, and smarter accessories mean better results. We have been putting the gear through it’s paces in the field and everyone is very impressed with the results.
Frog Hair products will be on shelves in the next few months. We will be offering a large array of different tapered leaders, fluorocarbon, strike indicators and much more.
Frog Hair Tippet and Leader material is superior because our material is subjected to GAMMA’s propriety process. The process produces a material that offers exacting tolerances, super high tensile and knot strength and up to two times the suppleness and shock resistance compared to all other brands of tippets and leaders. For the angler, Frog Hair provides a more natural presentation with more hook-ups and a line that generates maximum fish fighting capabilities. Frog Hair Products are truly your new, competitive advantage.
Frog Hair FC is an ultra high molecular weight PVDF fluorocarbon made using GAMMA’s exclusive processing technology. Unlike other fluorocarbon monofilaments that are very rigid and stiff, Frog Hair FC is processed to increase the flexibility of the material and provide up to two times the suppleness of other typical fluorocarbon monofilaments. The added suppleness compliments the refractive qualities of fluorocarbon to deliver the most stealthy, drag-free presentation possible and increase your catch rate
w/Perfection Loop –
Frog Hair FC High Performance Fluorocarbon tapered leaders have a stiffer butt section to optimize the energy transfer from the fly line and a supple tippet that offers superior knot strength, incredible toughness, and built-in shock resistance to deliver a more stealthy, drag-free presentation compared to other fluorocarbon tapered leaders.
The extra long taper section (over 60% of the leader length) is engineered to combine with the heavier, high density fluorocarbon and provide an optimal weight distribution along the length of the leader for exceptional roll out and a more powerful turnover.
Ultimate Indicators are designed for reuse after each application. Utilizing separate retainers, these indicators can be used time and time again. Attractive package contains 3 individual indicators, 1 high visibility orange and 2 in the two-tone configuration.
These are merely a few of the products on offer from the Frog Hair Range. To Check out the full range and find more details on sizes and weights available please check out the Frog Hair Website.
A while back I devised a plan to convince Matt into a weekend of fishing in the Central North Island, that was the easy part. I was overdue a good concentrated dose of fly chucking so we schemed, planned, googled, schemed some more and had plans A to F sussed. What I didn’t plan for was contracting a cold in the lead up. Being a good Kiwi lad I told myself I could beat it, no way was it going to get in the way of a good trip.
We pulled into Taupo on Friday night and did the prerequisite shop – I still don’t know where the bread rolls ended up! We set up camp at the Old mans house and tweaked our final arrangements over some Pilseners. Seriously, how many times can one tie a new leader and fuss over gear? An early start had us on our way with a quick stop for a healthy pie in Turangi. With that on board we carried on driving.The river of choice was looking very inviting from the road so we quickly set up for the walk over some farmland to access the lower reaches.Or so we thought…Having hunted around for an hour to find the supposed “there’s a way down but it’s a bit hard to find” track, we gave up and headed to another point we thought would be achievable. Hallelujah, it was just as Mr Google suggested, a little bit easier than the last spot. I was pretty happy about finally hitting the stoney riverbed.A quick scoff and assembly of our gear and we were ready for the fish of our dreams. This water was seriously lush. Soon we came to a great looking pool that had to hold something, something big and hungry. For a second I forgot I wasn’t feeling too flash. Not a touch, nothing to spot or even spook. We had planned for a low fish count so carried on.The water was super clear and cold, I found that out when I took a dunking while crossing a hairy piece of water above some rapids. Thankfully my foot found a hold and I managed to get back upright before going deeper into the pool. A word of note – if it’s dodgy buddy up, make sure your jacket is over your waders and closures are pulled tight. Wear a wading belt at all times, you can’t put it on in the rapids. If you get fully swept off your feet keep calm and drift feet first, bum down. You’ll eventually wash into calmer waters without snagging a foot on anything. Hopefully you’ll never have to put this into practice.
I wasn’t surprised when I dropped again. This time distracted by some noisy Whio. Damn, this was going to be a long slippery walk. And it was, this river was living up to its name. Devoid of any fish we pushed upriver and had lunch. We reassessed and made the decision to high tail it out, fishing any hotspots along the way.
We blanked, oh well, it happens sometimes. It was an ambitious plan B after all. The scenery did make up for it though. A quick fish in a new river just before dark had the same result! We checked into the backpackers and dried out while my voice impersonated Barry White.
The next day dawned frosty and brisk. It was nice to eat porridge and gear up beside a still burning fire place. The next port of call was Matts pick. The scramble in was according to him “easier than yesterday”. Thankfully it was. Again we found some stunning water that cried out for trout. We’re going back early season. Take a look at what’s on offer below.Soon enough we made the call to exit and go find some fish. I had a beat that produced fish in the past so we began the drive home in order to stop there. Plan E.
Finally after all that walking and scenic imbibing I looked up river to see Matts rod being worked by a cranky brown. Oh yes, by this time I had lost my voice and only managed a little yelp of joy as I ran up river. Some quick net work had the fish in the bag.We partied right there on the riverbank.This opened the floodgates and we soon found rhythm. I spotted a good looking brown in the shallows feeding happily until my size 16 Hare and Copper variant glanced its lip. What came out of the water looked fair decent and in prime condition. After dropping the fish I discovered Matt had sabotaged me and left my net downstream. Upon my return he’d picked up a stunning Searunner.
We pushed up, pricking fish and landing a few others along the way. Even spotting a few more in the murky water. I was having a tough time making the fish stick to my flies and saw another brown thrash the surface as the hook pulled free. This was put down to my lack of voice, there was no way I could yell STRIKE! inside my head.After we made it to our designated limit we raced back down the track to the truck. With 2 hours of light left we knew there was a good section of the Whanganui on the way home that would finish the trip off in style.There certainly were fish in here and we had a blast taking Rainbows from their usual haunts. Any old fly seemed to be doing the trick but one in particular for Matt had him converted. The takes were hard and fast, even I managed to bank a lovely model for the camera.With that monkey off my back we called it a day. The drive home in the dark was a tease knowing that we were crossing bridge after bridge of fine water. There’s always next time.
This weekend I hope to charge the Waitahanui, an old favourite. Nothing beats Birthday fishing.
The 2011/12 Fish of the Season winner is MIKE!
Congratulations to Mike , it was an extremely tight contest, with only three votes separating 1st and 2nd place but Mike’s Kingy was able to just tip it at the end. Well done Mike your prize will be in the mail soon.
Keep your eyes peeled because we will be running more contests on here in the near future, so there will be plenty more chances to win. Keep taking photos in your Riverworks gear and keep chasing those big fish.