Back in February I spent a day fishing a backcountry river with a couple of South African guys. Actually, only one of them survived the walk (it isn’t short…). Oh well, more fish for the two of us to fish to. Phil was the survivor, and he turned out to be a really top guy. Plus he could fish.
Things started slowly. We were fishing a coloured river, and although we could see fish they weren’t active in the cold morning temperatures. It wasn’t until the sun was a bit higher in the air that things started to change. It was like a switch flicked and flicked good. After lunch we fished to about 15 fish and hooked every single one of them. There was nothing small either. It was just magic. I dream of days like that. Oh, and the fly? Lets call it Andrew’s take on a cicada. Christ does it work.
For bizarre reasons that I won’t go into now, I’ve only got video of Phil fishing, and photos of my fish. So lets let the video do the talking for Phil…
As for me? I suppose I did alright.
Caught in the same lie that I pulled a much bigger fish from earlier in the season.
A casual cast revealed that this was not, in fact, a rock.
Last cast of the day. What a way to finish.
That was only about half of the fish from that day, it was truly spectacular. It’s days like this that I look back on with envy as I study for exams. No idea what’s happening with Uni after these latest aftershocks (btw hope that everyone out there is ok! All safe and sound at the wunder-flat). Apparently they’re letting us know tonight, but that doesn’t make it much easier to motivate myself to study. Andrew’s got a report for you guys coming up in the next week or so with another video from our season.
One last thing – if you haven’t already then join Riverworks (at http://www.facebook.com/riverworksnewzealand) and TwoTroutBums NZ (at http://www.facebook.com/twotroutbums.newzealandflyfishing) on Facebook. That way you’ll stay up to date and get all the good oil asap.
Till next time.
Just a quick one from me. Still haven’t had a chance to get out for a fish. Spent the last few days in Melbourne. Saw Joe Bonamassa play live at the Palais Theatre – truly special. Then had an amazing dinner with Dad at Momo. Great trip. Now it’s back to reality. Couple of thousand more words to write on a Judicial Review essay, then it’s time to get cracking on studying for my Advanced Land Law exam. Joy.
Here’s a vid to remind me (and you) of happier times. We’ve got heaps of video footage from the season, so it’ll just be put up sporadically over winter.
First of all, sorry it’s been so long since I’ve posted on here. A combination of heaps of uni work and barely being out fishing means I’ve gotta trawl the past for this one a bit.
A couple of months back a couple of good mates and myself hit Fiordland. Hit it hard. I’ll let the photos do the talking, but god damn it was amazing. I think an annual tradition has started.
So here goes… Cheers to Chris Dore for the photos!!
On the way down to Te Anau Chris and I hit a remote stream. It’s possible that no-one has ever fished it before. Or not.
Yep, that’s one way to start a trip.
A late night with a bizarre combination of booze, oysters and ice cream saw us packing our bags quickly in the morning. Then the trek started. What a place we arrived at!
I suppose I see why people flock to Fiordland.
First fish of the trip. Oh alright, if I have to.
That night I did something silly. I went fishing. I felt like an idiot standing on a big corner pool casting as far out as I could and slowly letting my mouse swing in the current. Until I caught this…
God it was a buzz. Love it!
Self shots at night aren’t the easiest!!
I was so stoked with the night that I could barely sleep!
The next day was an absolute blast. I lost count of the number of 5lb+ rainbows I caught.
Chris and I got a double header early on.
Dore with one of many. You’ve gotta work to get him in front of the camera!
A fish was spotted. Then I hooked it. While standing on a log. A slippery log.
I think Chris mentioned something about hoping I slipped and spread-legged the log. I didn’t. Instead I leapt in. It was pretty deep.
But christ, what a fish!
One of the best rainbows I’ve had.
Had to sneak a cast under a VERY low branch to get this one. Chris has the footage somewhere. Satisfying.
This is how I roll.
Once my undies were dry I headed out for another night fish. Despite my best efforts I couldn’t convince the others to join me. Their loss.
Seriously solid brownie. (and yeah, I know I look like an idiot.)
The next day I managed one of the most nuggety browns I’ve had all season. Just short and deep.
Chubby wee thing.
Then Jeremy early released one…
We walked back out that day. I won’t go into details of what happened that night in Queenstown. Suffice it to say that I popped my fergburger cherry, woke up with a new t-shirt and one hell of a hangover.
We’ve got some great video footage for you guys over winter, so make sure you keep checking back in!
The weather’s changing, and so’s the fishing. I’ve been back in Christchurch for a little over a week now and still haven’t had my first lecture. Two classes are being taught online and one has been postponed. All of this means that I have precisely one lecture per week. Ridiculous. If only the season wasn’t drawing towards its end.
I’ve managed to get out a few times since getting back, however none have been overly successful.
The first trip can be described rather simply.
Day 1: Andrew misreads the weather forecast. We walk out.
Day 2: Isaiah has an allergic reaction to a wasp. We walk out.
Day 3: I get my truck stuck. A tractor pulls us out.
I did vent a wee bit of frustration at a particularly stubborn fish that wasn’t playing ball.
Not my proudest moment.
We did manage a couple of fish in between the wind and the rock throwing.
A true trophy to start the day.
Look, it’s a real fish.
I spotted this fish from approximately 2m away.
The next day, after the incident with the wasp was dealt with, I managed this monster.
That was pretty much it for that trip.
St Paddy’s day saw me in absolutely fine form. I’m not going to go into what I got upto that night, but suffice to say I had one hell of a hangover the next day.
Nothing like a bit of fishing to ward off hangovers though, so I took to the rivers with that old stalwart…the Grinch.
The fishing was a bit slow, but we both managed to connect to fish. Unfortunately Andrew’s fish, which naturally was larger than mine, did the dirty on him and snapped him off.
I managed a couple to the net before we commenced the walk home.
I’m not totally sure what I’m upto in this picture.
Satisfying fish. Filthy tactics.
That’s all for now. This weekend I’m heading into Fiordland for the first time with Chris Dore and Jeremy. Should be a sweet trip. Hopefully I’ll have a great report for you guys following that trip.
Sorry I’ve been so slack with posting, unfortunately due to a rather irritating need to make money I’ve been working not fishing lately. Here’s a quick report from about a month back.
Having been couped up in work hearing about all the fantastic fishing everyone had been having I just needed to get out. It was a 2.5 hour drive and a 1 hour walk before I finally got my line wet. It wasn’t long before I hooked my first fish, a spritely bow of about a pound. However, as was to be the case with the majority of fish that day, it didn’t make it to the net. I’ve never had quite such a poor conversion rate. I think I probably hooked about 25 fish, landing just 9 of them. Running out of tippet and being forced to use a rather too old spare spool probably didn’t help.
Still I managed a few good fish. Nothing too big, just really fit rainbows. There was a roughly even split between double tungsten deep nymphing and free rising bow’s taken on a soft hackled emerger. Anyway, here are a couple of pictures from the day…
The view I awoke to…
There’s nothing quite like an enormous pool chocka full of free rising rainbows…
One taken on the walk back…
The flies that did the damage…
I’ve spent the last two weeks down south in Wanaka and Lumsden trying to get out fishing. The weather was somewhat against me and there were more wasted days than successful ones. There were a few good days in there though, mostly because of the top blokes I fished with rather than the fishing itself. That report’ll be up in a week or so.
Hope you’re all getting out there and catching a few!
It’s been a long time coming…but the report is very nearly here. Unfortunately this isn’t it. This is just a teaser to get your interest peaked. Enjoy the pictures…
This was just the first day of eight, so you can be sure that there are many many more big fish and great photos to come. You’ll have to wait until the first issue of the new FortyOne Degrees magazine for the full report. Trust me, it’ll be worth it.
Just a quick post from me, mainly because I haven’t really got anything too significant to say (not that that has ever stopped me in the past…)
I’ve been fishing a couple of times, with a resounding lack of success sadly. Last saturday Andrew and I busted our asses driving to and then tramping into a fairly remote river. We’d had great success here last year, but this year didn’t match. We simply didn’t see the numbers we saw last year. I’ve since been enlightened by a learned fellow that more fish hold for longer in this stream after a mouse year (i.e. last year). Over the course of the whole day we saw probably 5 or 6 fish, admittedly they were all of a very good size. I realised that Andrew had hooked one when I heard him exclaim profanities at losing it seconds later. I was to suffer an altogether more tortuous fate a little later in the day. We spotted a fish feeding in a deep gut in the tailout of a pool, which I covered with a dirty double bunny. We’d had remarkably little interest in nymphs, so streamers were the logical choice. On about the 2nd or 3rd pass the fish bolted forwards, spooked I assumed, until the line grew taught and the fish dived deep into the pool. I proceeded to do a beep test across the river (If any of you don’t know what a beep test is then the New Zealand education system has failed you) before the fish bolted downstream through some rapids. I was feeling pretty confident as I had fairly hefty tippet on and had been putting some serious pressure on the fish. Ah, almost beached…just gotta get the net under it. And then slack. That awful feeling that resonates in the pit of your stomach. Euphoria turns to despair. Delight to disaster. I watched as a 6-7lb brownie lay stunned in the flow, before making good his escape. This proved to be the last catchable fish we were to see for the trip. The walk back wasn’t aided when I slipped over not once, but twice, caning both my leg and knee in the process. The perfect preparation for a long walk out…
Desperate for redemption I snuck out with a mate to a couple of local spots, intending to capitalise on the bright sunshine and lack of wind. Enter storm. As soon as we got to the river the whole place gusted furiously. The enthusiasm soon waned and I started to take a couple of photos.
I thought this one was kinda neat in an evocative and moody way.
And another… (We’ll pretend he was hooked up to a fish and not a tree…)
That’s all for now I’m afraid. Reports might be a bit sparse from now until the 9th of November as I have some rather painful exams to get through. However, once they’re over then I should be fishing as much as my bank balance allows. Expect a heap of reports and cool photos.
Surprise surprise, I went fishing again.
Had another early start, fuelling up with one of Andrew’s trademark fry ups. These breakfasts are pretty damn crucial if you plan to have a really big day on the river, heaps of beans, toast, eggs – all the good stuff. We headed off to a small stream which I had intended to fish on opening day, but due to high flows couldn’t. After a long drive filled with conversations not fit to print we arrived at our destination. The river was carrying a touch of colour, but was certainly fishable.
We did a bit of bush bashing to get down to the river and pottered our way up for a minute or two. Andrew made a passing comment about how fishy the eye of the pool ahead looked, and what do you know, there was a fish. I was first up today and commenced my attempts with a size 16 version of my go-to nymph. I wish I could say that the fish took it with wild abandon, however this was not the case. In fact the whole time I fished to it the brownie didn’t swing to take a natural once. Changed nymphs several times before settling for a fly I had received in a flyshop flyswap (Thanks HerkDrvr/JD). The weight on the fly just seemed right, plus it had that tinge of red which can so often trigger a response early season. My first cast went slightly wide but the second was drifting right over its nose. The fish didn’t appear to move a muscle. It just sat there finning in the current. Hang on, my indicator just dropped. STRIKE! It must have simply opened its mouth to intercept the passing nymph. Immediately after feeling the prick of the hook the fish took off for the other side of the river. I put as much pressure on it as I dared and managed to halt its progress. A dogged battle ensued in the middle of the stream before I began to get the upper hand. Finally the fish was in the net thanks to a graceless (but hella effective) swipe from Andrew. Upon examination the fly was barely imbedded right on the neb.
This is how close I was to losing it.
And the prey we seek.
That proved to be the one and only fish we saw in that stream for the day. After being bluffed a couple of times due to the heavy flow we ended up cutting our losses and heading back to the car to continue our day elsewhere.
We ended up deciding to have a potter up a delightful small stream that neither of us had fished in the past. Started slowly without seeing much. I was on one side of the stream with Andrew on the other. Suddenly he exclaimed ‘****’, the bow wave heading upstream explaining to me the cause of his frustration. Not much further up he spotted a fish apparently unaffected by the spooked fish’s antics. First cast over it with a small colubriscus and bang, fish on.
A good bend in the rod.
We pottered up a bit further before spotting a fish sitting just back from a branch in the tail out of a pool.
Spot the fish.
I couldn’t quite rustle up Andrew’s first cast magic, and ended up changing my flies several times before finally hooking the fish on a small #16 grey and brown nymph. It put up a pretty damn good scrap given the confines of the small stream, but eventually it too succumbed to the pressure.
A great fish for such a small stream.
Grip and grin.
We prospected our way up for another 15 minutes before Andrew again spotted a fish. It was sitting just off a swirling back current, clearly darting into the swirl to feed. Andrew pitched his nymph into the back current and we enjoyed a great visual of the fish moving a good metre to take his nymph. This proved to be the scrap of the day, really making his reel sing.
Hey there fish.
After this we continued our way up, but didn’t see another fish. Possibly they were having their afternoon tea break, but the glare was pretty crappy. We turned back, content with our efforts. I tried to make friends with the old lady in the tea room on the way home, she was not friendly back.
This may well be my last report for a couple of weeks. I’ve got 3rd year law exams starting in just a couple of weeks, so for the first time ever I may have to prioritise something over fishing. Keep the comments coming guys, and be sure to subscribe in order to stay posted.
Open season mean’s crystal clear water, hot days and free rising browns, right? For some reason my mind tells me that even though September 30th might be crap weather, the 1st of October will be a perfect day; a combination of all of last seasons good memories (and none of the bad). It brings with it so much expectation and excitement that one can’t help but be slightly disappointed when virtually every river in the region is a complete write off.
Andrew and myself had plans to fish a small stream on Friday, we weren’t going to let the weather get in our way. An outrageously early start saw me dining on baked beans, toast, bacon and eggs at his place around 3:30am. The car ride flew by as we discussed plans for the season. Passing lowland rivers we saw that they were fairly dirty, but hey, the upper reaches will be fine. Except the water didn’t really get much clearer the further up the river system we went. Sure, each tributary we passed reduced the sediment a bit, but the flows were still enormous. Arriving at our intended destination we waited a few minutes till daybreak before heading out to look at the stream. We hadn’t gone more than 5 minutes before realising that further exploration was pointless; it was all but in flood!
Ah well, Andrew had (as he always does) a plan B. No cars in the car park, so we started the trek into the river. When we finally saw it the flow was high, but it wasn’t actually too dirty. We blind fished a few pools despite the fact that this river holds a very low population of large fish. A few kilometres further up the river Andrew spotted a fish in the run he was prospecting. The next thing I heard (I think everyone in the valley probably heard it too) was ‘Oh ****’. One seriously spooked fish scarpered pretty quickly after getting pricked. Heading further up the river we only saw one more fish, which Andrew covered. On the way back downstream he decided to swing a streamer back through this lie. When he was halfway through the pool I saw a bit of movement out of the corner of my eye. Big streamers tend to get a pretty strong reaction, but this fish simply swum slowly up behind it before engulfing it. Bang. Fish on. Andrew literally screamed like a small girl. He’s not really much of a winter fisherman, so it’d been a while between drinks.
A good bend in the rod
Big fish like big bites of protein.
A fantastic start to the season.
Sadly I didn’t manage one that day. Given the numbers in that stream I wouldn’t be surprised if I hadn’t covered a fish all day. Sure, I felt a little envious, but Andrew deserved it. Over winter he’s put a hell of a lot of effort into tying streamers and learning how to fish them for situations exactly like this. Even though I didn’t catch a fish it was still a supremely satisfying day. Getting out there on a day where everyone else probably stayed at home, using our heads and finding the only clean water in the region, and then finally catching a cracker brownie in tough conditions: a very challenging, but rewarding start to the season.
Having a 21st the night before doesn’t typically leave you in a great state to go fishing the next morning. I’d made plans to head out nice and early with Isaac, so I felt a bit bad sending him a text saying I would be an hour or so late picking him up. The rivers we had intended to fish were pretty much shafted, so we decided to do a wee bit of exploring close to home. To be honest, the only thing that really came from the day was that we were able to help out a guy who had gotten his car stuck.
Fancy a Land Rover pulling out a Toyota…
I gave Isaac a choice of heading into the hills that night and crashing in the car, or getting up at 4am the next morning. He chose a night in the car. After exploring the prospects for the next day we headed back to the camp-site, which I later dubbed the Hilton, for some kai. We ate like kings.
Big Mac ain’t got nothing on that.
The view from the campsite.
A good mate had once mentioned to me about these hot springs on the banks of a river, and after a fair bit of searching we found them. It was truly idyllic lying in scalding hot water on the sides of a river in heavy flow staring up at the stars. Very much befitting of a night spent at a Hilton.
The next morning saw us prospecting up the lower reaches of a fairly well known river. Isaac got a strike early on, but failed to hook up. Further up the stream we saw a nice fish feeding in a run. I believe I threw every single fly in my box at it over the course of an hour. Yet it simply continued to feed. Due to the currents in the pool I’m not actually convinced the fish saw my fly. However, it couldn’t help but see the 10cm long streamer I threw at it next.
Protein bars for trout.
The first fish of the season.
We headed further upstream and saw some fantastic water and a few more fish, but sadly couldn’t hook anything else.
Picture perfect pool
After getting bluffed we returned to the car for some refuelling.
Isaac really went to town on that orange.
On our way home we decided to have a flick in a very high and dirty river. I decided to go bling with my big gold beaded stonefly pattern (I’m actually quite taken with this pattern, so will probably post a picture of it at some stage) while Isaac was going to dredge the depths with his homemade 5wt shooting head. I think I’d made maybe 3 casts before I hooked a very well conditioned wee brownie.
Another brownie on a big gold beadhead.
After this Isaac got a few strikes and a couple of hookups, but sadly nothing stuck. It was a fairly tough day as far as the fishing went, but just so good to be out there again. I remember saying to someone before the weekend ‘Search out stable water. Some rivers fish better high. Big flies. Bling flies. Streamers.’ Turned out to be a bit prophetic really.
Heading out Wednesday and Friday with Andrew again in search of some big fish now that the open season jitters are behind us. How’d your opening weekend go? Leave a comment and let me know.
The days before the start of the season pass by in somewhat of a trance. I should have been paying attention in lectures this week, but all I could think of was a large brown swinging in the current. If you manage to do anything productive in the days leading up to the 1st of October then you’re a better man than I.
Tomorrow will see me getting up at a disgustingly early hour, heading round to Andrew’s for a hearty breakfast and then beginning the long drive to our location. The goal is a small stream that I know for a fact holds some very large trout. I’ve had good success there in the early season regardless of weather conditions. The idea is to explore as much of the river as we possibly can, hopefully catching a fish or too along the way.
That night I’ve got to rush back to go to a friends 21st. I missed her 20th due to opening season last year, but I think I should probably attend this party seeing as I’m meant to be giving a speech. Think I’ll avoid going to town though considering that I’m planning on getting up at 4am to head back into the hills! I’ll either be by myself or with a mate slumming it in the car over night. At least this time my car will be a bit bigger than the one we slept in at the Tongariro. I’ll be exploring a bit of new water that hopefully won’t experience nearly so much pressure as some of the better known streams.
I don’t actually care too much about catching a fish. I just want to be back walking along the banks of a small stream trying to spot fish again. I’ve missed it. Oh god how I have missed it.
Best of luck for the new season. It’s going to be a great one.