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Posts tagged “Fly Fishing New Zealand

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


Andrew Hearne – The Grand Finale…Saving the best for last.

I like to save the best for last. If I could do it all the time I would, I like having something to look forward to.

The final day of the season rolled around quicker than I expected. It had been yet another great few months spent wandering about the South Island, and it was all but over.

My time off work was all but over too, the next day was my first day back after a month off. As strange as it may sound, I was actually looking forward to going back to work, for a number of reasons – restoring the bank balance being one of them.

The forecast for the final day of the season was far from ideal, with strong gusty wind predicted in most places accessible from here. I guess it was a fitting way to finish. What to do?

Although I’d experienced more than my share of fishing during the past 6 months and 29 days, my gut feeling told me to get out there one last time. If for no other reason than to see what happened. I felt like there was unfinished business that needed attending.

The alarm went off early on April 30th. It was pretty cold and miserable to start with. I nearly pulled the pin and went back to bed. It took every ounce of self – control not to.

I chose to visit a place with few fish, in the hope of finding some good ones. I ended last season with a great fish, and I was keen to repeat the effort this year.

When I eventually arrived at the river the wind was really bad. It was absolutely howling. It was so bad I thought about flagging it and trying to find somewhere more sheltered nearby. I decided against moving on and stayed with plan A.

It took a while, but eventually I found a fish. Best of all, it looked to be feeding. The adrenaline started right at that moment, and I was a wreck as I attached a dry fly and dropper rig. I dropped down to the river and changed my set up again slightly, I figured the dropper length I’d set was too long and the nymph was probably too heavy.

With that sorted finally I set about laying line on water. This was the next issue, the bushes behind me and the still howling wind conspired against me to turn an otherwise simple task into a difficult one.

My first couple of attempts resulted in my line being stuck in a bush. I kept as calm as I could while I unhooked it, and eventually I nailed the cast, and the dry fly indicator hit the spot. I knew I was in the money.

The Humpy bobbed along in the current. I couldn’t see the fish clearly through the wind ruffled surface, and it felt like forever had passed, but eventually the nymph reached the red zone and the dry twitched sideways slightly.

I lifted the rod and resistance was met in the form of a solid thud. A moment later the fish rolled onto its side, stunned. It then took off to the bottom of the pool at lightning speed. I quickly crossed the river to get in a better position, and the fish pulled up at the top of the rapids, seemingly reluctant to head downstream any further. I sidestrained the fish in close and that was when I caught my first glimpse of its shoulder. It was an impressive sight indeed. From there I was pretty ruthless with my approach and was able to land the fish surprisingly quickly.

I don’t mind admitting I screamed like schoolgirl when I landed this fish. I screamed so much it made my voice a bit hoarse for the rest of the day, but I didn’t care.

Getting the photo was tricky. I can set the camera up on the tripod pretty quickly, but it was so windy I thought the whole lot was going to finish up in the river. Fortunately the expensive stuff didn’t, however, some of the less expensive stuff did… but nothing which mattered much.

 

Here it is…. the reward for my efforts.

The winning combination isn’t exactly revolutionary. I used a size 12 red Humpy as the indicator, with a size 14 Pheasant Tail nymph hung underneath. It was simple, but effective.

I released the fish and packed up my gear. That was it for the season of 2011-202. There was no way I could finish the season in a better way than that. I really had managed to save the best for last this time.


Lucas Allen – Curing an Ailment

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.

Really cool Purple sheen to it and super bright, although a touch small.

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.

Lucas


Competition – Fish Of The Season “Winner”

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.


Andrew Hearne – Revisiting a trip from earlier this season.

A video clip from a trip earlier this season. You’ve seen the photo’s now here it is in motion…

Cheers to Mike Kirkpatrick for stitching it all together.


Andrew Hearne – Homeward bound…. nearly.

This is the fourth and final instalment from our trip south. Thanks to Chris Dore for providing a good portion of the photographs for this entry.

We were nearly done in this particular part of the world for now. It was time to head somewhere else.

Day four saw us quietly packing up the campsite and heading back along the track at a rather sedate pace.

We stopped where a tributary stream entered the main river. Jeremy and I headed downstream with the intention of fishing back up, Jack headed upstream on his own, while Chris disappeared into the tributary with his bow.

There was a notable absence of fish in the stretch Jeremy and I fished. We didn’t see nearly as many as we expected. Despite the lack of fish Jeremy managed to catch one anyway, as he has a habit of doing. I think Jeremy is some kind of fish – catching genius. He could pull a fish from a puddle in the gutter if he tried hard enough.

Later that evening we arrived back into Queenstown and stopped off to collect our much anticipated, pre ordered Fergburger. Then we headed on up to Chris’ place where we promptly smashed our respective orders to pieces.

I’d ordered the Big Al, with fries and aioli. Looking back on it now, the fries were overkill really… in fact I knew at the time I didn’t really need to eat the whole lot, but I didn’t want to show any sign of weakness in front of my peers so I pushed through the pain barrier and finished what I set out to start.

That night I had a pretty good sleep on the couch, once a bit of time had passed and my food baby settled down a bit.

The next morning we were woken by Chris. He got up and started walking around at some ungodly hour. I don’t even think the man uses an alarm, he just wakes up.

Slowly I gained consciousness and coherency, and then Chris, Jack, and I packed the truck with our gear for yet another couple of days on the river. Jeremy stayed behind – he mentioned something about cleaning Chris’ carpet and having catch a plane in the afternoon….

The first day of phase two was taken at a leisurely pace. It was a nice change from the norm. We headed south from Chris’ place – this was to be the day Jack and I fished the mighty Mataura for the first time. I’m not usually one for saying where I fish, but I think I’ll be ok to disclose the location this time.

I felt it was very important to catch a fish on this monumental day in my fly fishing career, and thankfully I wasn’t to be disappointed. Although the insect activity was minimal that day, which made things slightly more difficult, I ended up catching a couple of fish that day, as did Jack and Chris.

I don’t know how I would have felt if I blanked on the Mataura? Probably not all that happy I suspect.

That evening we stayed at Simon Chu’s trout cottage in Lumsden. The cottage is a really cool place, reading the visitor’s book reveals that many well – known anglers have passed through over the years, and it is something of a shrine to all things fly fishing. Many thanks Simon for allowing us to stay there.

Once again the next morning it was Chris who was out of bed first, really, really early this time! He brewed the coffee though, so getting up wasn’t as difficult as it may have otherwise been. The coffee was a minor incentive to drag myself from the warmth of my sleeping bag.

As painful as it was to begin with, we needed to get away in good time to secure our stretch of river for the day. When we arrived at our destination our early start was rewarded with an empty carpark.

It was pretty fresh that morning. I guess it was a good thing we had a reasonable walk before we would start fishing and were able to warm up pretty quickly.

 

That day ended up being pretty tough. I managed a nice fish in the morning… but that was all for the most part. Later on I momentarily hooked and lost a couple of fish in the same run near the end of the day. This saw me nearly lose the plot altogether, I displayed some of my less refined behaviour for a few seconds there – and that was that. It was near dark when we got back to the truck, and it was time to head back for a feed. Not a moment too soon either.

 

 

Somehow between the three of us we managed to forget our lunch for the day, so we were looking forward to food. We were really looking forward to it. Luckily for us, Lumsden is the home of the Mayfly Café, and based on the evidence of that night – they make great food.

We ordered ourselves a pizza each, and we weren’t at all disappointed. In fact we were very impressed. The pizza I ate was so big that it hurt me to finish it. I still finished it though. That’s pretty good value for 15 bucks if you ask me.

The next day Jack and I had to catch a plane in the afternoon. It was time to go home. I had the pleasure of watching Jack put on his wet fishing boots at the airport for the flight home in order to bring his luggage down to the weight restriction. I was kind enough to photograph it for you all to see too…

 

 

 

The final hurdle after that was actually getting on the plane and taking off. The flight was delayed for over an hour, and then we had to wait for about half an hour once on board for some people’s gear to be removed… I think they got booted off or something? Who knows – it took a long time though!

Eventually I was home, and pleased to be there. Two weeks of tents and couches was enough for now. For a couple of days at least…

The season was nearly finished… but not quite. There was still time to throw a few more casts.

As always, watch this space for more to come!


Lucas Allen – HAC Trip Report – Whirinaki

I’ve just received a comprehensive report from my fishing pal Matt. He has just returned from the Whirinaki with Hamilton Angling Club, they have a major soft spot for this place from what I can gather. Their club trips are incredibly popular and having recently joined the club I’m itching to get a spot on an upcoming journey.
In the meantime Matt and I have a night trip to Rotorua and a weekend in National Park fast approaching. Can’t wait. The following is a blow-by-blow account of the HAC trip written by Matt.
After weeks of planning, slaving over the vice and the anticipation of getting some late season rainbows, we set off right after work for 2 nights in central North Island backcountry heaven.  We arrived late at night to our accommodation which was small, cramped, cold as hell and perfect.  After a couple hours of food, beers and BS, we devised our plans for the morning.
We awoke to beautiful clear blue skies and a fresh frost on the ground.
Craig and I set out to the middle upper reaches, while Terry and Kane set out to the lower reaches.
We weren’t too sure if the fish were going to be around where we went, but after hooking into a silver bullet of a brownie in the 2nd pool of the day, we were getting optimistic.  We covered a lot of ground over the day and while we didnt get anything huge, but we caught a lot of fish up to 3lb. The crew got back together in the evening to recount.  35 fish landed and another 20 dropped for one reason or another had us pretty happy with day one’s outcome…but we wanted some more size.  So after a fair bit of analysis, negotiation and a couple more drinks, we decided to hike up into the far upper reaches on day 2.
As expected day two was sunny…a little warmer and perfect for sight fishing.
Terry Kane and I after walking for a while dropped into the river and found fish in the first pool.  After trying just about everything in the box, the fish had enough and took off.
We knew the next pool well.  We snuck up keeping low and saw at least 5 fish hanging out in the back of the pool.  Terry somehow convinced us that he had first crack at it.  Kane and I took our appropriate “spotting” positons on the bluff.  A good amount of heckling and a touch of positive reinforcement had Terry lean into a beauty rainbow in the 5-6lb range that went spastic and busted him off.  Damn!
I was next.  After a few well placed casts (and equal amount of heckling from the boys on the bluff) I was hooked up…bugger spat it!
We snuck up another 10 metres upstream and while hiding in the bush I managed to finally hook and land a stunner of a rainbow.  Not a huge fish but on the board.
Each pool we hit after that had fish in it, and we managed to prick at least one in each pool.  Kane’s pheasant tail variation was an absolute killer up there and in some pools he must have hooked everything with fins hooking fish on back to back casts in at least 2 pools.
Regrettably, we couldn’t spend all day in the bush and had to head back to Hamilton.
All in all, the river was freezing cold…but the fishing on fire.  Late season rainbows, perfect scenery, good company and a perfect weekend out.  Cant wait until next weekend when we do it all over again.
Matt MacCallum
Ed note. Sorry the spacing has turned to custard from the cut and paste I took from Matts email. He’s way more articulate than it looks.