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.

Posts tagged “Fly

Jack Kos – Bring the pain (3/4)

The day started well…

 

This solid rainbow took a well weighted colubriscus after several presentations. It was the first fish we saw. I was happy.

This happiness, however, was not to continue.

Andrew and I were planning on putting some serious leg work in and heading up up up. All was going well until we concluded that the gorge was impassable, so we’d have to take the alternate route around. Quite how it happened I’ll never know, but for some ungodly reason Andrew and I found ourselves on opposite sides of the river both following what we thought was ‘the track’. As it transpires my ‘track’ turned out to be nothing more than a blaze trail put in place to get to the pest traps. It was absurdly hard going. There was no defined path, just sporadic animal tracks that all of a sudden gave way to waist high falls through rotten logs. I pushed on for longer than I should have, assuming Andrew had to be ahead of me. Eventually, after managing to injure myself in some unprecedented ways, I beat a retreat. Back at camp I wrote a message in ash on our egg carton, and decided to try and salvage something from the day. After all, it couldn’t get worse, right?

I wasn’t sure quite what section of river Andrew might be fishing or whether he was ahead of me or behind me, so I decided to try and do a deep wade to get myself into a position to fish a bit of awkward to access water. The wade was particularly deep at one point, so I decided to shimmy my way across a couple of rocks. Then all of a sudden I hear an odd noise followed by a thud. I turned, just in time to see my Pelican waterproof camera case falling from my now split bag. The image of the case hitting a rock, splitting open and my Canon G11 sinking to the bottom of the river is seared in my memory. After retrieving the camera I simply sat on a rock in disbelief.

Eventually I gathered myself, crossed the river and started slowly making my way upstream. My heart wasn’t really in it, so I wasn’t hopeful when I spotted a smudge sitting a foot from the edge. I had to sit on a log to fish to this fish, so there was a little novelty to the attempt. My first cast was perfect. My second saw the wee beadhead pheasant tail rocket into the water about 6 inches to the right of the fishes face. He ate. The fight was uneventful, but the capture of my first brownie (and quite a solid one at that) of the trip raised my mood slightly. As for the pictures, well…you get the idea.

 

A little after this Andrew and I bumped into each other. He commiserated with me over the demise of my camera and we commenced our assault on the river in earnest.

 

It wasn’t until we came to a major bend in the river that created a large swirling pool that the action heated up. Andrew pulled a good fish from the head of the pool that had been rising consistently. It was a horrible drift because of the swirling currents, but eventually the fish ate his wee nymph. It then tore madly around the pool until he subdued it.

 

 

I figured that had to be the end of that pool after the antics of Andrew’s fish. However, a fish in the far side continued to rise. It was moving a long way to feed, so it felt like all I had to do was put the cast in the right place. I did, and it ignored it. It wasn’t until near the end of the drift when the fly started to skate along the surface that the fish tore backwards and engulfed it. I’d like to have hooked it this way, as the aggression was rather neat. Sadly the hook never set. Until the next cast when my nymph got eaten. Fool me once…

 

It wasn’t the best conditioned fish, but it had been a while between drinks.

 

We continued searching upstream to no avail. Deciding to hedge our bets and head upstream fast while there was still light we skipped a lot of water. But the gamble paid off. Arriving at a pool we’d seen several fish in the day prior it didn’t take long before we’d spotted on. The fish was cruising a slow beat and inspected Andrew’s fly very closely before refusing it. All of a sudden we realised there was a second fish about 3 metres behind. I can’t remember whether Andrew had to cast again or whether he simply continued the drift, but this time his tiny nymph was intercepted. This fish fought like a trooper. A large log bisected the pool and on numerous occasions I thought the fish had made it there. But Andrew fought it hard and there’s only so long a fish can resist such constant pressure. Eventually a great rainbow was brought to the net.

 

 

A little further upstream I got another chance and after getting the drift right I was connected to a silver bullet. It wasn’t quite the scrap that Andrew experienced, but a fit well conditioned rainbow will always give you a run for your money.

 

 

With darkness descending we headed back to camp to enjoy the now traditional steak, mash and peas topped off with gravy.

 

We caught some great fish that day, but unfortunately for me it was a tainted day. Taking all the possible precautions and still drowning my camera was a real slap in the face. Still, you can’t be too upset when you’ve still got 3 more days of fishing ahead of you.

 

Over to Andrew for the final wrap up…

 

 


Alex Broad – Season drawing to an end

Thats right, the 2011/2012 fishing season is nearly over.

For most of us we either stop fishing and start tying flies for the next season, head to winter spawning rivers and lakes that remain open or battle it out in the lower reaches of our favourite rivers.  I had realised I had been concentrating of salt water fly fishing this summer and hadn’t done enough trout fishing, so decided I needed to cram a bit of fishing in before the season closed.

Last weekend had me down at the local (Hutt River), after hooking into a beaut jack of around 4.5lb I was very quickly in trouble, he had run into the rocks under me and I could feel my leader on the rocks.  Determined not to loose this fish I ventured into the river to try and pull him out, it got deeper, and deeper, and a bad decision had me in water up to my neck doggy paddling across a short deep part, while holding the rod above my head, still firmly attached to the trout.  I landed him, but was rather wet and dejected, managing to drown a camera in the process, unfortunately no pictures for this reason.

This weekend, I had some time to kill on Sat morn, so thought Id have a quick look around some of the water that is due to close around Wellington.

It wasn’t long before I had spotted a fish feeding away, however he managed to disappear into the murky depths before I got a cast.  A few pools further up I had another fish in my sights, swaying gently in the current and feeding well, I tied on a special fly that rarely fails me.  A couple of casts to get the drift right and he swung over, the white flash of his mouth was the only indication I needed, I stuck hard before my indicator had a chance to move, fish on!  After a rather slow but dogged fight I had a nice conditioned jack in the net.

A few more pools and another fish was spotted, same rig cast and this time I had the cast perfect first time.  The fish swung, the mouth opened, the indicator dipped and I struck.  I was met with brief but solid resistance before the fly came screaming past my face.  The fish obviously disappeared into the heavy water not to be seen again.  Unfortunately that was it for the morning, another 1 fish day, but 1 fish is better than no fish, and going fishing is better than not going fishing.

Only a couple of weeks left in the season, Ill be making the most of it.


Short Fly Fishing Film – Rojo


Alex Broad – Andrew Marshall made an awesome captain.

We had just returned from a week of saltwater fly fishing, I was going through all the photos and video footage, and it dawned on me that I didn’t have a single photo of Andrew Marshall holding a fish.  Now I thought this was weird, all the rest of us caught fish.  Turns out he was so determined to get everybody else onto fish before he had a crack, the fishing was super hard and we simply ran out of time before he got have a decent go at it.  What a good bugger.  Thanks Andrew, you made an awesome skipper, maybe next time someone else can drive the boat……

Andrew Marshall, Andrew Sturt and myself set off for an epic saltwater fly fishing adventure late one Saturday night.  The plan was to drive up the line to Tauranga, with Andrews Dad’s boat, for a week of chasing anything that swims in the sea on fly.  After a less than desirable start, auto sparky wired the brakes up wrong, we made it to Taupo, slept on the edge of the lake rather poorly, then pushed through to Tauranga in the morning.  Lucas came over from Hamilton that morning and before long we had the boat sorted, made friends with the local residents at the motor camp and had done a bit of exploring in the upper harbour close to our accommodation.  A rather lethargic afternoon followed with the consumption of a few brews and a good feed whipped up on the BBQ.

The next day, well, it rained.  But that didn’t stop us, we threw popper after popper at all the markers in the channels, nothing doing.  Off into the upper harbour, still a bit rough out wide, nothing doing up there either.  Finally back at the harbour entrance, kahawai working the surface.  We eased into it with a small one,

Then a bigger one,

It was just good to finally put a bend into a rod,

The next day was a cracker, out wide early, sea calm and glassy, not a kingie in any of Andrews spots.  This was to set the scene for the elusive kingie for the rest of the trip.  However before long we were greeted with a small school of Skippies moving through, in very very shallow water.  We weren’t used to the fast moving nature of the tuna and couldn’t connect.  New spot, still no kingies, few kahawai on the surface and huge schools of blue mao mao sipping.  These guys were hard work, very very fussy following tiny flies right to boat before turning away.  We gave up eventually and found another school of skippies working over a rise.  The sea was so calm and flat that  we struggled to get in front of the school and get close enough for a cast without them going down.  Kahawai were the consolation prize here,

Giving up on these guys we headed for the harbour, only for the wind to come up and us finding several small schools of skippies working the shallow water close to the harbour entrance.  This time we connected, the chopped up surface seemed to make all the difference.  A few landed on trolling gear, and just one landed on fly by lucas,

Several others were hooked on fly, but totally unprepared for how hard they run we lost them.  Mostly pulled hooks with the odd bust off,  the importance of having your flyline neatly coiled in the boat with no tangles became second nature.

The next day we had a crack at a few more skippies, again Lucas landing the only one on fly.

The rest of us either pulling hooks, busting tippets or hooking into “Tuna” for them to turn into Kahawai at the boat.  However, we had kept a handful of kahawai and a few skippies for something a little more adventurous.  It was SHARK TIME!

This has been a minor obsession of mine for a while, after I popped my couta cherry the next most logical step was to have a crack at something bigger with bigger teeth.  I had done my research and thought I had it dialed, Chum up, Mako’s turn up, tease, cast fly, set hook, hold on.  Sounds easy, however none of this went to plan.  We rigged up Andrews 14 weight, shooting head, running line, 500+ meters of backing all on a super grunty bluewater reel.  Heavy butt section in the leader, wire tippet section to a tube fly of my own design and a big dirty 9/0 long shank hook.

Chum went in, 10 mins later, Bronzy of around 2.5 – 3m turns up, fish frames pulled out so he didn’t eat them (think this was more of a nervous reaction on my behalf) and the shark spooks.  Right we know they are here, how the hell are we going to hook one then land it? Well we all fly by the seats of our pants, so we just figured we would worry about that when the time came.  The waiting game commenced,

A tide change and about an hour later we soon had several bronze whaler sharks circling the boat, building up confidence to come in to the chum.  Finally a little fella of around 100kg had a swipe at the fish frames, this seemed to signal to the rest of them “get into it!”  I was very very nearly not going to throw the cast, however the boys told me too, and I didn’t want to loose face.  So I manned up and started throwing a fly in the sharks general direction.

After a minor feeding frenzy off the back of the boat, no fish frames left for obvious reasons, our new mates were hunting round looking for more, another cast was made, the fly sunk slowly into the sharks line of sight, the angler (me) shaking like a leaf, was dead silent apart from “Lucas mate, can you please hang on to the back of my life jacket? I really don’t want to end up in there with them”  line tightens, I pull back, no effect, shark is off like a steam train, straight back towards the swimming beach he had just come from.  I get Andrew Marshall to tighten the drag for me, as all I can do at this stage is swear and hang on to what I think is a mediocre sized Bronze whaler, increase in drag has no effect, after a brief time of me+14 weight fly rod vs shark the line went slack.  The wind of shame ensued, thankfully the running line was still attached to the backing, more winding and the shooting head came through guides, more winding and the leader was visible, better still my wire tippet was still there, what happened? well I had some of that fancy knot able wire leader stuff, turns out its real hard to actually tie good enough knots in it cause it stretches like you wouldn’t believe.  Mental note: stick to normal single strand wire and haywire twists……….

We re rigged with a new fly of a new colour, the sharks were still hanging round, however they all came up to the fly for an inspection then denied it right off the ends of their noses.  Exciting stuff, sight fishing for 150kg sharks and having them refuse your presentation, kinda like back country fly fishing, only the fish is a damn sight bigger, there’s no way in hell you are wet wading and you definitely wont be posing with your catch.  This was enough shark action for me, still shaking like a leaf, cat had my tongue and the boys were ribbing the crap out of me.  I managed to get out “how big do you reckon that thing was?” The boys said this “It was the big one, I dont know, maybe 200kg, 180 – 200kg”

Trying to calm the nerves,

We don’t have any more shark pics, but there is some pretty crazy video footage to come……….

The next day was a ripper, so it was out wide to have a crack at a marlin.  This was what Andrew Marshall had come for, a crack at a Marlin on fly.

Sadly we couldn’t raise any to the lures, however we did find loads of skippies and practised our tease and switch on them trolling hookless tuna lures.  This was awesome fun but again hard to stay connected to the tuna.  Andrew Sturt had lost alot of skippies on fly by this stage and hadn’t landed one, his frustration showed with phrases like “Nows not a good time to tease me guys”.

Heading towards home we jigged over some pinnacles to try find some kings, Andrew Sturt managed to hook a couple of rats and land one,

14wt deployed again this time for kings, with no reaction.  Drift after drift we failed to raise anything on either the jigs or the fly despite the sounder showing good kingy sign.

Heading for home I spotted a school of tuna busting up, we get close, I throw a fly and it finds the mouth of a tuna, a long dogged fight and I finally manage to land my first tuna on fly, glad to get that monkey off my back.

The Andrews had a few casts, both hooking up but nothing landed.

Our last day on the water was a damp one, we packed up all our gear and checked out of the motor camp, one of the old timers who we had made friends with came to see us off in the morning with the warning “Be careful out there today guys, the weather man said there are going to be RAIN BOMBS!”

Back on the water and back to our favorite tuna grounds, it was lumpy, but we thought it was doable.  After plenty of attempts and a few false kahawai starts, Andrew Sturt was firmly hooked into a good skippy, a long scrap and finally it was netted, much to Andrews relief.

We tried our hardest to get Andrew Marshall hooked up, but it wasn’t to be his day.

Boat on trailer and we thought we were off, we soon noticed brake fluid leaking out of the reservoir on the trailer.  Off to the mechanics and they fixed it up real good.  We were off again Wellington bound we thought, only to stop at the gas station to find smoke pouring off one of the brakes on the trailer.  We spent the rest of the day figuring out what the problem was and how we were going to fix it or at least get the trailer back to the mechanics.  Finally we managed to jack 4 odd tonnes of boat and trailer up enough to remove the tire and offending brake caliper.  We hobbled back into to Tauranga to drop the trailer and boat off to the mechanic, he stayed open for us on a friday afternoon, what a good bugger, thanks heaps to the good dudes at Steve Long Automotive, we can highly recommend their service.

4 guys, close to 40 fishing rods, god only knows how many flies, lines and reels.  Not a single broken fly rod despite our best attempts, however there were many lost flies and busted leaders.  I was testing some new high end Riverworks Fly rods and reels.  What can I say, I put the hurt on the fish with the rods, the reels stopped them in their tracks, neither had any performance issues and I cast the set ups long and hard all day for 5 days.  The only issue was that I wind with my left hand, it was pretty funny watching the boys pick my rods, hook into a fish and reach for a handle that wasn’t there………Pretty sure I was the only one laughing.

So as I write this there is a boat still in Tauranga packed full of fishing gear that needs picking up, couldn’t really ask for a better excuse for round 2 now could we…………………….


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!


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……..


Riverworks – Wading Jackets, help us out

With the end of 2011 drawing close its time to start looking ahead and revaluating the Riverworks product range for the 2012 – 2013 season.

The Tongariro wading jacket has served us well over the years. However, technology has changed and improved, new fabrics are available and styles and fashions are always evolving.  The Tongariro jacket is not dead! We are looking to create a new jacket to add to the range for the 2012 – 2013 season and we need your input!

While we fish as much as we can here at Riverworks and we use the gear we preach and sell, we aren’t everyone.  There’s nothing better than getting feedback and criticism from the people that are using our gear and making the purchasing decisions in the stores.

So here are a few questions to get the creative juices flowing in all your fish riddled brains:

What do you want in wading Jacket?

How can the Tongariro wading jacket be improved?

When do you wear a jacket, to stay warm? To stay dry? Both?

Do you wear a vest under or over your jacket? Or not at all when wearing a wading jacket?

What’s your style of fishing when wearing a wading jacket? Tongariro style? Rivermouth / rip? Back country? Multi day trips?

Do you see a market for a basic lightweight packable shell style jacket, tailored (short wading cut) for trout fishing?

How important is the length of a wading jacket? Should they be longer? Shorter?

What are the key features you look for in a wading jacket? Big pockets? Zingers? Fly patch? Water tight cuffs? Style?

What’s your colour preference? Does it really matter or influence your purchasing decision?

Is price an issue? Would you be prepared to spend more for a better jacket? Or is there a certain price point we should aim to hit?

Post a comment below with your suggestions, and hell, if you’re feeling artistic pinch the kids crayons and draw us a picture of your ideal jacket, email it through to me alex@evolveoutdoors.co.nz and if you don’t mind Ill even throw it up on the blog.

I might get in trouble giving the bosses stock away, but why don’t I run a little competition.  The 3 most creative designs sent in will receive a little something.  If it’s a really shit hot design I might even be able to persuade Rob to give away one of the new jackets to the winner……………..


Alex & Jack – The footage from the weekend

As promised, here is a bit of footage from our weekend.

Im pretty new to this whole video footage and editing thing, but it seems to have come together ok.  The fish aren’t huge, but it was a good day out in the bush.

Enjoy:


Alex Broad – S%!*s & Giggles

I wasn’t sure whether or not to post this video,

However after throwing it up on vimeo it was very quickly reblogged on a French fishing blog, and received over 150 hits in its first day and some very positive votes!

We were likened to Beavis and Butthead with all the giggling and praised with the down to earth style of fishing.

So here it is:

I have to add that after targeting wary brownies in clear water all season that this was a breath of fresh air, I haven’t had this much fun on a fly rod in a long time.  Perch are voracious feeders and will predate on just about anything, I tried to get them to eat a popper, they didn’t hesitate.  This has opened a new world of fly fishing up for me, popping for perch in “workups”.  Give it a hoon one day, you might be surprised just how much fun it is.


Alex Broad – Sunburn and Sea Sickness

Finally a break in the weather, a chance to get out wide for some saltwater action.

The forecast looked best for Sat arvo, so a few ph calls / txt messages and a plan was hatched.  The 4 of us hooned out to an offshore reef only to be greated with a very green looking sea, a large rolling swell and little to no wind.

A few drifts and several kahawai later, Andrew hooked into the first king for the season on the jig, not a big specimen, but was awesome to get on the board.

A few drifts and a few more kahawai later I was starting to feel pretty rough, As was Jacks mate Jeremy.  We decided a few more drifts and we would head back.  Well I lost the lunch I had just thrown down on the way out, and had set up a pretty good looking burley trail, when Jack hooked up.  We knew from the get go this fish was solid, I yelled statements of encouragement for Jack, something along the lines of “Rip its face off Jack!” and “Give him death boy!”.  Finally this king got a good solid run straight into the reef, busting Jack off.  We will be back!

Poor old Jeremy was looking pretty green by this stage, so we started heading back.  Half way there I spotted some birds working, and made Andrew investigate, I quickly set up a fly rod and gave it to Jeremy with the instructions of cast as far as you can, strip as fast as you can, don’t strike like a trout, just  pull the line to set the hook.  First cast, we watched the kahawai smash the fly, trout strike = no hook up, Jeremy knew instantly why it hadn’t worked, a couple more casts and after a solid strip strike he was hooked into a good kahawai.  It didn’t go quite as hard as they normally do, but Jeremy instantly forgot about the sea sickness.

A few more drifts and after plenty of refusals, these buggers were being fussy, we decided to pull the pin.  Now a new plan was hatched, one that involved Jacks BBQ and a few Beers.  Andrews BBQ skills and Jacks vast culinary expertise resulted in this:

A feed fit for 4 hungry fishermen, a great end to a really good start to what will hopefully be a summer filled with fishy goodness!


Alex Broad – Beer never tasted so good

Opening day 2011 was going to be a bit different this year.

Instead of my usual trip to the south island I decided to explore waters closer to home.  After talking to a few mates we had a posse together and a spot to check out.  We knew the river we had chosen held fish, but how many and what size was something we knew nothing about, further research revealed little insight.

Friday the 30th rolled around, the posse gathered at the supermarket, supplies obtained for 3 days, packs packed, and we were off.  5 hours later we arrived at our accommodation, blistered, bruised and to be honest absolutely buggered.

The extra kilos of amber gold we carried in was well worth the effort, something we rejoiced in upon our arrival.

We checked a few pools that evening, and found fish straight away, feeding hard and seemingly unaware of our presence.  Again we rejoiced with cold brews, the river held fish, and good numbers too!

A good feed put on the billy and off to bed in anticipation of what the next day might bring.

Up early and another epic meal was quickly prepared by our camp chef, Lucas.  Before long we were off, not far from our hut Lucas promptly hooked and landed the first fish of the season, unfortunately no grip and grin shot here as the fish seemed a little camera shy and released himself.

The next piece of decent holding water held 2 more fish, Aaron hooked and dropped one, Andrew hooked and landed his first fish of the season.

As the sun came up another fish was spotted feeding hard, Aaron was put on point and a good cast brought this fish up to his dry, the fish then went to town on us, he did eventually come to the net in a rather unorthodox manner, but we wont go there.

Lucas pulled another good fish out of a side braid,

And another from a nice pool,

By this time it was my turn, fish were spotted, I cast, fish spooked.  This went on for a while, with a couple of hooked and lost fish in the mix.  We almost swore that these fish had already been fished to, but the lack of human sign suggested otherwise, perhaps I just wasn’t on my “A” game, or the fish were just way to smart for me.

Mid arvo brought an interesting change in target species, while stalking quietly up a pool I heard Aarons rod drop, the bolt on his rifle being worked quickly, I looked up to see him racing across the river bed towards a small flat, he stopped, the rifle came up, BANG.  Pigs of various sizes and colours erupted from the bush edge.  The rifle was placed down and Aaron was racing around like a man possessed, finally a desperate dive had us in fits of laughter.  His cheeky grin appeared above the scrub with his prize in a tight grip, a wee black piglet.  The little bugger was trying desperately to free himself and Aarons fingers were quickly becoming worse for wear, so he was released for another day.

A short search in the bush and we found the first prize, a nice fat sow.  The picture shows just how happy he was with this one.  And before you ask, No it wasn’t the mum of the piglet, we saw mum running at full speed, she was much much larger!

Aaron and I caught up with Lucas and Andrew further upstream, a nice pool holding a few fish, Aaron and I spotted from the far bank, we called the cast, followed by the strike, Andrew quickly had the biggest fish of the day to the net.

The sun was setting, and we were a long way from the hut, so we bailed in double time, stopping to pick up our pork dinner.  Arriving back at the hut we were greeted by what looked like an entire tramping club.  You certainly get some funny looks carrying a pig and a fishing rod up to the hut.

Camp chef Lucas whipped up another culinary delight, quickly followed with some fine scotch.  Off to bed to try get to sleep before the snorers cranked up.  No luck there, we re payed the favor with some loud flatulence in the morning.

By this stage I was still skunked and getting rather upset about the issue, early morning Lucas and I went down stream to where we had spotted fish the first night, we had left these as a back up.  These fish were in another world, chasing each other round the pool and just generally ignoring our flies, eventually we managed to spook the lot.  It was here I cut my loses and decided I wasn’t going to get a fish this opening.

The walk out was much easier, our packs were substantially lighter and the rain that had just begun, kept us moving at a brisk pace.  After copping a heck of a lot of flack about “loosing my touch” and “Using all my mojo up on the Hutt river” we arrived at the bush edge.  One last ditch effort at a fish for opening.  I spotted a fish in close and set up.  He was moving around a lot and was hard to keep track of, he turned up at my feet, a short cast, a good take on the dry, some aggressive playing and a good net job by Aaron, I had a fish to the net finally.  I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy about catching a little fish.

Finally 4 wet, tired and sore anglers arrived at burger king, we smashed back a good feed and nailed it back to welly for the league.

An epic trip with good mates in NZ’s back country is something you can’t beat.  Already we have other trips planned for other areas of the forest park, and a very very different proposition for next years opening.  But you’ll have to wait till next year to see what that is.


Alex Broad – Pre Season Training

With opening day just a week away I decided I was in desperate need of some pre season training.  Its been a long winter with not a lot of fishing.

I had a bit of time to kill on Saturday so went for a drive down to my local, the Hutt river.  First fish spotted wouldn’t have a bar of anything, and he was only fish I found in the first run.  A pair of canoeists came down the river past me, so I decided my chances had just been blown in this stretch.

I re positioned upriver a bit to a favorite summer stretch.  I spotted an ok fish in the back of the pool, but decided to scope the rest of the pool out and come back to him.  2 more good looking fish were spotted on the opposite side at the head of the pool.  Battle plan hatched, and I was back down the bottom of the pool, hiding in flax bushes, timing casts with the wind so the fish wouldn’t see me casting.  A few good drifts, followed by a fly change had me hooked up to a scrappy 3.5lb jack.

After crossing through the run I snuck up to where I had seen the other fish.  The glare on the water stopped me from spotting the fish, so blind casting in the lie and slowly and methodically covering the water saw me hooked up to yet another jack, this fella was bang on 4lb.

Both Fish still a little skinny after spawning, but recovering well.  The hutt looks like it will be in very very good shape this coming season.  Fish are in good nick and the bug life looked really good.

Im off into the back country this weekend for some opening day action with other pro team members, Lucas and Andrew, no doubt this blog will be flooded with good reports of all of our opening day missions come Monday………….


Lucas Allen – Practice run

Over the weekend I shot down to Taupo to have yet another crack at the Trout population. Unfortunately the rain forecast earlier in the week never came to much, the rivers remained relatively low and clear. I figured it was a good opportunity to iron out a few things and stretch the arms in the lead up to October 1. With this in mind I planned to fish a few rivers to keep things interesting.

After consulting the Old Man, Taupo fishing reports and a mate it was obvious the Hinemaiaia was fishing well. The car was loaded up on Friday night and we sat down to watch the rugby with a few beers. Before the crack of dawn a knock on the door signalled the start of the day, so much for a sleep in! Dad and I scoffed down some breakfast and hit the road to the Hine. It pays to get in there early and we were rewarded with an empty car park.

We dropped into the water where there have been numbers of trout in shallow before the masses drive them out to deeper holes and riffles. Sure enough they were there but casting to them is near on impossible so we pushed up river to a good looking run that also holds well. Shortly after and following hot on Dads heels I had my first victim. Well it thought differently anyhow and spat the dummy mid flight, a spirited little Bow that had lost a bit of condition since entering the river. Oh well, not  to worry, there’ll be more. Bam, on again. This time the hook up lastest all of 2 seconds so I never really got to gauge it’s size.

Finally after another hit I got one to stick. The trout took full advantage of the strong current and promptly took off in it. Once behind a rock and sitting comfortably in the back eddy I lay the rod over and pulled it into my waiting net. Out came the camera for a photo shoot when I noticed a massive wound that couldn’t be photoshopped. The pic below is a Trout caught two weeks prior in the same spot, same size but far more photo worthy. It was so cold that morning my reel froze solid!

The stunt double

We worked in tandem up to the cliff pool picking up a few fish along the way. This river currently has a lot of active spawning redds and care should be taken not to disturb. Especially with all the current debate raging on the state of the Taupo fishery, but that’s a whole different topic. Sure, I’ve found it a little tougher in the last couple of years but that’s fishing for you. Sometimes you strike it when it’s red hot, at other times you wonder why you bother. BUT, it will never take away from the fact that a day on the water is just plain good fun.

They should be in there somewhere...

We had also decided the Waitahanui could be worth looking at so made the trip back over the hill. The agreement was to look at Peehi Manini Rd as there had been a good westerly blowing into the mouth over the last few days. It was only a quick look in and never saw a single Trout despite our best efforts. Maybe they were further up already. Golf was next up for the Old fullas daily activities so we parted ways at the house, I went onto pick up some more 6lb fluorocarbon, look at flytying gear (opps I meant buy) and carry on fishing.

This is local CCTV at its best

My afternoon was going to be full as there were a few spots to hit. The Tongariro had a recreational release so I curiously peered over the road bridge to see if the infamous bridge pool was hotting up with the increase in volume. It was now dropping and had a good colour with pumice and debris flowing quickly downstream, nothing happening here. I gave the surrounding area a few of my flies and threw the towel in. I bet it was damn good 1st thing Sunday morning once the fish had made their way up.

Next up was a river that a fishing buddy had sworn me to secrecy over, so it won’t be named. It is however between the last two rivers mentioned and not really super secret. He’d just done well on it 1st thing Friday morning. When I got to it there had been a few anglers hammering it so the fish were very spooky. The bush and snags were good for practice though and not a single fly went awol in my time there.

With the sun getting lower in the sky I high tailed it back to the Waitahanui rip with hopes of a freshie for the smoker. I had my doubts about the westerly still blowing yet there were 3 guys out already. I got in line and proceeded to get slapped about by the waves. The sunsets are always nice there and you’re often distracted by a yank on the line, this time nothing came out and one by one we all went home. The cop at the booze stop told me some guys passed through earlier with a boat that had done well. Harling has started to produce mixed bags and is a good option for some bigger specimens in the coming months.

Day One about to end

The following morning I did the Hinemaiaia solo. Dad had recently opened up his finger quite badly so sat this one out. After a casual wake up and change of boot laces I made it to the same beat from earlier. I worked through each section and leapfrogged other anglers on the way up finally spotting a good looking fish in the shallows. It was happy to watch a few changes of fly drift by until it snapped out and fell for the old globug routine. See ya, I watched its powerful tail flick down the rapids as I ran back down around the submerged tree I had just passed. Thankfully one of the other anglers was around to net it and did a good job pulling it out. On his scales it just hit 5.5lbs and was in full spawning stripes, it’s still out there if anyone wants it. Thanks to the guy from Pukawa Bay for your help, sorry I never got your name!

Cranky bastard

My last port of call was the Ngongotaha on the way home. As I got there the skies opened and I got pissed on solidly for an hour. I hadn’t fished the section just above the town bridge so went for a look. I could only make out one good fish sitting in a tricky spot but slid down the slippery bank as I lined up a bow and arrow cast, nearly putting the fly in my finger instead. It soon had me figured out and cruised off to find a log to hide under. Eventually I found form and struck into a flighty little Rainbow that came to the bank in short order. One more fish from under the noses of the local boys on the way back down had them laughing when I put it back, not quite meal worthy.

Ending the fight

All up it was a good trip with loads of pre season conditioning thrown in. Bring on October 1, I will be match fit. Alex and I are going to have a few days fishing so should have a report for you all. Stay tuned, the whole team will be out and about so expect a busy wee blog in the next while. Don’t forget to subscribe to the blog and tell your friends to get in the draw to win some spanky new XRT waders.

Good luck for the new season

Lucas

 

 

 

 

 

 


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.


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.


Lucas Allen – The Mount

Hello fellow Fly fanatics.

I have just been taken under the wing of Riverworks and will be updating you on my exploits from around the greater Waikato region.

My name is Lucas Allen, I was born and raised in Napier and grew into fishing via my Father. I got a stupid vice for my 9th Christmas when I really wanted an LA Lakers cap, thanks Dad. Some cruddy flies and no clue how to catch fish set me on a quest to discover what it was that had me so intrigued, something that still continues to this day.

So what does one do when you are told to provide information and photos of your travels? Go fishing obviously. I have to admit though it wasn’t a trip involving Trout, off to a bad start sorry guys). To validate hitting the waters off Mt Maunganui I snuck the 10wt onboard. We had a small weather window that made it a bit touch and go so an early start and a few back up plans were put in place.

Sparrows

The main agenda was to get out to Penguin shoals for a jig and blood my mate Jakes new rod. The sign was there but the kings must have been full or were too smart for our shiny toys and us. The boys had a few other spots to try so we gapped it nearer to Motiti Island and threw some baits in the water. We picked up small snapper after small snapper and had a few hits but nothing major came our way. Fishing an area where you know one of NZs biggest snapper has been caught definitely has you on your game and any little bite may well end up as a good specimen.

Fat, scrappy Kahawai

Jakes brother Tomo was up for a dive and dragged Jake along while I kept watch. They lucked out on any crays and blamed each other and the terrain for their shortcomings. It might have something to do with all the buoys and the commercial vessel working as we turned up. A few birds working off starboard had the anchor up and us charging over to see the commotion. The softbaits came out and soon Tomo had a dirty couta at the boat. I was absent to witness the batting practice but emerged from the cabin with my flyrod attached to a small flashy white fly, shortly after I was hooked up to a scrappy Kahawai that tore around the boat several times. A saltfly first for the good ship Optimus I’m told, just wait for the kingi boys!

Crossing swords!

After all that I thought we should try deepwater softbaiting to see if any Snapper were picking up the scraps. A quick drop to 50 mtrs with a 4oz lumo head and Zman jerkshad gave us what we wanted, a 3kg Snap came over the side. We each picked up good sized fish and dropped a few more amongst the madness, trust me if I could get a fly down there I would have. There’s one in my box that the jury is still out on, surely it’s worthy enough.

Dinnertime

After a few more drifts the sun was going down and the wind was doing as forecast, going up! A good old fashioned hang on tight ride home ensued and the 7.5m Senator was airborne a few times. We got back in time to clean up, drink beer, have the fillets battered at the local chippie and fall asleep during the last 20 minutes of the All Blacks whipping the Aussies. A damn good day thanks to the Scott Simmonds boys.

I promise the next report will have plenty of Trout as the Lady and I are heading to Napier next weekend. We’ll have to stay the night in Taupo on Friday so an early morning Waitahanui  visit can be squeezed in (start fluffing your budgies Dad). I’ll let you all know how it eventuates.

Until then hold ‘em high and keep ‘em tight.


Russell Anderson – Back Country Fly Fishing


Alex Broad – Back Country Cicada’s

After a busy few weeks with weddings, stag parties and just general time wasting I finally managed a free weekend to get into a few trout in the back country, the only problem was the weather……………

But I thought bugger it, better off fishing in the rain than sitting on my backside doing nothing.  I put in a full day covering plenty of water, seeing a heap of trout, landing a couple, dropping a few more, and getting a wet backside.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The cicadas worked a treat

There were a few locals hanging about (look out the roar isn’t far away)

It was also a good chance to test some of our new hunting clothing, the New Prime Summer clothing is awesome! you can check it out here:

I layered up with prime summer and an Aspiring hunting jacket and was dry and comfortable the entire day.  Despite being designed for hunting this gear works just as well for fishing.

The cicadas are chirping hard, get into it!


Zane Mirfin – Wildside – Buller River dreaming, and Murchison on my mind

Locally Produced: Zane caught this 11lb brown trout in Murchison with his friend Tony Entwistle.

The variety and diversity of angling opportunity is probably unmatched.

MURCHISON fishing guide Peter Carty once wrote that ‘‘fishing is a disease. It’s not usually fatal and there’s no known cure for it, but the therapy is wonderful.’’

I couldn’t agree more and often think back to when Pete and I began our guiding careers together in the mid-80s around the Nelson Lakes and Murchison areas.

They were halcyon days and we were just the latest in a long line of anglers intent on exploring and enjoying the rivers of Murchison. I still fish these rivers and Murchison has become a playground for anglers from all over the world.

Murchison is situated on the Four Rivers Plain – the flood plain of the Buller River, which flows through the centre of town, fed by tributaries the Mangles, Matiri and Matakitaki.

The thing that has always impressed me about the Murchison area is the people, and we anglers are lucky that Murchison landowners are so generous with access to the rivers. Developing relationships with many of these local families, watching their kids grow up, and enjoying good times along the way have made the fishery even more special in my mind.

Murchison is probably best known for the magnitude 7.8 earthquake that ripped the place apart on June 17, 1929, causing 17 deaths and untold mayhem. The landscape still bears the scars of this massive quake. The Mirfin family has a connection to the tragedy, with my grandfather’s elder sister, Jessie, being married to Murchison farmer Charlie Morel when the earthquake struck. Charlie was killed by a huge mudslide and flying roofing iron. According to witness Samuel Busch, the mudslide crossed the Matakitaki River from the west and wiped out Morel’s house at the Six Mile. A gentleman to the last, Charlie’s last words were, according to family folklore, ‘‘Save yourself Jessie, I’m done for.’’

Immediately after the earthquake, my grandfather Ash and his twin brother, Bryce, managed to ride and carry pushbikes through the mangled one lane Buller Gorge road from Reefton in a futile attempt to help their sister. Later, it took 18 months with pick, shovel and saw to re-open this vital link to the West Coast. Ironically, the road works and repair to the land after the earthquake created many jobs and insulated Murchison from the worst effects of the 1930s Depression.

The Buller River system is one of the world’s greatest brown trout fisheries. The variety and diversity of angling
opportunity is probably unmatched, with trout-filled small, medium and large freestone streams and rivers at virtually every point of the compass. Nearby are the waters of North Canterbury’s Waiau system to the south, the Grey and Inangahua catchments to the west, the Wairau catchment to the east, and the Motueka and its tributaries to the north.

The Buller River itself is a worthwhile fishery, but a shadow of its former glory due to the invasive alga didymo, which has choked the upper reaches above Murchison. Its stranglehold on the rivers of Murchison is expanding, but it isn’t the end of the world because the worst affected areas are the mainstem Buller and the Gowan River, which come out of Lakes Rotoiti and Rotoroa. Tributary streams that are not sourced from fertile lake waters seem to have fared much better. Virtually every river and stream in the Murchison area now has didymo, but even when its presence is heavy, the fishing can still be good, and excellent trout fishing can be had in areas that many anglers avoid.

The Matiri River is a great fishery for small to medium-size trout, but can be a little tough to fish these days, with a lot of didymo present, possibly due to the fertility effect of Lake Matiri.

The Matakitaki is a great blue river, alluvial in nature in its upper reaches and more confined within gorges as it makes its way to join the Buller atMurchison. A fabulous dry fly stream, it is also rich in gold and still mined to this day. Lately, the Matakitaki has been in the spotlight with Network Tasman looking at harnessing it for hydro-electricity generation, but the
river already has a rich history of intensive human use, including heavy mining activity in the late 1800s.

The Mangles River, along with its major tributary, the Tutaki, is a lovely fishery and I have great memories of wonderful days on-stream. There are some great scenic drives up these valleys, such as the track over the Braeburn saddle leading to Lake Rotoroa or the road through to the upper Matakitaki and Mataki Station.

Two other world-class Murchison rivers and Buller tributaries must also be mentioned. To the north is the small limestone river, the Owen, a bountiful fishery complete with challenging leopard-spotted browns. The Owen was
the apple of my eye when I was a boy, and it was where I learnt to fly fish and hunt with my father, Stuart.

To the south of Murchison is another great trout river, the Maruia and tributaries. The Maruia has always been revered as a fish factory, and this year the bonus for south bank tributaries such as the Maruia and Mataki has been some large mouse-fed trout, many into double-digit weights by imperial measurement.

However, there have been some low catch rates around Murchison the past few months. Many anglers and guides have told me their fishing has been the worst in living memory.

Fish and Game field officer Lawson says recent assessments of trout populations have shown up excellent quantities of medium and large fish. He believes that with so much trout food around this year, the fish don’t need to feed as often or for as long, making them less vulnerable to capture. Let’s hope this is the case and that the Murchison fishery is in good shape for future generations to enjoy.

The Murchison area, people, land, rivers and trout fishery will always be special in the minds of many. Recently Murchison dairy farmer Ken Caldwell struck a chord when he talked glowingly about his new farm in the area and described how he was ‘‘farming it already in my mind’’. Fly fishing addiction and love of rivers is no different and I, for one, will be fishing the trout streams of Murchison in my mind forever.

Zane Mirfin – http://www.strikeadventure.com


Jack Kos – Rainbows on the dry

Dry flies and rainbows go together like bbq’s and beer: they could be made for each other.

I thought Wednesday would be a hard day to beat, but in terms of sheer enjoyment and satisfaction I think today took the cake. A few weeks back Andrew and I had offered to take Thomas, a keen young fisherman, out for a days fishing. Well today that day came about. Thomas has done a lot of spin fishing, but this was to be his first big fly fishing trip. It started off in classic fashion with me scoffing as many weetbix as I could stomach on four hours of alcohol induced sleep, before dashing off to pick up the others.

We got the river and were astonished to see no-one else there.

Turns out there was probably good reason. Our first choice was very borderline fishable, but we persevered for a few hours. The river yielded two mighty trophies for us though.

Andrew snared this behemoth…

Before I trumped him with this monster…

We’d had enough of that spot, so ate some kai and motored onwards to our next port of call. It didn’t take long…

Guess where we started…

Thomas’ biggest to date on a fly rod. It rolled back to take my bionic bug in classic rainbow fashion, and once hooked I handed over the reins.

Not much further up we spotted another fish. Andrew chucked his big Royal Wulff up, and the fish moved a good few feet to hoover it in. Once again, Thomas did the honours. Really good fight from this big bow.

Another PB…

Tom’s last fish came from a very stubborn fish, which I eventually snared with a wee woolly bugger. We took the opportunity to teach him how to play fish on the fly rod, showing him how to guide them into the slacker water.

Rainbows in heavy water, good times.

He played it well, and yet another rainbow fell to the young fella.

Andrew then proceeded to do what I thought to be impossible. He missed four strikes on one fish. By the end of it it had ceased to be frustrating and had simply become hilarious. Somehow I don’t think he agreed with me. However karma was to get its own back on me. We’d crossed some pretty heavy flows that day, so it was fitting that I would fall flat on my ass crossing a shallow braid. As soon as I felt myself falling I flung my rod up in the air and cradled Andrew’s precious camera. If there can be such thing as a coordinated fall on your ass then this was it.

The rod still worked though, as this wee bow will attest to. They just couldn’t get enough of our big dries.

That was it for the day. We stopped off on the way back for pies before dropping Thomas home. It was a fantastic day, despite the frustrating start. Watching Thomas chasing a big bow downstream at full pace was priceless, as was his smile when we finally got it in the net. Both Andrew and I agreed that it was a hell of a lot more fun than catching the fish ourselves!

Couple of days rest for me before a wee trip out with Ryan on Monday.