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.
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.