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 “North Canterbury

Andrew Hearne – Five fish I will always remember

Five fish I’ll never forget. No matter ho hard I try.

This entry differs from what the other boys have done recently. I’ll put my top five together later on, but for now this is all about five of the most memorable fish I didn’t catch.

My apologies for the lack of images… but I guess you’ll understand why.

Number 5.

This happened the season before last. I was fishing the Canterbury High Country alone in the heat of summer and the Cicadas were in full swing. I’d caught one fish and lost another already that day on a Cicada pattern, and I had the feeling I was a good chance at catching anything I fished to that day.

I approached a run where I’d seen a pretty big fish a few weeks earlier, and my excitement level lifted. As I made my way to the top of the run I was buzzing with nervous energy, and there it was. I spotted a solid looking fish sitting in the prime spot.

I had to drop slightly to get into a good casting position, which meant I could no longer see the fish. I sent the cicada into the strike zone and hoped for the best. I didn’t need to wait long… the water erupted as the big brown slashed at the fly and I don’t even think I needed to strike, the fish had probably set the hook itself. A strong fight took place from there and I could tell the fish was a good one. It had plenty of length, and was strong and determined.

I got it in really close and was prepering to net it when it rolled on top and I saw its true size for the first and only time. It took off and the line pinged. My tippet hardly ever snaps, but it did on this occasion. I stood there and swore at the heavens for quite some time, until I was eventually able to pull myself back together and carry on for the day.

Number 4.

This is going back a few years. I think it was the start of the 2003-2004 season. The location isn’t too far away from where number 5 took place.

I had fished upstream all day and was on my way out, walking along the side of the river as I went whenever possible. As I came to a certain pool with a small creek pouring in I spied a fish sitting under the feed line. It looked like a pretty nice fish, and it wasn’t there a few hours earlier. I crept into position and started casting to the fish for what seemed like forever. It stayed where it was more or less, drifting slightly but never moving far. After god knows how many casts my indicator dipped under and I struck. I was most surprised when the line went tight and the mighty fish exploded from the water.

My surprise turned into heartbreak when the fish landed on my tippet. In one moment it was all over. I headed for the car thinking about what might have been.

Number 3.

This happened near the end of the 2002 – 2003 season, not long after I had shifted to Christchurch from Nelson.

I’d returned to Nelson for the wedding of some very good friends. While I was there for a few days I thought I should head out for a bit of fishing, I had some unfinished business that needed taking care of at a river nearby.

I’d fished the river a few times, and been alerted to a very nice looking fish which was resident in one of the pools by one of my mates who worked in the area. The trouble was that there was a fallen tree sharing the pool with the fish, keeping it safe. As time passed by, the tree swung closer and closer to the bank… until eventually it was out of the way enough that a chance at catching the fish became possible.

That day I’d caught four great fish on Cicadas. You couldn’t miss, they were moving a mile for them. I decided to drive up the road to the tree pool, and have a go at the big boy. Nervously I peeked over the edge of the bank trying to see where he was, but the light was poor and the water was covered with glare. I was a bit dejected at not being able to see the fish, but I went down to the water anyway.

I worked my way through the pool methodically, and into the fast water at the top. I’d never seen the fish holding this high up, but I fished it anyway. My indicator stopped, and when I struck I was fast into a fish. THE fish!

I worked hard to gain control, and just when I thought I had the advantage the fish leapt high out of the water and I watched in slow motion as my nymph tracked towards me through the air. The fish was free. After all of my previous unsuccessful attempts at capturing it, on this day I had come oh so close, yet I had failed again. This was to be the last time I would try to catch this fish, unfortunately the opportunity never again presented itself.

Number 2.

This is really going back a long time. I was 14 years old, and I hadn’t been fly fishing all that long. I was with my best mate Sam, and we were fishing our favourite river. He’d just caught his biggest ever trout, which was in the vicinity of 7 pounds, and in fact I would confidently say it was the biggest trout either of us had ever laid our young eyes on.

No more than a few hundred metres upstream from where Sam caught his fish from was a mighty pool. It was long, wide, and had plenty of depth in all the right places. It had a nice rapid entering in at the head and a solid rock bottom on the far side providing plenty of stablility.

As we neared the top we spotted a line up of about half a dozen fish, all suspended high in the water column and feeding away nicely. To this day I doubt I have ever seen another situation as perfect as this. I cast my basic rig consisting of a Hare and Copper nymph with wool indicator above the top fish, the biggest of them all. It didn’t hesitate to come across to my nymph and took it with all the confidence of the much smaller fish I was so used to catching. I responded to the indicator dipping with a solid lift of my Daiwa fly rod , and the line tightened.

This fish didn’t treact like the fish I was used to catching, infact I have never experienced the same reaction from a hooked fish in all the years that have passed since. This fish did not splash, or panic. It calmly swam across the river, slowly but surely taking line with it as it went, and took up a position on the bottom. I stood there next to Sam on the side of the river in absolute bewilderment, I had no idea what to do. Several minutes passed, the fish shook its head from time to time, and eventually my line snapped.

Even though I had minimal experience with fish of any size at that point in my life, I knew I had just been attached to something special. With all the years gone past since then, I realise even more now just how special that fish was. If I was to hook that same fish again today I would be in a far better position to land it than what I was back then, but it was incredibly powerful, and nothing is certain. One thing I can say for sure is that fish is lucky it got away, for if I had landed it as a 14 year old boy, there is no doubt I would have taken it home with me to mount on the wall.

Number 1.

This one sits in a similar ball park to number two. It was a bit of a toss up for which sat where in the grand scheme of things… but I decided this one could take the top spot.

It was December 2009. A couple of days after Christmas. I had arranged to take my mate Paul from Timaru and his Dad with me for a day on the water. The fish were in top condition that season, and I knew that where we were going we would have a decent shot at a good fish. It had rained a bit and the water was running a bit high, with enough colour for it to work in our favour.

The day started with a hiss and a roar when Paul caught his first ever fish on a fly. At 8 pounds it wasn’t one to be scoffed at… I made sure I let him know how many years it took for me to catch one that big.

Soon after I briefly hooked and lost one which was about the same size as what Paul landed. A short distance upstream I spotted another fish sitting near our edge which Paul insisted I fish to. I fished at this one for quite some time, and every so often I saw it clearly through a window in the water, it was a big fish.

Many, many casts, and about seven fly changes later I got a result. I set the hook into a very angry fish. It took off at warp factor 6 across the swollen river and angled upstream, taking all my fly line and a good part of my backing with it. I couldn’t do a whole lot to start with, but eventually I gained some back and my fly line came closer to where it needed to be.

This is where it really turned pear shaped. I watched my backing knot as it neared the tip top of my rod, and as the two made contact, time slowed down as I witnessed the knot disintegrate with my own eyes. The trailing fly line flailed off into the current, still attached to my big angry fish. I stoood on the riverbank swearing while Paul and his dad watched in disbelief, before I dropped everything and tore off into the current searching for the trailing line in desperation and anger.

I didn’t find the end of my line, which meant I didn’t get my fish. It put somewhat of a dampener on my day. This is the one which takes the cake.

All of these fish have caused me to lose sleep at some point, but if I’m completely honest I’d have to say I probably wouldn’t change any of them given the chance. Thats a big call I know, but it wouldn’t be the same if we landed them all, would it?


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……………..


Jack Kos – The Weekend That Was (Part 2 of 2)

In hindsight it was probably a pretty stupid idea going fishing the night after the All Blacks won the Rugby World Cup Final… I know I barely got any sleep, Matt got far less. He generously offered to cook me breakfast. I tell you, there aren’t many better smells to arrive at a house to than bacon and eggs. With the breakfast formalities underway it was time to hit the road. After a little while I had a sudden brainwave… Where the hell’s my vest? Upon realizing that my vest was still in Andrew’s car after Saturday I also noticed a certain someone’s study materials in the back of my car. Well I couldn’t go fishing in good conscience without dropping it off at her place first. After that it was a case of a very apologetic early wake up for Andrew, quickly grabbing my vest and finally getting on with the show.

We arrived to cold, windy conditions with the promising hint of sun peering over the peaks. A brief walk brought about our first encounter with our quarry. By this stage the wind was fair roaring, so I thought I’d be nice and let Matt have a go. The fish was feeding like mad, but try as we might we just couldn’t get a drag free presentation with the conflicting currents and the pervasive wind. Eventually the fish became aware, and took off. I encountered a fish feeding similarly just a few pools up, but my luck was barely any better. I managed to trick the fish into eating a small green caddis, however the hook pulled after almost no time.

Things carried on in this vein with Matt pricking a fish on the dry, and myself meeting with nothing but air after a big fish had taken my green caddis. After almost drowning myself attempting an ambitious river crossing to get at a fish (and spooking it in the process) I wasn’t feeling too positive about the day. This all changed when I spotted a smudge holding in fast water. Then the smudge rose. Cool. First presentation with my small parachute adams and the fish rose and scoffed it. I’ve never seen a brown trout tailwalking to quite the extent that this one did. When I eventually got it in I saw that the condition on the fish was absolutely outstanding.

It wasn’t a big fish, but you’d struggle to find many in better condition.

Barely 500metres further up the stream we encountered one of the best patches of pocket water fishing I’ve had in a long time.

Matt made it look easy by pulling this fish out on one of the first casts.

I then proceeded to fish at a fish that kept popping in and out of the current, and in and out of my visibility. Spotting two big fish rising one pocket over I crossed to fish at them. At this point I should note that I’d been having a rather problematic time with my pants. They just kept falling down. When I hit the right cast (not easy when the casting position dictates that you can only cast leader into a nor’wester) the fish rose without hesitation to my grey klinkhammer. Hammer time.  What ensued was quite possibly one of the most comical experiences to have transpired on a river. As soon as I hooked the fish the swirling current at the base of the pocket had dragged my line down, tangling it with the fittings on my boots. At this point my pants decided to fall down. Proper down. Here I was with a big fish jumping madly on the surface, my line wrapped around my boots and my pants around the ankles. Matt said he didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. Personally I felt more like crying. Somehow with one hand I grabbed my pants and hoisted them up, then managed, despite my inflexibility, to lift my foot into the air and clear the line. All this whilst standing in waist deep fast flowing water. After that the rest was just a formality.

At the time I had a slightly inkling that this may have been the same fish Andrew caught a year beforehand. Upon getting home and checking the spots it was confirmed.

My guess is that they were feeding on these fellows.

I won’t go into details with what happened in a big pool a little further up. Suffice to say I was left nearly in tears as a rather large fish flipped me the bird before popping the hook and lazing about in the shallows. I attempted an overly ambitious swipe with the net, but to no avail. I will be back.

The next pool up saw a rather bizarre experience. A fish sitting in a small alcove and popping out only occasionally into the current took a liking to my most successful creation over winter – the Deviant fly. Matt was fishing to it, and it took his fly not once…not twice…but seven times. I’ve never seen anything like this before. On the seventh the hook bit and a long hard fight ensued.

A great end to the day.

It was a long walk back, and a couple of very tired lads that made it back into Christchurch late in the evening.


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.


Andrew Hearne – Sometimes once just isn’t enough…

Well, it’s now past the half way mark between the end of April and the beginning of October.

I’m not one to wish for time to pass too quickly, life is too short for that… but I really am looking forward to the start of the new season, as I’m sure every other freshwater angler is too.

I’ve been keeping pretty busy, today Jack came around, among other discussions we talked about how awesome we will be this coming season, and we tied more than a few flies each.

Anyhow, I thought I would share some of my experiences with you all in relation to multiple encounters with specific fish. I’m sure you’ve all been there too at some stage. I’m not really one for getting too deep and meaningful, but this is a subject I find reasonably interesting.

We’ve all encountered fish that were memorable. Sometimes you just have to go back for more. Many of us have had more than one encounter with the same fish. However i’d be interested to hear how many people have actually landed the same fish more than once?

This past season I was fortunate enough to catch two different fish twice during the course of the season. It’s a rare occurrence for me at least, I can only think of one other fish I’ve caught twice, which was a few seasons ago now, and even then I only realised later when I was going through photos at home.

The two fish I refer to from this season were different though, I knew that they were the same fish as I’d previously caught even before I had them to the net.

Both fish came out of small streams with small populations of fish. They were holding in the same place each time, and were the only fish resident in their respective locations. They were both weighed and photographed, I’m 100% sure they were the same fish.

The first fish was caught at the end of October. I ducked away for a sneaky day trip while Jack was at the business end of studying for his end of year exams. He loves it when I go fishing at that time of year…  (Not really, I think he actually hates it)

I caught it from where it was stationed at the eye of a fantastic pool holding only that fish. According to my scales it was eight pounds on the dot. Unfortunately I took the picture with my old point and shoot camera and got it all wrong. Despite being one of the first ever digital cameras available, it usually does an acceptable job, howvere I was out of practice at the self timer technique on this day and to make matters worse I also had the flash set wrong. The result was a completely blown out picture of me holding a very nice fish.

I caught a couple of  other great fish that day and returned to Christchurch to tell Jack of my good news. Jack was thrilled for me when I emailed him the picture. (Again, not really…)

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The first of my two encounters with this fish

After I received the reply email I sent another which mentioned the fact that I  had also seen a couple of really big fish which I didn’t catch. I suggested we go back together to try and catch them immediately after his exams were finished.

Two weeks later we were on the road. There were less fish in the river this time, but my fish was exactly where it had been a fortnight earlier. Again it was holding nicely in the eye of the pool. Two casts and the fish was on again. It was pure deja vu. I even landed it in the same spot as the last time. Fortunately this time I had my trusty sidekick with me to take the photo, I definitely didn’t want another crap picture!

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Jack swore at me when I was landing this fish.

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Together again…

For the record, that day Jack caught one of the big fish I’d seen on my previous visit. For that reason alone he should never complain again when I go fishing while he is studying.

Anyhow, that was the first of my twice caught fish for the season. The next one wasn’t quite so straightforward…

The first encounter came when I first visited the stream on a bright sunny day in January. Again, I was fishing alone, and the trip was an exploration of sorts.

I’d seen other fish, which I failed to catch, and I was nearing the point where I intended to stop and turn around. Not to mention the end of my patience, with fish which just weren’t interested!
The fish was easy to see in the shallow sunlit water holding on the near edge of the run, and was one of the few which was actively feeding that day. But, to cut a long story short, I didn’t catch it that day. In fact, I saw that fish on a few subsequent occasions and failed to catch it every time… until one overcast day in February when my luck finally changed for the better.

Jack had just returned from his summer break in the North Island, and was with me on this day and fizzing to be back in the best part of the country again. He caught a fish more or less straight out of the car which at nearly 30 inches long tipped the scales at a whopping 5 pounds (It looked like it was the result of an ugly trout that couldn’t find another willing trout, so spawned with an eel instead) I had briefly hooked a good fish a short time earlier but it didn’t stick, so I was still fishless for the day. Until we came to the run where the very fish that had by now become my nemisis was residing.

It all went right. The hook connected well, and stayed that way until I removed it. The fish was weighed, photographed and released. At that moment in time I was a very happy man. Persistence had paid off, and I could cross that fish off my list of fish that must be caught.

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My nemesis fish. Tamed at last.

That was mid February. Fast forward almost exactly two months to mid April when I returned to the stream.

Once again I found myself at the same piece of water, and after searching for a while I spotted a healthy looking dark shape sitting in the fast water near the top. I hooked the fish, and landed it without any trouble. It was the same fish as the one caught in February. As with the other twice – caught fish from earlier in the season, it was great to see it had been released unharmed the first time and had continued to live in that same piece of water. However the feeling was definitely different from the first time in that the first time was much more emotionally charged, the second time it was still nice, but without wanting to sound too negative, there is a touch of “been there, done that” about it.

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There’s nothing to it really

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For me, if I know there is a good fish resident in a certain piece of water then I’ll go to great lengths to catch it. If I hook that fish and don’t land it, then it only serves to increase my desire to catch that particular fish. However, once that fish is caught the desire to catch it again is nowhere near the same. For sure, if the photo doesn’t turn out, I’ll try and catch it again to get a good picture of it, or I’ve failed to catch a fish for the day then I’ll certainly go looking for it in order to save the day, but otherwise I think I’ll just leave them alone.

Keep an eye out for our next video clip due out in a few days. It’s the footage from our November trip… it’s worth a look.


Andrew Hearne – Isaiah’s last dance.

Hi everyone. I’m new here… You may have seen some pictures of me in some of Jack’s entries. My apologies.

I’ve been doing a large portion of my fishing with Jack for the past couple of seasons, and all going well we should be able to do plenty more in the coming years. We seem to get on reasonably well and are equally passionate about flyfishing. We keep each other honest.

A couple of months ago on a trip into the back country, we met with some Americans here on a fishing holiday, one of whom being the one and only Isaiah Perez. We kept in touch, and have been fishing with Isaiah couple of times since.

The most recent trip I went on with Isaiah was on 30th April, when I took him out for the last day of the main season in an attempt to get him onto one last New Zealand brownie before boarding the big bird home to Wyoming.

We couldn’t have hoped for more perfect weather. The sky was literally cloudless, and not even a hint of wind about. Hopes were high.

Isaiah Perez. Enjoying the last of the New Zealand big sky experience for 2011.

We didn’t see any fish for the first couple of hours, despite covering a lot of very nice looking water.

He’s been watching way too much Masters of the Universe.

Our lack of success saw us heading to another piece of river where I’d recently caught a few good fish. I was confident we could at least find something to fish to.

The first run that we came to on the new water soon had Isaiah behind a dark shape holding in the eye. He placed the cast perfectly and the fish moved to his fly, but when he struck the connection was brief. I saw the fish as it broke water and it looked to be a decent size. When Isaiah inspected his fly it was revealed that he was fishing without a hook, needless to say he was a touch upset.

Unfortunately we couldn’t find as many fish as we wanted to.

Later in the day we came to a part of the river where I had encountered the same fish on more than one occasion during the season, and been beaten by it every time. I sent Isaiah across to the other side to see if he could make use of the high bank and spot for me. However, he couldn’t. The light was right in his face and the water was shining silver with glare, so it was up to me to find my fish.

I went right through the main body of the run, past the places where the fish usually held. Things weren’t looking too good. However, when I got near the top I could make out a silhouette tucked against my edge which looked very likely. I’ve just been reading the latest post by Alex, in which he mentions a special fly he was given by Jack, which didn’t quite do the business for him on closing day. I believe I was using that same pattern while fishing at the dark shape ahead of me.

The first cast saw the dark shape move towards the fly, but no contact. I tossed up again and this time the fish followed the fly back. It all seemed right at that point, so I struck, and found myself connected to a decent fish.

I landed it near the tail of the run, after a tug of war and a bit of splashing on the surface thrown in for some excitement.

Great success – after several failed attempts during the season to capture this guy.

Sadly that was all the action we would see for that day. Isaiah had to board the big bird to the states a few days after. Fortunately for him he had already caught some good fish during his stay here, but I won’t steal Jack’s thunder. I think he might have something on the way in relation to that.


Jack Kos – Adventures of Late

Bit of a catchup session here, as I’ve been fishing so much since getting down south that I haven’t really had a chance to write about it.

I took a trip down to the Fly Fishing Conclave in Middlemarch late last month. Managed a few good days fishing for fighting fit rainbows on the way down with Jeremy.

The fishing was pretty tough with good rainbows cruising slow deep pools. The first fish was actually a slight fluke (I should really claim that it was highly skilful – but that’d be a straight up lie). As I was stalking my way up an almost still pool I saw a disturbance out of the corner of my eye. What eventuated was an enormous eel chasing a nice ‘bow out of the eye of the pool. Well, it was worth a go. Crouched on my knees with about 9ft of leader INSIDE the top eye I pitched my nymph out. I could almost see the trout’s eyes light up as it sighted my nymph. All thought of pursuing eel out of its mind, it snaffled up my nymph. As I struck from virtually on top of it I pulled it clear out of the water. Having a good bow on that short of a line is a slightly intimidating experience. Once it calmed down it was easily led to the net.

Good start to the day.

Following that the fish played ball a little more, with several bow’s falling to oversized terrestrials.

The ‘Blow Me’ snared this great fish.

Jeremy took a liking to it too…

That night we camped at the head of a river valley, planning to fish the river during the day. Well we could barely even cast into the wind in the morning. I managed one nice fit rainbow before we ran out of fishable water.

Oh, if you’re wondering about the sunglasses… I lost my previous (quite flash) pair of sunglasses swimming through a sheer and otherwise impassable gorge. The fishing on the other side of the gorge was worth it though…

After that we headed to Middlemarch, with just a brief stop for the most outrageous platter of fried food in existence. Upon arrival the beer started flowing freely. Then the whisky and ginger ale. I made the mistake of drinking with Chris Dore. If he’d gone one for one with me it may have been a bit fairer, but the man played dirty. Before I’d finish my drink he’d have bought me another one. I managed to buy him one drink, so he bought me two. It really wasn’t pretty. I woke up about 3 times in the night, desperately scrambling out of the tent before expelling my stomach contents. On one of the occasions I emerged from the tent to a pointing and laughing Chris.

That day was a succession of casting and fly tying courses, with some casting competitions in the middle. To be honest, I was still drunk from the night before until about 2pm. A little after midday I attempted the casting games. I have absolutely no idea how I managed it, but I ended up winning the competition. I can only really attribute it to the alcohol coursing through my system giving my casting a nice relaxed style.

Photo c.o. of Stefan Florea

I was surprised how much I enjoyed the conclave. I met a lot of really good dudes and learnt a lot. Any collection of very good fisherman typically brings out some serious egos, and that can taint the atmosphere. On this occasion though there were no egos and the attitude of everyone was fantastic. I think this was highlighted when I noticed one casting instructor (he doesn’t need anyone else calling him a good bastard, so I’ll deny him the pleasure of naming him) standing out in the gale force winds going through the fundamental aspects of an overhead cast with the least experienced person at the clave. This wasn’t the only time I saw this happen either, so good on you mate.

The next morning saw the distance casting competition go to Carl McNeil (not too many surprises there). Because Carl had actually donated the prize he generously gave it to a gun young caster. That brought proceedings to an end, so Jeremy and myself jetted off to do a spot of fishing.

Camo’s for pussies, bitches.

Arriving home I thought to myself ‘I’ve been fishing every day for the last week, why not go for a fish tomorrow’, so I jacked up a days fishing with Matt. A long drive and a long walk brought us to our destination – which turned out to be completely filthy. Still, you can’t walk that long without throwing a cast or two. I’m glad I did, as on about the 3rd cast my cicada was engulfed by a great brown.

There’s a real satisfaction about catching fish in conditions that would make most people turn back.

Three casts later I had another.

Even more satisfaction.

Things got quiet after that, although I did manage one slightly smaller fish caught in comical circumstances.

A week back in Wellington had me chomping at the bit to get back down south.

The day after arriving I took a couple of South African guys fishing. The day was so epic (and I don’t have even half of the videos or photos) that I’m going to wait and do a whole report on it. It’s one to look for though.

It didn’t take long for Andrew and I to formulate an over the top fishing plan. Doing a short notice multi-day trip into the backcountry isn’t always advisable, but sometimes it’s the best way to do it. Just make sure you’re prepared and check the weather.

We dawned before the day did and made our way to the start point of our tramp.

Safety garb is important in the bush

Two hours in we decided to start our fishing for the day.

I think it took about 3 minutes before Andrew had his first fish of the trip.

Just round the corner he had his second.

His tactics were dirty, but they worked so I adopted them.

We landed a good number of nice fish over the course of the day before commencing the final slog to the hut.

Quite honestly we were rooted when we finally got there.

The snakes went down a treat.

I was in charge of cooking duties, and whipped up a fine feed of steak and mushrooms with a side of pasta.

Rarely has sleep come as easy as it did that night.

The next morning saw the fishing go slightly slow until the water warmed up. Andrew was getting fairly disheartened after the constant success of the day before. He got even more disheartened when I managed to snare this fantastic fish.

Thank goodness I had unusually heavy tippet on, as the fish had its mind set on wrapping me around a boulder. This fish alone justified the blood sweat and (almost) tears that it took to get there.

It didn’t take much time at all before I spotted a rising fish holding in a tiny pocket against the bush-clad edge. Calling Andrew over I knew this fish would be a sitter if he could just get the cast right. And he did.

A stonking little fish that would have been seriously big if it had any length to it took him through some rough water before coming to the net.

The dry fly action continued as Andrew put a hopeful cast over a lightly coloured smudge and was rewarded with this gorgeous brown.

Definitely the prettiest fish of the trip.

For a few hours there were simply no refusals. Fish would freely rise, and rarely did we have to change from our small mayfly imitation.

One for me.

One for him.

Another for me.

Another for him.

Eventually the water just got skinnier and skinnier. At the junction with a tributary we made the call to turn back and bash our way down to the lower hut so as to give ourselves an easy walk out the following day.

The walk was a bit of a prick, but after a couple of days shouldering our packs we were getting used to it. Arriving at the hut we discovered we had company. Sadly it wasn’t two hot Swedish girls, but rather a couple of American troutbums who turned out to be really good dudes. We swapped a fair few flies before going out for a fruitless night fish.

Upon return the yanks busted out one of the strangest substances I’ve ever tried – chewing tobacco.

Skeptical before trying it…

It was an acquired taste… lets leave it at that. The banter and bullshit extended into the wee hour.

The next morning we were up and out as quick as we could. We had a date with fried food to keep. Salty fatty fries have never tasted so good. When I finally got home I passed out asleep for over 14 hours. Yep, I was pretty damn tired.

Uni starts on Monday, so I won’t quite be able to match the intensity of the past few weeks. I’ve got every Thursday off though, so that’ll be my fishing day – plus the weekends of course. Life is good.