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Posts tagged “Riverworks Lifestyle

Lucas Allen – Strangers in the night

Just a quick pic to ram home why Alex, Andrew S and Andrew M should be planning a trip North… While you boys are wrapping up the end of season, I’m wrapping up warm. The calibre of these lake side fish are very impressive and the fish below is testament.

Matt, Jeez and I fished a Rotorua lake last night and while we got skunked we did witness this fine specimen caught next to us. To be fair, it was a quiet night and this was confirmed by the ranger out patrolling the usual hot spots.

Just shy of that magical mark! Well done Andrew Blake

If that doesn’t spur you 3 on then there’s something wrong with you.

Lucas


Lucas Allen – The Deep End

A while back Hamilton Anglers Club held a trip in Taumaranui to fish the well regarded waters surrounding this region. I was fortunate enough to pick up a spot and jump in on the action. Matt, his partner Sophie and I bowled down the line after work on Friday and got into the camp dining room just as the others were about to start 2nds for the nights meal. The shit talking was already in abundance and somehow amongst this we arranged our beats for the following day.

Our sleeping quarters were on the better side of not too bad – pretty warm and no rocks in the mattresses. This ensured a well needed rest and sleep in until 7am. Porridge and fresh coffee were devoured and in short order we were on our way. The camp ground at Taumaranui is so close to the river we could hear it. A quick check to see if the rain over the last few days had affected it heralded smiles all round.

We headed South and straight to the beat that is fast becoming one of my new favourites. No cars in the car park and we were straight into it, in fact so quick I popped out of the bush and stared directly at a trout. I had the honours and thought my new R2 reel couldn’t be blessed better – I was wrong. Somehow in the slightly murky water it picked us up and slipped the cordon. All 3 of us fished  through the likely spots and started to question ourselves…

With the sun still low and at our backs we edged upwards. I left Sophie and her coach to explore the next pool. A decent brown feed in a bypass but the sun and positioning of myself made it impossible to fire one out to it. Hugging a tree I attempted a few lack lustre shots at it. No joy. Another fish metres up and the same result. Bugger this, I pushed on and tried a stretch with better angles.

Sure enough the tactic worked and soon after I had a fight on my hands. If you want a scrap these fish pack some serious grunt and will push you around like you were Beth Hekes bitch. Even the little tackers go like stink. I’ve since been advised the 8wt is a better option at times!We had more club members coming along and they headed up further. Sophie and Matt caught up and we tried another pool before we called lunch and turned back to the Truck. A quick drive and we had the best tailgate Ham and Cheese rolls in town at our new location. From here we walked to a spot that was recommended by a fellow member.

This resulted in a nice wee brown and another flighty ‘bow. One of those pools that has major holding promise and massive summer terrestrial potential. As Sophie was feeling rather ill by now – seems the flu was doing the rounds of a few others to – we decided to head closer to the camp grounds. We jumped back in the ride and floored it back to the Whanganui. This stretch gets a hammering but for some reason just keeps on keepin on.

As funny as it seems there were fish at each end of this rainbow. It was touching the bank on our side so this is where we started. Soon enough Sophie had a fish to the net then promptly had a much deserved sleep next to some (a lot of) sheep shit. I was just up river and at times we had double hook ups culminating in some unsavoury words yelled from Matt as he dropped “the brown of the trip”. He was having a rough day but was a stellar guide to Sophie.

That night we all regrouped and tallied our days efforts. I was pretty chuffed with my days total hooking 9 and landing 9, not every day you nail a 100% strike rate. 31 fish landed by 10 anglers, biggest brown was 3.3lb to Craig and a 4.25 lb rainbow went to Steve. There were a few stories of trophys lost so it’s good to know they’re about. We all piled into the Taumaranui RSA courtesy van and went to watch the first Ireland v ABs game. Talk about being on the set for Once Were Warriors x Boy movies, what a hard case bunch of local characters. Once back at the camp we set about solving the worlds fishing problems over some reds and a good blue.

The next morning dawned pretty much the same, foggy and threatening to drizzle. Perfect if you ask me. The rivers were still clearing and we decided to put Sophie onto some fish from where we finished up the night before.

The plan worked in no time and she nailed a few fish in quick succession. All nice rainbows in tiptop condition.

After scoring a handful more fish each we started the drive home. Matt had a lovely King Country stream to try that fed the Whanganui. We dropped in near a country sports ground and set to work. In the second pool a slight twitch had the indicator struck at and I was away.

Hot potato
This Jack was a feisty little bastard. It only took 3 attempts with the self timer while he splashed water all over the show, including the lens! Sophie “tag and released” a beauty brown and soon after we turned back to the truck to push up further. This section had the lovely setting of native bush blended with farmland. We made friends with the huge local Fantail population – at times 3 would be cheekily perched on your rod.

Matt spied a good fish gobbling away in the tea-stained water and crashed down the bank while we peered over the cliff to spot for him. After ironing out the drift it moved sideways to intercept. Then all hell broke lose as it found the closest log to hide under. It happened to be right by Matt and he tried in vain to stop it but to no avail. A flash of colour and it snapped free.That was to be it for the weekend. Bloody good fishing in some familiar water and exploring some virgin water – good times. There were no stand out flies although a Hot UV spot did help. Anything from a H & C, Pheasant Tail or small Olive Naturals were being picked up in the grubby water.

It has rained nicely over the last few days and coupled with the cold snap last week the Winter fishing around these ways should be sparking up even more so. A quick look at reports suggest the Tongariro was around 50 cumecs and highly fishable.

As I have a few things on over the next few weeks I’m going to sneak off for a fish this Friday. Here’s hoping for a cold, miserable dark night.

I’ve also been busy at the vice making flies and hope to post up a new Green Caddis that will be ripper for the Tongariro this Winter. Stay tuned, stay warm.

Lucas


The Hair of the Frog… Product review – by Andrew Hearne

Frog Hair –  a product soon to be supplied by Riverworks.

It took me a while to come around to the stuff, but I’m there now. This is how it happened…

Some time during the middle of the fishing season Rob sent me some new tapered leaders and tippet material to try out.

I was a bit dubious to begin with. When it comes to my set up there are two main things I need to have absolute faith in. Hooks, and tippet. You can get by with a less than perfect rod, but I won’t compromise when it comes to the hooks and tippet I use, for obvious reasons.

So this stuff shows up in a courier package, I divvied it up and gave Jack his share. From there it sat in my vest for a while… Even though Rob was keen for us to try it out and get back to him with the results, I wasn’t quite ready just yet.

I’d been using the same brand for a few years now. I had, and still have, absolute faith in it. I can count on one hand the amount of times it has failed on a fish. It takes a lot for me to move away from that.

The first time I used Frog Hair was on a day when jack and I were in the High Country chasing big fish. The fish were as spooky as anything you have ever come across and we were having a tough time. Just before lunch we spotted another fish, and I made the call to change things up a bit and tied some 4x (6lb) Frog Hair on as tippet material.

The cast landed as it should, and to mine and Jack’s surprise the fish actually took the fly. Unfortunately when I struck the line came shooting back at me… an inspection revealed the line had snapped. At that point in time I was none too happy, and the Frog Hair went back into the vest for a while after that.

A few weeks later and we were in the deep south. Again I was fishing with Jack, and again the fish were playing hard to get. This time it was Jack who decided to take the plunge. He tied on the mighty Frog Hair in an attempt to get the result which had so far eluded us for the day. This time around the Frog Hair proved a success… the first fish took the fly, put up one hell of a fight, and was successfully landed…. with a wind knot in the tippet to boot!

With my confidence restored I replaced my leader and tippet with Frog Hair and we both went on to have a pretty successful day. The fish we caught were as hard fighting as you can expect to find anywhere, so the line was well tested. I’ll even own up to discovering a wind knot in my line after I landed a fish later in the day.

I used Frog Hair for the remainder of the season without any issues. I’ll have no problem using it from now on… we got off to a rough start, but now I’m a believer.

Keep an eye out for this magic string in your local tackle shop. It shouldn’t be too far away. here are some photos of some of the fish we’ve caught on Frog Hair so far. (You may have seen these fish already)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Here it is…. the reward for my efforts.

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

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


Lucas Allen – Curing an Ailment

A while back I devised a plan to convince Matt into a weekend of fishing in the Central North Island, that was the easy part. I was overdue a good concentrated dose of fly chucking so we schemed, planned, googled, schemed some more and had plans A to F sussed. What I didn’t plan for was contracting a cold in the lead up. Being a good Kiwi lad I told myself I could beat it, no way was it going to get in the way of a good trip.

We pulled into Taupo on Friday night and did the prerequisite shop – I still don’t know where the bread rolls ended up! We set up camp at the Old mans house and tweaked our final arrangements over some Pilseners. Seriously, how many times can one tie a new leader and fuss over gear? An early start had us on our way with a quick stop for a healthy  pie in Turangi. With that on board we carried on driving.The river of choice was looking very inviting from the road so we quickly set up for the walk over some farmland to access the lower reaches.Or so we thought…Having hunted around for an hour to find the supposed “there’s a way down but it’s a bit hard to find” track, we gave up and headed to another point we thought would be achievable. Hallelujah, it was just as Mr Google suggested, a little bit easier than the last spot. I was pretty happy about finally hitting the stoney riverbed.A quick scoff and assembly of our gear and we were ready for the fish of our dreams. This water was seriously lush. Soon we came to a great looking pool that had to hold something, something big and hungry. For a second I forgot I wasn’t feeling too flash. Not a touch, nothing to spot or even spook. We had planned for a low fish count so carried on.The water was super clear and cold, I found that out when I took a dunking while crossing a hairy piece of water above some rapids. Thankfully my foot found a hold and I managed to get back upright before going deeper into the pool. A word of note – if it’s dodgy buddy up, make sure your jacket is over your waders and closures are pulled tight. Wear a wading belt at all times, you can’t put it on in the rapids. If you get fully swept off your feet keep calm and drift feet first, bum down. You’ll eventually wash into calmer waters without snagging a foot on anything. Hopefully you’ll never have to put this into practice.

I wasn’t surprised when I dropped again. This time distracted by some noisy Whio. Damn, this was going to be a long slippery walk. And it was, this river was living up to its name. Devoid of any fish we pushed  upriver and had lunch. We reassessed and made the decision to high tail it out, fishing any hotspots along the way.

We blanked, oh well, it happens sometimes. It was an ambitious plan B after all. The scenery did make up for it though. A quick fish in a new river just before dark had the same result! We checked into the backpackers and dried out while my voice impersonated Barry White.

The next day dawned frosty and brisk. It was nice to eat porridge and gear up beside a still burning fire place. The next port of call was Matts pick. The scramble in was according to him “easier than yesterday”. Thankfully it was. Again we found some stunning water that cried out for trout. We’re going back early season. Take a look at what’s on offer below.Soon enough we made the call to exit and go find some fish. I had a beat that produced fish in the past so we began the drive home in order to stop there. Plan E.

Finally after all that walking and scenic imbibing I looked up river to see Matts rod being worked by a cranky brown. Oh yes, by this time I had lost my voice and only managed a little yelp of joy as I ran up river. Some quick net work had the fish in the bag.We partied right there on the riverbank.This opened the floodgates and we soon found rhythm. I spotted a good looking brown in the shallows feeding happily until my size 16 Hare and Copper variant glanced its lip. What came out of the water looked fair decent and in prime condition. After dropping the fish I discovered Matt had sabotaged me and left my net downstream. Upon my return he’d picked up a stunning Searunner.

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

We pushed up, pricking fish and landing a few others along the way. Even spotting a few more in the murky water. I was having a tough time making the fish stick to my flies and saw another brown thrash the surface as the hook pulled free. This was put down to my lack of voice, there was no way I could yell STRIKE! inside my head.After we made it to our designated limit we raced back down the track to the truck. With 2 hours of light left we knew there was a good section of the Whanganui on the way home that would finish the trip off in style.There certainly were fish in here and we had a blast taking Rainbows from their usual haunts. Any old fly seemed to be doing the trick but one in particular for Matt had him converted. The takes were hard and fast, even I managed to bank a lovely model for the camera.With that monkey off my back we called it a day. The drive home in the dark was a tease knowing that we were crossing bridge after bridge of fine water. There’s always next time.

This weekend I hope to charge the Waitahanui, an old favourite. Nothing beats Birthday fishing.

Lucas


Andrew Hearne – Revisiting a trip from earlier this season.

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

Cheers to Mike Kirkpatrick for stitching it all together.


Andrew Hearne – Homeward bound…. nearly.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

 

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

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

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

 

 

 

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

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

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

As always, watch this space for more to come!


Lucas Allen – HAC Trip Report – Whirinaki

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

Finalists For Fish Of The Season

The Fish Of The Season competition has come to a close. We have had some truly great entries that weren’t included in the final list. Sadly we could only choose 5 and these are our picks.

So now’s the time to choose your favourite. Click on the image to have a closer look.

Voting closes Monday 21st of May at 7pm.

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Andrew Hearne – Stomping on old ground.

I mentioned a while ago that I was lucky enough to have the entire month of April off. Well, it was awesome. I did a lot of fishing.

There is a whole bunch of stuff which will be appearing on here in the next while… including the report from a great trip we had down south, which Jack is going to kick off in the next few days. Watch this space!

To keep you going until then, This is a report is from a few days ago. It puts things a bit out of synch… but never mind.

Once we arrived back from our trip south I stayed at home for a few days. I needed to recover, and I also needed to learn how to sleep in a bed again after so long sleeping in a tent.

Once I was sorted out I figured I may as well get back out there and make the most of the last days of the season, and my remaining time off work.

Again I packed up for an overnighter, loaded the mountain bike onto the rack, and headed off into the distance towards the hills. The venue for this particular adventure was one of my old stomping grounds from a few years back.

A few hours later I met Mike, and from there we drove in convoy to the end of the road. After that it was onto the bikes for an hour or so. It was just enough time for me to work up a pretty good sweat and made me realise how much I need to spend a bit more time on the bike.

That night was pretty cold, and I struggled to sleep properly in my tent. The forecast was for overcast conditions, but the next morning the sky was cloud free. There was also a pretty crisp frost coating the ground thrown into the mix for good measure.

The sun couldn’t hit the valley soon enough that morning. The temperature definitely wasn’t helping, my fingers were barely able to function in the cold, and my feet weren’t doing much better.

I hooked a fish pretty early on, which threw the hook after only a few seconds. I hooked another one soon afterwards, which did the same. It wasn’t really the start I’d been hoping for.

After my second fish got away Mike hooked one cruising the same run. This one didn’t get away, and we’d officially opened the account for the trip.

That day turned out to be pretty tough. I hooked another two fish without landing either, and Mike had a couple which went wrong too. Frustration was the order of the day.

 

That night we sat around the campfire and enjoyed the finest of three course bush meals. We had soup as a starter, followed by steak, potatoes and gravy, peas and corn for the main, and then a custard and fruit desert.

We both agreed that if the weather closed in the next morning we would abort mission and head out. Neither of us were feeling very motivated at that point to fish in the rain.

The second night was considerably warmer than the first, and I managed to get plenty of sleep. I woke up feeling pretty good, much better than on the first day. On top of all that the weather was good. It looked as though we would have a look at the river after all.

We didn’t fish very far, but we saw plenty of fish and fared a lot better than the previous day.

Because of the current from the side with good visibility I had to cross the first run of the day to fish to the first target, while Mike stayed on the other side to spot for me. To his credit he did a great job, and before I knew it I was solidly hooked up. Finally!

I landed the fish, and at that moment I wasn’t all that far from being ecstatic. The memory of my failure from the previous day virtually disappeared… because at last I had actually caught a fish!

 

A short distance upstream Mike fished at another one which ended up spooking and screaming up and down the run. As we started to move on we noticed another one sitting slightly higher up the run. Mike offered it to me. Hesitantly, I said yes to fishing to it. I mentioned it was probably spooked after what the other fish had just done, and as I unhooked my nymph the fish swung to the left to feed. On seeing this, Mike called me names, and my confidence grew.

It took about three casts to get the drift right. The fish again moved out to the left, but this time it was for my nymph and not a natural.

This one took to the air straight away and kept on jumping right to the bitter end. Each time it cleared the water we could both see it was a shovel nosed Jack. Initially I didn’t think it was all that big, but once I had it in the shallows I saw it was in great condition. This was a real bonus on top of the one from earlier.

 

That wasn’t the end of the action for the day. Just as we walked slowly along an edge discussing the subject of fish feeding on mice, another one was spotted. Mike put the cast in the right place and was rewarded with a take. This was another pretty good fish.

 

 

Not long after that we called it a day. It was time to pack up and get back on the bikes and then the long drive home.

So that was one trip. Wait until you see what else we got up to this month!


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.


Lucas Allen – Winter Appetizer

Well well, looks like the sun is still out and giving us some cracker days on the water. But just to reiterate Winter is not far from making itself known.

With this in mind I decided to have a sample of what’s on offer over the next few months. Tina had some business to attend to in Rotorua so I did the grateful thing and drove us over there.

Having an hour or so to kill I went for a look around town. That should read, I went to the fishing shops. We’d planned to have a lakeside picnic that evening, a cunning excuse to throw some flies about. Some quick info on my chosen spot wasn’t met with great reaction but since my mind was already there having a beer and some coldcuts we went anyway.

Turns out the lake was dead flat and devoid of any visible sign. I waded around a bit, tried different flies, we enjoyed the sunset and I said “another 10 minutes” 3-6 times. Not long after sundown I heard the first hefty splash, shortly followed by a swirl. This was more like it. I tied on a Wooly bugger trailed by a lumo fly and reassessed my game.

A few bumps from weed or the bottom had the trigger finger twitchy so when the gentle take finally came I strip struck into something solid. My first targeted “Winter” spawner was bolting out the door as I sorted things out. Then after a good run into the backing I had to run backward, onto the road all the while stripping line like crazy. Just as thoughts turned to the hook pulling the weight came back on. This fish was mad, it didn’t know where it was going! Eventually I flicked the lights on and helped it to the beach.

Not too shabby and in bloody good condition, this one's going to the smoker.

Shortly after we were driving back home, content with our day out. With that result I’m looking forward to freezing my arse off in pursuit of more fine Winter fishing. Although I’ll probably rethink that when the frost sets in and I can’t move my fingers.

Lucas


Andrew Hearne – Old school.

A while back I got a message from Chris, one of the boys I used to go to school with way back in the day.

It turns out Chris has been into fly fishing for a wee while now. He has been spending a bit of time during the past couple of seasons fishing with Ben, who we also we went to school with.

The boys have even been reading the Riverworks Lifestyle blog!

It was long overdue, but today we finally got out for a fish together.

We didn’t travel all that far from home relatively speaking, so we left at a reasonable hour in the morning and found ourselves on the water just as the sun was peeking over the hills. The idea was to explore a piece of water none of us had fished before. Although most of the water we passed looked very promising, it turned out to be very disappointing indeed.

We saw one fish. (We didn’t catch it)

 

There ain’t no fish here…

Plan B was hatched after we came to the realisation that plan A sucked. We marched back to the car and took off up the road.

There were a few fish in the short stretch we fished, and they were as difficult as usual.

Right near the end we found one in the lower part of a pool which was feeding happily. Chris went forth and tried to entice it… unsuccessfully.

Ben went next, and after several fly changes he had it fooled.

 

 

It fought a good fight, and when it came to the net I could see why.

 

And there it is, Ben’s biggest trout.

It wasn’t long before this I’d been saying to Ben that often a single fish can make the entire day worthwhile. This was one of those fish.

It was time to leave after that. We had to get back to town, and I was losing my sanity fast as I became the food supply for several thousand sandflies.

We’re gonna do it all again before the season ends. Next time we’ll head somewhere with a few more fish, even if they are slightly on the smaller side.

Here is a little fish I caught a week or so ago, it was a fat wee pig. I caught it on a black terrestrial pattern.

 

Somehow I’ve managed to swing the whole month of April off… so I hope to get out fishing once or twice during that time. Watch this space…


Lucas Allen – Dead dog burley

Just got back from an eventful night fishing trip. Matt was on form and got smoked by something that may have been even bigger than this specimen.

Best be going to sleep. V is good for the drive home but terrible when it’s 1.30am and you have work at 6.30. Have a great fishy weekend.

 

Lucas

 

Ps. The dog burley is great. Didn’t see it until the fish was landed, must have put out a mean trail. The horiness of that alone and the amount of cops we saw are the best clues as to where we were.


Lucas Allen – Weekend Warriors

Last weekend saw a break in the weather and the better halves were out of town. Holy shit, what to do, where to fish. So many options and so little precious time. Matt and I made a plan to mix it up with some fresh water action then attempt some SWF the next day. He had a river near Te Kuiti in mind that was long overdue a visit.

After one too many Friday bbq indulgences I was ready to roll nice and early. We headed South with a quick stop to pick up our companion for the day. Andrew was just as keen and we soon had his gear in the truck en route to one of the regions holy grails.

There’s one thing I’m really enjoying about the Waikato and that is the diverse range of flyfishing opportunities. This river was to be a first for Matt and I. Andrew having fished it a few times prior in the lower reaches.

A quick look-see over the bridge and we were kitting up in short order. The trout were visible within minutes and after spotting a “gimme” Matt was casting to a somewhat stubborn brown. It sulked under a bank after it got annoyed by us.

Hopping and crawling under cow fences we pushed on. We soon found out some of them were hot after one sent Matt sideways and had us in fits of laughter. This seemed to be the tipping point for the day and things started looking up. 

There were trout in every pool and they all had breakfast on their minds. The boys cast at some fish I’d spotted while hiding in the trees above. Andrew picked up a fish after busting one off previously lower down due to no chance of a net job.

What we hadn’t banked on was the amount of walking we were going to do. So in the interest of making a long story short I’ll let the pictures speak more from here in.

Walking, walking, walking...

Matt and Andrew with an active Rainbow

See ya

Steeeeerike. Skull draggin at its finest. Spot the spotter.

Result. One of the prettiest I've seen in a while.

More sweet water

The river was producing pool after pool of good, solid fish that were more than ready to receive our offers. Not to mention the scenery, it was one of those days that will be etched in the mind for a while yet.

This take should have been on film. We all whooped as it took the dry.

Thanks for coming. Back she goes

This pool was also a honey. I sat and watched the trout feeding before finally moving in for the kill, only to drop the fly a few meters short and to the side. The fish turned and raced after it so fast I got too excited and smashed my tippet on the strike!

Going long, only to bust off on the strike. Dang!

Another quick release

That was one river that will be forever on my favourites list. It had so many attributes and ticked all the boxes for me. We walked back to the truck absolutely buggered and pretty chuffed with scoring a near perfect day on the water.

The following day saw Matt and I bowl over to Waihi. We were in search of some Saltwater flats style fishing. Kingfish were on the target species list, well anything was to be honest. I’d been hearing reports of good fishing in shallow water and also had softbaits at the ready for a stealth mission.

Lets put it this way, the weather dictated our locations. We didn’t pick up much at all after doing a few recces near markers, in the channels and over the sand flats. But it was so fishy, we scratched our heads a bit and had almost given up hope until the tide changed and the harbour came to life.

Our saving grace were a few snapper pulled from 2 meters of water on fresh fly caught Kahawai. Just as I was considering throwing them a fly the bite dropped off and we had to leave. I’m going to be getting into this more as I can see the potential excitement of this type of fishing. Just need the gods to be good and we’ll be hooked up in no time.

Hooked up aboard the good ship Disco Volante

Worthy for bait

This week is bollocks on the weather front. Unless you like standing at a river mouth on a dark stormy night, which is exactly what I intend to do tomorrow. I hope to have more pictures and stories to tell for the next installment.

Cheers

Lucas


Lucas Allen – Late Summer Missions

Hello again, sorry for the absence.

Well I figured after many quick after work fishing trips there must be something worth reporting on by now. To be honest, I’m still in a state of shock and am still found reminiscing about the good ol saltfly trip we did a few weeks back (click here incase you haven’t read it yet). It seems there’s another saltfly trip brewing but we won’t go there just yet…

My latest forays have been somewhat quick and almost rushed. With all the weather situations (bombs) that we are experiencing this summer the options to go trouting have been limited for me. Don’t get me wrong though, I’ve had my share and what lies beneath is a sum up for February.

The start of the month was frantic with family and weddings although I did sneak a trip into the Ngongotaha after hearing so many Cicadas I couldn’t control myself. What I found was a load of scrappy little rainbows that seemed to climb all over most offerings, except the Cicada pattern, go figure! There were a few heart stopping moments as they came up for a look only to then snap at the dropper.

There were a few decent browns basking in the calm waters and this one was kind enough to let me crane style cast a big Royal Wulff right onto its schnoz. It sat there for a long time just staring while I repeatedly told it to eat my fly. A change to a black wooly bugger saw it snap out in fury, the fly bouncing off its lips and frustrating the crap out of me.

After the Sister in laws wedding I ended up in Tauranga with the boys for our saltfly trip. It was bloody fantastic. I may have commented that trout fishing was dull in comparison, sorry I got a little carried away. Watching Alex pack himself and reassuring him enough to cast at some hungry sharks was priceless. There is video footage out there, it just needs voicing over to remove cuss words and girly squeals.

Back to the local waters I ventured to the Mangatutu one rainy (surprise) evening with a new found fisho. Matt and I had been promising each other a trip and finally we connected. There must have been some serious karma stacked up between us because we had a ball. Fish just seemed to throw themselves at us, all within plain sight of the truck. The rain and rising river had the trout feeding hard and it didn’t seem to matter what we did.

Which brings us to Tuesday just gone. I repaid the driving duties by taking us over to Rotorua and showed Matt a few spots that have done ok for me lately. Sure enough we saw good fish within a few minutes and did our best to disrupt them from their activities. They were super spooky and hard to hook, either bolting off to alert their mates or lying doggo with mouths firmly shut.

Finally on our way back to the car we managed a feisty little brown on the dry that had a death wish. The big’uns stayed deep in the pool and dispersed once the little fulla tore the place up. You’ll have to believe me Matt was holding a fish, it just pulled the ghosty real quick when the camera came out.Since then I’ve read a report stating there are massive browns cruising where we fished that night. Given the full moon pattern and still night we blanked but have dedicated a night very soon to go have another crack, can’t wait.

With all the weather halting some plans I have spent time at the bench and have a few flies to show for my troubles. Some reworked, some new ones and also restocking the classics. I’m certain to give them all a going over in the next few weeks.

That’s about it for now. While finishing this blog I saw a clip on Nightline with William Trubridge campaigning for the Hectors Dolphin, looks pretty interesting. Wonder how they’d go on the fly, just kidding.


Andrew Hearne – Always take the weather with you… we always seem too!

Last weekend Rob came down from Wellington for some fishing with Jack and I. We had the plan sorted… and then it rained. A lot!

Despite the weather, we still went fishing. It just meant we had to travel further than we wanted to, a lot further as it turned out.

It seemed appropriate that most of the pictures were taken in black and white. It matches the doom and gloom that followed us wherever we went for the three days…

The first day was spent on a river which was very high, but usually remains reasonably fishable after even very heavy rain. There wasn’t a lot of photography taking place that day though, the rain kept coming on and off throughout the day. The camera was tucked away safely for most of the time… except for when Rob caught a fish.

That was all for the day as far as it went for fish on the bank. They were tough to find in the conditions, but at least it was a start.

That evening we headed off in search of cleaner water. After nearly a couple of hours we eventually found some. We arranged accomodation for the night, and headed off to the pub for some sustenance by way of steak sandwiches, burgers, and beer.

That night I slept pretty well, as did the other boys I believe. I’m not so sure about our Mexican friend who was unfortunate enough to have to share the room with us that night… the snoring might possibly have been a bit much for him to handle.

The next day dawned reasonably fine, although it quickly clouded over. It seemed like whatever we did to avoid bad weather, it was going to find us anyway. It wasn’t looking flash as we headed for the river. We arrived to an empty carpark and as we started getting ready patches of blue sky began to show through the cloud cover. It looked far better than before, but we resigned ourselves to the fact the weather might change a bit during the day.

The river had a touch of colour in it, but it wasn’t really a problem. We were reasonably confident we could find fish.

Jack found a fish, and after a couple of fly changes it took his nymph. Unfortunately it didn’t stay on for long… it spat the hook pretty quick.

Rob was next in the batting order.

It didn’t take long for him to connect with a fish.

This one stayed on.

It looked like it had been on the lean cuisine diet for a wee while, but at least it was a fish caught.

After that we walked for a bit without seeing much, then I found a fish holding in a small bit of pocket water against a solid bank. I managed to put a fly in front of it and it took, but like Jack’s fish it came off pretty quickly.

At this point in the day, it was almost threatening sunshine.

Not far upstream from here we split up for a bit. Jack took one side of the river while I went on the other side with Rob. It turned out that jack was on the wrong side!

If you have a close look at my right hand, you’ll appreciate that catching this fish was a bit harder than usual. I broke my middle finger right down near the knuckle three days earlier. Casting wasn’t very much fun… but where there is a will there is definitely a way!

Soon after that we found another one which Rob fished to. It was on the move, but as soon as it saw the fly it accepted nicely.

We carried on for quite a while after that, but didn’t manage to land any more fish for the day.

It was a decent walk back to the car, but not as bad as some of our past hikes to the car. We ate and drank at the same place as the evening before, and stayed another night. The Mexican dude was gone when we arrived back, I hope he didn’t leave because of us…

The next day we opted for a smaller piece of water. For whatever reason though, the fish weren’t willing to co-operate, and we blanked. We didn’t even look like getting a fish that day, but it was a day out nontheless…

Not long after lunch we had to pack up and head back to Christchurch so Rob could make his flight back to Wellington. It’s a shame the trip was a bit of a fizzer as far as the weather and fishing went, but we still managed to have a few laughs and made the most of a crap situation. Cheers guys…


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…………………….


Andrew Hearne – The final fling.

Day three… time for the final countdown.

We woke up pretty early in the morning, too early in fact.

I hated it, but Superchrist hated it more.

The plan was to up sticks early and get to where we needed to be before someone else got there. The plan was a good one, because we had only been parked for about two minutes before another vehicle loaded with anglers arrived at our access point. They did a gangsta slow drive by before parking up and tearing off upstream in double quick time.

It was pretty fresh that morning. We got sorted pretty smartly, wrote a not with our intentions for the windscreen, and away we went downstream. The plan was for Chris and Jeremy to fish upstream from a confluence stream, with Rodney and I walking about an hour further and fishing back up.

We walked reasonably quickly to the confluence stream, partly to keep warm, and partly because we were keen to get started. Unfortunately there was a wee surprise in store for us when we arrived at the confluence…

It was blown to bits. There had obviously been a small pocket of bad weather somewhere which had exploded into the top end of the tributary. That stuffed the plan to walk further downstream… we would have to fish together for the day.

As you can see, there was quite a contrast between one stream and the other.

Not to be deterred at all, we pushed forward. It wasn’t all that long before Chris was casting to a fish. He asked Rodney and i how far away it was, and from where we stood it looked quite far, so that is what we relayed. It turns out the fish wasn’t actually as far away as we said it was. Oopsy, sorry Chris! Anyway, it didn’t matter because Chris put a hook through its head anyway.

Its a beautiful thing isn’t it.

Jeremy sat in the grass watching the world go by for a while.

I just wandered around with my pet bug.

Jeremy must have been onto something just sitting in the grass for all that time, because as soon as he went back to the water he dragged a fish out. He is making a real habit of this.

Superchrist and I decided to try some of what Jeremy was doing. we must have been doing it wrong though, because all that happened was Jeremy caught another fish.

And it was a good one too…

Soon after that I had a go at a fish. It came up and took my humpy dry fly on the first cast, I waited… waited… and struck. No resistance at all. I was wild. I said some of my best fishing language and threw my rod like a javelin into the grass. Meanwhile Superchrist was laughing like a demented hyena in the grass behind me and doing his best to wind me up even more.

We went past a few more which we didn’t catch for one reason or another, and soon enough it was my turn to fish again.

By now it had warmed up considerably and the light was getting a bit better. Chris and Jeremy spotted one close to our bank which Rodney and I couldn’t see from our position. I got into the water to cast at the fish and Rodney started sledging me from his position on the bank.

..

Being the mature person that I am, I ignored his taunts and just focussed on the task at hand. First I tried a parachute, and the fish followed it a long way before refusing it. The next thing I tried was a psychadelic cicada imitation. I plopped it about a metre wide of the fish and it went right for it.

This time when it took I struck and felt solid weight on the line. I think I even let out a bit of noise indicating my happiness at the time.

As you can tell, Rodney was really helpful while I played the fish. The sledging continued for most of it.

And here it is. How do you like my fishnet stocking?

Pretty much straight away after that we found another one for Rodney Rude to fish to. I thought he needed to cool down a bit, so I made sure I splashed some water over him just before he cast.

It must have been magic water or something, becasue he hooked the fish…

And landed it too!

He was so happy he had to pash the fish before he put it back.

It was a boy fish…

Then it was time for Chris to cash in on the mid afternoon feeding activity. After refusals on about three different patterns, a blowfly did the job.

This one was pretty chunky.

We were so happy for Chris that we all started to dance on the bank.

That was the end of the fishing really. We saw a few more, but they were acting far differently from the other fish we had seen that day.

We arrived back to the vehicle to find an anonymous note expressing the disappointment of other anglers. I guess you just need to get to the river early if you want first dibs on a stretch for the day.

That night we returned to Queenstown and demolished some of the finest local cuisine (Fergburger!) If you haven’t had it… just get there!

That was that. The boys trip south 2012 was over and out. It was a great three days of fishing with some good boys, we had plenty of laughs and caught some pretty good fish along the way. I’m back at work now for a few days, but we’ve got another wee plan cooking for the next week or so.

I can’t wait.


Andrew Hearne – Happy days are here again! The first day of three…

As I mentioned, I had a few days fishing in the South… it was a great trip.

This time there were four of us. There were a few cameras flying around for the duration of the trip, and as a result the images used here are a mixture of those taken by all involved. It took a while at the end to sort out what was what and make sure everyone had a copy of all the pictures.

First of all we had Lionel, aka Rodney McSuperchrist,  you may or may not recognise him from previous appearances. Then there was Jeremy, whom I have been meaning to fish with for a while now, and I believe has also made an appearance in one or two of Jack’s past reports. Obviously I was there too… and last but not least we had Chris. He’s a pretty well known angler and guide, but more importantly – he’s the local guy with all the knowledge!

I was already in Queenstown before the others got there. Sunday night saw the arrival of Jeremy first, followed by a quick trip to the supermarket for supplies. Lionel eventually turned up and we all made our way to Chris’ place for the night.

Early the next morning… business time!

Just like the saying goes, pictures say more than words. Because I have so many images at my disposal I decided to ease up on the writing part and let you see for yourself how it all unfolded. Here goes nothing.

The first day had a slightly cloudy beginning, but it didn’t take too long for the sun to begin poking through.

Once the sun was on the water we started to see fish reasonably easily.

I found one hard against our bank and Jeremy went to work.

And it worked well…

With the first one out of the way we continued along our merry way. There was plenty of banter to keep things interesting.

Another fish was found sooon after Jeremy released his one and it was time for Superfly to wield his wand.

He didn’t disappoint. He hooked up first cast.

He even landed it successfully…

So far so good. The day was looking rather promising.

Then it was my turn. There were a couple of fish in here. The cicada I was using was inspected by a fish for a very long time before being refused, so I changed over to a parachute. Again it was inspected for what felt like forever, but this time the fish didn’t turn away and delicately sipped it in.

I hooked up, and after a decent tug of war the fish came in.

This fish went some way towards exorcising one of the demons from last season.

I can’t quite remember what was going on here, but there must have been a fish in there somewhere that I didn’t end up catching.

And here is Rodney pointing out a rock to Jeremy and I…

Chris had a turn next and he hooked up on a nice fish.

Yep, Rodney does have two nets. I think he was planning the “Tango” slap netting method?

His technique worked, and Chris was victorious…

A pretty standard, solid fish from the river I believe.

After that Superchrist had another go and connected with a fish for quite a while, until it threw the hook near the net.

And then Jeremy…

But his one stayed stuck and came to the net.

I saw one against the near edge in the shallows, so I cut the nymph away and got right to it.

It very slowly took the first cast and I set the hook. I love this picture of the rod hooped over…

This was the fish of the day so far…

After a small quiet patch we came to a great looking piece of water. Rodney went close to another one but missed out. Jeremy offered me the chance at the next fish but I turned it down, the next thing you know he is hooked up again.

Superchrist was pretty helpful with this one.

I really should have taken him up on the offer!

This one overtook the title of fish of the day.

Soon after that we turned around and marched back to the vehicle. It had been a pretty long day and we were all very tired, but there was more to do yet. From there we drove for over an hour to our next destination. We arrived to find a less than friendly tramper in the hut and after we got set up it was time for dinner.

Superchrist only wanted beer for dinner, but we eventually talked him into having a feed of steak and pasta with us.

That was the first day of three. That night we slept well in the comfort of the hut and woke at a more reasonable hour the next morning for day two. I’ll try to get that report up ASAP…I’m just waiting on a few more pictures.

Watch this space…


Andrew Hearne – Big Sky Country, and the Rainbow Connection.

I haven’t put much up here lately, mainly because I haven’t been out much. I was at work the other day and a guy by the name of “Big Paws Hensley” asked me when I would be putting up another report, I assured him I would get one done as soon as I could. (He’s a big man and I don’t want to make him angry)

So here goes nothing…

After what seemed like forever, I finally had a few days available to get out for a fish. There was only one problem… it was blowing gale force almost everywhere. The forecast was for it to remain that way for a couple of days, so I decided to wait it out.

After three days of sitting at home the weather was finally settled enough that I wouldn’t feel like snapping my rod across my knee. I summoned the ever available Shagger to accompany me on the trip, and I collected him at the horrific hour of 4am on the Monday, along with a mountain bike borrowed from Rodney McSuperchrist.

Once Shagger was on board it was straight to the nearest BP for some gas and the mandatory Wild Bean coffee. Then it was full steam ahead to destination #1, with Shagger entertaining me with his war stories the whole way.

It was worse than cold when we exited the car and mounted the bikes. It was close to freezing. Fortunately we warmed up reasonably quickly riding with full packs on.

It was a pretty misty, gloomy start to the day. We were hanging on the hope the sun would burn through by the time we started fishing, I’ve been to the valley a few times, and its pretty tough trying to find fish there in overcast conditions.

After a couple of hours slogging away we locked the bikes up and were ready to start fishing. Our wishes for better light had been granted and the valley was in full sunshine without any hint of wind. It didn’t take very long to find fish.

This fish responded immediately to a deer hair cicada. It is the smallest fish I’ve ever caught from the river, but it was a positive start to the day.

Shagger got onto another fish in the same run.

This one wasn’t huge either, but it pulled plenty of string. It nearly had Shagger’s backing through the top eye of the rod at one stage.

Soon after that I found a fish while walking along a high bank. Shagger was otherwise occupied at the time, so I crept down to river level and put the cicada over the fish. It responded the same way as the others had done, and we became attached at opposite ends of the line.

Shagger emerged from the bushes looking about two kilograms lighter and just in time to assist with a photo of my second victim.

The second smallest fish I’ve ever caught from the river.

After that another fish was spotted near the top of the same run, feeding nicely in shallow water against the near edge. I stayed put while Shagger moved into position behind the fish. At that point I realised I hadn’t captured many fish on video so far this season, so I set the camera up for the action that was to follow.

The fish came to the cicada on the second cast and Shagger hooked up. After a long tug of war he netted it safely downstream.

Soon after that we came to a run which seemed to be teeming with fish. They were literally only a few metres apart and all of them were feeding. Some of them spooked from being disturbed by others, but we spent quite a while at that run hooking and landing fish after fish.

This one must have been through some hard times… As you can see, it had a really munted head.

Shagger hooked and landed another nice fish which then pulled a Houdini act as we were setting up for the photo. (Becoming an all too common occurrence for the two of us)

After we finished reaping the riches of that piece of water we didn’t see anything for a while, until we came to another run which was long and wide, with a high bank on the true left. We stalked along the bank and found a fish holding tight against the edge over the brown rocks. It was hard to see, but it was there, and it looked to be larger than what we had caught so far.

It took a few attempts, but eventually the brownie lifted to the cicada and I set the hook. The fish got a bity stroppy at this point and used all the dirty tricks.

It took a fair bit of time and pressure, but eventually the fish was subdued to the point he could be netted.

It was bigger than the others, but had seen better days. He could use a Mac Attack or two to help him put on some condition. I might take one with me for him the next time I’m passing by. This one had a scuffed up head too for some reason?

It clouded over pretty quickly after that and spotting became very difficult. We found the odd fish, but more often than not they were being spooked as we got too close.

It wasn’t all bad though, it seemed that some fish were allowing us to get pretty close in the diminished light. The next fish caught was cast at from 90 degrees off a bank.

They weren’t as keen to come to the top by now, so a certain little nymph was atached as a dropper to do the job, and it worked well.

Things went quiet after that for quite some time, until right near the end of the day when the fish became active again, taking from the top. Unfortunately they were also a bit skitterish, and were quite easily spooked at this time. The light wasn’t helping much. The fish were all moving quite rapidly and it was hard to pinpoint their location until they broke the surface.

Only one more fish was taken that day. It was caught blind on that same nymph.

This one could also do with some Macca’s or something similar. It looked like it had been on the Jenny Craig diet for a while.

That was all for the day. It was time to retire for the night and we would fish again the next day before returning home.

Shagger was in charge of the cooking that night. He whipped up a couple of “Back Country Cuisine” meals. It was my first experience of these, and lets just say they’ve got nothing on steak and pasta. But it was a feed nontheless, and I was grateful that Shagger went to the effort he did.

Sleep came easily that night, and I slept right through my alarm in the morning. I eventually woke up feeling a bit second hand from the previous days effort. We packed our gear up and set off for destination # 2.

The day was a good one. We had full sunshine and there was bugger all wind.

Once we started fishing it didn’t take long to find a fish. Shagger did a splendid job of fooling the fish with both nymph and dry fly on the same cast, and landed it after a good scrap.

There he goes…

That was a decent start. We continued on our way, spooking a couple of fish in the process of trying to catch them. We approached a deep pool which looked for all money like it would hold something, and sure enough it did. The thing is we only saw it when we were virtually standing over it. The combination of the water depth, light, and the paleness of the fish meant it was tough to see until you got really close to it.

The fish darted out into the curent, and I thought I had spooked it – until it returned and repeated the action. This one was very deep down, but it just so happens I have a few patterns in one of my boxes which were tied with this very situation in mind.

Shagger watched in disbelief as I attached the biggest, baddest nymph in my fly box to my tippet. I was riding bareback so to speak… (To coin a phrase from a certain well known angler who may or may not have appeared here on the Riverworks blog in the past) There was no point attaching an indicator to this rig. I wouldn’t describe it as casting, but whatever it was I did I managed to get the nymph in the water and in front of the fish. I saw it shoot sideways and when I lifted I felt that satisfying thud that only a fish can provide.

It was on for all money from that point onwards. The fish went deep and long – fast. I leant on it as hard as I dared and after a while I had the fish in a position where Shagger could trap it with the net.

This was hands down my favourite fish for the two days.

We continued upstream for a while after that without success. Shagger had a take but missed out, and that was about it. We turned around and headed for home.

The fish Shagger missed was back in place. He had taken his fly off at that point, so I cast to it with the biggest, baddest nymph. It spooked. However, there was another one in the run, over the other side of the river and downstream from where the first one held.

I launched the big bad nymph over to the fish, taking as much care as I could not to;

  1. Break my rod
  2. Knock myself out
  3. Knock Shagger out

Fortunately for all involved I managed to avoid all three of these things, and as a bonus I even placed the fly in front of the fish!

It was still operation bareback at this point, and we both watched in eager anticipation as the fish swung to intercept its prey. As it straightened up I lifted the rod in perfect harmony with Shaggers call of “Yup!”

This one fought hard too, but not quite hard enough.

A nice bonus on the way home.

We came across a couple of guys on the way back down the river. They hadn’t had much luck… they probably didn’t expect the river to have been fished already that day. We talked to them for a few minutes before continuing downstream.

We got to one of the runs where we had spooked a fish earlier in the morning, and I was surprised to see it was back. Shagger took my rod and tried a couple of nymphs over it before it appeared to spook. At that point he pulled the pin and gave me back my rod.

I watched as the fish returned to its spot, and I muttered under my breath as i began stripping line from the reel. I had a feeling about this one for some reason.

I cast over the fish, this time with a different nymph from the one I had caught the other fish on. Again we watched aas the fish swung to the right and again I lifted into solid resistance. Shagger said some of his special unkind words to me while I fought valiantly against my fishy foe. I wasn’t feeling the love.

Shagger soon softened and netted my fish, despite his explicit statement that he would neither net or photograph it for me.

We were both surprised and disgusted as the fish lay in the bottom of the net with something emerging from its vent. I still don’t know what it was…

Whatever it was, it got caught on the mesh and the remainder emerged from the fish.

It must have been welcome relief to get that one out. I’m pleased we used Shaggers net on this occasion too!

I guess it must have been a small fish, or eel or something? Whatever it was – it was disgusting.

That was the end of that. We high tailed it to the packs, and then the bikes after that. It was a horrible experience getting to the car, it took forever and I even crashed off my bike… falling from a bike isn’t too flash with a full pack on either. Not to worry, no harm done.

And the special nymph… the biggest, baddest nymph in town. If there is enough interest then I will reveal the identity of this creation, otherwise it can remain anonymous. If you’re keen to see it, then post a comment. If I get 10 or more requests, you’ll see the fly.

Anyhow, that is all for now. I’m heading south in the next few days, hopefully I’ll have something to report once I’m back.


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!


Lucas Allen – 4 divided into 6 = 0.6666667

Say what? I’ll explain soon.

Over the last few days I’ve been MIA with my Dad in the central North Island. We had a few rivers to go searching and had made the proper arrangements to gain access into some highly regarded water. As it turns out my Grandfather and him occasionally frequented these areas many moons back.

Dad trying his luck

So after getting to Taupo on Wednesday I promptly went straight to the Waitahanui lower reaches for a look at some XXL Browns. As thought they were in there and they were not interested, it takes some luck and constant drifts to get them to even sniff a fly. I felt I was fulfilling my duties as a “guardian” to them. As Andrew Christmas wisely said in a recent report, “some anglers or locals may think I’m mad giving away information like this but with anglers on the rivers these fish will stay safer than if the river was left quiet for a few days….if you get my drift”. The number is 0800 POACHING by the way.

The smaller of 2

Thursday dawned fairly fine but as we got deeper into the National Park the cloud cover thickened, not ideal for spotting fish. We looked at a few areas on our river of choice, only seeing one rise and a small fish. Something didn’t feel right as we’d tried most methods, areas and flies with nothing coming our way. I’m sure to go back though as now I have unfinished business.

We pushed on and made our way to Owhango to sort some accommodation for the night, the pub there is as rural as it gets and well worth staying at. After a quick feed of burgers we went to the nearby section of the Whakapapa for an evening fish. Once we’d found a spot to fish we sat down and observed the pool for a bit. Soon enough I had my favourite fly combo working the edge of the current near the head of the pool. It only took a couple of drifts to see the dry disappear and everything come up tight. A short dogged battle and a nice looking brown was to the net.

This continued for the next 40 minutes with 3 more fish succumbing to the dry/dropper. One greedy fish even had both flies embedded in it’s mouth! The fish had started rising and made for some good fun as it got darker.

Quick release

See you later

The next day we’d decided to have a look around some smaller rivers nearby. Apparently they hold sparse amounts of large fish but we never saw any despite our best efforts, another stream that I will explore more in depth.

Good looking water

Next port of call was the infamous Big O to see if it was going to give up any monsters. Apart from the 2 junior Trout I caught it produced a muddy, sore arse and a broken rod! Yep, turns out 4 divided into 6 is 0.6666667. A deceptive, sloping patch of mud took my feet out from under me quicker than I could react and the rod was bitch-slapped on the water. I had a bad feeling about the tip section after a tungsten bead came flying back from a tree and sconed it a few trips back, not a nice sound. Thankfully we’d packed a spare, although it was an absolute dog.

A "beast" caught on "The Beast"

After all that debacle and not hearing many positive reports from campers we left and made our way to Grace Rd on the Tongariro. We saw more fish in the allotted hour than we’d seen in 2 days. Some of these were big and one or 2 were freaking huge! If only it was near on dark and they had come on the feed…

All up it was a good trip into some great country with me ol’ mate. If only the fish had been a little more obliging.

This week is my last week off so I’m hoping to get out for one last day of freedom,  I’m thinking Rotorua needs some attention. Not to mention a couple of days up at the tip of Coromandel this weekend, almost forgot about that. Oh, and the trip from ‘Nam is fast approaching, watch this space.

 


Andrew Hearne – Not much doing.

Not much has been happening for me lately. I’ve had a couple of half assed days out on the water, but that’s about as far as it goes.

These fish are my most recent. They didn’t come easliy! They were caught on separate days, both were taken on a cicada.

 

 

I really nailed the self timer shot on this one didn’t I !

This fish was one of three I saw in the pool. The only three fish I saw in the river all day. It inspected the cicada for a long time before slowly breaking the surface and inhaling the fly. Once hooked it went absolutely ballistic and scared everything else in the pool. Never mind, it made the day.

I’m looking forward to seeing what Jack is able to conjure up from his three day trip. In the mean time, I’m off fishing tomorrow. The plan is to stay out for a couple of days and do some exploring. Here’s hoping for some reasonable weather, and fishing!