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Posts tagged “Riverworks

Andrew Hearne – a short video clip from a trip to Southland

Another of our video clips…

I drove down to Wanaka just after New Years, and despite poor directions on where to find him – I eventually met up with Jack who was already there with his family.

It had been raining – a lot! There was water everywhere.

We looked around a few places the next day, before heading further south the day after that and meeting up with Chris Dore for a couple of days fishing. We caught a few fish, but mostly we just had a great time with lots of laughs.

And yes… my head did go completely under when I fell off the bank. Thanks Chris for getting that one on film.

We’ll go back this season for sure… hopefully it won’t have rained as much next time.

Enjoy the clip.m There are two more to go… they are the biggest and best!


Lucas Allen – The Mount

Hello fellow Fly fanatics.

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

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

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

Sparrows

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

Fat, scrappy Kahawai

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

Crossing swords!

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

Dinnertime

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

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

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


Jack Kos – Blog Exposure: The Limp Cobra

http://limpcobra.tumblr.com/

Check out this site from Marc Fauvet. Heaps of cool photos, videos and articles, all delivered with a pretty weird (in a good way) sense of humour!

I’ll be posting up another fly tying video once the bandwidth at my flat clicks into the next month (Four guys in a flat – I’ll let you make the assumptions as to where 40gbs goes).

Jack


Jack Kos – Need some fly tying inspiration these holidays?

Well check out <a href=”http://day-flies.blogspot.com/”>

Matt’s been tying and posting a picture of at least one fly every day for the past 57 days! There are some awesome flies on there with a heap of variety.


Andrew Hearne – Fishing with Perez.

As Jack has already mentioned. It’s been snowing here… there’s heaps of the stuff. It was another cold night at work last night.

You may already be aware that we met a couple of American guys on one of our trips away earlier this year. Lucas and Isaiah are their names. Lucas had to disappear back to the States a short time after we met the guys, but we stayed in touch with Isaiah and went out fishing a few times.

By the time we met, Isaiah had caught a couple of nice fish, in fact when I saw a picture of one of them I was distinctly jealous! However for the most part it had been a tough trip for our American friends because of the poor weather the country was subjected to in the first few weeks of this year.

We had a great time fishing with Isaiah, and we even managed some fish. I hope to see both him and Lucas back here in the not too distant future so we can really show them what New Zealand has to offer.

This video clip is of some of our time spent with Isaiah… we even got him wearing a Riverworks hoodie for his memorable moment!

Lucas… you left for home too soon my friend!


Andrew Hearne – Bits and bobs from October 2010

We’re getting into the teeth of Winter now… I’m really struggling with this cold.

Here is another of our video clips from last season. This is the remainder of October 2010, mostly pictures along with a bit of video.

You’ll notice Jack tearing away downstream after a fish at one point, there’s a reason you never see a picture of the fish. Be sure to ask Jack about it if you get the opportunity, let’s just say that it’s a subject he’s passionate about.

Enjoy!


Andrew & Jack – Second time lucky

October 2010. The day before Labour weekend.

We had been here a week earlier, but there was already a car in the carpark with a note saying they were fishing where we wanted to go, so we went elsewhere.

We came back, and this time were first on the water. It was a huge day, but it was well worth the effort.

Look out for a special guest appearance by Jacks GTC nymph at around 5:32 in the clip!


Andrew Hearne – The power of purple!

Don’t underestimate it!

Jack likes wearing it, I like fishing it.

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Earlier this year I was fishing with a mate Lionel. We walked about and hour and a half into our destination river, with a fair portion of the walk following a tributary.  As you can tell by the pictures, the conditions were less than ideal.

On the way in we found the tributary to be very high and milky. Not good, but we had come this far and decided to push on to the main river anyway in the hope that it would be fishable.

Along the way we miraculously saw a fish holding right against the near edge. In fact Jack had told me of this fish after seeing it there a week or two earlier.

Lionel set up his rod and climbed down to try and catch the fish. After several fly changes the fish eventually disappeared off into the milky torrent out of sight, and we carried on down to the main river.

Unfortunately the main river wasn’t a happening thing. If the light had been better we would have managed, but it was very overcast and we were both of the opinion that the better option would be to bug out and try to find some cleaner water nearby.

We came to where the fish was on the way down, and saw that it was back holding in it’s original position. This time I fished for it, after Lionel refused and threatened to throw a stone at it if I didn’t.

At first I tried a big terrestrial, followed by a few other nymphs and dry flies. None of which prompted a response.

Just as I was close to throwing a rock at the fish myself, I decided to try a purple double bunny I had tied a few months earlier. The bunny drifted past and the fish got angry. It looked for all money like the fish had just tried to kill my streamer, however it missed the target. The next drift produced a similar response from the fish, although a little more subdued.

At that point I changed to a black version of the same fly. No reaction. Changes to other streamers also proved to be unsuccessful. They got no reaction from this fish at all.

I decided that it was time for some purple power again. Once again, the first time the purple bunny went past the fish it tried to kill it. A couple more drifts with similar results and I decided to try a different approach.

I crept along the bank to a few metres upstream of where the fish held. I cast out into the current and let the bunny swing right in front of the fishes nose. It didn’t hesitate and absolutely smashed the purple creation that was invading it’s personal space. I was surprised to say the least, but I remembered to set the hook and after a very short battle Lionel lifted a net full of Brown Trout.

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A great fish caught against the odds

Neither of us could really believe what had just happened. I’d come very close to giving up on that fish on more than one occasion.

It just goes to show… you never really know.

The next video clip will be posted soon. Keep an eye out for it!


Andrew Hearne – one fine day

This is the second of our video clips from the past season.

I’d been for a look by myself a couple of weeks previous while jack was stuck doing exams, and I saw some nice fish. As soon as his exams were done we went back to see what we could sort out.

Happy days!


Andrew Hearne – Sometimes it rains.

This report is from a few weeks back.

Last November Jack and I bumped into Mike for the first time when we were on our trip. We were on our third day, walking into a river near Murchison. We had a chat with him for a bit, and he seemed like a decent bloke. Mike was on a mountain bike that day, and we were grateful when he offered to leave a lot of water to fish. He told us to let him know how we got on that day once we were back home, and we did. After a couple of emails back and forth he still seemed like a decent bloke, we agreed to meet up for a fish at some stage.

Fast forward a few months to mid April, after a few earthquakes and other false starts where either of us weren’t able to make it because of work or whatever other reason, we finally got to catch up for that fishing trip.

I finished work at 7am on the Thursday. I had about 3.5 hours sleep, quickly packed some gear into the car and headed to Nelson. After checking in with the family I went around to Mikes to catch up and find out what the plan was for the coming days.

The weather forecast was terrible, but we decided to go anyway. After all you won’t catch them sitting on the couch. (At least I don’t think you will)

The next morning was an early start. We packed up and were away, heading for what we hoped would be reasonable weather and clear water. An hour or so later the inflatable was loaded up and we were nearly there.

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That afternoon it rained steadily and  the river began to discolour as we fished the lower reaches. We found a few fish, which were unresponsive, before we met with an angler coming downstream who had already fished this section. After a brief chat we decided to head upstream for a while and look for fish which hadn’t been harrassed already that day.

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As luck would have it, we found some. There were at least three fish in the first run, but they weren’t going to come easy. After several fly changes I tricked one with a size 16 Coloboriscus nymph, which the fish took very slowly and deliberately. A good scrap followed and I landed a nice rainbow.

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It was great to get one on the board.

Mike hooked up on one in the same run shortly after, but unfortunately it snapped off. He had another take from a fish in the same run, but that didn’t stick either.

A couple of runs upstream Mike fished at another fish which took his soft hackle nymph delicately, but again didn’t connect. He was understandably frustrated. I persuaded him to tie on the dirty fly (Alex, you know this one) and try it on the fish, which was still there, although was no longer moving. To his surprise, it took the dirty fly. But adding to his frustration, it didn’t connect either.

Before we moved on, I wanted to try one last tactic. I hate leaving fish sitting there, so instead of throwing a rock at it I did the next best thing and tied on what can only be described as an abomination, which I bombed across the fish.

I’ve seen some special stuff with this fly, but this comes close to taking the cake. The fish turned and accelerated towards the abomination. The abomination got very close to the edge so I stopped stripping. The abomination just hung there in the slack water, and whack. The fish smashed it right at our feet. The pair of us looked at each other in disbelief, and I landed a nice looking brownie soon after.

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I never really expected to see that fish in my net, but it goes to show that you never really know. Anything is worth a try sometimes.

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It was time for us to disappear after that, the late season light was fading fast and we needed to get back to the hut for a feed.

The next morning we woke to a grey sky, and after a one square meal each for breakfast headed to where we’d stopped the previous evening. We arrived to clearer water than we had left, and saw a fish immediately to which Mike offered me first go.

I opted to cast from where I stood instead of crossing the cold river for fear of getting cold,  and the fish responded by chasing the fly halfway across the current and taking it. Unfortunately I only managed to hook up for a couple of seconds before the fish was free.

The next fish were feeding actively in slow moving water. I never looked like catching them.

It took a while to locate more fish after this, but we eventually came to a long run which Mike assured me usually held fish. By now it was raining hard, the water surface was very broken and much harder to see into than it had been. Looking carefully as we went, we found a fish feeding hard off the surface near the other side of the river. It looked like he was on emergers.

Mike crossed over, and the fish disappeared.

Just as Mike decided to come back over to my side I saw a nice looking fish just upstream from where I stood. I yelled out to him and he told me to have a go for it. I did as he requested and my line came up tight on the first cast.

The rain was too heavy for me to take the camera out, so we used Mikes waterproof one instead. It was so wet we couldn’t get the lens dry, so the picture isn’t as clear as usual.

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The fish was released and we returned upstream to near where it had been hooked.  We looked and saw the rising fish was back on the other side…

Mike didn’t bother to cross back over. Instead he offered it to me. I cast from where I stood, just like I did for the first fish of the morning. As soon as I got the cast in the right place the emerger – sipping rainbow charged across the river towards us in angry pursuit of my fly, and we were soon connected.

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This fish was all messed up inside it’s mouth. It looked like it had been fighting with other fish or something?

The day before we watched as two fish attacked each other and tumbled downstream locked together as they battled. It was impressive stuff to see.

We turned back soon after that because of the rapidly rising river. The plan was to go back to the run where we found fish late the previous day, because we knew it held fish and we wouldn’t have to cross the river in the event that it became too high.

Mike hooked a fish on a nymph, and lost it. Then he hooked another, this one he landed.

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There wasn’t much elation associated with this fish, it was more like relief.

After that it was a quick march back to the hut and back into the boat. We arrived at the truck just on dark and headed back to Nelson. It was great fishing with Mike, even if it rained for most of it. Next season we’ll try to do it again properly, and maybe even get some video footage. Fingers crossed for better weather!

Speaking of video, watch this space for the second of our video clips from the past season. I’ll post it in a few days time.


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.


Alex Broad – Closing day

I’ve been pretty slack this season.  I haven’t done any where near as much trout fishing as I’d hoped,  But I thought I might as well make an effort on the last day of the season.

Trout at the tail end of the season have always been a little hard for me, usually not interested in anything as they’ve got other things on their minds………..This time I had a special fly that Jack tied for me, not something to be showing your mates, it goes against everything traditionalists stand for.  I was confident I was gonna slay fish with it, after jack had told me several stories of how well this creation worked on the south island browns.  I tried it on closing day.  Jack, it spooks fish like nothing else, straight to plan B.

The day was awesome, no wind, bright and sunny, and the river was higher than usual but dropping and a beautiful clear emerald colour.  Last time we fished here we were second on water and it was impossible to catch a fish, this time we made sure we were the first there.

The first 2 fish wouldn’t have a bar of anything and both spooked on the second cast, the cast’s were good and presentation was good, I just guess some fish are much harder than others.

The next fish was sitting in a funny spot, Id seen him here before but never managed to get him to look at anything, my cast was a little off, but he moved a long way for the nymph, his mouth opened, his head turned and I came up tight, he fought hard in the fast water and I could feel my leader on rocks, I got the feeling he’s been through this before and knew a few tricks.  We managed to get him back into slack water and land him, a little slabby and scarred up quite badly, he still went a shade over 5lb.

Now it was Andrews turn.  Andrew has been taking me out on his boat saltwater fly fishing.  I found out he had never caught a brown trout before, so I was determined to pop that cherry.  We found one feeding deep, a couple drifts and no dice.  The fish started to become more active and started feeding the entire depth of the water column, we changed tactics and position to get a better drift and what do you know, before long Andrew was hooked up to a very active brownie who spent spent a lot of time in the air, Andrew was screaming like a school girl at a Justin Beiber gig.  After a good scrap I netted a nice brownie around 4lbs, Andrew was ecstatic to say the least, few grip and grin shots and he put him back for next year.

The next 2 fish behaved the same as the first 2, 2 casts and gone.  Then we spotted one feeding the width of the river, he was probably the most active fish Ive seen there, I guided Andrew into his location, as he false casted his nymph and indicator the fish came up and took a dry! he rose again and again, Andrew changed up his rig.  Andrews new dry and dropper combo did the trick after “several” good casts, and another good brownie of 4lb was netted.

That was the last fish spotted for the day, and what a day.  Andrew kept telling me it was his best days trout fishing yet.  I was happy to help get Andrew his first browns.  We couldn’t have asked for a better day really, maybe some bigger fish……….

I was testing a new prototype fly rod, an 8’6″ 5 weight, and what a honey of a rod!  I can’t wait for these to hit the market, my very expensive high end rod will be getting retired!  Keep an eye on the blog, we will keep you all updated with the design and testing of some new fly rods.


Russell Anderson – Back Country Fly Fishing


Alex Broad – Not fly fishing, but pretty sweet

I know its not fly fishing, but, I was recently invited out for a fish with local salt fly gun Andrew Marshall.

We were armed to the hilt with salt fly, jigging and trolling gear, unfortunately the weather didn’t allow for any salt flying, but we did get into some good Kingies on the jigs.

My first ever Kingie, around 11kg, not massive, but I was stoked to pop that cherry, the raw power of these fish is amazing!

Andrew landed a 15kg specimen, and another mate Brad got into a 23kg horse on some seriously light gear.

I dont imagine we’d have much luck trying to land these on fly rods, but we might be silly enough to try it one day…………………………

Andrew informs me there have been a few Albacore Tuna caught out wide, a great target for the fly rod, watch this space!


Alex Broad – Beetle Time!

Went out last night with a couple of mates from one of the local stores, these guys have been slaying a small Wellington stream this season, taunting me with tales of epic mayfly and caddis hatches.  I just had to see what they were on about, and it was a good excuse to dust off the 3wt.

First pool Joel pulled this out on his secret caddis fly.

Few pools further up we had all separated, I persevered with a random riser and pulled this wee fat jack out on a caddis imitation.

Further up Joel managed to be denied by a couple, lost a couple more and landed a wee fatty.  By this stage it was dark and I had a beetle buzz past my ear. We could hear a riser on the far bank, so tied on my mongrel Foam beetle.  A few casts later, after a loud sloppy rise and I had this on.

The beetles are on!


Alex Broad – Finally popped the rotovegas cherry

Recently I was coaxed into a bit of a roadie to see my grand parents up in Tauranga….there had to be some fishing involved somewhere………….

After doing the good grandson thing I left a day early to catch up with a good mate in rototua and hopefully manage to catch a fish or two.

Rotorua has alluded me in the past, I have never managed to catch a fish there, My fishing buddy Lucas is a bit of a tinny bugger and even if I copy exactly what he’s doing, he catches fish and I dont.

It was a super bright sunny day and we decided Te Wairoa stream mouth would probably be a good bet, we arrived and there were smelt everywhere! after a few hours casting and retrieving we hadn’t even had a touch, so moved down to the orchard, where I promtly spooked a good one cruising the drop off.  I got bored pretty quickly and went for a wee wander, soon after a good looking fish was chasing my fly just on the drop off, I saw the white of his mouth and struck, fish on!  Few minutes later a good rainbow was landed.  Needless to say I was stoked, finally after many attempts I popped the rotos cherry!


Rob Wilson – Wellington Salt Water Fly

Alex and I have just been out for a quick flick in the harbour…


Alex Broad – I know its a bit late but……

I finally got round to get this wee story sorted, The last few years I haven’t had an opening day mission.

However opening day 2010 was supposed to be an epic adventure with a couple of close mates.  In the Canterbury high country, expectations were high, planning was of epic proportions and then it rained, and rained and rained.

On day 1 we managed to find clear water in our plan B river, which produced a 5.5lb jack for Nik, the one and only fish for the day.  Another was hooked but we wont go there……………….

Day 2 and our original piece of water had cleared enough to fish, early on I managed to land this 6.75lb beaut after one of the hardest scraps Ive ever had, we ended up 200 odd meters downstream.

Late in the day Nik spotted a sitter in close to the bank, after several fly changes Jeremy hooked into this:

8lb of Canterbury high country brown.

While not quite an “epic adventure” still an excellent trip and great start to the season.


Rob Wilson – Big Brown Water

1st October comes round every year, this season I went South to fish the upper Wairau River on Rainbow and Molesworth Stations.

Driving up the Wairau Valley from Blenheim didn’t look promising, water everywhere and rivers were bank to bank in a deep chocolate colour.  We tried to push through to the hut on Thursday night, however flooded side creeks made the fords uncrossable. We stayed in St Arnaud on Thursday night while we waited for the Side Rivers to drop. Thanks to a little help from a local machine operator early Friday morning we made it through to the Sedgemere Sleep Out around lunch time.

The Wairau was still a write off, so after lunch we headed over to Fish Lake.  Plenty of good sized fish cruising along the edge of the lake however they were too cunning for us.  After fishing the sheltered edge of the lake it was time to chill out with cold beer out of the wind.  It’s a tough life!

The Wairau was still filthy on Saturday morning so we headed over to Lake Tennyson to fish the lake and upper Clarence River.  High flows and only a couple of km’s of high fishable water made it difficult.  We eventually retired to the lake to throw a few spinners, after an hour of bitterly cold wind we packed it in and headed back to the hut for a spot of shooting and dinner.

I’m looking forward to heading back to the upper Wairau once the weather is a little more settled.  Amazing country that you have to see to appreciate!


Jack Kos – Raging rivers and the first of the season

Open season mean’s crystal clear water, hot days and free rising browns, right? For some reason my mind tells me that even though September 30th might be crap weather, the 1st of October will be a perfect day; a combination of all of last seasons good memories (and none of the bad). It brings with it so much expectation and excitement that one can’t help but be slightly disappointed when virtually every river in the region is a complete write off.

Andrew and myself had plans to fish a small stream on Friday, we weren’t going to let the weather get in our way. An outrageously early start saw me dining on baked beans, toast, bacon and eggs at his place around 3:30am. The car ride flew by as we discussed plans for the season. Passing lowland rivers we saw that they were fairly dirty, but hey, the upper reaches will be fine. Except the water didn’t really get much clearer the further up the river system we went. Sure, each tributary we passed reduced the sediment a bit, but the flows were still enormous. Arriving at our intended destination we waited a few minutes till daybreak before heading out to look at the stream. We hadn’t gone more than 5 minutes before realising that further exploration was pointless; it was all but in flood!

Ah well, Andrew had (as he always does) a plan B. No cars in the car park, so we started the trek into the river. When we finally saw it the flow was high, but it wasn’t actually too dirty. We blind fished a few pools despite the fact that this river holds a very low population of large fish. A few kilometres further up the river Andrew spotted a fish in the run he was prospecting. The next thing I heard (I think everyone in the valley probably heard it too) was ‘Oh ****’. One seriously spooked fish scarpered pretty quickly after getting pricked. Heading further up the river we only saw one more fish, which Andrew covered. On the way back downstream he decided to swing a streamer back through this lie. When he was halfway through the pool I saw a bit of movement out of the corner of my eye. Big streamers tend to get a pretty strong reaction, but this fish simply swum slowly up behind it before engulfing it. Bang. Fish on. Andrew literally screamed like a small girl. He’s not really much of a winter fisherman, so it’d been a while between drinks.

A good bend in the rod

Big fish like big bites of protein.

A fantastic start to the season.

Sadly I didn’t manage one that day. Given the numbers in that stream I wouldn’t be surprised if I hadn’t covered a fish all day. Sure, I felt a little envious, but Andrew deserved it. Over winter he’s put a hell of a lot of effort into tying streamers and learning how to fish them for situations exactly like this. Even though I didn’t catch a fish it was still a supremely satisfying day. Getting out there on a day where everyone else probably stayed at home, using our heads and finding the only clean water in the region, and then finally catching a cracker brownie in tough conditions: a very challenging, but rewarding start to the season.

Having a 21st the night before doesn’t typically leave you in a great state to go fishing the next morning. I’d made plans to head out nice and early with Isaac, so I felt a bit bad sending him a text saying I would be an hour or so late picking him up. The rivers we had intended to fish were pretty much shafted, so we decided to do a wee bit of exploring close to home. To be honest, the only thing that really came from the day was that we were able to help out a guy who had gotten his car stuck.

Fancy a Land Rover pulling out a Toyota…

I gave Isaac a choice of heading into the hills that night and crashing in the car, or getting up at 4am the next morning. He chose a night in the car. After exploring the prospects for the next day we headed back to the camp-site, which I later dubbed the Hilton, for some kai. We ate like kings.

Big Mac ain’t got nothing on that.

The view from the campsite.

A good mate had once mentioned to me about these hot springs on the banks of a river, and after a fair bit of searching we found them. It was truly idyllic lying in scalding hot water on the sides of a river in heavy flow staring up at the stars. Very much befitting of a night spent at a Hilton.

The next morning saw us prospecting up the lower reaches of a fairly well known river. Isaac got a strike early on, but failed to hook up. Further up the stream we saw a nice fish feeding in a run. I believe I threw every single fly in my box at it over the course of an hour. Yet it simply continued to feed. Due to the currents in the pool I’m not actually convinced the fish saw my fly. However, it couldn’t help but see the 10cm long streamer I threw at it next.

Protein bars for trout.

The first fish of the season.

We headed further upstream and saw some fantastic water and a few more fish, but sadly couldn’t hook anything else.

Picture perfect pool

After getting bluffed we returned to the car for some refuelling.

Isaac really went to town on that orange.

On our way home we decided to have a flick in a very high and dirty river. I decided to go bling with my big gold beaded stonefly pattern (I’m actually quite taken with this pattern, so will probably post a picture of it at some stage) while Isaac was going to dredge the depths with his homemade 5wt shooting head. I think I’d made maybe 3 casts before I hooked a very well conditioned wee brownie.

Another brownie on a big gold beadhead.

After this Isaac got a few strikes and a couple of hookups, but sadly nothing stuck. It was a fairly tough day as far as the fishing went, but just so good to be out there again. I remember saying to someone before the weekend ‘Search out stable water. Some rivers fish better high. Big flies. Bling flies. Streamers.’ Turned out to be a bit prophetic really.

Heading out Wednesday and Friday with Andrew again in search of some big fish now that the open season jitters are behind us. How’d your opening weekend go? Leave a comment and let me know.