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Andrew Hearne – Its not about the fish.

Well we went fishing again this week… twice.

Tuesday was pretty tough going, with most of the fish we found not really willing to play our game.

The weather forecast for today was looking pretty good, so we decided to have another go, and hopefully maker a better job of things.

It isn’t always about the fish though, all I really wanted was a good day out. As it turned out, it was a pretty fun day on the river.

As usual, the weather wasn’t quite as good as it could have been… it was a bit grey all over, but at least it wasn’t windy.

 

It wasn’t all that long and Jack found a fish against our bank. It took a couple of casts, but the fish played ball.

 

That’s a pretty good bend in the rod. This fish went hell for leather from the beginning.

A pretty good start to the day really.

We carried on up and I hooked one myself, which also went hell for leather… unfortunately my disability prevented me from landing the fish. Yup, my busted finger got in the way and became tangled in the line and the fish broke me off. It continued jumping for quite a while afterwards, obviously it wasn’t all that keen on the new addition to its face.

I didn’t let that speedbump get me down, I found another fish. Just as I was casting to it another one came down towards me so I redirected and put the fly in front of it. As it got near I lifted the fly off the bottom and the fish swam onto it and opened its gob right up. I struck, and it was game on again.

I quickly suggested to jack he might want to be on my side of the river to fish for the other one, which, coincidentally looked to be about twice the size of the one I had on the end of my line. I kindly hung on to my fish for dear life while jack made his way over… my fly line got tied around some bushes during the fight, so even if I wanted to let the fish take line I wouldn’t have been able to. How my rod didn’t snap in half I’ll never know…

I landed it on a small clump of dirt, not ideal really but it was the best I could do. It wasn’t a great location for a photo either.

The big boy must have been a bit stirred up from all the commotion, because he took off pretty quickly when we made our way up to him. Not to worry, we’ll find him again.

At one point we had to negotiate a bit of matagouri bush, which involved climbing halfway up the side of a rather large hill. At some point along the side of the hill Jack found a fish in the water, and since I was closest, he nominated me to climb down and smash through the bushes to try and catch it.

I did catch it. However, it looked way bigger from up on the hill. It was a nice enough little brownie, but didn’t quite warrant the effort required for a photo at that point.

I had yet another turn after that. By now the sun was trying to poke through the clouds, and the conditions were really good. I was fishing the eye of a nice pool when I hooked a bohemoth of a rainbow.

Look at him, what a beauty!

I had to really show this fish who was the boss… I think it got the picture pretty quickly.

In the end I just let him away with a warning, and he swam free to think about what had just taken place.

Time for Jack to give it a crack.

He had to throw a long cast, virtually to the other side. He got it right straight away and was on again.

 

This really is a pretty cool place to be on a nice day.

This fish was a bit like a bat straight out of hell too, it took some beating.

 

We both hooked another rainbow each after that. They were of similar size to this one and they both got off. My one escaped just after I told Jack I would make it jump for the camera… and his one escaped just as quickly. The precise moment Jack’s one popped off, the wind went from non existent to about warp factor 3 in an instant.

We’d had our fun for the day, and it was time to go home…

 


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 – The very next day.

Following on from the last post… day two of three in the deep south.

It was a considerably slower start to the next day. It was a bit like coming out of a long hibernation instead of waking up from a night of sleeping.

Fortunately Chris has this fancy pants coffee plunger attachment to go with his jetboil thingee, and we were all fortunate to experience the revival that only a morning coffee can offer.

The conversation was thrilling first thing in the morning.

Lunch was packed up after that, the fishing gear was organised and we were on our way – nearly. First of all we needed to find somewhere to keep the beer cold until the end of the day. Jeremy was right on it.

We split the group in half for this day. Chris drew the short straw and had to go with super pooper, while I went with Jeremy. After we parted ways Jeremy and I walked for a while to our designated starting point. For the record, we were fishing one of the tributaries for the day.

It took a wee while, but finally a fish flashed in the current under Jeremy’s fly. It didn’t take on that drift, but the next presentation did the trick and the fish grabbed the fly. We were on the board for the day!

Numero uno.

I spent the next while experiencing some tough times, through a combination of misfortune and bad decision making. I missed a couple of takes because of poor line control in tough currents, and snapped off on a good fish when I tried to skull drag it in too soon.

Jeremy got this one fishing blind. It flew out of the water when he struck and landed on a rock… it must have knocked itself out for a bit because it floated upside down for a while. It didn’t seem to be permanently damaged though, it came to in my hand and swam away as strong as ever. Hopefully it recovered properly.

After what felt like forever, I finally caught a fish. It wasn’t this one by the way… it was a horrible thing. I was getting ready to cast at one midway through the pool when I spotted the degenerate fish in the tailout more or less at my feet. I flicked the cicada over the fish, basically dapping it… and the fish snared the fly with its third attempt. I think it just needed the first two to get its eye in.

Anyhow, after that I heaved a long cast into the belly of the pool where I saw some movement. Straight away the rainbow pictured came to the surface and ate the cicada imitation. I set the hook hard and the fish did its thing. Fortunately this one stuck.

At the top of the rapid feeding that pool was another nice run, and it had a couple of fish.

This is one of them. Jeremy got it on the gay white thing. (Its a cicada imitation of sorts)

A while later I had another opportunity. The fish was sitting in very shallow, slow moving water on the edge of the river. I put a parachute fly in front of it and it accepted straight away. It did a kind of fishy burnout / skid when it felt the hook and took off. Water was going everywhere.

It put up a good scrap, but relented with a bit of pressure and came in for a photo after a while.

Things slowed down for a bit, and the light became such that spotting was very difficult. We still found the fish, but is was much harder than before. I spotted one from a high bank and showed it to Jeremy, he went down into the water and managed to sneak into a position where he could see the fish. First cast with a green caddis hung under the gay white thing saw the fish grab the nymph and Jeremy was on again. This one put up a great scrap. It took some beating, but Jeremy was up to the task.

We’d agreed at the start of the day to meet where we split up at 6pm. By now it was around 5, and we were starting to find fish quite frequently. We decided to give it another 15 minutes.

I duffed another one soon after Jeremy’s fish. I cast my parachute fly up and it started dragging immediately, just under the surface. The fish snatched at the fly anyway, but I failed to connect with it. I got a bit grumpy for a few seconds at that point and let the world know how I felt.

Another one was found not far from that, and Jeremy again did what he had to and successfully landed another brown. It was now closer to 5:30 than 5:15… we still didn’t want to leave, so we didn’t.

We continued on upstream, reasoning that the others probably would have been late anyway, and they would figure we were ok and leave us to it. The last piece we came to had a couple of fish in it, and although they were feeding happily enough they were a bit on the fussy side.

I had two refusals from separate fish after very long and deliberate inspections. In the end I had to go old school and tied on a standard size 14 Greenwells Glory. It worked a treat too. The rainbow hit it like a sledge hammer and fought with the same degree of enthusiasm.

The fly was way down by the gill rakers on this one. He really wanted that fly bad.

It was then that Jeremy and I decided enough was enough and turned around. It was after 6, and if we didn’t stop there we would have gone on forever. It was a good walk back to the main track, and we were nearly back when we met Chris and the Lion King on the track. They were armed with binoculars and had come to see where we were. They told us if they couldn’t see us then they were going to drink all the beer themselves… how caring.

They had an interesting time on the section of river they fished. Chris caught a few, and Rodney had 10 takes without landing a single fish. He managed to smoke all of his cigarettes throughout the day too, so he was a happy man by the time we got to him.

That night Jeremy was on cooking duty again since he caught the biggest and most fish for the day. We just sat and watched as we drank our beer and chatted away to an Australian angler who had turned up in the hut during the day. He even gave Rodney a cigarette!

That was it for day two. Another great day out exploring new water.

The trip was nearly finished. Only one day to go.

The next instalment isn’t far away…


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.