What follows is a list of my favourite fish from the season. Not necessarily the biggest or the prettiest, but the most satisfying for one reason or another. In fact it has surprised me while constructing this list how many of the bigger fish have been left off. They’re certainly satisfying and look great in photos. But these are the fish I’ll remember.
5) Kicking off the list was a very solid rainbow taken on a tough day. To be honest any one of a number of fish could have filled this spot. The fish were feeding selectively on swimming mayflies and couldn’t be tempted by anything else. Once hooked this fish proceeded to take me for the ride of my life through the pool. There aren’t many stronger fish in the rivers than a football shaped rainbow.
4) This was a brown taken blind in a small stream. It was a strong fish and good looking to boot. Andrew snapped a great shot of it.
3) This fish was an unlikely conquest. Al and I left home at midday and rocked up to the river feeling relaxed. In a riffle at the tailout of the run I spotted a smudge moving upstream. I figure I had spooked it, but covered it anyway. It was with more than a little surprise that I watched a snout poke out of the water to take my klinkhammer. What followed was a very determined fight from a fit fish. Eventually Al secured it in the net and proceeded to snap a photo with a Canon P+S camera from the 1980s that he’d acquired for $2 that morning.
2) I was tossing up between these last two. My number two was also my biggest fish for the season, and my biggest rainbow ever by over a pound. It was a seriously good fish taken in atrocious conditions. It fought hard, if unspectacularly and I was unbelievably pleased to have caught it.
1)But my number 1 had the whole package. It was the total experience. Andrew S and I set off after work and headed north. By the time we pulled up at the stream I’d had 1/2 dozen beers (don’t worry, he was driving) and was in a merry mood. The weather was superb so we donned our jandals and set out for a streamside stroll. The first few fish were spooked in glorious fashion…followed by more…and more. It wasn’t until we came to a bend in the stream and spotted a fish rising 20metres further up that our hope grew. I was on point, so assumed the position. I didn’t dare approach too much more given the behaviour of the previous fish so it was going to be a long cast. The alcohol settled the nerves and the cast was perfect. I thoroughly enjoy the casting side of fly fishing, so a fish caught with a special cast is always that little bit more valuable to me. It’s vividly seared in my mind the sight of the golden fish rising vertically to intercept my fly. As I set the hook it absolutely erupted, tearing off upstream at some pace. In the water it had looked like a nice fish, maybe around 4lbs. After an absurdly strong fight, during which the pitfalls of wearing jandals fishing became apparent to Andrew and I (Andrew, I believe, still has the scars to prove it), a rather bigger than expected fish came to the net. The whole experience of catching this fish was topped off by its appearance. It was short, but incredibly round and heavy. In absolutely perfect condition with substantial giraffe like spots dotting its body. For me it was the fish of the season and one of the most satisfying and enjoyable fish I’ve ever caught.
Just a quick one from me, in keeping with the duration of the trip.
Headed up country immediately after my Nana’s 80th birthday festivities drew to a close on Sunday. I had a special guest with me this time: dad.
After sorting out the lodgings we quickly hit the river, although the first hour or two was rather fruitless with few fish seen. As the light diminished the fishing increased. Things took a definite turn for the better when we came across a deep corner pool riddled with snags. At the head holding high in the column just off the lip was a golden shape. For the briefest moment I thought it was just another log, except logs don’t rise. I shimmied into position and put the perfect cast over it with a #14 parachute adams. And…nothing. And again…nothing. The third was slightly wayward, and met with similar determined resistance. A change of tactics was called for. Off with the dainty mayfly, on with a big ugly terrestrial. It only took one cast. A determined, if unspectacular, fight ensued with the most effort exerted keeping the fish from the countless snags. After a couple of dashes from the shallows the battle concluded with a stonking brown safely in the net.
A reason to smile.
I’m far from an elitist, but I’ll always value a fish on the dry just a little bit more.
The next wee while saw a few fish sighted, usually too late. Dad was unlucky not to rise a couple of fish that he covered well. Finally, with darkness well on its way we approached another corner pool with more than one impediment to casting. Dad opted out, so there I was standing up to my neck in grass watching (well really listening to) a fish rise just feet away. It was almost dapping, but it sure brought about results. This time the #14 para adams certainly wasn’t rejected. What the previous fight lacked in spectacle this one more than made up for in aerobatics. I think the fish spent more time in the air than the water. But the trusty #5 absorbed it all and the fish soon succumbed to the constant pressure.
Another superbly conditioned brown.
After that we retired for the night, got a filthy feed of chinese takeaways and returned to our room where we were embraced wholeheartedly by cold beer.
The next day saw an early start, which turned out to be well worthwhile as not 5 minutes after we started we noticed another angler 100 metres or so downstream of us. On about the fifth cast of the day Dad caught the fish of the day. In fact, barring one small model I picked up, it was the only fish of the day. It rose confidently to eat his cicada and burst downstream as soon as it felt the bite of steel. I had to employ some boot camp tactics to get dad chasing it as at one point there was over 30 metres of backing out. I’ve seen fish fight harder than this, but I’ve never seen them fight so one dimensionally. It just swam in one direction, downstream, for the duration of the fight. Once we’d caught up to it the netting was practically a formality.
Dad once again demonstrates his propensity to make 4lb fish look tiny.
This proved to be the only real highlight in what was otherwise a very quiet day. The trip home was interrupted only by a brief stop for kebabs and a briefer stop for coffee. Great to get out on the water with dad and catch a few fish!
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!
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.
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!
Spent a day a couple of weeks back pottering around the Wellington backcountry with local guide Andrew Harding (www.brown-trout.co.nz). I’ve gotta say that I was immensely impressed with his knowledge of the area and would have no hesitation in recommending him if you’re looking for a guide in the lower North Island.
An early start and a long drive saw us heading for a remote wee stream in the backblocks. A decent walk delivered us to the good water. I’d barely begun prospecting up a run when Andrew mentioned that he may have seen a trout rise out of the corner of his eye. First cast over this area with a big rubber legged cicada saw a slow and deliberate rise from a good brownie. I hadn’t expected the action to be quite so instantaneous.
He immediately sought refuge under the toetoe, however some pretty serious pressure had him turned. After the initial spirited burst it was a foregone conclusion. Taking him downstream to an area of shallow gravel the fish allowed itself to be led into the waiting net.
A beautifully spotted brownie. It was my best North Island brownie this season, and was more than enough to make my day.
As is often the case after a promising start, the remainder of the day failed to deliver. We covered a lot of ground and saw several more fish, but none were actively feeding. Still, with a good fish in the bank I was happy just exploring new water. We concluded the day with pies and energy drinks at a dairy on the way home.
Sorry I’ve been so slack with posting, unfortunately due to a rather irritating need to make money I’ve been working not fishing lately. Here’s a quick report from about a month back.
Having been couped up in work hearing about all the fantastic fishing everyone had been having I just needed to get out. It was a 2.5 hour drive and a 1 hour walk before I finally got my line wet. It wasn’t long before I hooked my first fish, a spritely bow of about a pound. However, as was to be the case with the majority of fish that day, it didn’t make it to the net. I’ve never had quite such a poor conversion rate. I think I probably hooked about 25 fish, landing just 9 of them. Running out of tippet and being forced to use a rather too old spare spool probably didn’t help.
Still I managed a few good fish. Nothing too big, just really fit rainbows. There was a roughly even split between double tungsten deep nymphing and free rising bow’s taken on a soft hackled emerger. Anyway, here are a couple of pictures from the day…
The view I awoke to…
There’s nothing quite like an enormous pool chocka full of free rising rainbows…
One taken on the walk back…
The flies that did the damage…
I’ve spent the last two weeks down south in Wanaka and Lumsden trying to get out fishing. The weather was somewhat against me and there were more wasted days than successful ones. There were a few good days in there though, mostly because of the top blokes I fished with rather than the fishing itself. That report’ll be up in a week or so.
Hope you’re all getting out there and catching a few!
No…this isn’t THE report. I’m still getting round to that. But don’t worry, the first installment will be out in a few days time.
I’d had a thoroughly frustrating day today, managing to blank on two of my favourite streams (one of them did not even contain a fish, although it did have huge bulldozer tracks directly up the river bank). So I jumped at the opportunity to get out with Andrew, a gun saltfly fisherman, on his boat. Today’s report comes in a totally different medium…. So sit back and enjoy the music of Joe Bonamassa while watching a couple of plonkers catch some fish…
Alex and I have just been out for a quick flick in the harbour…