Monday, December 29, 2008

Back Country Browns

My 2 friends have just finished 3 days of fishing in NZ. It was there first time to fish here and it was a very steep learning curve. With only a few days vacation my friends needed to get their basic skills into action straight away. Strong fish, heavy water and slippery rocks were a big challenge for these 2 rookies. After some focused instruction, 3x tippet and some home tied flies finally they landed some good fish. This experience taught me a lot about the skills that are needed to be successful when fishing in NZ. Accurate casting, fly selection and tippet/knot quality are essential. Then the biggest skill of all, spotting the fish. Most anglers will miss those ghosty shadows hugging the rocks and walk past them. On a river that gets a lot of pressure these are the fish you are most likely to catch.

I am happy to say that this trip was a really nice experience for my friends and they were able to catch a few good fish. They were happy to stop fishing after 2-3 fish and relaxed, soaking up the atmosphere at every opportunity. After a tough walk with heavy packs these 2 were rewarded with some lucky events in a river with few fish.

Have a safe and enjoyable trip home. Please come back one day.

Thanks to Mr. Kato for the fly box and the Ishii Bro's for the hooks.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Mother Nature and the Art of Camoflauge.

After fishing I am sometimes surprised to find a small friend, who has hitched a ride home to my house. This fellow was on my hat and to me represents the best camo of all. At first I thought it was a stick, but something caught my eye. The shape was too perfect. After a few photos I released it back onto a Red Beech tree outside my house. I wonder what the adult looks like??


In the city now days you can easily find imported Japanese food. So I still like to enjoy the flavours that tantalized my taste buds when I lived in Japan. Here is my version of the Nabe. It's quite hard to get thinly sliced beef here. It's usually sold in large sized pieces. Vegetables are plentiful, but good Tofu is hard to find. Oh well this particular Nabe was really tasty. Yum!

Tell him he's Dreaming!

A bit over ambitious! I wanted a glory shot here , but surprise, surprise no fish. Super place.

Fishing with Dad and Ashley.

2 weeks ago Dad and Ashley came up from Christchurch for a weekend. We spent Saturday and Sunday fishing. Trying to think of where to go is sometimes a bit of a challenge when you are new to an area. We ended up trying out 2 new spots, the first was quite heavily covered in didymo weed which wasn't that pleasant. The fish were nervous, flighty and seemed to know we were there. It was good to be out on the river though. Ashley had a good run, trying his best to catch rabbits to no avail.

The second spot was a little better, but the foot traffic was clearly visable as it is used by guides quite regularly. As my friend said you don't need access maps around here just follow the tracks! Dad hooked a good fish only to be busted off due to brittle line and a cunning fish, who knew a bit about rocks. I landed a small pretty, (Japanese sized trout) on my 3 weight rod. That was fun.

We all had a great time including the dog, who was being watched closely by the local tenants.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Rivers With Gold.

The rivers that flow from the mountains around me still contain gold. Some mining companies have moved in on a fairly small scale, while others prefer to do it the old-fashioned way. With a shovel, a sluicing box and a die-hard attitude they take to the rivers in search of the precious metal. Just as the flyfisher will pursue his quarry for hours ( I think my record was with my mate Andy, 2 hours on one fish), so too does the miner in his unrelentless back-breaking hunt for gold. Here's my northern neighbour doing it the hard way.

Mayflies with a Golden Glow.

A month ago in a stream near my house there was a hatch of mayflies. I have seen this type of mayfly before and I was lucky enough to see a small, but steady hatch of them again. I believe them to be collorobiscus mayflies. The trout didn't come out of their hiding places on this day. So the mayflies were free to hatch, only bothered by a few swooping bush birds.

Oh the water !

Last weekend I had a days fishing with my neighbour. We came across many feeding fish. Most of them were focused on nymphs. The most difficult thing about hooking them was setting the hook at the correct time. These trout were very weary and would spit the hook out in a split second. We missed a few fish on the strike and others just disappeared before we even took the fly off the hook keeper. We were lucky enough to land two fish. After fishing there was a brief discussion about, how if you catch a fish in the opening moments of your trip, it can be very hard from then on in to land another one. It's a phenomena that many fishers have experienced.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

More about my new home. 僕の動く城

Please come inside and take a look around!

Green Stonefly / Big Brown Trout

The other day I was teaching my children a unit on food chains in rivers, so I collected some river insects to show them. I drove about 10minutes from my house and sampled a small mountain stream to if there were any insect there. I was surprised to find a good population of aquatic insects, including one of my favourites the Green Stonefly. I picked up a good fish in the same creek when it was flowing a little high after rain. It was a good condition fish for that early in the season. I caught it on my #4 Thomas and Thomas.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Buttercups and Brown Trout

A likely run with a hint of summer.

Today's fishing

Five pound brown trout / 4 weight rod

Wine, Wet Wading and Wily Trout

After a great dinner with my neighbour and a few glasses of red wine, we decided to go fishing together. This was the first time we had ever been fishing. Two minutes after we left the vehicle I was waist deep in cold, mountain river water trying to catch a good sized trout in a tricky place. After 10 minutes I couldn't feel my feet. Today's fishing was challenging, but we managed to land two nice fish. After cold start, the sun broke through the cloud and warmed up the day. In the mid-afternoon a small hatch of large mayflies encouraged a nice trout to start rising. I missed the first take, changed my fly, cast again and missed the second take. I was lucky to get two takes, however I'm still not sure why I didn't hook that fish. I think that maybe the fluro-carbon tippet had sunk and caused some drag on the fly. Oh well, that's fishing.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

3 Weight Rod vs 4 Pound Trout

2 weeks ago I invited a couple of boys to go fishing. Like me, they are new to the area and very keen on the outdoors especially hunting. The day they arrived on their new farm they surprised their parents by arriving back to the house with a large brown trout. After a quick scout around the farm they were attracted by a little stream that ran through their property. Being winter the trout were up the side creeks. There on the edge of the stream sat a trout oblivious to the fact that two keen boys armed with a .22 rifle were about to make him their next meal. Of course in N.Z. high country folklore there are always stories of hungry hunters shooting trout for their dinners. It's far from a regular pastime and usually reserved for desperate times. I was keen to show them an alternative way to catch a trout.
It was a pleasure to take these boys up the same river and show them how to fly fish. Within minutes I was hooked into a solid brownie that was ripping line off the reel. I quickly handed the rod over to the youngest boy, then he passed it to his brother. Unfortunately my knot to the dropper wasn't tied well and the line broke when the fish began to roll and flop around near the bank.
Later in the day on a backwater a number of good fish were seen cruising the sandy bays on their feeding beats. We got into a good position near the edge of the backwater, the youngest boy flicked out a size 18 pheasant tail nymph. The first fish just stopped and sat there looking at us as if to say ," I know you're there, he he." Along came another fish, a hungrier looking fish. He watched carefully as it moved across the sand and grabbed the fly. I had shown him earlier in the day how to lift the rod and set the hook. He executed the strike perfectly sending the fish racing across the backwater and under a large willow. The 4 weight rod buckled under the pressure of the fish as the reel screamed. The battle had begun. This delicate Tenryu Basic Master #3 I'd bought in Japan was really getting a work out. A little rod attached to a big fish. Applying pressure just wasn't an option and at times the fish felt lost to the tangles below the willow. Luckily we could still feel the trout shaking his head. I'm happy to say that after a little help and advice about keeping the rod tip up, he managed to land a beautiful brown trout. I enjoyed the chance to take these boys out and show them another way to catch a trout. Their parents invited me to stay for a fantastic venison roast dinner, wild meat, wild trout and wild early season weather. The section of river I chose to fish I discovered later had been fished twice since opening day, once by some very capable anglers and a guide with a client. The fish were a little sensitive to say the least. One big brownie came up and bumped my mayfly dry with its nose to check its suspicions. It didn't take and then took off shortly after. It was a fascinating thing to see, especially 3 weeks after opening day.

A New Home Away From Home.

Recently I've been looking for the ultimate fishing vehicle. I think I've finally found it. It has everything from a shower to coal-range. I just need to get it off the blocks and back on the road. Actually this beautiful old girl belongs to my colleague at school. She spent a year in it while her "hippy" dream home was being built. What a classic!