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.
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.
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.
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!