The Season that was:
Things got off to a flying start in October last year, as I headed off down to the South of the Island with a couple of groups, to fish the Southland region. Opening in October, it gave us some good opportunities to wet a line early in the season, competing with rain and snow on occasions, but also some cracking early season trout. With reasonable numbers and some good sized fish, we didn't get as much dry fly fishing to mayflies as I'd have hoped, however, the nymph fishing provided us with some good successes, with quality fish up to 7.5lb being brought to the shore and larger fish eluding us along the way. Some of the late spawning rainbows gave us a thrill as they tracked down the river towards us, only to demolish the fly a couple of rod-lengths from us. However, the biggest of them managed to escape at the 11th hour, leaving us guessing as to what size it really was.
Moving back up to the Mackenzie Country, we kicked off the high country season with some excellent fishing to late spawning rainbows which took up good runs in some of the rivers, in excellent numbers in each hole. Some of the clients couldn't believe it when they landed half a dozen fish without having to move their feet (except for the landing of them!). The fish were all of a good average size, around the 3.5 to 4lb mark. Mayfly hatches continued through the early part of the season until Christmas, when timing the hatch provided the best opportunities, with even the smaller streams holding some excellent stocks of both browns and rainbows, sucking down the dry flies with glee. Some of the best mayfly fishing we have enjoyed for a number of years, with some very seasoned anglers claiming it as amonst the best they had seen.
We then moved into Summer, awaiting the rise of the cicadas, which proved a bit of a hit and miss affair at times, with some days proving a boon and others a bust. However, when they were on, takes were predictable and spectacular with some excellent feeding producing good results. The fallback of some nymphing helped out when the fish were not on top, so made for some enjoyable sight fishing on what was a lovely sunny summer.
The end of the season started a bit earlier than normal, with some mayfly fishing through the middle of the day, working back into March, when we enjoyed short periods of mayfly dry fly fishing. The Waitaki River also showed up some excellent trout later in the season as I made some inroads into finding fishable water from the shore, with low flows allowing easier access over the weekends. This continued through to the end of the season, however, many anglers found that the strong fish in big water, a bit too hard to handle, with one hapless angler breaking his rod twice on fish in one day - the second breakage for the day proved final for that stretch of water however and we had to retreat for a second rod back at the vehicle. Still, I can see a re-match being planned for later in the season. We finished off the season with smelting trout and mayflies - some excellent attacking browns hammered the smelt on some lakeshores, with fish up to 7 to 8lb being landed. Again, some of the lucky anglers enjoyed some of their best fishing in a long time. Capping this off with mayfly activty (although it was a bit more subdued than other years, with an unseasonally warm autumn), the season rounded out nicely and left us wanting more. We will look forward to the opening in November!
Original Classroom burned down:
Anyone who was around in the early days of Spry Fly in Australia (Remember Mike Spry's School of Fly Fishing in Khancoban?), will be sad to note the loss of a bit of nostalgia, with the burning down of the original classrooms in Khancoban. I will always remember the water tanks with flies in them, insect samples all carefully preserved and lined up, fly tying kit, wader store and most remarkable to me as a young lad, the scores of footprints painted on the ceiling of the Kitchen/dining room. I hate to think how much alcohol was consumed before these brave stunts were performed and let's not mention the hangovers that would have gone with them. It is a sad loss as the last remaining vestage of Mike's classes and original guiding hub. Boy, if those walls could talk!
Take Two Fishing Trips:
There are still a couple of weeks free for the coming season, especially around Christmas and the Early New Year, so if you are keen on a few days rather than a week, it's a great time to make some enquiries.
Drop me a line now to enquire about these weeks:
"Single" Anglers 2016/17
No this isn't a dating service! There are from time to time a few anglers each season who are looking for a fishing partner to make up a "Take Two" party, so if you are in this position, please contact us to find out the details. All concerned are usually very skilled anglers, in good fitness and with a good number of trips over here under their belts, so don't worry about being held back by them!
Find us on Facebook:
For the social media minded, we do have a Facebook presence, which I'd love to have you follow, where you can be kept up to date with fishing conditions and other news from around the region.
Start early and get your license sorted for the coming season. They are avaialble online and in fact, all licenses are now sold only online, so whether you buy it in a shop, or from home, the process is the same either way. If you have a previous license, simply enter the details from this and the process of buying yours is even easier. instructions are on the website, but do remember, that if you include the Central South Island as your region the funding for this region increases. That's got to be a bonus for your money. Click the logo below to go straight there!
There are few times when a straight line cast is what we are trying to achieve. Usually on moving water, we require some slack line to be imparted into the line to create a more realistic, drag free drift of the fly. In the case of nymphing, this will allow the nymph to sink to the correct depth, ensuring that the fly is in the strike zone for the fish you are targeting. Think about that. If a fish is feeding 4 feet below the surface, within a zone of say a 1 foot diameter, if your fly is only getting to a depth of 3 feet because of drag, then you are outside the feeding zone and thus it would take an exceptional effort for the fish to move that far to inercept your fly.
This still applies with well weighted flies, which will not sink if there is drag on the fly. Thus, a well positioned reach cast, mend or roll mend is required (perhaps even feeding in extra slack line once you've cast) to ensure that the line and thus fly are as drag free as we can make them. Add to this, a little extra distance upstream of the fish in making our cast, and we give the fish no excuse not to eat your fly!
In the case of dry fly fishing, drag can mean the difference between the fish seeing your offering and rejecting (or in some cases, not even seeing it!) it. The best cast in the world is less likely to catch the fish if there is drag pulling the fly out of the feeding zone. Experience shows that it is acceptable at times to impart upstream drag (as in the case of imitating Caddis flies working on the surface), however, sideways drag is usually a no-no.
The long and the short of this all is, that unless you are deliberately imparting drag, make sure that you set up your drift with an effective slack line cast to ensure that you are presenting your fly effectively and you'll be surprised at the results you will achieve.
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