New Zealand March 2014.
Aaahh….the land of the long white cloud had been calling since my last trip in 2012. With all really important items packed…..Rods, Reels, Waders, Vest & Clothing I was off. Never-mind any of the insignificant stuff like passport, Visa card and the like oh and tickets.
It was cool but clear on arrival at the well, not he busiest airport in the world…Wellington.
Collected by my mate Roger we headed out the State Highway 1 to Turangi. With a few stops for coffees (and the results of drinking it) we headed into weather which was even better than when I arrived. Mild to warm with a few breezes to cool everyone down.
I located my accommodation, within a minutes walk to the famous Mighty Tongariro River. I was in Fly Fishing heaven. Although, deep down, I was feeling a little trepidation as my previous trip was not as successful as I hoped. With a good meal of steak and salad out of the way I headed to bed with thoughts of BIG Trout in my head.
Bright and early, the next morning greeted us with fine mild weather, surely this will be a great day!!!
Breakfast done & dusted, we headed out to some long runs on the Tongariro, where the fish ought to be. Still early, we began casting, and when you cast in New Zealand – you really have to work hard. No short casts here laddie!!!!!
Long Fly line casts into mid/far side river runs. Nothing.
Then slowly a rise, then another, then 2 more, I was away!!!
A quick change of fly and then casting, then BANG, hooked up by a solid Rainbow, 2-3 pounds and the line screaming from the reel. Hmmmm, something solid here.
Holding on to the rod with 2 hands, straining – firstly, that the line doesn’t break and secondly the fish doesn’t run under any trees to snap the line….then nothing!!!
Weightlessness took over and my fly line and leader float in the breeze to my face.
It’s hard to explain when you lose a BIG fish, but I can tell you that it is emotionally upsetting (sobbing in my beer).
Replace the previous Fly with another and into it again.
More casting, fish rising all around my fly but no takers.
Watching carefully to see where the fish are rising.
Again, casting, casting, then splash and this time a strike, and weight. Phew, I felt very confident this time I had the fish with a good ‘hook up’. The solid Rainbow went left and right, then up and down stream. I had just purchased 6lb tippet and replaced the old 2lb line which I generally use here in Victoria. What a relief that decision was. Slowly, slowly working to tire the fish so that the fish doesn’t shoot off in the last seconds of our hook – up, I slowly worked the Rainbow toward me and in to ‘beach’ it. Slowly, carefully.
After several minutes I landed a magnificent Tongariro Rainbow to about 2 lb. Not a Trophy fish by any means BUT it was a great start. After a few goofy photos – we were back into it.
Another Rainbow fell for my Fly, about the same size and again in sensational condition.
Unfortunately, Roger was not faring so well, he held a small Rainbow, but dropped a very BIG one in a fast run.
Such is the life of a Trout fisherman.
After Lunch saw a change of location.
A smaller stream but no less gorgeous.
I hooked up onto no less than 18 Trout during our afternoon session.
All Rainbows, all in fantastic condition.
The last fish for my day was a 4lb Rainbow, which took several minutes to get into the net.
Simply stunning and in a stunning location.
A few days later after hooking many more Trout during the trip, I was taken to one of the MOST STUNNING Rivers I have EVER seen!!!
A huge cliff face of at least 400 feet high, directly below that was the river of un-equalled clarity and typically the New Zealand aqua coloured streams which dominate Fly Fishers calenders around the world.
I was very pleased to see rising fish, and as a ‘Dry Flyer’ it was my heart beating (almost) through my chest to come back to reality. A check of my Fly and of my line. Knots are okay.
Cast, drift, mend, check.
Cast, dri BANG!!!
Away I go, with a beautiful Rainbow smashing my Fly and ‘dancing’ across the river surface.
Plunging back into the depths, and I was holding the rod with ‘suspension like’ tension on the line.
Slowly, I was able to raise the head of the Rainbow to the surface and then having an amount of control, brought the fish to the edge and netted another spectacular New Zealand Rainbow!!
Simply brilliant in such a most sensational location was clearly a magical moment in my Fly Fishing life.
Aaahh New Zealand, I WILL return.