Trip Report, Feb 2002
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Photo1: The South Island. What a place!
Photo 2: Peering over an undercut bank.
Big fish territory
Photo 3: The rivers are as good as you will
Photo 4: Meandering stream complete with
Photo 5: Keeping low they carefully stalk
Photo 6: About to cast!
Photo 7: And finally the fish. Brilliant
Photo 8: Another day another fish. This
time as most were struggling to get anything
a customised ****** pattern did the trick
Photo 9: A sight fishers paradise
Photo 10: The result of all the walking
and stalking. A true South island trophy
Photo 11: Same fish...different view
Our last trip to the South Island again produced
the goods despite it being one of the toughest summers
we have seen over there. Lots of people on the fishable
water due to rain affected rivers all over the island.
A very unusual February with everything about a month
arrival the group headed south to our hideaway in the
hills. The problem with driving during the daytime though
is the number of brilliant rivers encountered along
the way. You just cant drive over them when the sun
is shining. And so it was on this occasion also. A beautiful
creek that cut a meandering path through the valley
floor surrounded by snow capped mountains was the temptation
and the guys will to get down to our base that morning
folded like a cheap suit!
It was not long before
the first fish were being found and to the surprise
of the guys who had never been there before the fish
were in the 4-8lb range. It was incredible to see so
many great fish in such small water. And this is not
even a pet river of ours. Just one that when thumbing
over the map on the drive down looked good.
Photos 4,5,6 and 7 show
this water off well. Slow, careful stalking was a prerequisite
but it was well worth it. In photo 7 you can see Peter
with his first NZ brownie. What a way to start the trip
and a lifetime of future visits.
Way Down South
Perhaps the best thing
about visiting in mid to late summer is the fact that
the area known as Southland is experiencing its most
stable weather for the year. The river are often at
lower levels and although at times spooky, the fish
will readily take dry flies.
The difference this time
round was the weather and consistent rain they had received
all season long. We had earlier fished it in December
and it was receiving unusual weather patterns then as
well. Most people were struggling to come to terms with
the conditions and obviously the waters that were in
better shape were getting a pounding as people travelled
a long way in search of fishable water.
Fortunately armed with
knowledge of previous trips the group were able to find
relatively unfished places although they did require
a bit of walking. Photos 1 and 2 show the sort of rivers
and the sort of walks mentioned. Covering up to 15-20
kilometres in a day and always searching for fish on
station or rising. The fact that the fish were so large
and that you can confidently search the water knowing
you will see them made these walks easier than they
would otherwise have been.
Most of the other anglers
they ran into were struggling to get a fish. Many were
fishing the correct pattern but the wrong colour. Without
giving away too much the guys had worked this out and
modified the fly everyone else was using with scissors
and a waterproof marker and this made all the difference.
From this moment they began to catch fish. I could tell
you exactly what they did but I won't as I may be straining
relationships if I do.
The fish in photos 8,10
and 11 are prime examples of the fish that they started
catching after working out the fly needed. The fish
in the last photos is what we term a true 'trophy' fish
and the guys were ecstatic with its capture.
Evenings were spent having
a quick dinner and couple of drinks and hitting the
hay bushed. Anyone who thinks we will be keeping gentleman's
hours on these trips should think again. Unless specifically
requesting a more relaxed schedule on one of these trips
we will be getting back late every day. After a long
day of walking, stalking and hopefully catching fish
we just fall into bed in preparation for the next day
of the same.
One thing that a couple
of recent clients mentioned was the fact that they thought
that they were at the bare minimum level to take advantage
of the trip. That is you should be able to cast well
before attempting it, so that you get the most from
it. If you intend to do one of these trips you should
be practising throwing a fly in the wind as often as
you can. Go down to the local park before or after work
to practice for 30 minutes every couple of days or take
15 minutes out of your lunch break and go out into the
carpark. You should be able to get a fly to a fish at
between 20-70 feet in strong winds as they do occur.
It was a great trip with
some magnificent fish caught in sometimes testing conditions.
Lots of laughs, the odd bottle of red and plenty of
fun although we heard that the guys are now having a
holiday to get over their trip.
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