Archive for April, 2013

The Season Ends… sort of!

April 29th, 2013 2 comments

The season ends tomorrow on most rivers but plenty are open until the end of may. For those who enjoy the lakes, most of these are open year round. Many rivers are open year round too and it’s often the case that rivers between the sea and the first bridge are open year round even if it’s closed above the bridge. Therefore, you can fish all year round over here and the winter fishing can be excellent.

Last year a group of angling friends and I descended on Lumsden for a few days to finish of the season. The fishing and the craic was great so we decided to do it again this year. Unfortunately this year due to coloured water, adverse weather and a very limited hatch every day the fishing was poor for the most part. Simon Chu and Mike Wilkinson put in some great performances catching lots of fish when the going was tough! Simon’s trout cottage was where we stayed. After each fishing day we ate well, drank well and told fishing stories.

Thank you Simon for your hospitality!


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This week on SLTV. Episode 7, “Squids, Kahawai & Mugwai”, check it out below the photos..

In this episode Paul, Hairy and I try to target squid on fly at St Helens in Tasmania. First we compete to see who can tie the best fly! Paul cooks his annual lasagne feast.. We catch lots of fish but there was a disaster…

Just Under 12lbs!

April 23rd, 2013 2 comments

Double figure fish are not easy to come by in NZ. In about ten seasons I’ve only had 2. I talk no shit about doubles. I carry an accurate weigh net so that I’m not fooling myself or anybody else. It’s important to me. So often I’ve seen photo’s of “10lbers” that clearly are not which dilutes the difficulty of attaining one. In seasons passed, I targeted big fish from time to time but never as much as I did this season. This season my objective was to learn some big fish rivers and target the illusive double. This I succeeded in. I learned a lot about a number of waters that hold really big fish and finally, last Saturday, I caught one.

Saturday started with disappointment. I got some info on where a number of fish were so I went there. Rain in the mountains earlier that morning sent a burst of high and coloured water down the river so I could not see in. I thought it would be hopeless but I had to go and check it out. Luckily for me the high water pushed a lot of fish out of the depths of the pools into the shallow tail water. The fishing was unreal. the first run up I took a  few on nymphs including my 11.9lber. The next run up I had a few more and lost a fish a LOT bigger, The next run up the streamer took a few and then I fished into the depths of the pool where I could not see and had a few more. What can I say, That’s the story.

Day 2 was in a different gorge, I caught some more fish, more climbing, a few tumbles, one of which left me grasping onto a tree for all I was worth.  The forested steep sided gorge was slippery with fallen leaves and wet from rainfall. You cant just amble up a river like this which is why I love it. When I’m there, I’m there in mind and body. Full on. Intensely focused on the river and the fishing and trying to keep an eye on where my feet are landing!

I was fishing to a small pod of fish at one stage during the day. All I could see was a few tails sticking out from behind a rock about 8 foot down. I pulled the my orange rubber legs through them a few times with virtually no response. Then I put down one of my own super heavily weighted streamers and they all went nuts. 3 chased, but 2 backed off. I stripped until I had tippet in my hand and looking at the streamer in the water with a very big trout behind it. I paused. He drank the fly like a Large Mouth Bass would and with the strike I was in. The fish went nuts beside me as I was perched high on a rock. I got control of the fish as I made my way back to shore. The big jack jumped and his belly was totally black, not dirty off white as sea-run trout get this time of year but a deep navy black. I really wanted to see and photograph this incredibly marked fish but the fly left him with the next head shake.

I’m struggling to put this together this week. The photo’s below tell a few more stories!

It was a dramatic, unforgeable weekend.


This week on SLTV… I think we were drunk editing this! Hairy sings a great song with some inspirational lyrics… and there’s some fishing!


Gorgeous Gorges…

April 17th, 2013 2 comments

Last Saturday I went and explored a bit of water I knew very little about. That’s what I felt like doing. I knew from driving alongside it at the start of the season that it had a 4-5k gorge which I thought I’d get through in the day. I’d say I got through 2ks of it max! It was very slow going with lots of climbs, some quite technical. I felt like spiderman with a flyrod at one stage, I was spreadeagled across a rock face over a deep pool inching along it very slowly! (A new super-power Kristian??) No risk of course; if I fell off, I’d land in the river, get wet and swim out. Next weekend is more gorge fishing. At the end of the season I’ll be kicking back with some friends in Lumsden for 5 days. We will fish short, fish filled sections of the Mataura each day. It will be so easy I might feel guilty. The walking and lack of climbing I mean! I expect the fishing will be challenging demanding good fundamentals.

Have a great week!


Ps. As you’ll see from my photo’s I have updated a lot of my gear. For info on any of these products check out The Lamson reels are so so nice!

This week on SLTV, Episode 5. New Zealand to Tasmania. Its not easy to fish, film, row, net etc all at the same time from a kayak! In this episode I beat Paul 10 trout to 4 on a lake in NZ, Then Paul beats me 5-1 on a lake in Tassie… That still puts me in front I do believe! But were not competitive at all…

Maybe 13lbs! I might find out before the season ends…

April 9th, 2013 2 comments

Sometimes when fishing in a forest lined gorge, low light is better for spotting than bright sun. The sun creates extreme shadow, contrast and glare coming through the trees, sometimes the the banks are illuminated so much that it’s impossible to adjust your eyes to the dark water. Diffuse light from an overcast day creates less shadow and contrast with more uniform light in and around the water making spotting much easier. Also there is little or no glare because you are always spotting against trees or cliffs.

Robbie and I fished a gorge on Saturday during a blue sky day. Spotting was very tough for the reasons I just described. We covered about 10 – 12ks of river because blind fishing was not really an option and we just walked until we found fish. There were not many out. We had one each.

At the end of the day, almost at the last pool, we sat and watched it for a while. Then I spotted one sitting high in the water not moving at all. The trout was in a back eddy, hidden against a black rock making him hard to see. Robbie suggested I take the shot so I didn’t hesitate. I crossed the river and changed my fly before getting into position. I had a strong feeling a nymph would spook the fish so I put on a size 10 cicada. I got into position directly behind him. I took the shot which landed perfectly about 2 foot in front of the fish. Then I waited. The fish slowly started to move and my first thought was that he was going to accelerate away spooked. Then I realised he was rising in the water… slowly… really slowly. I told myself not to strike too quick. I watched the tip of his big snout lazily take down my fly. I let it go back under the water and then I struck. Nothing. Fuck. My strike was maybe a little slower than usual but that was the slowest I have ever seen a trout move. I should have reacted equally slowly. Lesson learned.

Robbie mentioned 13lbs afterwards. It was a very big fish, that’s for sure but not that big I think… Who knows. I have to go back but the season is almost over and its a serious mission to get there!


This week on SLTV, Part 3 of my introduction, you’ll learn Fraser’s porn name, and that he’s a mean Irish dancer.. Also he hooks a lot of tree’s and an occasional fish. More great fish footage here too from a stunning Fjordland river.. Enjoy..

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Thunder and Lightning in Fjordland…

April 4th, 2013 2 comments

Take my advice and never go into Fjordland if rain is forecast. I learned this lesson in style one time. It rained, the river rose rapidly and we were on the wrong side of it. We rashly stuffed everything we had with us into our packs and attempted a 4 man crossing. This means we all link arms, put the biggest fella up into the current and the lightest lad downstream. We only just made it across to the safety of the rough track out.

Jeff and I had intended going into Fjordland together but I got caught up on the beer with some great friends from home so I was a day late. When Jeff went in, the forecast was good. A day later it was terrible. Heavy rain and storm was forecast for that night and for the next 2 days. With that forecast only a madman would go in but I had planned to meet Jeff in there so I went against my better judgement. Partly because I said I would and partly for Jeff’s safety’s sake. I know he can take care of himself, but my conscience would not let me rest if I did not go in, and what if the shit did hit the fan? It’s always easier for 2 to face it. He had no idea what was coming.

I got in, made camp, went for a fish, made a huge fire, chilled out, then Jeff appeared back after his day on the water. The rain had started but it was not too bad. The fire and wine kept us happy anyway. After our steak dinner it pissed down so we had to retire to the tents. Shortly after going to bed, thunder and lightning roared and electrified the valley and the rain got heavier. I was very close to getting up and getting out while we still could. Jeff was thinking the same but we both decided to brave it. The rain pounded the tents and the thunder storm was getting closer. Sleep was not possible. Again I thought we should go before the river got too high to cross but we stayed put. Then silence… and sleep.

The rain stopped during the night. We woke to nice morning, the clouds were high and white and moving swiftly across a blue sky but things felt settled. Or was that optimism? Maybe it was, I’m not sure. The river was high but fishable and crossable. To error on the safe side of caution we took our tents down and moved them to the safe side of the river. You may wonder why we didn’t pitch our tents there in the first place. Well it’s illegal. That’s true but the real reason is because I could not find Jeff’s camp when I got in so I made camp roughly where we planned to meet and also in an obvious, easy to see place. Jeff was camped way farther up than usual. When he found me we decided to stay there and take our chances as the rain was light.

Fortune favoured the bold once again. There was no more rain. The fishing was epic.


This week on SLTV, Part 2 of my introduction to the series. In this episode from Fjordland I modify expensive boots, break and fix my reel, Paul catches the ugliest fish, and we have a little competition. We catch 29 browns! But who catches the most??……