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!