It's been a wild crazy week of chasing fish and of losing things. On Monday I caught up with my good friend Jim Curry and reformed the Apgai World Tour. Jim had seen some big fish on the Upper Oreti and it was decided that we should set about them with enthusiasm and without my phone.
Phones are such terrible things anyway, and so I left mine somewhere and promptly decided to forget where.
I also decided to forget about my leatherman tool, tippet material, gink and credit cards. Who needs all this stuff anyway? It's just life's lumber – throw it all away and be free of it; that's what I always say, especially just after losing it.
Of course losing my phone has made it much harder for people to contact me, but you know, if you are meant to meet someone you will, whether or not you have a phone. For example I've run into Garry Castles and his son about six separate times now, and every time has heralded a disastrous fishing trip. This is not good news for Sean of course, although it is good news for the fish.
Sean and his six-pound dream
Sean Geer from the Bulletin Board is here fishing with me and will be for the next week or so. Sean has to catch a six-pound brown trout. This is his mission in life and therefore mine. Why this is so one can only speculate, it may have been idle chat on my part, enhanced by the powers of alcohol, stating that if Sean were to come over and fish with me in NZ one day, he would catch a six-pound brown. I can't remember why I said it now, but it is now our mission.
So Jim and I took him fishing with us on the Oreti. Jim knows all about the Oreti since he has been fishing it for the last three months. What Jim doesn't know about the Oreti frankly isn't worth knowing. In fact some of the stuff Jim does know about the Oreti isn't worth knowing either – but that's another story.
There are big fish on this river. The stretch we fished contained slightly smaller fish than some of the more famed stretches. We covered about 8 miles on foot and saw about fifty to sixty fish. The smallest fish would have been about 5 pounds, the largest pushing fourteen. We caught one, although we did move plenty to our flies and given slightly different conditions (such as catching more fish) we could have had a blinder. Most of the fish were lying around "doggo"
However I had two doubles take dry flies only not to be there when I struck – and I wasn't too hasty on the strike either :-) - and Sean had a couple of fish of about eight pounds nose his fly.
We all had a great day especially Jim who caught the fish and proceeded to make it look far larger than it actually was by holding it as far in front of him as possible. He said if only he had longer arms, or a smaller head, he could have made it look bigger still.
The Sexyloops hat
The Universe has provided me with a new hat (as previously asked) and by way of Sean, and although it is not particularly sexy, it is a hat, and it gives me a certain style – even if I do say so myself. I am not going to attach myself to this one as I always find that to be a mistake.
The search for Sean six pounder continued on Saturday when we decided to seek one out of the Waiau River. It's an interesting river this, not least because it suddenly and quite dramatically gets smaller the lower downstream you go. This unexpected twist of events comes as a quite welcome surprise, since to put it simply: it's a bloody big river upstream.
Downstream on the other hand, it's rather pleasant and one can spot Sean's six-pound browns swimming around quite happily, minding their own business in their own little worlds.
Jim and I nearly stepped on one, but displaying fantastic powers of prowess we dived into some shrubbery. "Sean" we said, calmly, "nip 'round and catch the blighter."
So Sean nipped around behind some tangly stuff and unhooked his fly.
It was a difficult cast.
Now when I say this I do mean it. It was extremely difficult. Jim and I discussed it, and we should know. We both said this is a difficult cast to each other, and we both agreed with what the other had said.
Sean has had a few lessons in the art of sexyloops and we felt maybe up to the task. In a blinding cast, he proved this to be the case; herein lies the proof that flycasting lessons are worth every penny. Sean, in his moment of glory threw arrow point loop directly through a two inch gap of thistles and placed the fly in precisely the right place, two feet in front of the fish.
We willed that fish up. No question. That fish had no choice but to take the fly. He did so both slowly and deliberately. It was a moment - a brief moment (instantaneous I should think) of intensity as yet unparalled anywhere else in New Zealand, if not the world. Both Jim and I looked on in awe. Sean too. It was a moment of spectacular dimensions, a crescendo of possibilities.
Unfortunately, barely had the fish even begun to think about closing his mouth and Sean whipped the fly clean away from him.
It's one thing to do this on your own with no-one looking, its another to do this in front of two AAPGAI instructors and it's yet another to do this when you know that 30,000 people will be reading about it the next day. So the search continues and we're raising the stakes: now we have to catch something bigger.
Talking of searches…
The endless hunt for the Mugwai
Neither Jim nor I have seen nor felt the presence of the mugwai this week. We were hoping to find one in some deep Oreti pool, or perhaps in the Upper Waiau (the bit with all the water) but it seems that they are all laying low. They know we are after them.
Jim has now gone back to the UK and left me in charge of the hunt. We will be in communication via email on this very important subject. In order to celebrate his departure there is a video at the end of this newsletter :-)
The Panel have once again come up trumps with some great fishing advice for dealing with the saltwater. I asked them advice on dealing with waves and on whether there is surf that is unfishable. I also asked whether I should be fishing the slime line when there is no surface activity… of course I should be – either that or a popper – now I feel that I am getting somewhere, and I forwarded a question on rod design from the Bulletin Board.