It just wasn't happening in Invercargill, which is not altogether surprising since Invercargill is not a happening place and Mystery Lake X just wasn't producing the goods either, so a change was in order.
Changing the picture
Jim Curry has brought about that change. Jim's a fellow AAPGAI instructor from the UK and, by one of those complete coincidences that make life interesting, I met him while fishing Mystery Lake X.
"How did he know of Mystery Lake?"
"I don't know; it's a mystery"
We talked about the human condition, the flycasting condition, and Swedish girls with long legs and big feet and decided it was time for a fishing trip. And no normal fishing trip either, but an APGAI fishing trip. No trout would be safe; no woman would be safe (especially the Swedish ones with the big feet). We would camp, fish and generally do man things. Jim said that it would be jolly good fun, and he was glad that he bumped into me at Mystery Lake.
Through a friend and good karma (obviously I was really good in my last life because I haven't been so far in this one) I have been invited to visit a new fishing lodge in the Nelson Lakes area and help "research" the fishing. Never one to turn down a hard days work when it's available, I said "Nix, I'm having a fantastic time down here in Invercargill but for you I will come up there and help you with your research".
So I threw all my stuff in the back of Jim's car, bid Invercargill my farewells and took off in a flash. The plan being to fish our way to Nelson Lakes. There is a lot of water between Invercargill and Murchison, but being the hardened professionals that we are, we felt up to the task and gave ourselves 3 days to fulfil it.
The AAPGAI cap
Having lost my sexy bush hat overboard to Mystery Lake X, I have been looking for a suitable alternative and have had lots of useful advice on the subject via the bulletin board. A suitable hat has yet to be found however and so in the meantime Jim has leant be his AAPGAI cap. Unfortunately no one has yet caught a fish whilst wearing this cap and it may be cursed.
It appears that Jim is an expert stick spotter.
He revealed this ability to me, on the Turnbull River, where it should be said that there are many many sticks. We'd be walking up the river and Jim would say; "Over there Paul." And one of us would have a go and sure enough, it would turn out to be a stick. I tried it once myself, and let Jim have the fling with the fly. Unfortunately however, my stick revealed itself only too late, to be only a fish pretending to be a stick and it gave Jim awful trouble.
After this we endeavoured to be more careful and Jim did the spotting and we spent the rest of the time playing about with sticks.
The way to Nelson Lakes takes in the West Coast. Any coastline obviously presents an opportunity by way saltwater species. Now I'm not what one would commonly refer to as being an expert when it comes to the salt. But it sure would be nice to be able to catch one of those fish.
So I asked The Panel to name one fly, one type of flyline and one position to place that first searching cast. It makes for some interesting reason. They all appear to agree on chartreuse and white as being the colour co-ordination, and they all start off with a floating line.
There does however appear to be two distinct opinions on where to place that first searching cast. All of the American panel members suggest first trying to sight fish. Failing this to look for some feeding activity. Otherwise to aim for a structure, such as a pier, some mangroves, a coral outcrop or a drop off. And only lastly do you just chuck it out there and see what happens.
The English contingent, or in this case Gary Coxon, suggested trying the West coast of Canada.
I can see that I am going to have to get more specific than even this and I'm going to try and crack the estuaries. They have sea-run brown trout, kahawai and (Jim believes) a healthy stock of mugwai. So I'm going to ask The Panel on how to deal with these specific circumstances :-)
Mugwai (muggus mugallisus)
Whilst camping on the beach last Saturday night, sitting around the old campfire, admiring the phosphorescent waves, as you do, the age old question as to whether mugwai really can be caught on the fly or not once again came up. Jim seemed to think that they could, given the appropriate circumstances, such as a rising tide, a full moon and the appropriate headgear. I must say that I'm inclined to agree with him, I'm just a little unsure as to whether we have suitably strong tackle; no one really knows what a mugwai is, let alone how big they grow, but we have made a pact to try and become the first anglers to successfully land mugwai on the fly. It sounds like another AAPGAI fishing adventure, one for the panel and possibly even the glossary section too I think.
Yet another new section for sexyloops; the glossary. Confused by all the technical flyfishing jargon, we are building the glossary to end all glossaries. Steve has unofficially said that "once the first 50 definitions hit the search engines we may have to seek political asylum." Be that as it may, we need help and we're asking for volunteers to us by emailing his or her definitions for confusing flyfishing jargon. So if you know a word or phrase you think maybe confusing then please let us have it :-)
Well of course I'll be researching flyfishing opportunities around Nelson Lakes and be trying my hand catching at mugwai or two. Apart from that it's business as usual :-)