Did you get the Millennium Bug? I'm proud to say
that I've had it since Xmas and I hope to have it for quite a bit longer yet.
It's new and it's official. I've invented Mountainbike-flyfishing.
It's a kind of extreme multisport duo thing, taking in the
rough and tumble excitement of flyfishing combined with the highspeed thrills of
mountainbiking. You get to wear a stupid hat and a silly grin. It's really quite an
exciting development in the field of flyfishing.
In a moment of true Kiwi inspiration my fishing partner invented a whole
new sport of his own; namely Mountainbike-swimming. There we were, fording a braided section
of the lower Tongariro, when my friend, in mid-stream, nudged his front wheel against a
small rock and with an enthusiastic yell, flipped his bike over so that he was left
sprawled in the river with his feet still stuck in the pedal clips. It was very
interesting to watch, and we both agreed, a worthy new sport.
The fishing in this section of the river has been challenging, that is
to say I haven't had the sort of success that I would wish for, which is also to say
I kind of expected more in the way of fish. Well anyway you know exactly what I mean!
There is quite a healthy population of large(ish) brown trout
in the lower reaches of this river. They live just below and beneath the willow
trees. Often the challenge is to present the fly. Sometimes the fly has to be
lowered from the tip of the rod: you poke the tip very slowly through the branches
so as not to alarm the lazy brute, it's quite high tension in it's own sort of way.
Especially from a
And then once the fish has been hooked, 5 or 6 lbs or more of
solid muscle tears off downstream through every overhanging branch and every
subsurface tree root it can find. The only option is to get wet and follow. It's
Especially from a mountainbike.
Whilst investigating a tiny (no more than three feet wide) stream
mouth, on Lake Taupo, I discovered some extraordinary sized
brown trout. The largest of which must be in excess of 15 lbs. Of course I failed
to catch it. You can't find a 15 lb trout and expect to catch it all at once; it takes
weeks, perhaps months to do the thing properly.
It is necessary first to get to know the fish intimately: his
habits, his moods; how he feels about life. You make a few random approaches:
nothing serious you understand, just a little bit of sparring, an early getting
to know you and let's see what you got sort-of-thing.
And then the big moment arrives. The crossing of two lives' paths.
Every moment of your life, every fish you've caught, every practice cast you've made,
every thought you've ever had is focused to the moment. And likewise every thought, action,
and sense of the trout is focused on that very same point. The fly becomes the central
focus and the whole world revolves around you, the fish and the fly. Everything else is
meaningless for everything that matters is right here.
Then the great decision happens. Whether to take the fly or not. You
will him to take and you can almost feel the fish deciding. He gets closer
and closer to the fly, this is the moment and the whole world stands still, the moment
seems to go on for an eternity and it may well do so, for time has ceased to
have meaning; all that exists is here and now: and the fish decides.
So you don't want to bugger it up on the first encounter.
King of the Mountains
In a moment of madness I decided to undertake a run of mammoth
proportions. And I ran the Tongariro Northern Circuit. I expected it to take 4.5
to 5 hrs, but due partly to weather, but mainly to an insufficient grasp of reality
it took just over 6 hrs.
I'm going to do some more of these, because unbelievably I enjoyed it.
I know, I know. This is not fly fishing, but on a good
day you can get a wonderful view of Lake Taupo from the mountain (unfortunately
this was not a particularly good day: I had horizontal rain and 30 yrd visibility).
Website additions are expected shortly...
Fly casting bulletin board (due to demand), New Zealand DIY (Bush-bashing
to bum-casting), how to ford rivers... and survive, and a spectacular links section.
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