So after rather a long absence (almost a year) I am back in New Zealand and have I missed this place. I flew into Dunedin last week what a strange place that is for an international airport, it could have been a grass airstrip for all the difference it made and as for the customs
this is the place to smuggle in your Fuller's Earth.
You may or may not remember, that I invented the "let's investigate the other terminal" thing in Japan. Well, it was such a success that I have repeated this enjoyable adventure. For some unknown reason I jumped off the bus at the domestic terminal, both simultaneously putting my airplane-catching schedule in jeopardy and leaving my rod on the bus. Fortunately I am a triathlete (albeit recovering from injury) and I strapped on the backpack and took off after the bus, sprinting down the road, waving my arms wildly in the air.
If you are going to make a spectacle of yourself in public, you may as well go the whole hog I always say.
Smashed rod tip
Here we go again. I don't know what it is with me a rod tips, but we have a bit of a thing going on. Yet again I have smashed another one. This is, however the first one down this season (it helps to think in terms of seasons and not years otherwise no-one would give me a rod).
This particular breakage was unusual, in as much as it occurred whilst unhooking the fly from the bush I was drying it out in. There is a clever little technique of unhooking flies (you can use it on fish as well) whereby you can carefully poke the rod tip around to unhook the beastie.
You will no doubt notice the emphasis upon the word 'carefully' (and not 'beastie'). The cavalier-Arden approach can cost you six inches, especially when those six inches disappear into the Mataura River.
So how is the Mataura?
This is a world-renowned lowland river. It's a bit like the Hampshire Avon with a two to two and a half pound average. So it's nothing like the Avon. Unlike many of the Kiwi rivers it is rarely, if ever, crystal clear. Sometimes you can't see your feet (bit like the Avon).
And I've been fishing it.
Twice, so far.
The first time was rather interesting; about twenty minutes after we arrived, we went from feet-seeing visibility to non-feet-seeing visibility and within about 2 minutes. And it wasn't raining. Somewhere (presumably upriver) there must have been an immense and sudden deluge. That was, it goes without saying, the end of the fishing.
Today on the other hand, the river was clear again, but for some reason the fish were reluctant to rise. That is in all but one spot.
In this spot, many fish decided to rise and rise like never before. This spot was (of course) just outside maximum casting range. Now I'm an experienced flycaster you don't say and these fish rose one yard outside my maximum cast. I tried everything, and I'm not just talking shooting into the backcast either; I mean everything.
I tried standing high on the bank. I tried wading to the tops of my waders (Vision breathables that I have just been given to play about in fantastic: no leaks, no sweat, kiss of death). I tried entry from many different locations. It was looking dim. These fish knew that they were safe.
Casting from the other side was futile; even if it were possible the water was of such depth and the bank of such a profile, that landing the fish would have been impossible (without a cod fishing dropnet). I tried going upstream and launching a line out and feeding slack in the hope that this would drift down river to the fish, but a back eddy put a stop to these thoughts and created a flyline spaghetti pile.
I discovered a point whereby wading to within one inch of the tops of my waders and launching my longest cast possible from this position (it sure is weird trying to haul horizontally whilst standing on tippy-toes), I managed to reach a pocket of fish.
Three fish covered. Three fish hooked. One landed. Two snagged, one of which was a good fish; perhaps 5 lb (good for this stretch anyway). Of course I landed the smallest just over 2lb.
I'll be fishing this river fairly regularly. I like the fact that the fish rise; it's about as reliable as fishing gets. So long as you carry small(ish) flies between #16 and #20 it's very straightforward and the fish are willing. A friend and I will be building a Sexyloops river techniques section this summer and this is one of our closest venues. He lives in Invercargill and this fact is the only reason why anyone would chose to come here. Why he chose to come here I can't say. He's not sure either.
Firstly, there are no pretty women in Invercargill. I don't mean this in any derogatory manner; I'm simply stating a fact. I have looked around, I know what pretty women look like; there are none. So OK I'm having a bit of a self-imposed break from women, it is true. Friends, family, even some of the women, have been suggesting it for a while. They say "Paul, go to Invercargill, have a break from women, get grounded: go fishing, go camping, shit in the woods, leave the women-folk alone."
Apart from this, Invercargill really is the end of the world. There is no nightlife, or any life for that matter. It is a very strange place indeed. And probably just what I need.
In the garden-jungle
Keeping up with the getting grounded theme I have started to help out in the vegetable garden. I'm a vegetarian "a vegetarian flyfisherman, how does that work then?" and the prospect of growing my own vegetables and eating them - has always appealed to me. Hell, it appeals to something in everyone. It must be some basic human psyche: this urge to pack it all in, leave the rat race, find a plot of land, build a cabin, grow some vegetables, get back to nature.
I'm definitely going to do this with my life at some point. Just not in Invercargill.
If you are stuck for gift ideas just drop me an email. I have many suggestions all of which are available through the tackleshop. Steve has been very busy shelf filling so that you can busy yourself stocking filling. If you can't decide what to buy now, buy yourself a gift voucher.
I realise that other people are meant to buy you the voucher, but what I'm suggesting is rather different. I'm suggesting that you treat yourself for once just say "sod it, this is what I want for Xmas and so I'm going to buy it for myself; it's my life and I'm worth it." I mean, let's face it, what's most important to you? Your happiness right? And when are you happiest? When you're fishing.
Orders this way gentlemen
And if that doesn't work ask your friends and relatives to email me. They can ask my advice as to what I think you would like and I'll email you and ask your advice as to what you would like and everyone will be happy :-)
BTW the bulletin board is a bit quiet; is the fishing that good/bad/indifferent in England right now?
The tackle forum
So we have decided to make things interesting. As you can imaging there are a lot of behind-the-scenes discussions going on. Most of this happens through email. Steve and I, for instance, regularly fill up each others mail boxes, and now that BigPaul of Kate Flemings is getting seriously involved in the tackle side of things, we have decided to do things a little differently.
Hell this is Sexyloops; you wouldn't expect anything else would you?
So we are going to open up these tackleshop discussions for everyone to see. How this is going to work exactly, we have no idea. The fact is that we have no agenda. We simply feel that these discussions are interesting enough to merit inclusion within the site. Then you can see for yourselves what we really think about an item of tackle. Sure we may have different views from each other - this goes without saying - and it's a good thing of course.
What you will find however, is frank and open discussions on flyfishing product. The sort of thing which normally goes on behind the scenes will now be made available to all. This alone is rather exciting. And this is before Steve's input.
Steve is an expert web designer (of course :-) ) and very much a beginner flyfisherman. It doesn't take too much imagination to work out that this makes for one trippy experience.
Just to make things even more lively, this discussion forum is open to everyone. This is the Bulletin Board and if you have something to say, then say it! The tackleshop discussions will start to appear here very shortly.