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Ronan's report

Wednesday 26th October, 2011

Mike was another guy I "met on the Internet"...

Mike is a Pom and has been living in NZ for 20 odd years and after a few emails back and forth he arranged a day off work and we planned a days fishing. This was the day after my Island Snapper stalking so after only 5 hours sleep I was not on top form! We met in Manakau just off the highway and loaded the car and headed south to one of the Wiakato streams. The morning was overcast and as we dropped into the lowlands the mist filled the valleys and made for a stunning photograph but in my late nighted readiness I'd forgotten the camera.

We arrived at the river at 8:30, Mike hasn't fished it for a few years but has had some great days down there. It's a small stream, maybe as wide as a main road with the pools opening up wider. It had a tinge of colour from the recent rains but you could still see the smooth red and grey stones on the bottom in all but the deepest pools. Mike suggested that this river was known for its difficulty to see fish, something to do with the water colour, or bottom colour, or the fish here wear 'Realtree stoney bottom camo' fleece hoodies.

I was a long way up the river when I gave up blind fishing, my legs were getting cold and with a distinct lack of adrenaline to keep me warm I decided to change tact. I found every piece of high ground I could and spent a while looking for signs of fish in the pools and clear runs. It didn't take long, in the very next pool there was a small brown sitting in the calm side water. As he sat there wafting his tail I slapped down a cast right on his head and spooked the crap out of him... damn it!

I didn't see any more fish for a while but as we were looking at our watches wondering what time we should head back I suggested we have a quick look at the next few pools as they didn't require any altercations with bush or technical river crossings. In the last clear run I spotted a fish, a nice brown hanging just bellow an overhanging bush. Its nose was less than a foot from the trailing branches and it was going to take a flowerpot accuracy cast to get a fly in front of him that didn't spook but also gave enough time for him to inspect and eat it.

I cut the trailing nymphs off the size 10 brown Glister Para and made some false casts away from the fish before altering my angle and dropping it a foot to his right. He ignored it and didn't spook so I tried again. This time was one of my all time great casts, an inch (maybe half) from the edge of the bush, 9 or 10 inches in front of fish. The brown lifted up and as gently as I've ever seen, pierced the water with its jaws and sipped in the dry fly.

No sooner than I had said "God save the Queen" I was on!! A deep, dogged fight running me round sunken tree roots and submerged boulders and a steep drop to the water made netting it a challenge. Mike got on his belly and reached down to net the fish and nailed it first time.

My first trout of the trip was a slim but very pretty jack of around three and a half pounds and I was very tired but happy fly fisherman.


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