Home > Expedition > Blind Fishing..

Blind Fishing..

There are those who only want to catch trout on a dry and those who only want to sight fish. These are two great ways to catch a trout, no doubt about that, but its not the only way. Far from it! I’m not going to list out all the methods one can use to catch a trout but I’ll mention one. Blind fishing. Blind fishing is fishing likely water with a dry, nymph, wet fly or streamer on river or lake without being able to see the fish. I want to touch on blind nymphing on rivers. Some NZ rivers are thought of as sight fishing only but very few truly are. No matter how good a spotter you are you wont see all the fish even in the clearest of water. I remember fishing the Oreti about 12 years ago and trying to spot fish. All I did was spook them. I started realising that I was spooking them from a specific type of water so I started blind fishing that type of water. Quickly I landed some fish. This started a steep learning curve for me, partly because I was novice spotter so blind fishing made sense but also because blind fishing just worked! On certain rivers I could blind fish a pool more quickly and productively than trying to spot it. In more recent years I’ve been relying more on my eyes than on blind fishing but I have never forgotten the value of prospecting a deep riffle or bouldery run. Blind fishing is still a major part of my angling. I believe the trick is to move quickly, no more than 2 or 3 blind casts in any area then move up at least a leader length. Try to get the most out of your drift to get the nymphs to maximum depth. A trout will often take at the very end of the drift as the nymphs raise up in the water. Much blind fishing will take place in deeper runs or riffles so if one looks fishy, don’t be afraid to change over to a weighted nymph rig to suit the depth, even in summer!

I think the biggest bonus of blind fishing is the quality of the fish you’re likely to catch. I have a theory that relates to regularly fished rivers. The fish that are easy to see are quite often recovering after being caught a day or so before. They may be feeding but due to being caught recently their energy levels are not so high and they favour easy, slow water to recover fully. There, they are also easy to be seen! They get caught again and the cycle continues, each time they get caught they get a little more worn out. Their markings fade, condition decreases, they get darker because their eyesight worsens; they perceive their surroundings to be darker than they are so they in turn darken to blend in. A self propagating fuck-up. A dark fish is easy for an angler to see. I won’t cast to an unusually dark fish for this reason. —– A fish caught blind from a deep run is usually a fit powerhouse. They have to be to thrive in such water. Their markings are sharp and striking, they may well never have been caught before because most anglers will walk past them on a “sight” fishing river. I have proved this theory to myself time and time again. Blind fishing has great rewards!

The pictures below show a good cross section of recent fishing adventures.. More to come from the New Year mission up the West Coast where Iza and I fished some of the clearest water I’ve seen..

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  1. January 19th, 2015 at 12:19 | #1

    Some text from my facebook post documenting my first deer…

    Yesterday evening Kevin and I went out to a nearby bit of wilderness to see if we could find a deer. After glassing a few gullies we found one about a k away. We decided to stalk it.. Down we went into the steep gully between two ridges as the rain set in. I was wearing shorts and my legs were getting well cut up with matakauri, spear grass and some other spiky fucker. We were moving at pace because there was not much daylight left. Suddenly Kevin said “stop, get down.. take this” handing me his 22-250. I put down my 300 (Kevin’s, but I borrowed it!). There was spiker about 90m away and facing me so it had to be a head or neck shot so as not to spoil the meat. I was out of breath and my heart was racing. I lined up my shot but struggled to keep the gun still with my panting. No time to lie down and steady it. I took the shot.. missed. The suppressor dissipated and minimised the sound, the deer didn’t move. I had a second chance. I slowed my breathing, concentrated, inhaled, and as I did so, I raised the scope up along the animals neck and squeezed the trigger. Down he went. As it fell another got up which Kevin quickly shot and killed. Both animals died quickly. What a great double moment. A deer each in a minute! My first too. A great way to finish the holidays! Kevin gutted them and then we spent the next 90 minutes carrying them out of the gully in failing light and into darkness. That was probably the physically hardest thing I’ve ever done. 55kg of gutted and beheaded meat on my back and up a steep, extremely thorny and spiky hill. Warm blood all over my back and a regular trickle down between my ass cheeks. Thankfully it didn’t congeal. Eventually, we made it to the top of the gully and the truck. Parched, a litre water down my throat followed by a beer. Deserved. My hat is off to hunters. You people, the meat hunters more than head hunters have my respect. Next time I’ll bring water and wear long pants. Thanks Kevin!!

  2. Breandan
    January 19th, 2015 at 18:06 | #2

    Howya there,

    Am on the job with the ID’ing and have a few hangers on from the last posts….jaysus being kept busy…

  3. Breandan
    January 27th, 2015 at 15:42 | #3

    Right here we go with the ID’ing the white flower above is a greater sticthwort, the first fish is a Redfin Bully, the second is a juvenile inanga one of the whitebait species but at post-whitebait stage..

    The black lession is due to the skin has been lost over the nares (fish olfactory organ) exposing the structure of the internal organ perhaps caused by hook damage or a resolved infection. Looks to be well healed (source Brian Jones MPI NZ)….

    From your Keep Your Nerve posting the other two that I didn’t ID are the Scarlet Pimpernel, orange flower and the Vipers Bugloss….

    Jaysus I deserve a beer after the digging around for those, toughest yet..:-)

  4. January 28th, 2015 at 11:56 | #4

    Amazing Work, Breandan!! Interesting.. The post whitebait fellow could not have been to sea due to his location. Could this be correct? I though whitebait ran to sea! There’ll be a pint (a few, no doubt) in this when I get home next.. that’s for sure!

  5. Breandan
    January 29th, 2015 at 12:44 | #5

    Had a look on Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_galaxias, reading the life cycle they spawan in the rivers run to sea as larvae, develop into whitebait at sea, return to the river as juvenile’s where they develop into adults…yep looking forward to July….

  6. January 30th, 2015 at 19:25 | #6

    That juvenile Whitebait could not realistically reach the sea. Not unless it could climb about 20kms of steep gorge after a 250km journey upriver! What do you think?

  7. Breandan
    February 4th, 2015 at 12:50 | #7

    Howya drop, Cindy.Baker@niwa.co.nz, a line with the excat location etc and she should be able to help you out……its a worrying development when the masters knowledge is being questioned…LOL…but I know its buggin’ the shite out of ya schrawns!!!

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