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Some day I'll live here – you know, like more. I've been coming to New Zealand for the last 13 years. I came here for the fishing of course, backpacking. Ironically the first time I arrived with more money than I've ever had in my life (about three and a half grand). I actually tried to walk to the river from the airport. Yeah well, it was a good idea at the time.

I was a bit weird back then; English. Didn't want to show my legs, always wore jeans – although no underpants as it happens. The first Kiwi girl I met had a beard, yes guys all Kiwi girls have beards – don't come here.

I could never live in England again – I know that. The first time I came here I thought it was a one-off trip. The adventure of a lifetime; all I did was fish and I just had to go. I met a guy who was an artist – can't remember his name – he'd been coming over for years – another wandering Pom. I made the decision to over-winter here until I was 30. “Shouldn't be too difficult, I can work in England on a lake, travel New Zealand. You can't fish any more than that.”

Okay, it's better now and I changed the 30-thing. Through 'loops I can fish and travel anywhere I want, so it's worth the "big effort" – and that's aside from all the great friends I'm making here.

Thing is I've been doing this so long I've become a free spirit. There's always a river around the bend, new waters, different experiences; a new adventure ready to begin. Yeah, I'm very lucky. I may in fact be the luckiest guy on the planet. Oh well… thanks!

Sorry for getting a bit philosophical. But I've never figured out why people hold down jobs, or even how they hold them down. Why bother? Sure if you want kids then it's different. You can't be a free spirit and have kids. Maybe you get more from having kids, that's certainly possible, and believe it or not I do understand the attraction. But it would have to be pretty bloody amazing for me to go down that path.

What does this have to do with fishing? Well quite a lot actually. Because if you want to fish all the time then you have to make a pretty interesting life for yourself. I love fishing and it's all I want to do. There is nothing else like it. I've always been like that, always will. Where I've hit jackpot is that my means to that end is 'loops and the means has become the end and the end the means.

In my last life I was a Saint; did all sorts of cool stuff and probably got burned at a cross. In my next life I'll be a fish. Cool huh?

So anyway, now that we've cleared that up, last week I went fishing with another ex-Saint and good mate, Deano. We fished a high-country Canterbury river, which will of course remain nameless. And what a blast to be out nailing big fish again. There is something about seeing a big fish working a run, or the eye, or the shallows. Maybe I should quantify big, being in this case 5 to 10 lbs plus – there isn't anything smaller in this 20-mile stretch. Really.

The biggest mistake is hesitation; if you hesitate you screw up. Either the fish buggers off – I really believe that they can sense you sometimes – or else doubt creeps in and you blow out. You have to go in and nail that fish. It's an amazing feeling, and possibly why I do it.

And it's insatiable. Give me more! It's a bit like great sex really.

And that's what I find here. This and complete freedom.

Quite reflective, must fish more. I'm into big browns at the moment, and I know another secret place…



Essential Bush Skills

The start of any flytying good flytying sequence involves squirting The Light of Apgai on your polyprops
Both alarm and curiousity set in when the polyprops start melting
Putting the lid back on the jar to stop *that* happening again
The flytying proper is underway
Notice the composure, that's true class that is
A difficult bit, you can tell that from the vacant expression
Essential bush skills: the third hand
Notice my hat here, it's quite daring
Snip, snip
I'm not quite sure what I'm doing here, but it's cool
Trimming an oversize hackle that appears to have become trapped in the whip finnish manoevre
Delicate precision work, the hallmark of any good flytyer
A sexy catch...

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