Hi fisho’s,

               Another great week fishing the Taupo region with the stand-out being the Tongariro.

no images were found

I have had the pleasure of once again guiding some pretty amazing and different people and that’s the main reason I love my job so much. How good has the weather been for the past week?! we certainly have been spoilt up here in the central plateau with hot and still conditions which is shaping up my tan for the summer just nice.

For me, the highlight for the week has been spending two long days with angler Mark Norton from the Northshore Fishing Club who contacted me in regard to taking him to a remote backcountry area for some challenging fly fishing. The river that we explored has some very large fish in it and are not easily hooked let alone landed and it takes a good angler with plenty of patience to fool these fish into taking a well presented fly.

no images were found

Like everywhere, you dont really know what to expect when heading to these places and the expectation of a  client is always pretty high in regards to having it to themselves and catching a fish that they will dream about for some time but my client Mark norton kept a level head and was ready for whatever challenges or hurdles were thrown his way.

no images were found

I picked Mark up at 6am from the greatest motel in the world (TRM) and headed into the hills in pursuit of   great sport and a memorable day talking about past experiences with fly fishing and the great people we have come across while doing it. We arrived to an empty car park with only the sounds of the early morning and the local native birds waking up. Both of us could hardly get out of the car fast enough so it wasn’t long before we were making our first crossing and on our way to our first pool which you ever know what’s lurking in the bottom of. As a guide, the first pool is very important to me. I can govern wether I will have a good day or if it will be a hard one, as we all love to get off the mark early and feel confident that we have the correct fly on or long a enough leader. Luck was not on our side and the first half hour produced nothing but loss of gear, wind knots and tangles which left Mark wondering who he had hired for the day, Father Christmas or Andrew Christmas!

As we proceeded down the river we chatted about rivers such as the Mohaka and small streams that hold big Brown Trout and how they can be caught on dry fly and fooled in no more than 5 inches of water. We spoke about the importance of letting the fish have the dry for a few moments after they have engulfed the fly  so you dont whip it straight back out his mouth and how many I had buggered up and made no contact with at all for being too trigger happy. Out of the corner of my eye i spotted a rise in a backwater that we were coming up to and, upon inspection, we sighted quite a good brown doing exactly what we had just had a conversation about - I could’nt believe what I was seeing.

no images were found

The fish had one thing in mind and was slurping away on the surface like mad at something we could not see and I wasn’t too sure how to approach this so i started of by swapping the rig from nymphs and tying on a small fly – could  a STIMULATOR. We were crouched in behind the tussocks and trying not be seen as the fish did not have a set beat and was randomly pacing the entire pool. My advice to Mark was to wait till he was heading the other direction and cast the fly out and leave it, don’t move it ,don’t touch it and just watch the fish. I think people go wrong with these fish when they try casting directly at them and end up spooking them with the line slapping the water, or whatever. This was achieved beautifully and the fish had no idea about the trap that we had just laid and I hoped like hell that we could pull this one off. A tense few seconds passed and the brownie turned and headed our way in direction of the fly. He spotted it, accelerated, headed straight for it and slurped it down, A “GOD SAVE THE QUEEN!” was said and the hook was securely set in the roof of the monster’s mouth. How good is that!! You read about that sort of thing but don’t get to witness it very often at all. A good tussle was had between the wild and Mark before it gave in and posed for a  few photos before being released for someon else to enjoy. Faith was restored and we were on our way, high-spirited and feeling pretty bloody good aboutselves and thinking we were no match for any trout!  That’s in fact where we went very wrong and all we could achieve for the next few hours was one very small fish and a hook-up of about 5 seconds which we lost in the deeper water and didn’t even get to see. Heads in our hands, we started to walk back to the vehicle for a cold beer and a bite to eat. No need to follow the river so we cut in across a paddock which was home to a few farm cows and sheep, quietly grazzing in the sun-filled fields.

no images were found

I stopped dead in my tracks and grabbed the Mark’s shoulder so he would not disturb what we had just stumbled upon. I know what you think – you are expecting to hear about another slurping trout. But no, it was a elderly gentleman with no clothes on sunning himself with the herd. I didnt know what to do! I would have been more embarassed if he had seen us so we sat tight for a few minutes and waited for the backcountry nudist to collect his thoughts and move on so i snapped  a few photos as he was walking away, otherwise no one would have believed me!

Lunch and a well-earned rest was bliss and we left for the next location feeling revived and re-spirited with both our minds back on the job and ready to land another good fish. The first pool I took Mark to, I have had great luck in and never failed to atleast hook something in. It wasn’t long before Mark was hooked into a solid fish that was peeling line off  my Hardys six weight like cotton from a reel. These fish fight hard and  this Rainbow was no exception, heading up river and back down at will leaving us both guessing how big it was and how we were going to land it.

no images were found

Ten minutes later and we had the fish in the net and Mark had caught a large 6lb backcountry Rainbow that was a superb speciman and had given the guide a smile on his face from ear to ear. I am serious when I say to people that it gives me more pleasure to see my client catch a fish than if I catch one these days, as I can do it any day of the week and I know what people have to pay and the miles they travel to experience such a thing. I put alot of pressure on myself to get clients fish and will go to great lengths to try and achieve this.  Fish are never garaunteed but no one is more disappointed than me when we have a fishless day. With plenty of photos snapped and the Rainbow released to grow to double figures, mark made the comment that he would not be happy till he caught a fish bigger than Bill Boomers 10 pounder - just as well I had worked out the ‘Jaffa’ sense of humour.

Another good fish hooked and lost and another 4lb Brown landed saw the day come to an end and  we both decided that our feet had seen enough rock-hopping and the days events should be celebrated over a cool can of beer. I really enjoyed my day out in the backcountry and I’m sure Mark did as well. It is a  special  little place and I hope it remains the same for some time so I can then keep taking people back there, minus the naked people of course.

no images were found

Things are really getting busy on the guiding scene and i advise anyone wishing to book a trip with me to get in contact as soon as possible and secure yourself a day or weekend that you won’t forget. I will post another story as soon as I have a  minute to sit down so watch this space and in the meantime tight lines and screaming reels.

Be lucky, Andrew Christmas