G’day people,

As most of you would be aware we are going into the summer months which are generally a little harder fishing and our skills need to be spot on for us to be successful. We need to use lighter equipment, smaller natural flies and, most important of all, act and think like a fish.  Some of us do this better than others – I know my girlfriend would say I think like a fish even when I’m not on the river. Or maybe she’d just say I think about fish all the time. And perhaps that I drink like a fish…

Friday was a gorgeous morning and I was up at 5 30am driving towards Turangi to pick my mate up for a days fishing on the Tongariro. I hadn’t had a chance to do for myself for quite some time as I have been too busy showing others around so I was quite excited about getting a line out there.

no images were found

We are both huge fans of the Braided Area on the Tongariro and we had made a promise to eachother that we would not think about heading in that direction and leave all those easy-to-catch fish for someone else and we would source new hunting grounds for the day. Mike, who I was going to spend the day with, had not once fished past the main road bridge and was quite rightly getting bored with looking at the  same water below the bridge so it was an exciting prospect to fish a new area for him as well. I hoped like hell we could catch a few fish or I knew he would end up back down the braids by lunchtime and forever writing off the rest of the beautiful river. I met Mike at his batch in Turangi and we set off to fish the true right hand side of the Judges pool which would suit both us nympho’s to a tee. Mike is  a mountain  of a man and looks very strong and fit and always seems to take the kitchen sink with him when he goes, landing net, two rods, back pack, fly vest, bum bag, walking stick and Jake the dog who was getting along very well with my black Lab “Timber’. You would never think Mike was 60.

no images were found

The walk down to the judges is not that long and is fairly clear cut but you would have thought mike was 94 by the time he got there dripping in sweat, brambles stuck to his indicator and net and puffing like he had completed a marathon spluttering something about me trying to kill him and what was wrong with going to the braids.

After a well earned rest and a vital decision made on choice of flies we were both in the water fishing and admiring a really nice pool and superb morning when Mike encountered his first hook-up in the head of the pool which he landed and things were looking good. A  few minutes had passed and once again Mike hooked up with a really nice fresh hen which was pulling with all her might to escape and I could tell by the smile on his dile that he was enjoying being somewhere new. Spirits were high and my casing and drifts got quicker and quicker as I was worried that I was going to get skunked and may never hear the end of it when I looked up and bugger me he had another close to the bank and wanting me to take more bloody photos.

no images were found

He offered me  a secret fly which I denied and kept flogging away with my standard hare and copper pattern and acted like it didn’t bother me and I knew better than him, it was killing me inside. I finally landed a fresh fish in the tail of the pool and regained a little respect from my faithfull dog before three other anglers made their way in so we decide to move on and have a look at the Sportsmans pool down below. This was a much easier option in getting back to the truck and we were able to have a  quick flick under the cliff which I managed to get a nice jack from.

no images were found

This pool in its day was amazing but in the past has not produced fish for me like it maybe should and I never really give it all that long as the trees overhanging that cliff aren’t too far from letting go and there would be no escaping.

Breakfast at a local cafe was great and much appreciated and we planned where we would go for the rest of the day and what we would use in the clear sunny conditions. I took Mike to a new spot X and saw fish straight away sitting in the fast water and it was not long before we were both hooked-up and battling nice little fish. Fish were actively rising on the surface and would come up to the dry but not once did they take what I had to offer and I was getting through most of the box, unfortunately. I know that  the thing to do would be to put a nymph underneath the dry and they would take that but I really wanted to score one on the dry - it is such a buzz to see them slurp down a well presented fly.

no images were found

Anyway it didn’t happen  and Mike moved in on the fish with an emerger pattern and had instant hook-ups so they were obviously just slurping emergers in the water film, but I still don’t get why they would come up to a perfectly drifted Stimulator pattern and just leave it?? I’m obviously not thinking like a trout well enough just yet and if I was I would have been caught long ago.

Myself and Mike could have stopped there all day and picked off fish from a  variety of fast runs but with exploring in mind and having already hooked 10 or 12 fish  we moved on as the day was getting away from us a little bit. The afternoon was a cracker and the dogs lay on the sun soaked sand enjoying the afternoon sun and drying out from an earlier crossing that they both swam across with a little hand.

no images were found

Timber loves the water if there is a shot  duck flapping around or food floating down stream but won’t get in otherwise and Mike had great chuckle when he saw me carrying my Labrador across the river.

We both caught fish as the day went on and never really had long periods without fish so showing Mike up river was a total success and may move him away from the braids to make my guiding a little easier. We decided to call it a day at around 5pm  and take our tired burnt bodies to the local bar for a refreshing beer  when Mike had relised for the second time he had left his net down river and had to take a long walk back to retrieve it. Not happy about the whole situation he took off in pursuit of his net while me and the dogs relaxed in the car park. (getting old Mike).

A fantastic day was had hooking somewhere between 15-20 fish in water other than the braids, so if you put the work in and adapt to summer fishing conditions you to will enjoy such enjoyment as we did. Yes we had great weather conditions for polaroiding, fish were feeding well and Mike is a very experienced fisherman with plenty of little secrets in those boxes so we should have caught fish, but practice makes perfect and as we both agreed yesterday one will never stop learning and when you think you know it all you are doomed to fail so getting out there and seeing whats new is never a waste of time. Anglers seem to think that summer means back country rivers in hard-to-get-to areas but for me this day was as rewarding as anyother and we should remember that it is just at  our door step and should be utilised.

Fly of the week : Rubber legged Copper john’s in gold and green.

Pool of the week: Right hand side of Judges.

Till next time take care out there-Andrew Christmas