Hi guys,

The last two days of my guiding has possibly been the easiest two days I have ever worked. The weather was perfect, water levels spot on, fish were hungry and I had two of the best fisherman I have ever had the pleasure to watch fish. Thomas and Nico Beale are both full time fishing guides in Patagonia who work exclusively from their family lodge on a productive river somewhere. These two guys were a similar age to me so it was nice to be able to cover heaps of river and go into every pool or run with confidence, we had a fantastic time!

I heard from these guys about three weeks ago when they enquired about some fishing but never heard from them again until 9pm on Monday night when they asked me what I had planned for the following day. There must have been some confusion somewhere as I had nothing at all planned for the next two days. I managed to get a raft organized for the Tongariro and put some though into a backcountry trip which we did on the second day.

The rafting trip was awesome with the boys catching fish in every spot we stopped at especially on the true right hand bank as these areas had not been fished from others. It was obvious with the first cast that I was not going to have much to do as these guys could read water and cast perfectly as expected. It is really nice to be able to move through water knowing that it was fished well and that any fish still there may not be feeding and wont be caught. All morning the boys managed to keep the same flies, minimal tangles and all I did was rush about with the net it really was a guides dream in which I don’t expect to have for sometime again.

Using the raft allowed us to fish some unusual water which I managed to find some fish were nymphing really well and very close to breaking the surface. Thomas picked of six of the eight fish we spotted by using a small Royal Wullf with a unweighted PT nymph suspended below. Watching these fish come to the dry and suck in the nymph was positive for this summer and a special event for Thomas to experience while on the Tongariro. These fish were not the best fish and were recovering trout fattening up on the way back to the lake so not the finest specimens for them to remember our fishery by.

After seeing these guys fish my mind was racing as to what we should do the next day as I knew they could have a good day somewhere special if I picked the right catchment with the right river. River levels are always a concern of mine but we had not had any rain to speak of for a few days so I thought we might just get away with a trip high in the hills. We had a good day rafting with Rafting New Zealand and the boys enjoyed being on hard flowing rapids which they were not used to seeing back home. This trip combines trout fishing and rafting the river so hopefully it has something for everyone especially if you have not been to many places above the main rd bridge. The fishing on the Tongariro has been good lately and I think the boys ended up with 20 or so in varying condition and size. All fish taken on PT nymphs or green caddis either nymphed traditionally or below a dry as a dropper.

6am saw us pulling away from Taupo and heading into the hills for nearly two hours in pursuit of something  just a little special for these guys to go home with. The car was packed with more gadgets than anything else including about ten sage rods, twenty fly boxes and 30 spools of tippet, you wouldn’t have picked them as fishing guides. With two big packs full of equipment and food we set of  on foot for about an hour tramping through native forest and down smaller feeder creeks until we got to the river. This place look like you have just walked into a Jurassic Park movie and you would’nt be surprised to see a Moa walk out , the guys were just loving it and excited upon getting to the first pool. Packs were dumped and rod tubes opened and before I knew the first line was in the water with the nymphs again perfectly place on the bubble line in hope of being eaten. The first fish is always a good thing when putting in a lot of effort to get somewhere and with the river slightly high and coloured I really wanted the first pool to produce something. Thomas did not let me down landing a solid 5lb fish on about the 3rd cast which pulled like a freight train . The guys could not get over the fight this fish gave and rated them as good as any fish they target back home. The next pool is always a cracker and the guys took it on fish for fish bagging out about 7 from the one run all ranging from 3-5lb again. This was heaven for everyone and I had the feeling it was going to be a record day for me and a memorable one for the visitors. Thomas has a lovely right hand cast but his brother Nico has a cracking left hand cast so wondering up this river was perfect with both anglers fishing all pools perfectly.

Lunchtime was upon us very quickly and we had put 13 in the net and lost a few in the fast water and with the best pool on the river coming up I though we could really see 20 fish in a half day. A video camera appeared and was mounted onto the fisherman’s head and I hoped that the pool that I had talked so much about produced. The pool had not changed in the recent floods and was just looking divine. Thomas tackled it first hooking up on his second cast so his brother Nico jumped in and hooked up on the first drift so we then had a double hook up to deal with. A great photo opportunity was had which I’m sure will end up on someones family wall and then fish again safely released. The fish at this time of year can be released really well as the water is still cold with plenty of oxygen which gets them away safely but heading into summer they need a little more recovery time before freeing them to the run or pool. Always keep a sharp eye out if you have played a fish right out in the backcountry that you have not attracted an Eel as a weak fish will soon have some nasty scares if he is not fit before releasing him again.

The Go Pro videoing was going well with some amazing footage of good fish breaking the surface and leaping a metre from the fast water, bursting runs and hard head shakes which had the guys sometimes on their backing in the fast water. I think we must have hooked ten fish including two browns from this gem of a pool and it is so nice knowing that this pool is still there and holding fish. Thomas and Nico could’nt belive  what was happening and were just taken back with the entire experience . I could’nt believe I had scored two fishing guides for two days, awesome weather conditions and fish which were hungry it just does’nt happen!! Something else which is not always available but was in most of the water we fished was spotting the trout first and putting the nymphs to thim. The fish were reacting well to big nymphs and moved positively to a well drifted fly a metre or two above them. It really is satisfying when it all goes to plan.

We battled on up a long rock garden stretch of river picking up the odd fish between the shallow riffles which nearly always stretched the line back to the next pool we had just left. I sure was getting sick of running back and forth with the net trying to get below the fish and the boys were starting to tire with more tangles, break off’s and even insisting that the other has the first cast in the pool. Like everything, I believe even fishing can be over done so when we got to 30 fish for the day we wound up and packed it in for the day. A quick cuppa was enjoyed on the rocks in the sun before we started to hike out- tired legs but a body full of memories and smiles, I’m sure the rocks were more slippery on the way out. We arrived back in Taupo at 8.15pm exhausted but pleased we had put the effort in and the guys had really got to see what we can have here sometimes with the right conditions and a wee bit of effort. Hopefully they will go home and spread the word to Patagonia that little old New Zealand certainly is worth a trip.

Cheers guys

Andrew