Hi All,

Another busy week has passed and plenty of exciting fishing has been enjoyed by many anglers on Taupo rivers such as Waitahanui, Tauranga Taupo and of course the mighty Tongariro. Perfect conditions and great water colour have encouraged many fresh run fish into the Tongariro and we are seeing top quality fish appear that we did not think would come this late in the year.

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This weeks report is dedicated to Bill Boomer from Fort Worth, Texas, who I had the pleasure to guide on Tuesday morning. Bill contacted me on Monday night and asked whether I would take him fly fishing the Tongariro for just a few hours as he had to get to Rotoroua to take part in a white water rafting trip with his wife. As he had to be back in Taupo at 11 am. we organized to leave at 6am so we could at least have a few hours together. I started to worry that night as I knew the Poutu Canal was going to be closed at some stage early Tuesday morning and it might dirty the river and increase the flow to a point that might not be fishable. I crossed my fingers and toes and hoped for the best. Driving to the Tongariro that morning we talked about fly fishing in New Zealand and I found out a little about Bill’s fishing experience, limited to salmon fishing in Alaska. All the way I wondered if they had let the Poutu Dam go and what conditions we were going to face when we got to the Tongariro.

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Bill and I pulled up in the Bain car park off Graces Road and I hurried out of the car to stare over the stop bank and into the Plank Pool to see what it was going to be like. T he conditions were perfect and the river had great colour. The thought of fresh runners raced through my mind and I almost took Bill down to Reeds to encounter fish that had come up during the night but time was limited and spot X in the braids was vacant and screaming at us to give it a go to see what lurked beneath the light brown waters.

At that early hour the braids was deserted and not a fisherman in sight so I even started to wonder if it was going to be ok and maybe I had made the wrong decision. We fished spot X for 5 minutes or so with the usual nymphing rig offering a small orange glo bug so it was easily picked up in dirty conditions but had not had any interest. All was quiet until another fisherman made his way through the bushs and pulled 2 fish out in three casts from the opposite side and then yelled out “they’re on the go eh”. How embarassing!. This situation is not good from a guide’s point of view and I was doing my best to see what the angler on the opposite side was using when Bill got my attention with a bent rod and line screaming from the spool. Then it stopped and didn’t move for a good 30 sec.

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I was starting to think it might be just a snag and the current had peeled that line from the spool when it shot off and headed up river at a powerful steady pace and proceeded easily up the rapid to sit in the pool above the one we were fishing in. Bill followed the fish up river taking in the slack and keeping the rod high with me in his ear and coaching his every step as I had a feeling that we had snagged one in the tail. The fish reacted exactly as I expected as it then shot back down towards us heading for where he had just come from. The fly line went slack as Bill could not keep up with the reel so I helped out and stripped pressure back onto the fish so we kept vital contact. The trout exploded from the water on the other side of the river right in front of our new friend. He screamed out that it was a good brownie of about 5lb, so my mind got into serious mode. It was very important to me that we got this beast to the bank as it was the first of the day and I love getting that first one out of the way. Bill played the fish like an expert and very little input by me was needed as we walked down river with the fish trying to recover line and play him out of the current and into a “netable” position. Things settled down for a wee while and a tugging war between fish and man proceeded until it got close enough to sight both of us and screamed off down the rapids with a huge tail waving slashing water from side to side. Bill is a fairly big man and did not imagine he would be chasing fish over slippery rocks in water he could not see into. But I really wanted this trout and hurried him down river safely while most of my attention was on the actions of whatever was attached to Bill’s line.

We finally made ground and Bill had his feet firmly planted on dry ground at the Plank pool (yes the Plank pool) and that was when I could actually get below this beauty and realized what we were actually dealing with. I had an early chance to net the monster with my net but failed. Again it went for another run but we could see the fish tiring. Then I realised we were winning the fight but knew it could all go wrong with any lack of concentration or by rushing it. I positioned myself and my tiny net down river and intercepted the big brown beast just before it got to the next run of fast water I slipped the net under the fish and the fight was over – we had won!!

The smile on my face was huge and I tried to explain to Bill what he had just achieved but I don’t think he actually realises even now. I was puffing and I could feel my lungs choking for air but I also had a funny feeling in my legs like I was nervous or something. it felt great. The fish weighed 10lbs and was in perfect condition with big shoulders, great colouring, huge tail and a mouth that my fist could fit into. The biggest fish I have ever seen in the flesh and probaly will stay that way for a while yet.

Bill caught a few more fresh run Rainbows before it was time to head back to TRM for an official weigh in, but nothing that came close to the first fish of the day which Bill and I will remember for a lifetime. Thank you Bill – I am so pleased to be a part of that morning. I have dreamt about it for a few nights now.

This week Bill proved that the Taupo fishery still has huge good conditioned fish in it and we just have to be in the right place at the right time to encounter these fish. Anyone could have caught this fish as we were not doing anything that the rest of you don’t do already. Sometimes you get lucky. Bill’s beast is at the taxidermist and I will get a photo for you all to see once it is completed.

So plenty of fish out there people and they are in great condition. I expect conditions to continue to fish well over the weekend and good reports should be coming in thick and fast.

Goodluck and tight lines Andrew Christmas www.taupotroutguide.com