Hey guys, Today’s report is set out a little different to the usual fishing stories of trout slaying in the Tongariro and we will concentrate on what gear is needed to successfully chase these trout. For you all that are champing at the bit yes fish are still running the river and I had a fresh report in this morning that there were another decent sized group of fish located at the Reeds pool this morning which should make it around the bridge in the next day or two. In saying that there are a few anglers taht seem to be struggling in locating these fish  and also finding pools that are not too windy to fish.

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This week alot of fish have been tacken on the bomb? dont ask me how this one works but it’s a big hare and copper tied with a red collar seems to be doing the business. If you are one of the struggling few be sure to get in contact with me and we can talk about a cheap winter package that will suit you.

When I first started exploring the Tongariro I fished with a 6wt rod and a long leader with two very small nymphs attatched and no strike indicator. This is how my old man fished years ago and when speaking with his mates it was which was needed to fool spawning trout.

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How they saw strikes I dont know? and how the flies got down to the bottom fools me but something must have changed over the years to make us fish the way we do now. What I’m trying to say is that methods change all the time and there is no real way to fish except to get out there and see what works best for you. In saying that I can certainly advice you on what may make catching that elusive trout in the Tongariro just that little bit easier.

To start with you need a rod, you all know that but many of you may be fooled by false advertising that this $1000 beast will make you cast further and catch more trout than the guy using his $100 rod. In my collection  of rods I have that cheap nasty rod which you pick up as a backpacker travelling around and living from your backpack but I also have decent rods which come with spare tips, lifetime warrantys and have the latest kevelar bindings. 

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They all share one thing in common and that is that they will  cast your fly where you want if you have the skill to do it. As a consumer of a product you must weigh up the importance of having that rod of  a lifetime with un conditional warrantys or as you fish only once a season should I be best getting the cheaper model? only you can decide on that one. The rod in many respects is only as good as the angler and none guarantee limit bags of fish when using them un fortunatley. The superior product will deffinitley be better in the long run with superior materials used in the construction of the rod and in time as your casting gets better it will help you present that fly in such a way that the trout could not tell it apart from the real thing but alot is dependedt on you and not the rod -it is only a tool after all. I personally use rods that are quite stiff but once again this  is personal preferance and what works for you. While fishing on the Tongariro a good standard rod would be a 7 or 8wt as this river offers many opportunities for long casting and    fishing heavy weighted nymphs or wetlines.

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After selecting a rod you will need to match it up with a reel of simallar weight and one which balances well with your chosen rod. Most tackle stores are brilliant at knowing what will go with what and in many cases it even says it on the side of the reel so it’s pretty easy to sort out. In my opinion you dont need to spend big money on a fancy reel which shines and gleams like a lump of gold as the reel is purely just for holding line most of the time. Have a think about it how many minutes of the day do you actually use the reel to reel in fish or even just reel in line? not many I bet. You are much better to buy a standard reel which will do the job and put the extra money into the line as this is what gets used every second of the fishing day. I’m sure I will have some comments come back about this but everyone has different views which is all good.

Next on the list of things needed will be the line itself, thus in my books being a important part f your tackle. Your line should work for you and make things easier for you to achieve the cast you wish. There are many different styles and types of lines like everything but you must make sure you get this one right. Once again the line must be matched closely to the rod and reel as to make the perfect set up and I would advice matching the rod and line the same or one weight up on the rod.

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So if you have a 7wt rod get a 7 or 8wt line to go with it the designers of such products work in closely to make sure there is an industry standard which this rule can be followed with confidence. I have always used weight forward lines while nymphing the Tongariro this means the front taper on the fly line is thicker than at the back making casting the first section quite easy because of the extra weight in the front. This difference being very obvious to the naked eye so you will know which end to put to the reel hopefully. The other option in lines if you are not going to nymph will be a sinking line or wetline this used to be the only way to fish the Tongariro and is still very popular with many anglers today.  I love the sink tip lines that are on the market now and like the sink rate of the tip section to be around 7ips for this particular river. Instead of limiting yourself to one style purchase an extra spool and another line and fish the river knowing you can change styles at anytime throughout the day quickly.

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Waders , well where do I start with these things ? I find it hard to recommend any at all that are on the market at the moment which don’t tear, pin hole or generally wear out pretty quick. For summer fishing in this region you can generally get away in a pair of shorts if you are hard as nails like Ross or I would say you would be best in the breathable range that’s available. These are the buggers that I cant seem to get anymore than 6 months out of without them going in the crutch or seem somewhere. I know I am in them everyday and go through the bush not worrying about the fabric but I just wish the sizing was better so they wouldn’t rub on the inside leg. Giving these waders to clients is a must as they have to be comfortable in the heat of the day but they really don’t last very long before the aquaseal has to be applied. My favourites and the most popular in the winter are the good old neoprene waders, these will keep you warm and dry for many years if you look after them and they don’t seem to wear out as fast as there summer cousins. Wearing these in the summer will cause heat stroke and you will faint and drown in the river or sweat to death! If you do bust a hole in the neoprene it can be fixed easily with aquaseal or another glue which is water tight. There are generally big cost factors with waders but it once again goes down to the individual and how much fishing you actually get done. One thing to take into account when purchasing waders is how far you generally walk when you fish?. If you get out of the car and walk into the bridge pool or the braids you may be happy with neoprene’s but if you do walks like the track to Admirals or like your back-country fishing I think you might want  breathables.

Ok the last real thing to do is to tie something on the end of the line and use all that equipment to toss it in the water so the trout will come along pick it up and create that breath taking strike. This is where many people will use different rigs , flies, breaking strains, indicators or baits -oh sorry, not baits if your not local. If you are going to nymph with your floating line you will need  a clip on strike indicator that clips into the loop at the end of the fly line so you can detect a strike.

You will need at-least in most cases a rod length or ten foot of nylon or flurocarbon with a breaking strain of 6-8lb. Ideally I like to taper most leaders from 10-8-6 but as we are only getting the novices started lets say 8lb straight through will be pretty safe. Mike should start using 10lb straight the way through the way he pulls them in,haha Your first fly will be the famous Tongariro bomb which is usually a large hare and copper type description nymph with a tungsten head or lead tied into the thorax of the fly to obtain maximum depth quick. From the bend of the hook you should tie 10 inches of tippet material and then select you smaller nymph this one will be the most likely fish catcher. Usually for me this fly will be in the size range of a #14 or #16 natural imitation or in the winter the famous glo bug. For what patterns to use when and why we choose them try and get hold of a local book or take interest in whats crawling around under the rocks at the river.

If you are more inclined to use the sinking line all you will need is a piece of tippett of about 2 feet and a lovely big Woolly Bugger. Sounds easier doesnt it but in many cases it takes just as much skill to catch fish using this method as it does with a  nymph-ask Wayne Godkin.

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What a crash course!! Hope all that hasn’t bored you experienced fisherman or confused you boys that are wanting to learn but it really can be kept simple. You can go on forever with nets,jackets, vests, scissors, clippers,hook removers,sinkent,floatant,bug spray,water tight boxes but at the end of the day if you have a rod , reel, line, pair of waders and you have your flea in the water you are in with a chance of a beautiful much sort after Tongariro trout.

If I have managed to interest anyone on learning the finer points of fishing the Tongariro please contact me for a chat over email or ask about what we fishing trip we can put together for you over the winter months.

Tight lines

Andrew Christmas www.taupotroutguide.com