Hi guys, Again I am sorry for no reports this week but I have had Matt and his father Bruce for the past 5 days exploring the Tongariro and far away back country rivers. It has been a long week with many 12 hr days but it has also been the most rewarding week I have ever had with clients and the fishing has been outstanding.

I have thought long and hard about how to report this week on the blog and have come up with no clear cut plan so excuse me if it turns into a novel and becomes boring or hard to read. Photo’s may look the same but I can assure you if you look closely they are all different fish although Matt looks just the same, stinky bugger wore the same shirt all week.

We started the week of by fishing the Upper Tongariro by raft which after me talking it up for so long did not fail to impress with Matt and Bruce hitting the 20 fish mark fairly easily. The next few days were concentrated on the Wanganui, Whakapappa, Waipunga nad the mighty Mohaka. Matt and Bruce used the quad bikes to get into the headwaters of the Wanganuie and were treated to some semi private water on the Whakapapa while stying at the spot x lodge out at Taumarunui. Once again they thank Ross at TRM for a great stay in Turangi even though heading out to the back-country rivers most days.

You may remember Matt and Bruce from previous reports as this was the second trip they have done together in 6 months with the last just being concentrated on the spawning runs on the Taupo rivers which somehow they also hit perfectly. Matt is the drive behind going fishing in New Zealand and is a very experienced patient fisherman who could catch a fish in any river he fished and Bruce being a novice of only 1 year. They are father and son and Bruce is happy to just be out and about spending time with his son while having a chuck every now and again where his skills let him. The thing is with Bruce when he does fish he seems to smash the bigger fish from the pool and Matt has tried to explain to him that he better not try fishing back in Australia as he will only be disappointed with the size of fish after catching 3 wild rainbows over 5lb here. I was very impressed with Bruce this trip and I think he surprised himself with his casting and fishing ability by the end of the trip which seems to be getting better by the day.

I’m not sure if they know how lucky they were this week with perfect weather every day after the rivers were in flood the week before and un fishable. They arrived on the Sunday night and the rivers had dropped to a perfect level by Monday morning which set the scene for a perfect week in all rivers whether it was to be Taupo or back-country. All rivers will generally fish well straight after any high water and will get even better as they start to clear, bless the fish god’s boys.

Matt and Bruce were my first clients down the Tongariro in the raft this season and as the season has only been open for 2 weeks it was always going to be a good day with plenty of fish. The day was set perfect with clear skies and a misty green river which was perfect for nymphing the fast runs or the deep holes which hold so many fish up high. This time of year is the time to be up high here as it has nearly no fishing pressure and most pools are banked up with spawning or recovering trout which have been pushing up all winter.

John our trusty raft guide was again on the ball and made for a very enjoyable and safe trip down stopping wherever I asked him to pull over so we could either walk down to the next pool or fish around he next bend. As expected the boys managed to bang 6 fish out of the first pool so we were of to a good start which did not really slow up all day . There is so much water up high that we raft past a lot of it and just concentrate on the pools that I know are going to produce fish and are kind to the angler depending on if they are right or left handed. The high of this day was the last little run we fished which Matt was able to hook and land about 5 on the dry and dropper. If you guys remember the bypass at judges that fished really well last year it was similar to this and is very shallow and riffley but fish just bank up in there and is one of my never fail pools. It is so nice to see a few fish rising during the day now and to have the option to drop the weighted nymph and indicator and swap it for the dry fly.

Spot x was our next location and this was to be their first taste of out awesome back country fishing so it was important that they were of to a good start to inspire them to go hard for the rest of the week. As I had them booked in at the lodge they were in-titled to use the boat and run up the Wanganui to semi private water which is really only accessed by boat. We spoke about the difference in these fish when comparing them to Taupo fishery fish so they were geared up for a very strong battle which would last a lot longer. It was not long before Matt was into them and he was having his skills tested with long fast runs and amazing aerial displays from rainbows in the 3-4lb range.

Fish were holding in small pocket water with plenty of structure which was making for some tricky casting but Matt was coping well and extracting fish every 20 minutes which is good sport in anyone’s books. Backing was exploding from the reel on a regular basis which had Matt scrambling over rocks to keep up and keep control of line as these buggers love to wrap line around boulders and fray nylon which helps in their escape. I was impressed with Matt’s agile ability to move quick when needed and we were not left broken of too many times but were left with a fantastic photo to look back on in weeks to come. Bruce had the fish of the day on this occasion with a solid 5lb brownie which dogged about in the deeper water before coming to the net. It’s great to see guys catching their largest ever trout, I get such a buzz out of the day knowing that they have achieved this with me and  that I could be a part of it an share that special moment. I think we had about 15 landed for the day which were all between 2 and 5lb and in great fat condition.

We had a slightly slower start to the third day as the legs and tired eyes had caught up with the boys and we hit the Whakapapa bout 9am which we had again accessed through some private farm land. Fish in here are again usually angrier and sometimes quite a bit bigger so Matt was looking to land his largest again. Pocket water was first on the list of things to fish which happened to be hopeless for some reason so we changed tactics and started to move through water quicker than usual until we came across the first fish.

Terminal tackle has to be spot on in this river as it is clear and fish are generally spooky and smart to anglers so try and use small nymphs and long fluro leaders. Bruce was the first to hit the first fish from the head of a pool which had a nice riffey run, fish not huge but a pretty little 3lb brown. I knew the never fail pool was approaching  and that it was slightly difficult to fish and Matt would be best suited to attack my favourite hole. He was quickly briefed on the drift and it was not long before he was bouncing down the river with an angry wild NZ trout attached which had plans to run the length of the river. Keeping up with fish in here is very important and keeping a high arm with as  little amount of fly line in the water is a must as it eliminates the fear of getting hooked around boulders resulting in a break off. This happened to Matt 4 times in the next 20 minutes with only two being landed out of the 4 which were both good browns in the 4lb range. There were two rainbows hooked but like I have always said these fish have attitude and will outsmart most anglers if they escape down fast water with continuous strong fast runs so you really have to be on the ball. I felt sorry for Matt on one fish as it was about 6lb with a lovely red stripe and gill plate which would have made a magic photo but at the last minute a brain fade happened and the reel was accidentally locked up which resulted in the trout escaping with a new piece of jewelery. We continued to work our way up through some pristine water where we hooked up more strong fish in most obvious looking spots or spots which I have done well in before. It was yet another great day with a heap of strong trout landed and another day which they will continue to remember when getting back to jobs and family in Aus. Our next mission was to fish the Waipunga so we left the king country fairly early and got set up for the next day back in Turangi, I was really excited about heading out to this small river in the morning.

No secrets were used in these three days with fly selection just small naturals with the odd green flash in it was working just fine. Bushy hare and coppers were also on the menu especially with a small amount of uv tied in them to give them some sparkle. Long fluro leaders were used in most cases and I feel it is almost a necessity to use this on at-least the last foot of your leader.

Ok there it is guys my fingers and brain are not coping very well with all this inside work so will leave this report here for two days and then update with the other two adventures of Matt and Bruce in another special report.

Rain is forecast for the next couple of days so I will be hanging about the Tongariro waiting for the last of any runs, we should start to see some of those big browns moving in right now. Another raft trip has been booked for the morning and I will be again showing of some of this amazing river which should fish as good as last week. If we can help you with any of these trips that you are reading about please contact me asap, I would love to be apart of it! Great Xmas presents for those husbands that have been so good all year or maybe the smart angler husband will book a trip for the wife for both of them, now that’s a smart man.

Tigt lines guys

Andrew Christmas