Well the new season is well underway having guided 8 days already with a total of 42 trout up to 9 pounds all clients very happy and we are only half way through October, this, however, is only numerics and speaks little of the experiences that make our days so engaging, adventuresome, educational and inspirational …not to mention lessons in pure concentration for both guide and angler.
Weather conditions have been bouncing from one extreme to another remarkably fast i.e. one day it is a 22 degree halcyon day the next its gale force winds proceeded by cold rain and a dismal high of 10 degrees so this keeps me on my toes in terms of selecting the best locations to suit conditions and as many of you know a huge component of this operation that I enjoy, thus far the season is punctuated with lots of rainfall and higher flows as predicted with his has resulted in many happy farmers, happy gardens, happy rivers and most of all nature in lush splendor.
This situation is welcomed after the past 3 years that have been so very dry with lows flows and it’s heartening to see rivers are flowing full of life, with cleaned river beds, tributaries connected with each other, good flows to the ocean that enables trout to move about and disperse throughout river systems. It is one of those seasons that will only get better as it goes and should see the season elongated with a freshness not seen in recent years.
The angling aspect we celebrate in this area (North-South-Mid Canterbury) is a diversity of fishing styles and this season has really shown that Dr John Roberts from NSW had the first four days of the season that encompassed this to a tee let me explain…
Day 1 = Backcountry small stream that featured 100% sight fishing nymphs for larger browns that although were spread out entailing a long walk were plentiful and remarkable strong fighting fish with many a boulder hop scramble downstream with reel screaming and backing out.
Day 2 = We find ourselves transported to an intimate small creek bathed in bright sunshine and a mayfly hatch breaks out, gone are those heavy nymphs replaced by delicate #14 Mayfly dries fished with skilful accuracy on 15 ft leaders a perfect experience with fishing so visual and never to be forgotten.
Day 3 = Another perfect weather day after a long drive and bit of a hike we find ourself’s in a headwater valley surrounded by snow-capped mountains and with a spring in our stride we seek those fewer but larger trophy Brown Trout that Canterbury region is legendary for. John starts the day with a magnificent 9 pounder blind fished out of a run as the light was not quite good enough at this stage to sight fish as the day goes on we get perfect sight fishing conditions and catch another 7 pounder, we see a few more fish that prove very difficult to catch but that’s part of the headwater experience, never easy but always rewarding .
Very well conditioned and super strong small stream Brown Trout released.Day 4 = We travel south and find ourselves next to the Pacific Ocean this time in pursuit of Sea Run Browns as we hear the waves crashing so too we hear and see trout aggressively chasing Smelt ( a small baitfish) and gear up with 7 weight rods, strong leaders and large articulated streamers working as a team I find the trout zones getting John to cast a strip his streamers in short time he has 5 super trout caught and released fully satisfied with this experience and John coins the phrase ” Helter Smelter” which in turn inspires a new streamer pattern! next, we opt for even larger trout in a slow flowing Meadow stream that on this day has a discoloured flow due to rainfall the night before. Again using large arctic streamers blind fished was super fun as a few large predator Browns come out of nowhere to swipe our baitfish imitations, a great way to end the trip and reflect upon the wide range of angling enjoyed over the 4 days ! , thanks, John it was a real pleasure helping you once again .
Mentioned in last blog was the new focus of using high quality barbless hooks and am pleased that these have really worked well finding that better hookups happen and importantly ease of unhooking and safer release of trout follows , many anglers may perceive that you lose more trout using barbless but we have not found this the case so will continue using them more and more . Another aspect in focus is keeping the fish in the water when unhooking and photographing as much as possible and minimizing any time out of the water for a quick shot, you will see this in most imagery I have used recently and from now on , yes I think its important clients get a fast “grip and grin” photo, if that is requested but utmost care and respect for the trout, is our aim and always has been. For more detailed information https://www.keepemwet.org/
Days off guiding have been spent catching up with many trout fly orders going to local NZ anglers and all corners of the world before the main guiding season starts in a few weeks, I would like to thank you all for you’re growing support as this past winter has been my most productive and busiest yet! .Some new Film -DVD projects are also works in progress, these are in-depth and detailed more than any other productions I have made to date and hope to complete them after this season so please stay tuned.The favourite days off are those where I take my ever-growing list of new places to check out and get walking new rivers and sections, ecstatic that already have 3 brand new finds already this season, long may this continue as we so cherish the continued “Act of Inquiry “.
If you’re interested in booking a trip it would be great to hear from you, I have only had multi-space available for 2017 this is what we call the golden time Dec 17 through 22 … simply one of the best times to fish this area!
As mentioned above with all this rain the fishing will sustain and peak mid-late season, some very attractive spaces available for this part of 2018 please get hold go me asap to talk options.