Fly fishing trip report from Italian fisherman Riccardo Maleci

“I imagine my fishing mate, Richie, and me are the kind of clients who are usually quite difficult to deal with! Although we consider ourselves very experienced fishermen, this can be a great disadvantage when in an environment very different to Italy.

On our NZ trip with Martin and Peter Langlands we took our “Orientation pack”, which is very different to what we would need for “Kiwi style” fishing. “Techniques” considered a skill in our country suddenly became a “no-no”! We had high expectations that experienced fishermen have sometimes, thinking, “If we can hook up with big fish in our own backyard back home, we should be fine in NZ with a guide”.

But we forgot about the storms that sometimes hit South Island. We got big-time storms over our first days there in November!

That’s when we realised the importance of a guide. Our challenge was now in the hands of the Langlands brothers. Dealing with all these problems, Martin and Peter did a superb job of predicting the weather and knowing where to go for an optimal fishing experience despite the weather. Martin changed our first guided day and woke us from the torpor of jetlag with a first day of dry fly fishing. Dealing with our super-fast strikes and our sometimes too slow and tentative “God save the Queen” strikes. Then the heavy rain arrived. So stillwater lakes were the best option.

Martin taught us about the Kiwi art of spotting fish (breaking all the Italian “rules” of fishing!) to prepare us for the rest of our trip. Over the rest of our trip, daily morning and evening phone calls with Martin were a routine. River conditions. Suitable spots. Lots of driving. But in the end we maximized our available fishing time.

The rivers were high, a lot were muddy, but we managed to fish high waters as well with the expert advice of Martin. We managed some fantastic fishing days (some dry-fly days, too) in rivers and lakes. Huge fish in both.

Martin and Peter are not your average “full-vogue, high-end fishing” guides with fancy vests full of boxes of fashionable flies and stuff; they are true “Trout-bum” anglers with years of experience and knowledge. In essence, they tie flies that catch fish.

At the end of the day though, trout in NZ spook easily. So the client with the stick only has a couple or three casts to hook up. Martin and Peter are both supernatural trout-spotters. Fish we couldn’t see from a meter away, they could spot at 10 meters in dirty water. And once hooked, they gave great advice about how to play. NZ rivers are wild and you have to be active and fit if you hook up with one that wants to run. 

Martin is full of fantastic advice when it comes to flies and entomology and what works versus the “pretty” flies we tie at home. His cased caddis is a secret recipe that makes trout go bananas when presented properly. If you’re thinking about a trip to NZ for a trout fishing experience, I have to recommend Martin. Knowledge from decades is hard to get on a 3-day trip.

You will catch fish. Whatever the weather!”

Riccardo Maleci June 2019

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