Thursday, October 15, 2009

Solid Hookups

so. after day one of errant casts, spooks, a few fish spotted and one split-second take, i am now back after two more days fishing with Chappie. no suspense here. we hooked a good number of fish and we got a good number (albeit less) to the net. in the second and third days fishing with Chappie, we hooked 9 and landed 6. i also had 2 takes on dries that i set too quickly and pulled it out of the fishes' mouths. i had a feeling that might happen ha.

our second day of fishing we reached a medium-sized braided river, rigged up and set to it. there was a slow moving side channel on river left that Chappie slowly walked up.

maybe i should describe the actual fishing. all the fishing we did was done upstream, walking up these rivers and streams looking into pools and runs and casting upstream. i was fishing my 6 weight, floating line, a 9 foot tapered leader with another 5 or 6 feet of tippet beyond that. getting all that leader to straighten out was pretty tough but i will say, all that extra (compared to states fishing) leader and tippet does help a lot dealing with drag, so that's nice. getting all that leader and tippet to turn over in a relatively straight line is another thing however ha. as i mentioned before, we changed rivers a few times because of clarity/flow issues, but the second day we were good to go from first arrival. while the water was a tad high and a tad off-color, Chappie felt good enough about it to stay there and we fished both blindly and to spotted fish. third day, different story. more on that.

so we're looking up this side channel that's moving very slowly. honesty, i didn't think a fish would be in there. i'd been slowly walking behind Chappie for a day now and knew what it meant when he stopped, stared, moved around the weight of his pack, stuck his walking stick into the ground and then took a few steps backwards. you can guess what the means. well that's what happened when we got to this first pool of the backwater. i came up right behind him and we discussed the surroundings and then i saw what he saw. we switched rigs to a small weighted hare and copper nymph (pretty close to a hare's ear) and put on a small yarn indicator.

now after the day before's casting display, i was nervous but realized that i needed to calm down, slowly casts down and just get the thing to where i wanted it to go, to be successful. ok, time to cast. the objective is to get the fly to land 6 feet above the fish so that no fly line goes over the fish. if it does, you can pretty much forget about hooking that one. first cast, off to the left but a good length. deep breath, let it drift by. rollcast pickup, false cast, shoot. bingo bango, the indicator lands just about on top of the fish, the fly 5 feet upstream and right on line. i was watching my indicator closely but could see the fish move to take the fly, saw the indicator go under and set it. booyah!
i was so elated that the fish took the fly and i had actually hooked it that i temporarily forgot that i had more work to do. the fish thrashed a few times, made a quick run upstream, made a big ruckus on the surface and then took off for the bushed covering the bank. i ran sideways trying to steer it away from the bushes but it was too late, snagged up. ha! so i lost that one, i but got him to take, hooked him and had him on for a bit. a lot more than i could say about the day before.

we exchanged laughs, talked about it for a bit then moved on.

first New Zealand brown trout, i'm gonna take that dedication myself ha:

so a couple pools upstream, i was nymphing blind and stung this guy. pretty fired up to finally get one to the net, if you couldn't tell. that one took a hare and copper too. i got three more that day, one about the same size, roughly 3 pounds and two more a bit smaller. that got the skunk off the water. oh, almost forgot...

i was fishing this one very long pool, blind two-fly nymphing. i started about 75 feet from the head of it, making about 6 or 8 casts, working right to left sequentially, walking 10 feet upstream and repeating. i was on my last bit of water when the indicator dunked and i set it. a horse came out of the water. this fish was massive, the biggest non-steelhead trout i've ever laid eyes on. it was about as long as my arm from the top of my shoulder to the tip of my middle finger. "that's the one we came for!" yelled Chappie as i skampered up the bank and put the fish on the reel. a few seconds later it was over. we looked at each other silently and then inspected the flies. somehow i had wrapped the dropper fly around the first one so the tippet was had half-hitched around the bend. no good. oh well. add that fish to the log of ones in my head i'll never forget. took a bit to calm down after that one ha.

Chappie spotted a nice fish in a tough piece of water. a real fishing problem. i thought i was up for it, but turns out i was not. in 15 minutes, i got 5 tangles in the bushes and 2 more in the branches. moved upstream to make a different cast then spooked him. that one shook me up for a while. pete, wilkie, you know what i mean. so i finally get my head back together, it's the end of the day and i want one more fish. i find some motivation in my rainjacket and i'm fishing well again. sure enough, i sting one more. not a big one, but it sure felt good:

third day. we drove to a river. it was unexpectedly high and off-color. we drove to another, someone there. that's another thing about fishing here. because there are so few fish, if someone has parked at an access point, it's best to go somewhere else. they'll be fishing upstream and it's not polite to pool hop them. so we drove to another spot, someone there. drive to another river and rig up. walked about a mile upstream, looked at 6 or 8 money pools and found no fish. decided to change one more time. drove to an access point, someone there. drove to another access point, someone there. finally, drive to another access point and we're good to go. by this time, it's lunchtime, so we eat and are finally good to go. both of us are pretty frustrated.

first pool up from the truck, Chappie spots two fish. at this point i had made probably 10 casts all day and we hadn't seen a fish. we're both pretty excited but nervous. i get a good drift, fly change. another good drift, no take, fly change. another good drift and the indicator goes down and i've stung him good. and it's a good fish. as i'm fighting him, this big farm vehicle pulls up to the bank and is watching. pretty funny. and we get him to the net.
upstream in a side channel, we spotted a fish feeding heavily and in two casts i put a parachute adams over it. he took it, i hooked him and he made a run for cover under the overhanging willows and that was it. ha! first dry fly take though, that was nice.

further upstream, we saw 3 fish feeding. really feeding. we get the dries out and put on a parachute adams. i get a real good drift and no luck. change flies to a parachute dad's favorite, second cast, a rise, and i hooked him. another good fish. a good battle and soon he's to the net. first New Zealand trout taken on the dry fly. here you go Wilkie, this one goes to the mighty BFC:

i got those other two fish to rise to dries and set the hook on 'em both too quickly. ha. still working on that. some more pictures from the days fishing:

above, the pool with the 3 fish rising. below, digi-cam release
above, the fish was level with Chappie's walking stick. below, Chappie Chapman.
in other news, i have secured a van and will be getting that baby soon. i hope everyone's well. time to tie some flies. probably a pub tonight, because it's friday ha!


  1. Dude, I'm up for a morning Goose Hunt and just read this post before 5 am.....SCHWEET! Excellent detail, you're keeping me on the edge of my seat. Keep the posts coming, and keep the fish coming!

  2. nice jesse!! keep up the goodness. hope the bar treated you well. remember, you are a novelty to everybody you meet!

    caught a giant fish last night...

  3. Hey man, good stuff! Just got me through a Monday lunch break in the CBS basement! -Finnie