Tag Archives: rods
Fly Fishing Queenstown has one month to go before the 2011-2012 new season opens. Ye haa!
Like fishing anywhere to be successful fly fishing Queenstown it pays to get your gear ready prior to the start of the season.
I find it is a good idea to check through all your fly fishing equipment in the month or two before the fishing season starts.
There’s nothing worse than turning up for your first day’s fly fishing to find that something is missing, the floating line is sinking, the flies are mixed up or the wrong size, the reel has jammed up and x number of other things that make you look and feel like a complete muppet!
I am sure these and many more problems have happened to us all at some time or another so let’s see what we can do to make to our fly fishing Queenstown and other waters go smoothly throughout the coming year.
- Check guides and be sure there’s no damage.
- Check reel seat.
- Clean your rod.
- Get rod repairs done
- Clean the cage and remove any grit or dirt
- Check the mechanisms and oil only as advised by the manufacturer
- Check springs and pawls
- Wind the lines and backing off the reel onto a line winder.
- Once you have the line and the backing, you can re-wind, checking the backing for rot or damage as you go.
- Now check the connection to the line. If in doubt re-do the connection.
- Before you start to wind the line onto the reel clean the line; a soft cloth, soap and water is all you need. Use ordinary soap! Do not use detergents like washing up liquid as these tend to damage the line. Run the line through the soft, soapy cloth to the end and rinse through the cloth in clean water by winding it back again.
- Treat your floating line with silicone to improve its performance.
- Check the braided leader loop for wear (if you use one) and check that the line has not cracked where it joins it. If in doubt, replace the loop.
- Check your shooting head lines for wear where it joins the running line.
- Replace all the leaders with new ones. I like to use tapered leaders and add tippets to suit the length I want to fish.
- Check out your leader wallet and re- stock with new leaders.
- Tidy flies
- Remove used and rusty flies
- Tie up flies or buy in replacements
- Empty out and check tools, priest, temperature gauge, scales, de-barb pliers and any other bits and pieces you take with you.
- Empty all pockets and remove dross
- Check: zingers, nippers, scissors and knot tying tools if you have them
- Replace flies in fly boxes
- Check sunglasses for damage and clean
- Check for holes and repair or replace
- Check the net release if you use one
WADERS & BOOTS
- Check for waders for leaks and repair or replace as necessary
- Clean waders
- Check boot soles and heels are not loose – replace if necessary
- Clean boots
WET WEATHER GEAR
- Make sure it is waterproof and check for holes or tears – repair or replace if necessary.
- Check the lanyard attachment and the rubber shoe at the base.
- Fly Fishing Queenstown and any fresh water in New Zealand requires a fishing license. These can be purchased online. F&G NZ have made it easier than ever before (apparently) to do this see this excerpt from a recent email from them:
“We would like to take this opportunity to invite you to beat the rush and renew your Fishing licence online through the Fish & Game online ordering system. We are confident you will find this a simple and convenient way to purchase your 2011/2012 Fishing licence.
Step 1- Follow the link below
Step 2- Accept the terms and conditions when you arrive at the online ordering site.
Step 3- Enter your 2010/2011 licence number and your date of birth into ‘Previous Customer Details’. This will bring up your details for renewing your licence. Licences purchased online will be supplied as an attractive, durable plastic card. Plastic licences will be mailed within 5 working days of being ordered. Best of luck for the Fishing season ahead – you can order your licence now at: https://fishandgame.eyede.com/public/get_page.php”
This should give you something to do over the next month before the Queenstown fly fishing season opens and you are fly fishing Queenstown waters for trout that have not seen an angler for 5 months or so!
Check out the Fly Fishing Queenstown Expeditions I offer and get in touch if you want to customize anything to make your fishing vacation even more memorable
October has been and gone with some awesome fishing. Yesterday was the opening of the NZ back country rivers with the odd exception in the Central South Island region which don’t open until early December. The weather was amazing with a blue bird day and light southerly winds (on your tail) and I am sure anybody who got into the back country waters had a great time.
I certainly did even though I arrived late and there were several other parties of anglers ahead of me on the water, not that I saw any of them. I fished slowly for about 4hrs using both blind and sight fishing techniques and managed 15 to net with a few long line releases, nothing big all ranged between about 2lbs and 7lbs with a nice mix of rainbows trout and brown trout.
The weather continues to be fabulous although it looks like some rain on Thursday but should clear quite quickly and another large high is ridging in. The warm weather has been producing some snow melt and keeping the flows quite high and some rivers are seeing slight discoloration as the day goes on.
Tip – get deep fast – make sure your choice of fly is in the fishes feeding zone.
I have been putting my Scott S4 6wt rod thru its paces and it’s a bloody great rod. Makes light work of head winds, can carry really heavy gear yet remains delicate for presenting small dry’s and fights fish almost like bamboo with a deep flex thru the rod. If you are in the market for what I suggest is possibly the best rod for NZ conditions get yourself the Scott S4.
Anybody wanting to get some fishing in during November be sure to get in touch as it will be awesome fishing and I have some space available.
Skues was a nymph man, then Halford went dry.
When we see the way the press and media go on about events in our lifetime, you have to shake your head. And think fly fishing is the best. Wet or dry. A kind of escapism with the best possible conclusion. A fish. Be it a brown coloured one or a rainbow coloured one or a funny coloured one. They all count be they small or big.
So, it’s refreshing to know that for some of us the only argument going on in life is the nymph and the dry argument. Things could be much worse.
The history of angling has come far. I think that’s why it’s called History.
Skues, whose full name was George Edward MacKenzie Skues, had a mouthful of a name and so stuck with just Skues. But despite the name he managed to write “Treatyse of Fysshynge Wyth an Angle” in 1885. Whether our language has progressed since then is debatable. He also wrote “Minor tactics of the Chalk Stream” in 1910. More major tactics are required these days. Booking flights to NZ notwithstanding.
Both books make excellent bedtime reading though.
In those days they used the term “angle”. Which was all well-and-good when you had a mobile sundial and a good angle on things. Especially an angle that hooked you a fish for dinner in the days prior to Catch-and-Release.
He wasn’t a bad tier of the fly either.
Interim: A good song to have running through your head when the fish are Spooky or Spooked though is this. And if the music doesn’t tickle your fancy the images are a pretty good representation of the best films ever.
Rod technology has come a long way, too. From silly underwear with spears, to greenheart rods, to hexagonal bamboo, then impregnated hexagonal bamboo, to high-tech graphite, all in the space of a few decades or two on our human timescale. I’m just hoping that it will never come to wearing Kevlar vests and using bazookas.
Yet we find ourselves in not a dissimilar situation to our casting brothers from times gone by. And we still catch fish like they did. The bloke with the fish-stick is entirely responsible though, and what he can hook he can land under the right circumstances. Even with a horrible Nor’ Wester.
And if all else fails, there’s always the trout-tickling option, although I’ve never seen it done myself. My last experiment with the TT maneuver was most amusing, but sadly just had me lying in a prone horizontal position tickling algae-covered rocks all afternoon.
Now, obviously, I’m not fortunate enough to have lived through the generations of those that have been amongst us fisher-people who love to simply be by a river with a rod and await a hatch.
So, I’ll continue with the not-so-latter-day-take on recent fishing events.
To the Land of the New Zealand Land. The Land of the Beautiful Scenery, with the fish that care not a dot about Skues’ or Halford’s issues about dry vs wet.
At the end of the day, trout, whatever their colour, are much like ourselves:
They need to eat.
As humanoids we have decided to put this into a 3-part daily thing. Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner.
Trout however are far cleverer than us and just eat all day. They don’t pay for delivery and don’t worry if the food hasn’t arrived in 30 minutes as one of their brothers or sisters downstream will happily pick up what’s missed, clung to a small rolling stone or just floating by on the surface.
I’m not a statistician, but I reckon the chances of one of those bugs whizzing past with a hook attached to some furry or feathery size 20 and up hook is pretty remote. Yet we land the odd one sometimes.
The Nymph v The Dry
Nymphs run deep
I’t's their very nature
Dry flies float high
It’s there nature, too
But both get gobbled from under or above
By fishes that want a meal
And hence the Human invention of the hook
Funniest River Names
Nile. Should have been called Miles and Miles and Miles River. ‘Cos it is.
Wangapeka. Beautiful river to fish on even if you catch no fish. You can always have a giggle about Woodpeckers and Rivers.
Ribble (Lancashire, UK). Never ripples. Always in flood.
Upukerora. When I first heard the name I was baffled by the sound. Later on though I realised it meant, “If you pack her, you gotta wear her”.
And I’m lucky enough to have a wife who doesn’t mind a day out fishing.
Tight Lines to anyone who reads this. And slack lines to those that don’t.
Now this is new to me as I have been a single hander rod man for all my fly fishing and I have a fair bit of learning to do. I am starting to get the hang of it and better still have hooked and landed some fish with this system. It really just goes to show there are always things you can learn in the world of fly fishing. Knowing how to use different gear in the right situation can open up a lot of water and fly fishing opportunities. Being prepared to take the plunge and look like a bit of a knob as you learn should not deter anyone as the results will pay dividends – more fishing and more catching of fish.
I am looking forward to putting this gear to the test in the summer in certain waters down my way where the water is big, back casts are limited and large NZ trout reside. Now is a good time for me to get the hard yards in and also have a bit of fun along the way.
Three things I have done that have helped me with this gear is spend a bit of time time on You Tube watching videos of masters of the skagit and spey casting, practicing on the grass and getting a colleague of mine who is a casting instructor to give me a bit of feed back on my casting while we have been fishing together. Now I know not all of you have friends who are casting instructors but they are very valuable and I would thoroughly recommend spending a small amount of money and time to do a session with one. It may not be on spey/skagit casting but on other elements of casting that you will be able to practice and the next time you hit the water you won’t be practicing you will be fishing with those finely tuned skills you have developed. End result is more time fishing effectively which usually translates to more hooks ups.
2 Aussie guys and a a week of back country fly fishing and camping in remote regions near Queenstown New Zealand was fantastic and saw many fine trout landed including 2 large fish, one weighing 10lbs and one 10.25lbs.
The hard yards getting into (and back out of) these areas when the weather was right saw most fish caught on terrestrial patterns – Cicada and Blowflies being the big winners along with one of my home tied flies we will just call the Wilkie Wonder!
Many of the fish that were caught was on the first cast. Making it count first time up makes life much easier in catching New Zealand South Island trout. Over the week we landed approximately 40 trout and lost another 15 – 20 fish – what a week! It doesn’t get much better.
These particular clients are some of my regulars who have fished with me on quite a few occasions now. They have been applying the tips and tricks I give them and better still before each trip with me they get some practice in ensuring when they get here they can do the business, after all the guy on the end of the stick has to do the job at the end of the day. The Scott rods were bent all week, the Airflo lines were making light work of the wind, my new C&F design fly patch worked great – I didn’t lose a single fly all week while crawling thru all sorts of spiky New Zealand river side foliage while trying to find unsuspecting trout.
These guys work really well as a team, both with each other and me as the guide. Between us we got some great video footage – so keep an eye out for some new videos at my You Tube channel or/and Hook TV
I’m at home for about 36 hours before I head out on my next Safari trip so it’s catch up time with my family and restock all the kit ready to hit the rivers in the lower 1/3rd of New Zealand’s South Island for another blast of trying to fool big NZ trout.
One of the more grunty weather systems has been smashing southern NZ over the last 72 hrs and the worst of it is arriving now and for the next 24 hrs. Snow has fallen to very low levels over the South Island of New Zealand and Mt Hutt in Canterbury has received well over a meter of snow and may end up with a excellent base going into the ski season.
It has been a while since I have fished in conditions that require de-icing of the fishing rod guides and at the moment I am not rushing out the door to experience it. The extremely cold blustery southerly that is blowing has certainly got my hopes up for a good duck shoot this afternoon.
There looks like there could be a few small gaps in the weather next week so there could be some good options to get out then – if I can find a stable couple of days together we are going to try to get into Fiordland for a late season hit on some of the big browns that are getting ready for spawning.
The reports of a long and cold winter ahead of us may well becoming true and it will interesting to see if it translates into big snow which will then make for some big run off come spring time through the rivers systems. If the winter is long and cold it will also have and effect on the health of the trout at the beginning of the season – it will take longer for them to put condition back on.
The last week since Easter has seen some odd warm (ish) weather with quite large quanties of precip falling west of the divide with some signifacnt spill over. The eastern side has not recieved too much rain but with the temps being warmer (until now) on top of the large floods we recieved about 3 weeks ago in many areas have certainly taken a toll on the the big mayfly hatchs we normally get. Although there has been some good steady action on the lower Mataura and yesterday on the upper “X” saw a good mid afternnon hatch of mayfly with fish feeding on the sub surface on the emerger but no actual surface action.
With the cold and clear weather on us now and steady thru to Friday there should be stronger hatches and we should see trout coming to the surface to sip the mayfly a great deal more on most of the Southern rivers.
With only 9 days left to go before the lowland rivers close it’s nice to see some stable weather for a change. This season has certainly been hard due to the very chanageable weather patterns but with good local knowledge has produces some great fishing at times.
The back country rivers stay open until the end of May and if the weather patterns give us some decent weather there will be some more good fishing available for the keen angler.
I am starting to get ready for some duck shooting and have been bringing bags of feed back from Southland to feed our ponds – (evening shoots preferred) but I will get in a bit more trout fishing before I head up to Golden Bay in mid May for a wee break. I am taking some saltwater fly fishing gear in the vain hope there might be some snapper around still (they usually move on around the end of April to follow the warm water) – we will see.
My last few days of guiding have been interesting from the tuition front. An interesting point is how detrimental to good fly casting is the habit of wanting to overmuscle the rod to load it up as opposed to allowing good technique to work the rod and allow for clean excution of the presentation. It’s something we are all gulity of now and again and is probably excerbated by “hog fever” and trying too hard rather than feeling the smooth rhythm of good fly casting. To be sure powering the rod up takes musclar activity and especially so when it comes distance casting but the majority of trout we catch is in a 30 -45 ft distance using long (and sometimes very long) leaders. Having the skills to deliver an acurate cast the right length, first time can make a huge difference to the results at the end of the day…….practice your casting. Make the time to practice particularly before going on a trip. Practice casting is best done on the grass in the park and not while seeing a 8+ lbs New Zealand feeding parked in a tricky pool eye. Yes life is busy but do yourself a favour – PRACTICE – it will pay off!
One of the things that I see on a regular basis from visiting overseas anglers is a tendency to set the hook in a dry fly take far to soon resulting in the fish going “what the”, the angler repeating something very similar as the trout slides under a rock, spooked – a great opportunity has been missed.
As subjects of the Queen of England for many years a common phrase used by many NZ anglers to get the timing of the dry fly hook set right is to say:
“God save the Queen”.
This quaint saying allows enough time for the trout to take the fly and start heading back down, closing it’s mouth before the angler lifts the rod tip setting the hook – battle on!
This simple approach of a phrase can be adjusted accordingly to “God save the President” which was much better when GWB was in the hot seat.
There are of course some variables to getting it right and really only personal experience will teach it. No matter how well you’ve got it figured out, sometimes you still miss out – that’s why it’s called fishing!
Here are some of those variables:
Smaller trout will need less of a pause than larger trout.
The speed of the water is a factor in the take – slow water, slow take – fast water, faster take.
Rainbows are often a faster take than Brownies (who can be extrodinarly slow at times).
A downstream take is slower than an upstream take.
Certain food sources such as Cicadas can make a complete mockery of the above.
An example of conditions that would result in a super slow take may be a 5lb brownie in a very slow, deep edge beside an undercut bank picking off random blowflies.
The first cast is on the money (you proably won’t get a second). The sleek golden submarine sees your black gnat late, it turns and siddles lazily downstream to follow it. Lifting from about 5 feet down in the water column it’s already moved 3 yards downstream when it’s snout finally comes to the surface. You see a gaping white cave as the trout’s mouth opens and the fly is gently sucked in. Right now you start saying the mantra (with a twist) “God save the ex-president and all his henchmen”.
While you have been whispering the trout has had the time to head down, close it’s mouth and turn back into the current before you begin lifting the rod purposefully to set the hook – you are on and the fish is hooked well!
On the otherhand I have seen big brownies in seam edges fly 3 feet sideways into the main current to slam a cicada like a sidewinder missile smashing a tank and the appropiate timing has been more like saying “Holy Shit”