Another week of moderate to strong westerly winds in Southland ended yesterday with a front coming thru and giving Fiordland a good dousing of rain but only a small amount of precip got east of the divide. As the front went thru the wind dropped away for the first time in a week and yesterday, Saturday afternoon saw some good light wind conditions for fly fishing. Sunday (today) has dawned a nice day with light NW winds and high upper level cloud around but I am sure the weekend warrior will be enjoying the calm ish conditions to hit the rivers as they are all generally running low and clear still. The forecast for the next week looks fairly similar to last week with more wind around to play havoc with the fly anglers.
Many fly anglers get quite annoyed with wind and understandably, it seems to be the bane of most fisherman with a fly rod in hand. There are some things you can do to counter it and give you some good fly fishing. Learn how to double haul effectively and make sure your back cast angle is very high – shorten your stroke to help this. Another type of cast is the side cast keeping every thing super low and staying underneath the worst of the wind – 3 to 4 feet above the water – ever notice there is less wind at ground level – same thing over water. Use a stiff fast action rod like the new Scott S4. Use leaders and flies that you can still turn over. Find areas that are off the main wind angle or even better work with the wind. Approach things a bit differently – if the wind is really ripping the surface of the water it can be so disturbed it may be possible to get upstream of a fish or likely area – make your cast across the wind or downstream into the lane you need the flies to be, then trying to be as stealthy as possible walk down stream (if necessary) mending as required to keep your flies and line where you want them to be. This will often result in hook ups on gale force days.
Earlier this week on one of the extremely windy days I popped down to the river local river (I am still in Southland but will be going back and forth between Queenstown, Otago and Lumsden, Southland next week) for a wee look and a test of my skills in these conditions. I soon found a nice bit of water with fish feeding happily. I had found a place where some willow trees were blocking some of the gale (but not much) and rigged up with a double rig – heavy tungsten beaded top fly and my special home tie emerger pattern as the dropper. 1st hook up resulted in a brown trout on a torpedo run straight into willows – I dug in hard but bang he broke me off. Oh well – up to the next fish more in the open and this time I had to really work to lay the line and flies out using the double haul – bang a good 4.5 lbs brown trout to the bank. Next fish, I went for a different approach and decided to stand up stream and cast across and down laying some mends in and letting the flies drift thru the fishes lie — bang the emerger pattern again and a nice 5lb brown trout. I took the same approach for the next fish, again the emerger and this time a bigger brown trout of around 7lbs fought hard was landed and released to fight hard again another day.
In approximately 1 hr I had hooked 4 and landed 3 good fish on a day that had wind clocked around 70kph and gusting higher still by using the top 6 inches to employ the right tactics!
I have a friend who I fish with on occasion. Those occasions are usually when it’s blowing it arse off, he will ring me up and say “lets go, no other bastard will be out there” and he’s always right and we always have some good fun!
Book a guided expedition with me and I will show you what is possible to catch some good trout even in adverse wind conditions although I will always try to get us out of the wind if at all possible.