UNTAMED NATURAL WILDERNESS! SEASON OPENING 2018

The time of a year that most of us fisherman have been waiting for had come around again. We always put some serious effort into preparation for what we call the OPENING TRIP! But as per every year the biggest worry is always the unpredictable weather. You can have a super solid plan, but trust me you should always have couple of back up plans from which you can get started and adjust the plan to your needs. Marek and I headed out three days prior to the Opening day to cut out a bit of decent driving time which needed to be done. Of course we had to wet our lines. Quick stops by the lakes and exploring some estuaries for a sea run was on the daily menu. With the weather bomb approaching from down south we were pretty much traveling away from it, each day hoping that we could stick to our plan A for October 1st.

Then it rained all night and day and it carried into another day and night of solid rain. By then we knew our plan A would need to be postponed. Matt had arrived the night before and options were discussed at a small bar over couple of beers.

Waking up at a silly hour to make sure we got to water we had chosen early enough, was a great call. We arrived at our spot to find out that the water was quite discoloured and running higher then when we had scoped it out the other day. It was still pretty dark out but as we flashed our torches into the water we were able to see the bottom. We stuck to our gut feeling and decided to shoot further upstream to get to a different access point.

HERE WE GO!

To our surprise by 8 am the clouds had slowly begun to clear and the day started to look quite promising. The river we had chosen meanders its way across swampy farmland and provided good sight fishing opportunities even with the water being discoloured. We knew that sea-run trout were present, boosting up the numbers of fish for this time of a year. With 20 to the net, and most fish being a pretty good size and condition, we could not complain about a single thing!


TOUGH GOING!

Pretty bloody hard day on a beautiful gin clear and fairly large river. We covered some good water but hadn’t seen many fish. And those we spotted were way too spooky for this early in the season. To our surprise, we found out from couple of trampers heading out, that there was a party of 3 fishing not far up from us. Pretty weird as there was no car at the access point where we left our vehicles. There surely was one when we walked out…. Yeah I guess we got jumped..

Marek saved the day with this stunner of a brown to the net!


CAMP OUT!

The next couple of days we spent fishing in a slightly more remote location. The first day we sighted many fish, but we got literally smoked. We had some good hook ups, but they all got away in the swift water, and as the day progressed fish were not really interested in anything we would throw at them! Luckily I was able to land one and save the day for the team!

Good night camping, up early and what gorgeous a day for us! We ended up fishing a beautiful gin clear backcountry river, with plenty of fish actively feeding and not hesitating to take our flies. After a couple of fish for each of us the first double hook up was on! The day got better and better, and as the temperature heated up fish started to rise to mayflies! Good dry fly action was just a cherry on a top!


We headed out to civilisation to check the weather forecast, have a good feed and discuss what to do next! The weather looked very promising and Matt suggested we go back to our original plan. There was nothing to chat about anymore. We quickly nodded as a sign that we were still keen!

BACK TO PLAN A!

Matt took a day off to organise everything, resupply and get accomodation sorted as the next morning we would be jumping on board a helicopter and flying into some remote location of the South Island.

Marek and I were pretty close to taking day off, especially with a forecast of heavy rain, but we ended up fishing all day instead. It was a good day to put some of our Simms gear to a solid test. We ended up fishing the lower reaches of a river with no easy access or any marked route. I instantly fell in a love with this place and made a little promise to myself to come back one day and explore the whole length of this remote, crystal clear, bouldery river! Fish were not easy to spot due to the constant rain but Dore’s mister Glister got a lot of attention and some stunning fish were landed!

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YEAH BOI!

Everybody was up early! Quick breakfast, coffee, double check of our gear and within half an hour we saw ourselves on board a Helicopter heading out to a very special place where we were going to spend 4 days fishing some remote rivers and their tributaries.

I believed that due to the previous week’s weather, we were most likely the first bunch of fisherman able to fish the area. Water levels were lower then we expected and were dropping significantly every day. Blue skies, pleasant temperatures, and some pretty good hatches mostly after lunch time kept us going strong every day. Fish were hungry and in very good numbers and conditions. Matt kept slaying them crazy on a dry fly every day, while Marek and myself were more successful with nymphs. We experienced some of the best wilderness brown trout fishing up to date!

It was surely a highlight of our trip and at the same time the most amazing end to it!

STATS:

Kilometres driven : 2134

Distance walked: who the hell knows

Time in a chopper: 25 minutes

Gear lost : 2 broken rods, 1 smashed reel, dry backpack gone to heaven…

# of Fish released : plenty to keep us smiling!

# of Fish kept: ZERO

CHEERS BOYS!

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DINE AND DASH

This trip has been on my list since a not very successful attempt last year due to the weather! We sorted out annual leave well ahead and with the superb summer down here in the South Island the level of excitement was high.....but then the shit hit the fan! Not even a week before DAY 1 things started to go against us. Cyclone Gita was approaching New Zealand, vehicle breakdown, flight cancellation for my mates arriving from Canada and I started to panic about everything...

By DAY 1 our plan fell absolutely apart.... so we went from plan A TO B,C to D and ended up going on a family road trip around the South Island instead.

DAY 10 - text: hill is open, you guys got in yet? DAY 11 - dropped off my family at the airport! (Thanks heaps for letting me go!)

In the end I had a chance to spend 5 days fully submerged into fly fishing surrounded by absolutely top people!

Scroll Down and Enjoy!

Peter with a beast of kingfish!

Hit and Run!

Despite the rain and coffee stained water we headed out to try our luck. First day on the water left us with no fish, but later on the weather conditions slightly improved and we were lucky enough to encounter some Kahawai and finally got our chance to chase after some stunning KINGFISH! With every other day the weather got better and better and so did the fishing! 

Ocean Hunter

 Tailing the flats as the tide rises!

Tailing the flats as the tide rises!

I am at home now writing a little blog post with a smile on my face already dreaming about another saltwater trip, but the rest of the boys are still there... and I really hope they are having a great time! It was pleasure to meet you all! You are a freaking cool bunch!!

P.S  SORRY J Kells there was nothing I could have done, but don`t worry mate, plenty of adventures ahead of us!

TIGHT LINES! 

Dry fly double hook up galore!

Little photo essay from our last overnighter! 

Marek's back again from Yukon after another busy season of guiding at Dalton trail lodge, and what a first trip we had to kick it off for him! Blue sky, no wind and fish back to being keen again after much needed heavy rain! Exploring new water, blue sky, zero wind... no wonder we pulled out pretty much 14 hrs session on day one and day two got me into trouble coming home very late after I promised early return.... but you just can't leave the river when multiple dry fly double hookups are on the menu.

Scroll down and enjoy!

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TIGHT LINES!

Tribs and Tackles

Not your usual New Zealand fishing photos! J Kels and myself decided to explore some tiny tributaries in search of brook trout. We didn't manage to catch any brook trout, but holy shit those little creeks were fun to fish. Left us absolutely amazed by the quality and quantity of these little juvenile trout.

Scroll down and enjoy! (Shaka)

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B-A-N-A-N-A-S!

Just got back from another BANGER trip with my mate Matt Butler. I think we need to team up more often because in the words of Gwen Stefani This shit is bananas, B-A-N-A-N-A-S! We got extremely great weather with temperatures peaking at 30 degrees, and the fish just loved it too. They were actively feeding and changing flies pretty much with every fish was  the HIT! We got some Epic dry fly eats, fish on nymphs and of course streamers. Even the worm came out of the flybox!

SCROLL DOWN AND ENJOY!

DRY FLY EATER FROM A SKINNY WATER

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This beauty took Matt for a solid run

Bow casted Dore`s Glister into a tricky spot got it done!

Look at those spots!!!!

Epic Start!

Epic Memories - It has been a great opening week of fishing here in NZ with some decent weather and even better fish, but today was one we'll never forget. We hit a notoriously tough river on a red letter day, with the fish just mowing down everything we threw at them without much effort! Then came the moment we got a double hook up on a pair of serious fish from opposite sides of the river, making every step of the 15km walk worth it, not to mention the other 30 or so hookups!! 

Scroll down and enjoy!

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© Lockie Sutherland

 © Lockie Sutherland

© Lockie Sutherland

 © Lockie Sutherland

© Lockie Sutherland

 © Lockie Sutherland

© Lockie Sutherland

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 © Lockie Sutherland

© Lockie Sutherland

Tight Lines!

Winter vibes!

It`s been warming up lately and everything is coming back to life again! There is plenty of water to be fished over the winter months in lower South Island, so if you feel anxious this would be the best time to get out and get into it again. Smaller lakes which remain open the whole year round would be my place to go. You don`t have to rush as the mornings are still cold and there is not much competition. But on the other hand it`s quite impressive to see how everything changes as the day progresses! Fish are patrolling shallows again looking for food. It`s important to get their attention without spooking them. If you struggle with your presentation, or fish simply follow but never take, here is my advice:  Cast well ahead of the moving fish and let the streamer sink all the way to the bottom. Twitch as the fish are about a meter away, your streamer will most likely get smashed straight when the mud swirles and if not, a few strips should do the job. Fish drop offs, across weed beds, along tree logs or any obstacles in the water. Don`t forget the river mouths as there will always be fish lurking around and it`s also a great place to try different techniques and practise casting. Get out, explore, get the fishing going or just go on a walk (don`t forget to bring the rod though, always bring the rod)!

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ADIEU!!

"One thing you can count on with flyfishing is that no day is the same...even though there is some insight gained through time spent on the water...rain, hail and shine are just a few variables that make a days fishing something new and surprising...One thing that has never changed with flyfishing for me has been the fun and excitement of going on a trip with my fishing buddies...it is the one thing that always makes the fishing enjoyable and this backcountry trip...probably the last for the season...is no different. In a world of constant change it is cool to know that a fishing buddy, a flyrod and a bit of water will always provide a flybox full of fun and memories..."

Watch this video to satisfy your senses! Mayfly feeders on 23rd of May 2017

5 * DAY DOWN SOUTH

Today we had an absolutely cracking day on the water! We had quite a bit of rain overnight which continued through the early morning, but as soon as the clock hit 10am the clouds were gone and the sun started to blaze. The fish were out today, actively feeding. However, it wasn`t an easy job as the water level was extremely low and fish selective as hell, but with the weather conditions absolutely on point, the hard work brought some in the net. Willow grubs, green beetles and mayfly emergers were on the menu!

Scroll down and enjoy some photography!