"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..."
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!
First off all I had to get my hands on some new gear so I hit up Chris Sharland from Manic with a a little email explaining what I was gonna be getting up to... 15 days non-fishing specific trip through New South Wales in Australia with my girlfriend, but this time I would like to bring some fly fishing gear with me :-) I made the biggest mistake last year when we headed to Cook Islands and thought that there won`t be time for fishing because I wanted to enjoy the time away with my girlfriend, even though Chris Dore (and my girlfriend) told me to take the gear and have a little flick on the beach while she enjoys cocktails at the bar... I was like NAH MATE I will be alright. Big mistake!... Since then I have brought my rod on every vacation :-) !!
Our trip took us 2937 kms driving through New South Wales and I tried to wet the line most evenings or early mornings in all the different places we stayed. I knew it`s going to be quite challenging as I had no previous salt water experience and minimum research done. First couple of days were basically spent running up and down the beach trying to spot a fish and blind fishing a few estuaries but with no luck whatsoever. But I took it more as trying to learn different casting techniques, and practising double hauling with heavier equipment then normally..
I had my hands on a Scott Tidal #8 paired with Lamson Speedster and Airflo FlatMaster fly line, and as It was my first ever saltwater combo to fish with I have nothing to compare it with. But as an owner of a freshwater Scott Radian my expectations were quite high. It can take some time on the water to get good at handling your rod at different fishing scenarios, but with freshwater experience and Scott Tidal in hand, it was much easier to get things done. This #8 weight lightweight combo opened a whole new level of casting ability to me, especially when double hauling. Casting out heavier and bigger flies with easy load and able to land them to the places I wanted was just a pure joy! Of course a couple end up getting snagged on the branches overhanging the estuary banks but in general I was amazed by the accuracy of the rod. Scott Tidal is good value for money and should satisfy a beginner or experienced angler.
One evening I finally came across some bigger size fish, which were more then just a couple of curious fly followers and my first Australian Salmon (kahawai) was hooked. The first fish came out of nowhere.. what followed was an erupted take with the fish quickly disappearing into the deep. The fish made a solid bend into the rod, but was landed after couple of minutes... Unfortunately that was the only Kahawai as all the others broke off just seconds after hook up. But with our next destination in sight, I knew I was heading back to my natural habitat as we headed onwards to Jindabyne in the Snowy Mountains, to visit great friends and explore some of Australia's best freshwater fishing.
The Thredbo river, one of the most beautiful trout rivers I had ever fished. Amazingly peaceful place to spent some time around, with plenty of easy access. The tranquil water of Thredbo river is surrounded by beautiful sub-alpine flora and that ever present smell of eucalyptus. Fly fishing this river reminded me of many years ago when I was a kid, catching very high numbers of fish on my local river in Czech Republic.. It does not happen too often that you rock into a spot pretty late in a day and catch more fish in 15 minutes then you have fingers on both hands. Knees deep water and trout willing to rise to dry fly on every occasion. This is definitely a place that I will be returning to!
We spent the rest of our trip on a coast where I had few more chances to hook some fish. The most fun and pretty much only to mention would be coming across Australian Snook fish. These funny looking fish are very energetic and aggressive and would take any kind of shiny fly.. I went through way to many in my fly box due the very large sharp teeth in their mouth. Once the fly hits the water the fish go absolutely ballistic, snapping after it until one is hooked. I spent couple hours fishing of the rock hooking one after another, pretty much until I had no flies left :-)
This was an amazing experience but now I am back in New Zealand all excited about some trout fishing. The car is packed and the ALARM is going to start ringing in 5 hrs......
Hold on a second..... Summer has not truly arrived yet and looking at the long term weather forecast, it does not seem to be coming anytime soon! Temperature hardly getting over 16 degrees celsius, rain, clouds and of course the always present wind from all directions. It`s been tough lately but in the end, it`s all about being out there enjoying yourself.
New places were explored over the past month, old rivers revisited , some fish caught, some fish lost, many just spooked but we also came across our first TROPHY brown trout!
Scroll down and enjoy!
Christmas day was one of the warmer days so we decided to jump on our bikes and peddle to a local remote lake. Fish were very active as rising water temperature brought out swarms of damselflies and dragonflies.
Browns and rainbows smashing streamers all day as soon as they touch the water... I say YES! DORE`S MISTER GLISTER got chased a lot! But the best thing about this trip was that we explored absolutely new place to us, which ended up being a sweet surprise!
On our last trip we fished three rivers, two of those well known to us but some sections were still to be explored.. We came across quite a few fish but most of them were really spooky and gone before we had a chance to cast. This had been happening for hours and I was really close to calling it... We had a quick chat over a beer and decided to push it a bit more and give it another half an hour..... WHAT A GREAT DECISION THAT WAS! As we were walking upstream I spotted a fish sitting still in the head of a pool.... I quickly yelled at Chris to slow down and passed the fish onto him as he was in a better position on the opposite bank. First cast and the fish was hooked, he fought hard and tried to hide under the bank but Chris kept holding him tight on a 4X tippet..... We knew it`s a big boy but had no idea how big.... In the end we could not quite fit him in the net but the scale dropped straight to 14 pounds which is the maximum range of it! Chris`s personal best brown trout and one that is not going to be easy to beat :-) WELL DONE BROTHER
Willow grubs...some people hate them but some people love them! Great fun on a little stream full of fish snacking hard on these little guys!
Over two months have passed since our Opening trip and that is also about the same time it has been since I have seen Chris......! It`s been the same way every year as he moves out of town for half the year to manage the Glade house Lodge deep in Fiordland, but of course from time to time he gets out and we try to make the most of it. Today was the day and we had a blast! But let`s have a look first what were we up to last month..
Most of my days off - Rain, Rain, Rain!...and when it finally got nice out, some kind of stomach bug totally messed me up and the trip was over. But over the weeks we still managed to get out a few times and catch some fish!
SCROLL DOWN AND ENJOY!
DAY TRIP WITH CHRIS
It`s Monday and it's supposed to be a really warm day, or at least according to the forecast. We arrive at the spot and as usual for us, there is noone else there. we whip up a quick breakfast, rig up and head towards the river. Within the first couple minutes the first fish is in the net, and every pool and hideaway we fish from there on in, continues to delight us with the goods. Today all flies and techniques seemed to work in our favour, and even though it was just a single day of fishing, it was a fruitful one. The forecast did not lie either. By the end of the day, my bare legs show the true power of the New Zealand sun!
Maybe next time I catch up with Chris it will be in his territory. Stay tuned.
Before we say anything about the trip we need to say THANK YOU to our friend and personal bush mechanic DEVAN KIRKER! Cheers for all the hard work and your company! GOOD TIMES!
DAY BY DAY story of our OPENING TRIP followed by PHOTOGRAPHY! Happy season everyone!
Sunny with no wind and definitely some good fish in the river. A quick recon the day before revealed that there were more fish than the previous year. With the Hut to ourselves and no other fisherman around, we knew we were pretty lucky. After two quick re-rigs the first fish was hooked and lost but it was a good sign as it was feeding like crazy. Walking amongst the high tussock mountains following the meandering river, we were hopeful, but we never expected to see that many fish, let alone catch them. Just a perfect start of the season.
Score Board : Chris: 6, Jakub: 5 Walked: 20km
Expecting the weather to change we headed out of the mountains to fish a big rolling river, but we should not have worried too much because it ended up being a warm and still day in the foothills. Even-though the fish were hard to spot, a well placed fly brought rainbows and browns to the net. A spinner fall later in day saw fish rising and some dry fly action was an unexpected delight.
Score Board : Chris: 4, Jakub: 2 Walked: 10km
Watching the morning Fiordland clouds quickly move on over breakfast, we knew we had no time to waste so we hurried down to the river. There is never any guaranties but when we saw there were no other fisherman around....I gave Chris a HIGH FIVE and we legged it through beautiful Fiordland beech forest to an amazing and challenging river. I fished this river a few times and thought I knew a thing or two about catching these big spooky trout, but by the end of a long 11 hr session, I had only landed one, whilst Chris bagged 3. My confidence was taking a bit of battering not helped by Chris pointing out he had caught twice as many fish as me by the end of day 3!!!!...By consolation, all my fish thus far had been caught on the first cast.
Score Board : Chris: 3, Jakub: 1 Walked: 16km
Topping up on gas in town and picking up a key to a locked gate was the plan of the morning. Always the optimist, I was expecting a good day one this lovely river, but I can only describe today's fishing as sensational! Big fat browns all in superb condition. After landing 4 fish I felt in the zone and clawed back the lead Chris had on me, but with two fish from a beautiful run, he was back in a game. The next couple hours we both landed a few more fish and just felt good for each other. Being at the hut with the fire going, whiskey in hand, two thoughts came to mind, we can`t wait until tomorrow and damn this whiskey tastes fine.
Score Board : Chris: 4, Jakub: 5 Walked: 12km
Waking up deep in the backcountry we did not have to worry about a thing. Hot beans on toast and cup of coffee got us going but really it was the prospect of another fantastic day that saw us make a beeline to the river. We only visit this little stream once a year early in the season and every time we are surprised to find the a fish in a same place and this year was no exception. Catching them though always proves a challenge. We usually spot about 6 fish the whole day, but it`s not really just about the fishing. It`s a beautiful place, gin clear river, awesome hut in the middle of nowhere, the fishing just makes it the perfect destination.
Score Board : Chris: 2, Jakub: 3 Walked: 17km
It`s 5 am. and Chris is already running around as he is in charge of getting us to the river which I have never fished before. We knew it`s a popular place so we wanted to be there by sun up. Getting to our destination it looked like it was going to be a hard day with cloud cover and low light, but within an 1/2 hour the sun broke through the clouds and we started to spot the big browns that this river is well known for. What followed Chris and myself may have dreamt of, but rarely experienced in reality...the fishing was red hot. Catching 1 or two fish in this river is considered a good day, but we somehow managed to pull out 9. All prime condition browns averaging 7 pounds.
Score Board : Chris: 3, Jakub: 6 Walked: 12km
An hour walk saw us in the backcountry and fishing amongst the tussock fringed with beech forest and mountains towering in every direction. It was another sunny day with no wind and plenty of big browns!!! Just when we though the fishing could not get any better today proved us thankfully wrong. We've fished 100's of days, had 100's of epic adventures, but this day on the river rates as my all time most memorable day. Just prefect, I won't try to describe it!!! With sore feet, sore knees but clear minds we head home a day early, completely satisfied.
Score Board : Chris: 6, Jakub: 8 Walked: 24km
TOTAL SCORE BOARD : Chris: 28, Jakub: 30 TOTAL FISH: 58 Walked: 101km Driven: 835km
As we wanted to do something different, here is a little interview followed by photography with my fishing buddy Christopher Hrycyk.
What`s your favourite piece of outdoor kit?
My Scott Radian and Lamson Speedster. Love them!!!
What`s your most expensive piece of kit?
Probably as above...I'm not that much into expensive gear but my 6 weight rod and reel was money well spent
What does the fly fishing mean to you?
It means being out with my flyfishing buddies doing something that I love in stunning places. It's my chillax place...
What`s your favourite place to escape into outdoors?
Somewhere quiet. That could be backcountry, frontcountry, stream, lake, estuary or beach...as long as there is fish and no-one else around!!!
What is your top fly fishing tip?
I think people tend to take flyfishing too seriously, so i'd say "don't take flyfishing too seriously". It's important to remember what got us into it in the beginning. For me it's hanging with mates, spending time in great places, the journey, the destination and of course catching fish!!!
Do you prefer day trips or overnight trips?
I love "fishing trips", always have, always will, the excitement of planning a trip, going to a new destination and discovering another hidden gem is what I love. Overnighters allow you more time to get to know a place and not rush things. You get a sense of being on holiday and everyone loves being on holiday...but to be honest I can't choose because it's all fishing in the end...
If not fishing on your own who would you most like to go for a fish with?
I've got some great fishing buddies and a few brothers that I love to fish with.
What do you pack for overnight backcountry trip?
The Scott Radian and Lamson, spare rod, the essential tackle etc, a spare set of dry clothes, raincoat, down jacket, sleeping bag, tent (if not staying in a hut), torch, first aid kit, good food, coffee, gas stove and gas, my billy, 3L of water, whiskey, tobacco, toothbrush and toothpaste and earplugs for my mates...because I snore!!!
What do you call backcountry?
In essence I think it's a place you have to hike in to...however thereare a lot of places serviced by rough roads in stunning locations that I'dalso class as backcountry. What makes or breaks it for me is the solitude...if anglers gave each other a wide birth we'd all be better for it.
Describe the most scary moment you`ve had when being backcountry?
Sleeping next to Jakub Kanok
What is your highest number of days fly fishing in the row?
19? Spring 2014/15?
What`s your favourite after-trip tipple?
Whiskey, beer...or a can of Mother for the drive back...
What is your top outdoor tip?
You should be carrying more water than whiskey in your backpack
Where would you most like to be right now?
South Coast NSW chasing Luderick
Two fly fishing adventures you`d put on your bucket list?
Aitutaki, Hervey bay
Highlight of the 2015/2016 season?
Opening Week...Good company, so many rivers, awesome huts, great fishing and the promise of an awesome Summer!!!
Last weeks plan was a bit more unusual then it would normally be. My friend Jason decided to move back to Queenstown from Auckland, which brought the idea of me flying up and sharing the drive. I guess we just wanted to call it a road trip! We had three days to chew through this 1685 km long drive which includes the ferry between two islands. We of course wanted to fly fish and enjoy any other outdoor activity. We found ourself looking back on this trip feeling very fortunate for the experience! Given that photos say more then I can, here is a photo recap of our trip!
We were lucky enough to be able to get away over the weekend for a three day fly in trip to a beautiful section of the Rangitikei river to round off a pretty good season so far. With a team of Chris from Manic Tackle project, Jakub from DTD Adventures, Sam from Moreporks and Tim ...it was set to be a pretty chilled out affair in the hills covering some ground with packs on once dropped in by Helisika and the Hughes 500.
The Kaimanawas encompasses a massive expanse of native forest, shrublands and tussock grasslands, extending from Tongariro National Park in the west to the Kaweka Ranges in the east. Altitudes vary from 560 metres in the north, to the highest point Makorako at 1727 metres in the centre of the park. Kaimanawa Forest Park was gazetted in 1969 and is managed by the Department of Conservation.
The south west coast bares the brunt of all the weather systems that hit New Zealand, with massive rainfall exceeding 5 meters per year. This is a recipe for deep, lush rainforest and rivers that cascade down steep valleys, frequently flooding to terrifying levels. If you manage to get hit a rare break in the weather, it's time to pack your stuff and get there. This was the case for us as we decided last minute to make the long slog up the west coast, we quickly packed and left at dawn. Unfortunately being in such a haste means things get missed, with Jakub leaving his remote control drone on the roof of his car as we took off in the morning darkness, never to be seen again.