Having recently become part of the Riverworks Pro team I've been keen to try out the new gear. I've done a few local solo trips to the river but have not really had anything to test the gear. Other than being very comfortable and functional I had nothing of note to comment on. A few weeks ago Bert from Auckland was with us for two days fishing. Spring in the Hawkes Bay to date had been very windy and dry. The local farmers are starting to talk about possible drought.
Thunder storms were forecast in the afternoon of the first day. The morning was hot and windy so I wet waded. Bert being from warmer parts wore his waders. The morning produced 2 or 3 hook ups but the net was still dry. Thunder heads started building up to the west of the Kaweka Range, late morning. Still wet wading I did not think it would come to much. In short order there was clap of thunder and some very large rain drops started falling. Making a hurried retreat to a nearby hay barn did not stop me getting soaked. Once the thunder storm which included hail had finished I put the Riverworks gear. Bert carried on fishing with another thunder storm brewing over the back of the Kawekas. We discussed the fact that carbon fibre is a good conductor of electricity and waving it around above your head could cause some issues.
A few casts later the indicator came floating down a nice looking rippely run. A couple of well timed mends and the drift had fish written all over it. We were both watching the indicator intently. For the over 50s indicators can be hard to see. Anyway it disappeared. As I yelled strike Bert was already lifting the rod. A good sized angry rainbow lept from the water. As I was giving Bert advise which he was not taking there was a flash of lightening followed shortly thereafter by a loud clap of thunder. More lightening and thunder followed. The fish was well hooked and was taking advantage of the strong current.
The carbon fibre stick raised up in the air was looking like a lightening target. Having your client electrocuted is not good for business . So side strain was applied before it should have been and I waded out and netted the rainbow. Advising Bert to keep his rod as low as possible I unhooked the fish, photographed and released the fish.
Then the storm exploded above us. Lightening ,thunder and hail. It was hailing so hard the hail was bouncing off the water surface. With nowhere to shelter the new gear was getting its first test. The noise of the hail hitting the hood of the X series wading jacket meant we had to yell to communicate with each other. You know the lightening is close when you can smell the ozone in the air. After a very intense 10 minutes it was all over and blue sky started pushing in from the Kawekas.
Was I dry?, yes I was. The X series waders, boots and wading jacket had performed extremely well. The well placed hand warmer pockets kept the knot tying tools warm. I retied the nymphs after landing the big angry Mohaka rainbow and we were back into it.