Leaving in sunshine to be greeted with a coolish overcast day and a forecast promising light but continual rain was not favourable for dry fly fishing. Being a guide I am experienced in working with nature, it just means we have to adapt to all mountain conditions we find ourselves in.
The blessing on this trip was that the rain did remain mostly light. Leaving home base with quality Riverworks wading gear meant that despite the less than perfect conditions we actually could fish longer and in comfort. This trip was an opportunity for me to see if the Riverworks gear stood up to the tough wilderness conditions we were about to traverse in pursuit of those hopefully rising trout. The Riverworks boots did well in providing stable grip throughout the river crossings. Big river rocks were also easy to step around and the ease of wader movement made for better climbing and down tracks. The gear kept us dry and we still had good energy levels at the end of the fishing day.
The jacket was an added a bonus for me as the hood peak provides good shade over glasses to be able site fish with ease, especially if you lose your fishing hat. Kiwi ingenuity came into play the last time I visited this river, my dinner plate wrapped in my fishing shirt became the fishing hat of the trip but thankfully my back up now is the hood on the well-made Jacket.
As a guide you can probably appreciate I don’t get to fish as often as I would like. My fishing buddies on this occasion were Steve Doughty, Australasian Sales and Marketing Manager for Riverworks and his wife Chrissy. Steve gets brownie points for getting out there and using the company gear for himself and it was great to have him out there with someone like me who uses and tests the gear in many types of river terrains. All three of us appreciated the functionality of the gear and we gave it a pretty hard time. The effort however netted us some very nice trout.
Frustrations, yes, they came but not about gear. The frustrations were more aimed at miss timed strikes, mending at the wrong time and beautiful presentations of the dry fly falling like a natural insect to trout that obviously didn’t have room in their bellies for the dry fly pudding. We all shared in these moments and there was plenty of banter.
Yet another session on the river Chrissy and I were filming Steve. I had promised Steve I would not talk during the filming. First cast and the river surface remained undisturbed, the second cast touched the river and Steve’s fly was greeted enthusiastically by a large feeding trout. It was a very impressive rise, the big mouth opened and the dry was immediately sucked in. An ill timed strike and the dry fly took flight leaving its prey behind as a blaze of pink flank porpoised back down in to the depths.
I did want to yell strike at that moment but thought I was too close to the video camera so I waited. The dramatic movie when released could be; “silence of the angler”, Well my silence anyway, the angler was more vocal. I have seen calm anglers throw the rod in the river, transform into river monsters and on occasion throw themselves in the river. Not sure the echoing of obscenities amplified by the gorge acoustics forms a good soundtrack.
All in all the dry fly timing of the strike was met by Steve who landed many beautifully conditioned fish over 3 days on the river. Chrissy became our key video and camera woman so despite her frustration at not landing the fish she has provided all our readers the evidence of the ones that didn’t get away. Thanks Chrissy.
For me, I got a little down time in this special place. Normally I am guiding but if opportunity arises I like to target specific trout I know live in these deep pools or are camouflaged so well that everyone who visits here thinks no fish live here. Some of those stealthy fish did succumb to my fly.
Excited determination to meet the river challenges again either by myself, with friends or clients will certainly take me back to this Hawke’s Bay back country river before not to long.
Here’s another high 5 to Steve and Chrissy.