Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Big boy's clay shooting

As the person who posted this link said "finally clay shooting with an element of excitement".

I'll not comment on that, because some of my more avid readers find turning perfectly good bits of clay and paint into dust to be a fine passtime.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Of bow waves and brownies

I was thinking about the events that unfolded before I snagged the first brownie yesterday. The water was uniformly shin deep at the tail of the run I was approaching, and I definitely had my mind on the eye of the pool where a rainbow would lurk. I waded the true right of the stream, and in the water as at this point the bank was steep, which combined with heavy cloud made spotting almost futile. The bow wave that shot away from the bank told me I'd disturbed a good fish and I knew it was a brown simply from where it had been sitting. The fish appeared mid stream and held in a small channel, I covered it with the dry/nymph combo and she smashed the klinkhammer as it drifted over. It fought hard, so it was good to have the little XP bent to the butt. I got to thinking about that fish on the way home. I definitely disturbed her, or at least I think I did, although I was being quiet (yeah right tungsten carbide cleats on the boots on algae covered rocks...). Yet she still gave me a chance to hook and land her, and that's not the way a disturbed fish is 'supposed' to act now, is it? The stream gets pressure too... maybe the high water and need to feed switched the fish from shock to attack mode. The take was savage too, not a gentle sip but a splashy grab.

Second brown was a bit of a trap. I knew the pool and knew the fish (if the same as past 2 seasons). Spotting from the high bank was useless. The pool is the second longest in the stream, and one of the deepest. I tied on a heavy nymph, rigged an indicator and prepared for the 15 m cast required to hit the foam line and cover the pool. The strong upstream breeze was actually a hindrance as it turned my line at the last second, dropping the fly to the right of the foam line, twice. The third time I corrected and the nymph swam in the zone. The indicator twitched rather than dived and as I hit the fish and felt the weight I knew it was the brownie.

So one fish surprised me and one I set a trap for. Some say that brownies are shy and cunning. I say that they are hungry and need to eat. Why else would a creature who had been wakened by a potential predator eat the next morsel it saw? So, next time I'm stalking a stream and see a bow wave, rather than curse my clumsiness, I'll wait, watch and see if there's a chance to chuck the fly. Maybe I've missed more fish than i'd care to think about through thinking that once they're disturbed, they are off limits. We'll see.

Boys around the traps

TT is in the deep south, rafting or jetboating on the big rivers (Clutha is one). Text in last night, they're swinging small Woolly Buggers at trout snugging under willows and slaying the fish. They wont take dries or nymphs as they seem to be on the willow grubs, but the small buggers are just the ticket.

The Hollands are out in Sargeants this morning. Andrew sent me this.

Add caption
Caption contest, anyone?

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Relief from salt water

I can't tell you how much I've missed stream fishing. With the boat, and the kingis just so close I hadn't been tempted to go stream fishing at all. But I couldn't deny the urge, so got up and on the road at 6am, heading for a special little stream. Normally she'd be skinny at this time of year, but our summer hasn't been a summer at all, so water level was high. Sure, plenty of algae on the rocks but still she was sweet.

And what a day it was. I landed 2 big browns (putting things in perspective here, a "big" fish from this type of water and location is over 4lb) and some splendid 'bows. Being without a net I also had some spankings. It was great. I think by the end of the beat I'd hit a dozen odd and landed 7.

Got some sweet vid of the brownies going back too.

Glorious glorious trout. I'll be back after them soon.

Late night tying

iPod on and at the vice. Wanted to nail the EP Flex properly. Using the articulated shank really helped get the proportions better, plus got to drop the ugly heavy split ring and front hook, so should be much easier to cast.

Muuuch better.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Got some stuff in

A couple of times per year I order tying materials from Chris at saltwaterflies.com. I find his service fast and efficient, and the range of materials to be excellent. If bringing in hooks I always shop around, not so much in NZ, but in Au etc to make sure I'm getting the best deal. The range of hooks available here pretty much reflects how low key the sport is, so shopping elsewhere is inevitable.

My all time favourite hook is the Varivas 990c, a carbon hook that went out of production and has now been replaced with a stainless version, the 2600 - excellent news as I'm out of the "c".

While browsing I found the answer I needed for articulated flies. I'd been tying on dual hook rigs, but the extra hook doesn't thrill me so I was stoked to find articulated shanks. And of course a few packs of Mega Mushy, which I was flat out of.

I'll have to tie another batch of Mushies... TT took a few off me. Probably rattle out a dozen.

Finally I got in some Gammy Finesse 230412 hooks. Not sure what I'll do with them yet, but they look good for burley flies. Something to think about.

So much for summer, its a cold day with Southerlies, ideal for tying so I know what I'll be doing.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Goose update, a different perspective

PR from the Feds.

Some of what is said is believable and factual, but to imply that a goose's kak is any more potent, poisonous or bacteria ridden than a duck's, eels or swan's is stretching it. Some reference there presumably to the new NZ Gamebird Hunter's Association, a splinter group at best, being included in further population management planning.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

More Teutonic brilliance

While I'm feeling all Germanic I thought I'd share the following with you - Z Reels

I love the idea of hubless reels, they look really cool and I even own a couple, a Backwinder from Norway (out of production now) and a Sage branded Loop.
Backwinder Trout model


I don't love the Backwinder, it has some faults. The line guard is cheap looking like a piece of chromed wire for a start.

For  long while I had my heart set on an Argentine Dormisch Absi:

Dormisch Absi

They sort of disappeared. Reports indicate that they look the part but are prone to issues with alignment of spools and whatnot but hell, who cares, looks are everything!

The Z reels look like they would do the biz though, and they look way cool.

Would be nice if one could find its way to me, they look brilliant, in fact more Italian than German.

Musings on German engineering

My current favourite fly reel is from the Henschel factory in Germany which I received by way of Simon Chu (tackle whore). The reel is bullet proof, the drag is smooth and strong, the design is functional and the whole thing has the feel of a tiger tank. (Unlike their website which is flaky, hard to use and their fly chick is ummm.... stunned looking). Best of all, the drag control is on the same side of the reel as the handle,which is cool as you don't need to be swapping rod hand to adjust the drag. If I were serious about chasing big sharks, marlin etc on a consistent basis then there's little doubt in my mind that I'd pick a big Henschel over an Abel, Tibor, Hatch or Shilton. I own models from each company so feel able to make a relatively decent judgement call. My Abels, Tibors and the Shilton I have are all drawbar type models with big cork drags and are lovely reels with enviable records on fish of all sorts, so its very much a personal call.

On the 'trout' reel front, I have 2 Lamson Velocity 2's, one of which has been used extensively in salt water as my kahawai/small snapper reel. After 5 or 6 seasons in the salt, its guts have given up so I'll have to take it in for an overhaul. When these reels were released amongst all the fanfare it was claimed to have a sealed drag and be saltwater resistant. In my observation they were a bit optimistic in making that claim. Having said all that a few years ago Waterworks Lamson upgraded the bearings etc so they probably are a longer term salt option now. But here's the thing..... those reels wouldn't have made it out of the Henschel factory as they would fail QA. That's probably why Henschel's cost 2 and a half times a Lamson. But I'd not expect to have the Henschel overhalued any time in the next decade. A bit like a BMW vs. a Great Wall ute I expect, both get you there but....

.... when you get the Beemer serviced its going to hurt!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

A beautiful evening nonetheless

By the time me, Cock & TT had gathered at Okahu Bay, the SW had really kicked in way beyond the 10 kts forecast. We were all carrying soft baiting gear and had a few fly rods, but man it would be too snotty for drifting so we quickly hatched Plan B - and Cock got on his way to find some pillies. We blatted out to a marker for a look and a cast and a kingi chased Cock's fly but didn't eat, and as is the norm it was a one shot wonder, either hook up straight away or the fish switch off. We moved around a bit, chucking flies here and there to no avail, so decided to go in and sit on St Heliers. We had a reasonable little session there, getting busted a couple of times by the more decent fish, and boating a bunch of peewhackers. After that we decided to brave the channels again, man the wind against tide was causing standing waves over the shallower structures. We bashed around, getting soaked in the process. On one pole that we don't normally visit we found a rather large kingi (so I was told - I just didn't see him) in residence but he was disdainful of our offerings. To be fair, casting was an utter biarch and getting the fly in the zone was challenging.

Sun was dropping and we were about to pack it in when a spray caught TT's attention - a couple of pilot whales were moving through. I pointed and clicked but not sure if I got any decent photos. Will upload if i did. Back at TT's the night was still and calm.... that wind was gone...

Monday, January 23, 2012

Serious work stuff

I like this time of year. Office high jinks still abound. One of my colleagues bought some ceremonial swords on TradeMe and asked me to look after them... yup, who could resist a bit of Fruit Ninja while acting as custodian of said swords?

Lovin it!

Catch emag

Here, it is... stunning as always.

Sunday, January 22, 2012


Set out this morning at 4.45 with a mission in mind - to burley up a snapper and catch him on fly. On the way to Narrowneck I realised that I'd forgotten to put the fishfinder in the boat... the launch at Narrowneck was pleasant and easy on a fullish tide. I'm picking it will become my preferred launch & retrieve spot. Second problem.... my GPS had run out of battery. I should have bailed at that point because where I wanted to be needed pretty much pinpoint positioning. Rather I anchored next to a marker. I put out the burley and got the 6 weight set up with sink tip and a Clouser and the 11 with a Fat Boy. As the sky lightened I could see the water swirling where I needed to be but its fairly shallow so I didn't want to bang into the rocks. An hour there gave me a baby snapper, a peewhacker kahawai and 2 jack macks taken on a sabiki. I decided to go exploring so nipped through Motuihe Channel, stopping at Rakino Channel for a drift. To no avail. It was eerily calm out there, under a grey sky. No waders today. Moved around to Haystack Reef, nothing home. Back across to SargeantsChannel. Started raining, got wet bum. No joy with the fish. Over to the structure for a kingi cast. Nup, nothing. Then AJ & Cock turned up, so we had a chat, their fishing had yeilded 4 snaps for 3 anglers. After that I hightailed across to Rangi Channel to look at the markers. The channel was deserted. Nothing on any buoy except for 9 where 2 small kingis looked at the fly half heartedly. RR held exactly nothing. I got home by 12 feeling like it just wasn't quite right out there. Winds up now, maybe a bit of surface movement will encourage the fish? TT texted that fishing was 'poo'yesterday. Oh well, soon Rangi Channel will fire when the spawned fish discover the anchovies that pack in there.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Fast 'n rough

Ok, given the rate I'm chewing through kingi flies at the moment I can't see the point in tying with love & care. Tying to last yes, but neat trimming etc, no, that's for long winter evenings.

I'm going to try and snag a harbour snapper on a fly in the morning. I'll be burleying. Will post up a trip report when done.


I had a boss who informed me that "there's nothing more permanent than a temporary solution". He sagely nodded his head as he said it, while gazing into the middle distance and scratching a zit. The guy was 25 and a complete dickhead. The management books he read were... well he needed help.

When it comes to fishing tackle, I hold a view similar to the pimply one. The last kingi episode saw me tying a stopper and barrell knot in my fly line to attach the new leader.

Ugly, but it worked.

The shot above shows the stopper coming loose, just a matter of time until it all failed. Fishing is a percentage game. My mate Simon up north takes no chances with his rigs, that's why he has a world record snapper on his wall. Simple, high percentage connections are just a commonsense way to go about fishing.

Anyway, I got the rigging kit out (if you are serious about SWF, sooner or later you'll need to be able to do this yourself. I recommend getting a copy of Peter Morse's "Arbour to Fly" DVD) and put a new braided loop on.

Here's how.

You'll need - bradided mono, thread and bobbin (I like mono tying thread, but am out) some super glue, a braided mono hooky tool thingy (yeah there's a technical name but buggered if I remember it right now...) and to finish some UV glue and UV light.

Here's the hooky thingy.

Cut a piece of braided mono, and using the tool, form a loop.

Now, I used to trim off that tail and use the resulting single locked result as my loop - FAIL! Steve Fray who used to work at Hunts, showed me the right way to lock it, by simply drawing the whole tail through again. It stops the loop slipping.

Like so.

Now, we stuff in our fly line. Some people scuff the coating slightly with sand paper, I don't.

Now, add a dab of superglue to the mono, and work the braid so the glue works in. The principle of the loop is the Chinese Finger Trap - where the more pressure applied to the loop by the leader exerts a stronger grip on the line. So, the glue isn't to hold the loop, but to reduce slippage.

Now, we bind the braided loop in 2 places to tidy up the non terminal end, and another to again hold the loop.

Tidy up the loose bits. Now, add the UV glue to the binds and cure with the UV light. I did this outside so had to work fast, UV glue cures fastish in the sun. Also, be careful with UV torches, looking into the beam is up there with glue sniffing in terms of inducing self harm.

Voila, but you're not finished just yet. You need to hook the loop over a hook and give it a firm pull. If it fails, start over. If it's firm, nice work.

Now we're ready again, happy in the knowledge that we have a connection that's not going to fail us.

Friday, January 20, 2012

A week of dogs

Spoke to Milo this evening, good to catch up again after several months. He told me that this week his dog of 15 years, Moss, had passed away. So here's another dog eulogy. Moss was a pheasant's worst enemy. Long legged, rangy and blessed with a good nose and with untold experience on BOP birds. He covered ground fast and worked like a trojan. He had his rough edges for sure, but I appreciate any dog who has got me birds. I'll find a photo somewhere I'm sure.

Go with speed Moss.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Canterbury's Goose cooked?

Way back it looked likely that the Canada Goose was going to be in serious strife, having been removed from the remit of F&G to control. Dec/Jan is moult time, where the goose loses most of its feathers (including flight feathers) which are replaced by a new crop. Thus the bird is relatively defenseless so seeks large bodies of water to shelter from land based predators. I totally understand that as a body, hunters simply were not able to fully control the population of Canadas. I am sympathetic as hell to all the farmers who have watched a flock descend on new pasture and destroy it. The costs associated are terrible.

In the past few weeks, Fed Farmers in Central South island have, with funding from external bodies, carried out mass extermination ("culls" doesn't seem the right word, as there's an implication of selectivity and process management) of geese from Lake Ellesmere, to the High Country. Even their own management plan was ignored. Right now, no one is certain of the exact number of birds destroyed, but a figure of ~18,000 is being touted in various circles. The destruction was carried out by contractors riding helicopters and shooting the geese from above.

Its taken some time for me to reconcile my thoughts on the matter. As I've said I have great sympathy for the select properties affected by pasture & crop destruction. But certain parts of the Feds are acting way beyond a level of commonsense, both in terms of the kill and certainly in terms of the aftermath. For a start, lead shot is totally banned over waterways on DOC estate. Last time I looked, Lake Ellesmere was owned by you and me; and administered by DOC. Not to mention some pf the high country lakes. So where are the recriminations/legal efforts? Further, reportedly a large percentage of the carcasses were not removed and are currently festering in an already polluted water body (Ellesmere aint no crystal clear pure pool). The whole thing stinks.

But even better dear taxpayer, you funded it.

Here are some links to various background, reports and commentary. Some is Internet forum chat so expect emotion.




As a F&G Councillor I can only shake my head and think 'what if?'. As a taxpayer I can think of better ways of using my mandatory donation. As a hunter I'm appalled. As a believer in justice I know I'll be grinding my teeth waiting for someone to explain how the hell control plans which are supposed to be signed off, are ignored and without any recourse or price to pay.

But if anyone thinks the goose is finished, I somehow don't think so personally.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

An EPIC session

What’s not to love about living in a city with such an amazing fishery at its doorstep? Cock and I hastily arranged a fishing trip after work yesterday, destination same as Sunday where he’d also been fishing literally a km away from me. We chucked the boat in at Narrowneck , only shipping a small amount of water (wind was due east – straight onshore) and bashed our way out to Rangi, then Motuihe. When we got into the lee of Motuihe I asked Cock if he wanted to have a go on fly rod for a kingi and he replied “yeah why not?”. We puttered along while I got down to rigging… only to find that the last bust off fish from Sunday’s excursion had cut my fly line and not the leader! I’d merrily just wound in and set off home not realising the carnage. So I set about tying a nail-less nail knot but it had trouble gripping and cut into and through the fly line (Teeny t-300).. finally I got it attached, gave it a few tugs and it seemed ok…. We approached the structure and Jase got casting. First couple of drifts we lost some flies as we hooked the structure, all ok as it meant the fly was in the right place. The next hit was a goodie but I think I detected a trout strike? Cock? Really????

The next one though, oh lord he smacked that fly home and again and again.

To my everlasting shame, I was the one who lost that fish for him. My leader arrangement failed… epic fail… so this time I tied a stopper in the end of the line and nail knotted the leader snug against it, gave it a huge wrench and it survived. From there, Cock was unstoppable. The fish just got more and more worked up.

There were loads on the sounder, including some BIG models. Fished chased the fly. At one stage the fly was hassled as it rested in the water while Jase tidied up a knot in the running line. Next thing, 3 casts, 3 hits, 3 fish landed. It was truly epic and just got better and better. Just to put some perspective on this, the usual performance is to hit a fish or 2 early, then they switch off and fade away. Not this evening though. Fish followed other hooked fish up. The more they struggled, the more excited the pack got. We lost flies. Some fish made it back to shelter. Some didn’t. I was having the time of my life just being there, Jase was amping. Imagine your first kingi on fly session being like that, was certainly a red letter occasion.

He mastered the ugly shooting head (no trick casting here, strictly chuck & duck!) and really hammered those strip strikes, it was a joy to watch. We switched pozzies after he foul hooked one particular fish and I had to go right for’ard to net it. (The more pressure he exerted, the more the tail lifted and head went down – a real tussle). The fish were still firing and I had an exciting moment where with a fish charging I had the line tangled around my foot – luckily I freed it and we netted the fish.


Next one dealt to me so we called it a day and went after snapper.

Given Sunday’s excellent fishing I expected similar but we had a funny wind across tide drift and initially with the drogue deployed were standing still.. with no drogue we were going across the current. Anyhow I only caught a little peewhacker. Jase got a couple of fatties aboard and released a few more. The trip home in the darkening evening was sweet as the following sea suited The Booger perfectly. Retrieving her was totally drama free. Home by 10.30 and stowed away.


Geordie passes

Dad's faithful yellow lab Geordie passed on yesterday. He was a good dog and when I say good I mean good not in the sense that if you commanded him to commando roll out the door of a moving car he would; no, I mean in the sense that he was beautifully natured and happy - just good. I never ever saw him get in a fight.

Bye Geordie.

Sunday, January 15, 2012


2 acts of muppetry today. Act 1, arriving 30 minutes before low tide at Torpedo Bay, backing her in and dropping her in ankle deep water. Doh. Sat for an hour watching the sun come up and clever people who launched at Bayswater and Westhaven zooming past to get to their spots. Anyhow, I stowed the nav light (sun's up!) and got tackle ready and played Angry Birds until the water was deep enough to push The Booger into engine dropping depth. Then off to Crusoe for a play around. With no wind and a moving tide conditions could not have been easier to swim a fly. I had the 11 weight with me today, doubled with the Tibor Riptide. Fish 1 hit second or third cast and behaved. Despite fighting bravely, the #11 killed his fight pretty early.

Fish #2 hit well off to the side of the marker and dived deep fast. A good fight ensued before he was decked.

Fish # 3 dealt to me. One second it was all good, the next I was hanging on as the Tibor wailed its drag growwwllllllllllllllll. Booofah, all over.

I headed over to the channel to see about a snap. Inkichu down first, followed by softbait, that rod went into the holder. The inkichu got hit and I caught and released a reasonable snap. The next hit was better, lots of string being pulled. After a good fight I caught this guy.

Then my second act of muppetry. The channel is intersected by a long reef structure and goes from approx 50 feet deep to 18 feet. Leave your jig in rod holder on a long line and.... well, that's 2 inkichus lost this week. $60. Sheeet!!!

Anyhow I fished 4 or 5 drifts before TT turned up with his mate Bob, I think his name was. We drifted together for a while and boated another couple.

After a while I headed back to the marker, but couldn't get any follows on the fly. So I waved adios to the others and headed back to Rangi Channel. Lost a fish and fly on number 13 marker. Another boat was jigging the markers so I headed to Rough Rock. No one home.

Back to Torpedo Bay, home by 12.

Weather was perfect, all day. Now its back to work time..... have had a great holiday, plenty of fishing, lots of relaxation. Corporate bollox....

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Monday = work

Its been a damn good break, except for the wind. Wind, wind and more wind. Looks like a final mission tomorrow at dawn so I tied another batch of kingi fodder.

Will write a trip report tomorrow (if I go)

Friday, January 13, 2012

Add a bit of paint...

Storage for 10 Magnum mallards. Another 6 or so normal dekes can fit behind back seat. Add a flapper and that's an ok decoy spread.

Those dekes are a bit crusty, some are 20 years old. A paintjob is needed...

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Duck readiness, working on the boat

When I visited Alec Corban a while ago, I got some pretty good ideas for the boat. His boat is beamier, so he has more decoy storage options, i.e he can utlise both sides of the boat and stll have shooting room:

Off to Bunnings for plywood and bits and pieces. Got a jigsaw too, never had one before.

Now for a bit of paint....