11th March; 25 degrees, fine
After a relaxed morning fishing with Brett, I told Cel it was time for a bit of real fishing on the Tongariro. Conditions were perfect – sun with no wind, easy to learn to cast and get the feeling of the fly rod. We hit the braids into a spot I’d been a week ago, knowing fish were always there and it’s a good spot to learn to cast – not too deep, low flows and no horrible vegetation to get caught on. I took Cel through the basics of the fly path – keeping the rod tip on a straight plane, using the tip of the rod to flick the line out and using the haul to put a bit more tension into the cast. She picked it up bloody well and had the line aerialised in now time and was casting relatively good loops.
|Cel practising her cast|
After an hour or so of casting and playing about, Cel was definitely up for a break so I took over with my 5wt and laid a few casts up into the likely spots where I knew the fish would be sitting. With a PT on the dropper, I hooked into a 2lb fish that had a bit of life in him. I got the line on the reel and then handed the rod over to Cel to try and bring the fish in, unfortunately Cel put a bit too much strain on the line and the fish got away – with my flies (perhaps the knots were tied under the influence of a beer or two). A few casts later I was into another similarly sized rainbow that made a couple of aerial leaps. Again once I got him under control I handed over the rod to Cel and she did a good job playing the fish, walking it downstream and bringing it in for the net. Just as I was about to slip the net under it threw out a powerful run and spat the hook at the same time…gutted for Cel but a bit of fun all the same.
|Cel learning to mend the flyline|
It was starting to get dark and Cel wanted to get home, but I threw out the ‘just one more pool’ call – which she wasn’t that stoke to hear! I made my way up to a small pool above the one we’d been fishing and immediately saw a fish fishing midstream. A couple of casts over the spot with an Adams Emerger it was clear it wasn’t going to do the trick. So I then tied on an Elk Hair Caddis, normal for an evening rise and straight away the fish sipped the fly down, a couple of seconds then a solid strike into the bugger. I played it pretty hard knowing I’d hooked it well and within 30 seconds we had a 1.5lb’er in the net, fly removed and sent back to the river to see another day – good end to a magic afternoon on the Tonga’s.
|Finally something to grip and grin with…|
|Returning it for another day|