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.

 

Removing the Elk Hair Caddis

 

Finally something to grip and grin with…
Returning it for another day

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