Thursday 3rd March; 22 degrees – Calm

The windswept days fishing on Wednesday had taken its toll on me – absolutely knackered and feeling under the weather. So it was to be a quiet Thursday, unfortunately the weather had decided that it would be a calm day too – in complete contrast to the previous day. So while sitting in the sun on the deck, I rigged up my rod with a new tapered leader and tied on a parachute adams fly. Preparation that would be sure that I’d hit the river that day.

After studying the Fish and Game access map for the Ngaruroro I had picked out a spot just off the Napier-Taihape Road, the same road I’d taken the previous day to access the Tutaekuri, but this trip wasn’t going to be quite as far up. It was a great trip up country, passing Church Road, Crossfields and Babich vineyards, plenty of grapes to be seen basking in the mid afternoon sun – great piece of countryside. I took a gravel road off to the left, as described by Fish and Game, and ended up parking the car under a set of willows, 5 metres from the rivers edge – easy access!

The Ngaruroro was gin clear and nicely braided to form a few different runs across the shingle bed. I geared up and stepped down into about a foot of water to cross to an braid island allowing me to fish both sides of the river. The water looked great, varying depth but nothing over a metre deep and plenty of interesting riffles and shallow drop offs. I worked by way up a run casting the parachute adams with a #16 Pheasant Tail hanging off it. The first run didn’t produce any action so I moved on upstream to a likely set of overhanging willows where the river tailed out of a quick section.

The tail of a quick run, with an overhanging willow at the head – first sight of fish rising..

 

Approaching the run slowly, keeping a good eye on the likely lies, I couldn’t help but get a bit excited when I saw a fish rise – the first of the NZ trip. Albiet the fish was tiny, but hey you take what you get when you’ve been trout-less for 11 months. A minute or so later there was another rise, this time a bigger fish (although not big) – it was time to see how sh*t my casting to sighted fish had become having not done it in a year! I laid a cast upstream, quickly after the fish tried to hit the fly but missed it completely – I struck the bejesus out of it anyway just because I was wired. A bit of calming down and then another cast up, no take but there was a rise about 2 metres above where the fish has previously risen. A couple more metres of line out into the next cast and the fly landed on the water nicely, 3 seconds later the fish attacked the fly and BANG I was into it. A good initial run from the fish and then it was pretty easy to get it under control, guiding it downstream and into the rivers edge. Then of course, as it got near (about 2 metres away) it went spastic, flipped itself onto the line and broke off – shite. In all fairness I wasn’t too concerned, the fish would have bee 1 1/2 pounds and deserved another chance. A good feeling to get that shaking fish on the end of the line and having it run hard.

This was where I hooked into the first fish of the trip (although I wasn’t quick enough to get a photo of the fish)

 

I continued to fish upstream along the line of willows, casting to a few more rising fish who seemed to try to hit the fly but may have been too small to take it as the strikes all came up empty. A quick dash back to the car as I was running late to pick up Celina – would love to have spend another 4 hours working my way up to rising fish.

Today is another gusty day, so I’ve decided to stay off the river to save myself the frustration and to allow time to pack for Taupo. Fingers crossed I’ll be on the Tongariro tomorrow morning, weather permitting – rain is forecast which could colour the water up tonight/Saturday, but may offer up perfect conditions for Sunday!

Until then….

When not fishing, there are still things to do…

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