Lake Taupo was the venue for the weekend. The roads around the lake were rammed with fit cyclists trying to complete their ‘Round Taupo’ challenge, so it was decided we’d hit the lake. This did have the added advantage of the girls being able to join us and meant that we could drop lines and then kick back chat and put away some scrambled eggs cooked up freshly on the boat. We (Celina and I) were out with Brett cameron of Central Plateau Fishing and luckily Lisa was able to make it along for the trip too to hand out nutrition information to me as I quizzed her on how to put on weight so I can fit into my wedding suit! Lisa was also the on-board chef and barista, come to think of it I’m not sure who did more work, Brett or Lisa…We started out just off Acacia Bay boat ramp with the down riggers to see if there was anything in the area, the cruised along, taking in the awesome morning and taking on our breakfast. Plenty of chatting was done and Cel managed to get herself into a fish, but unfortunately dropped it pretty early on.
After pulling in the downrigger, we got the jigging rods set-up and sent them to the bottom – Brett found it quite hilarious that I’d managed to leave one of his hook protectors on one of my hooks and proceeded to tell me that the hooks are an important part of the fish catching process. It wasn’t long before Cel was into the fish again and this time we got it on-board and it was a keeper. We were after a couple of fish (one for lunch and the other to start off dinner later on), so it was good to get off the mark, albeit that Celina was quite clearly beating me in the fishing stakes.
I finally hooked up on the jig, but unfortunately (as the photo shows) it wasn’t exactly hitting ‘keeper’ status. We continued to drift around with the water anchor set, but struggled to get into anything else substantial. I hadn’t been to the Maori carvings before, so we ripped in the anchor and set off to check them out. The chop dealt to us pretty heavily, but Old Boy Cameron was more than up to the task of getting us in close the carvings to take a couple of photos before shooting back into the calm of the bay.
Harling was our next method of choice. Letting our a bit of leadline with a decent length leader on the end, we were targeting fish sitting in 4-5m of water, closer into the shore than where we’d been previously. Once again Cel hooked into a fish, but it was a bit small for keeping. Brett and Lisa were on Cel’s side and were quite happy to be giving me grief about my fiancee pulling in more fish than the so called fisherman. I even applied a sneaky change of seats to command the ‘hot’ side of the boat, it didn’t go unnoticed and received more smart-ass comments. Finally a rainbow hit my lure and I was into a keeper! Happily knocking it on the head knowing that it was looking pretty healthy and hopefully orange enough to serve up as sashimi.
It was a good few hours out on the lake with Brett and Lisa. Although I hadn’t exactly proven myself as a fisherman, I obviously made the point clear that the skill lay in fly fishing and that was where I focussed my talents. Celina just smiled and took the victory!
Eyeing Up the Waihou
On my way back to Auckland, I stopped off to start off my education of the rivers in the Waikato. The Fish and Game maps show that there is plenty of water in the area, but picking out the best is going to a process of go and see. The Waihou, having been a World Fly Fishing Champs venue, was an easy place to start. Good access right off the main road (which has it’s disadvantages too) and shallow enough in most parts to wet wade right up through it.
I was probably a bit over equipped for this small piece of water with a 6wt, but when you’ve got nothing else there’s not much you can do. The sun was shining and the water was clear so I decided to jump into the stream about 50m up from the access point and see what was about. Casting was technical, plenty of grass and bushes, while the low clear conditions meant that the fish would have been super alert to what I was up to. Over the first hour I hooked into 3-4 fingerling and juvenile fish, there were plenty of them about so it gave me something to do on every other cast. I didn’t spot anything of a decent size, but I’m sure there must have been the odd one in there.
The highlight of the afternoon was probably getting a couple of small fish to rise to my Adams Parachute dry. They both gave the fly a good smash, but didn’t in fact hook themselves – a bit of fun but nothing on the end for my efforts. On the way out I also checked the Waimakariri Stream, another spot with easy access, but I didn’t have enough time to get onto it so will save it up for another visit.
On the whole a good weekend with a few fish from the lake and some new water explored – the Waihou definitely holds fish so it will just be a matter of finding where the bigger fish hold, plenty of time for that.