After a pretty relaxed day on Friday with Celina on both the lake and the river, it was time to do a few longer stints with the lads. Maggot, Podge and Weasel had all travelled through to Pukawa for the weekend for a bit of fishing, swimming and drinking. The girls were all occupied with walks and coffee so we had a clear day on Saturday – after picking up licenses we were on the river by about 8:30am. Maggot had his new Taimer XT Rod and reel, Weasel was rigged up with my 8wt Sage and Podge was fishing a new Airflo Switch double-handed rod for the first time; I’d taken along my 5wt for pieces of water that looked decent enough for a 5wt.

Maggot Laying out some line

Podge and I thought that Judges pool was probably our best best of getting into a fish, so we made our way up the RHS under the cliffs – where I stopped with Weasel to give him a few casting lessons. He picked it up pretty well and could get a nice roll cast out within 20 mins. We decided it was time to fish the water up in Judges (where Podge was already getting into it with his spey set-up). For about an hour the lads fished the Judges pretty hard, along with another 3 people above us (unfortunately). I took 15 mins to have a cast up above Judges into a run next to the willows but found that the run had changed and become a lot more shallow and wasn’t holding any fish that I could lure out. On the way back to the car we had  a flick around with a dry fly as we saw a number of small fish rising, but they were impossible to hook. Off to the Turangi bakery for a Steak and Cheese pie! Oh and I forgot to mention that Maggot managed to snap his fly rod while casting (clearly a rod fault)!

Weasel getting the arm working

Podge taking it seriously

After the pie Weasel decided to retire to the bach for some relaxation so Maggot, Podge and I headed down into Plank pool. No luck for Maggot, but Podge managed to pick up a fish in Bain pool (before fishing plank). He was also throwing snap-t casts into the bank of plank and managing to lure out a few beasts but they just wouldn’t take the wet fly he was using – even after several changes. We had about an hour left before our time ran out so moved up to Major Jones and Breakfast pools. I took Maggot down to Major Jones where he managed to hook into a tiddler, although a fish all the same it didn’t really test out his fishing skills. I managed to hook and quickly drop something in the shallows of Major Jones. Using the 5wt I fished the shallower water and slower runs, it made for a new interesting challenge on the Tongariro where I’m used to throwing the 8wt about. I needed to reduce the normal weight and get a little more stealthy with the casting.

Working the hook out of the beast

Maggot showing off his prize

I’d reached the end of the Major Jones pool and was taking a seat on a rock when I saw Podge getting a bit active on the bank of Breakfast pool. Soon enough I worked out he’d hooked into something a little larger than Maggots fish. So I watched from the other side of the river as he pulled the fish onto the bank and gave he a good smack on the head to take home for the smoker. Sounded like it was all pretty straight forward for Podge, good effort on the spey gear.

Podge and the Spey machine

Podge battling with his rainbow

Upon returning to the car we found some locals had gotten stuck into Maggots work car…the back passenger window had ben smashed in and a bit of the gear in the back had been ruffled about. Luckily nothing had been taken, but there were definitely a few words exchanged about the type of people that do this sort of crap. Not a good end to the day.

Never a good site to come back to

Sunday we took it pretty easy in the morningas we’d been hitting the beers pretty hard on Saturday evening. After a few hours swimming in the lake we decided upon an hour and a half on the river would be a good end to the weekend. The car took us up to Boulder Reach, where Podge started in the head of the pool with his Swtich rod and Maggot started in the bottom. I had a crack at the snap-t cast on Podges setup and it was definitely strange at first (using two hands and not really aerialising the line) but after a few bits of instruction I was casting it out across the reach. Podge had taken my 5wt and headed off upstream in search of pocket water. Apparently he found it and hooked a fish in it too…I looked up to see him with the rod above his head, heading downstream. I figured he could do with a hand to net the fish in the strong flow, so downed tools and gassed it upstream. Just as I put a foot in the water to get out to net the fish it broke off…! Gutted! It looked like a nice fish and had given up a good fight, We continued upstream fishing the rest of the water and eventually laying a few casts into Cliff pool – but no luck. Although it was pretty sweet being up there in the sun laying out the casts – a good end to the weekend.

Podge throwing up a cast into Cliff Pool

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