It was like Neil had never left. The banter and the laughter started as soon as we got together and didn’t stop the whole time. The trip had been organised by Neil’s wife to mark his coming of age (50) and most of us had not been freshwater fishing in quite some time mostly due to having kids and different priorities so most of us where hanging out for some fishing, time out and god forbid a sleep in.
we had some heavy rainfall during the week and we were keeping an eye on the river levels as we had already had to re-schedule once because of bad weather.
We had hourly updates on the river as we travelled down and realised it was going to be touch and go as to how fishable the river would be.
On arrival the owner told us about going to the RSA for dinner as they have a courtesy van that can pick you up and drop you off for free so you don’t have to worry about driving. What a freakin awesome idea!
The RSA is fine dining of Taumaranui and the service was friendly and accommodating. We drank beer ate till we were stuffed before getting back in the free service home. After a hard day on the water it was just what we felt like.
The water in the morning still looked quite milky but possibly fishable so we thought we would try up from the pump house as the water here is lower and easier to navigate. I had a woolly bugger on and put it in the first hole and was into a fish within my first couple of casts which turned out to be a nice 2pnd brownie. Moving up I found the fishing hard with a lot of trees and black berry but with the water so high you couldn’t wade in to the water and work your way up. I switched to some have nymphs and was sorting my line when my indicator disappeared. Thinking I was snagged I lifted my rod and it was fish on. What a fluke!
I moved up the hill and found Neil and the banks a bit clearer to cast. i started casting backwards to prevent tangling in the trees. as i entered the water i saw a nice brownie rise about 3meters in front of me but after a few casts realised I must have put it down.
the boys had gone to the other side and were fishing a small island with much smaller water flowing through the middle and periodically you could hear them yahooing.
i caught and dropped a few more fish then went back to find Neil and the other boys. By now we weren’t sure if were still there or gone back to the car as it was past lunch. we waited for what seemed like ages before heading downstream and finding them still fishing the island. they had apparently found the mecca and had numerous fish between them.
We headed to the pump house where we had lunch a quick fish but had no luck before heading to Mahoe road where the river had changed considerably and fishing harder than usual. i picked up one fish before the boys came from upstream and toby handed me his rod and asked me what do you do when you catch a fish. strike. then what. I reached for the reel and went to wind but found no handle. yup toby had to land his last fish with no handle on his rod as apparently it had fallen off. by the time we had finished the river had cleared considerably and was a lot more fishable by the next day it was reasonably clear but still high.
at this point Neil still hadn’t caught anything so we took him to our secret spot and put him in the zone. although toby was the fist into a fish right were we had come out of the bush. i started fishing lower end of the pool and went to reel in some line only to find my spool had fallen off into the river because i had forgotten to tighten it up.
I went downstream to fish a pool but struggled till i put on some heavier flies then i started catching fish. i got 2 and lost 2 before we moved on.
our last stop was the Turangi bridge where boys went upstream and I went to my usual hole downstream. I had switched to my Gloomis rod and it was spectacular to use and still able to fling some heavy nymphs. within a few casts i was into a fish. it was a great pool with a big sweeping pool and slack water to the side. I manages a few more fish and dropping few others before running out of time.
the fishing was a little slow at times hard especially not being able to get into the water to cast in the right place and also getting the right depth but we all had a great time.
So the main question on the way home was when do we do it again. well that now is the question?