Fish Tales from New Zealand
My first day in the north island of New Zealand, we helicoptered from Poronui, a 16,000 acre fishing lodge where we were staying, to a remote river of volcanic origins. I was told it was populated by good size rainbow trout.
(My best buddy Noodle, who jumped on the helicopter every morning eager to hit the rivers.)
In spite of the overcast day which made spotting fish nearly impossible, I quickly hooked two of them. As luck would have it, each managed to divest themselves of the fly within the first couple of head shakes.
The next hour or so was spent carpet bombing the fish with fly/tippet/drift, in an effort to crack the code of locked jaw trout.
My hopes soared when my guide Grant frantically waved me over to show me a fish finning just beneath the river surface.
I dropped my line 10 feet above the fish, cursing myself for not having landed it closer.
“Bugger!” Grant hissed over my shoulder, as the fly drifted over the fish.
Just when I was about to pick up the line, he blurted out “wait!”
In the moments after the fly passed the trout, Grant detected a shift in its demeanor and the fish changed its mind from reject to accept, turned around, tracked the fly down and sipped it in.
This time the hook held!
I immediately thrust the rod tip skyward, letting the fish run before reeling it in.
Several minutes later, I was happily posing for photos.
Ok… ok, I admit it wasn’t the biggest fish in the river. But as William Shakespeare said: “Though she be but little, she is fierce.”
What I’ve learned about fishing is that hope springs eternal. There is always a bigger fish just waiting to be caught.
My optimism was rewarded the next day when I hooked a bigger fish!
The last day was spent fishing on the mighty Mohaka river. By 2pm, I was convinced that I’d been “skunked” and would have to return to the lodge without a fish tale to tell.
I knew from the time, we’d soon be hearing the sound of helicopter blades overhead.
Casting my fly again in a deceptively still pool of water, I suddenly felt a snap on the line. Adrenaline rushed through me as I jerked the rod tip up. The battle ensued with the fish swimming in every direction, before I eventually reeled it in.
“Yippee!!!” I yelled, finally having caught the “big one”.
As our helicopter approached the lawn in front of Blake lodge, I was itching to run inside with my tale of the “biggest, baddest fish ever” already forming on my lips!