Thursday, 21 August 2014

Fishing with my Father

Going fishing is the epitome of father-son activities and I am extremely lucky that my Dad also happens to be my hero and one of my very best mates. He also taught me a lot of what I know about fishing (and now I am teaching him some stuff too!). So it was really awesome that last week he was able to take a day off work and come fishing.

Dad hooked up to a solid fish
I realise that one day Dad won't be around to come fishing with me, so memories and photographs are like gold. I also realise that for whatever reason, many people do not get to spend as much time with their parents as they would like, and fishing is about as quality as time gets for Dad and I. Ever since I was little I remember pestering him to go fishing, which I think he quite enjoyed because Mum would often encourage him to go just to shut me the hell up!

Must have been the superb guiding!

I owe a lot to plenty of people in life but my Dad is right up there. He taught me about patience, respect and how to take pleasure out of the small things in life, all of which are qualities a good fly fisherman needs. Most importantly, he passed on his incredible enthusiasm for fishing and the outdoors in general and I think that this is the greatest gift he has ever given me.

Quality time with one of my best mates

Dad often says that I have now taken him over in things such as casting ability, amount of fish caught and time spent on the water. While this might be true, none of it would have happened without him and it is for this reason that Dad will always be a better fisherman than me. I am constantly learning new things from him, most recently to slow things down a bit when out on the river (I have an awful tendency to charge forward, especially on new water). I look forward to spending many more days on the water with him.

Here is a video that is probably better suited to fathers day, however it ties in with this post and is a truly powerful observation of the father-son relationship. Read the description on the video too, its a beautiful story.

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

The Pursuit of Happiness

Happiness is a funny thing. It has totally different meanings for different people and some will find it at different stages in their life. I was brought up to believe that you work as hard as you can and sacrifice happiness in order to become financially secure, before enjoying life in your retirement years. Recently, upon completing my university degree, I have been doing a lot of thinking as to what to do next. While the short term goal is to go travelling to North America with Josh next year, the idea of a 9 to 5 office job once I get back doesn't really appeal to me.

I am never so certain as to what I want in life as I am when I am on the river.

I am fortunate enough to find myself in a position where I could possibly make a living out of something I truly love to do, fly fishing. While I would certainly not earn anywhere as much as I would becoming a lawyer, the outdoor lifestyle and guaranteed happiness would more than make up for this. We can spend a lot of our time living up to other peoples expectations but at the end of the day the only expectations we should try and meet are our own. Life is far too short to put yourself in a position where you may wake up one day full of regret and as a young person, I feel I owe it to myself to try and make a fist of something that I know many people never got a chance to do when they were younger. It is for these reasons that I have decided to at least attempt to make a career out of fly fishing.

Josh has been taking some amazing photos recently, this one after a a light dusting of snow on the river bank.
Over half of all people are unhappy with their jobs. This is just sometimes a reality of life and that is why it is called a job. However I truly believe that if you are in a position to make a living out of something you love, then you owe it not only to yourself but to all the people who are not totally happy with their work to try and do something about it. For some of these people it is too late to just drop everything and go fishing (or whatever it is they enjoy) as a lifestyle and career choice. Having said this, if I can make peoples lives a bit better by putting up movies of me going fishing, taking people out fishing or even selling people fishing gear, then that small transfer of happiness that occurs is worth more to the world than me earning a high salary.

The classic frozen guide shot. Josh and his Canon 600D at work.
There may indeed come a time where I have to settle down, get that office job and start a family or I may indeed fail to make a reasonable living out of fishing. I just really don't want to be the guy who looks in the mirror in twenty years time and wonder if I have wasted my youth by not being as happy as I can be.

Watch this trailer (and the full film you can find on Vimeo too), as it has some valuable insights as to the dangers of just wandering through life.

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Support the Locals

As most places will probably say, it is best to keep things in the local area. As a fisherman in New Zealand, I believe there is some of the best fly fishing water in the world, and I know I'm not the only one.
New Zealand certainly has a lot to show off and there are a few guys out there who make their living off such an awesome resource. Clear, fresh and full of fish, most rivers around will be worth any time you invest in trying to catch a decent trout, and they are there.

There are plenty of guides in NZ that depend upon keeping nature in this country pristine. This is the pick of our local guides, which also happens to be who our guiding jobs come through... Funny that... It's just one more way to support the locals. There is a little spiel on the home page about them but this is pretty much the best guiding you will find for the King Country area in particular. You can also let us know through here if you want to know any more.

There are the local shops too like Fish City, that really rely on the local, loyal customers of the area. It's not a business owned by an offshore money bag who doesn't really know the general populace at a personal level. I'm not saying these people are bad or don't work as hard, but the local guys really take pride in getting to know each customer and tend to fish and hunt the same areas. With this information and close rapport, fishing can become an even better experience for everyone. To visit, go to

Another local, and one who is making some noise on the International scene is film maker Nick Reygaert. His company Gin-Clear has produced a few really top notch fly fishing films in the past and is the headliner for the upcoming Rise Fly Fishing Festival. Nick is super passionate about his filming and fishing and it really shows through in the work he produces. This little teaser trailer is for the major film of the night and looks awesome really. The camera work, attention to detail and the places it is set are fantastic. Have a quick watch of the trailer and let us know (and Nick too) what you think.

Backcountry - North Island Official Trailer from Gin Clear Media on Vimeo.

After watching this, you will probably want to come along and check it all out right? Good idea!
You can buy tickets for the event, which is being held all over the show, with dates and venues on this website.

The boys up at ManicTackle are also impressed what this guy does and are backing him all the way, being the major sponsors for the whole film festival.

Anyway, all this is just to highlight that the big guns of the world don't run things. Get in and support the locals, the shops that bring all the best stuff in and the guys who grew up fishing the are and are truly passionate about what they do. Don't forget the guys like us and Nick from Gin-Clear, who want to showcase New Zealand as the best fishing destination to the world. Just remember to not give away ALL the best spots...

Thursday, 31 July 2014

Switch It Up

While many out there patiently wait for the winter to bugger off and the warm days of summer to come back, there are those of us who just need our fishing fix. Wet, cold, windy and almost verging on horizontal sleet won't keep us off the river. An unquenchable appetite to be out there are more than enough of a remedy to make the shittiest day weather wise more than worth it. Add a good pair of dry waders, a decent jacket and a big switch rod to haul a few big flies across the river countless times and you get a pretty good picture of what you will encounter with us.

These big switch rods have really opened up a new world of fishing for us. Initially it was explored with eyes set firmly on the big wild waters of North America as a destination but once we slogged through a few days of learning from each other, a broken rod (mine) and no short amount of flies embedding themselves in us we realised the potential here. It's not that it's a new style of fishing, it's far from it in fact, as it originated in Scotland some time in the 1800's. It's more the fact that it is hardly utilised as an effective method of fishing here in New Zealand.

There are plenty of decent sized rivers here that are perfect for such fishing. The Tongariro being the prime candidate. Its fish come up in big schooling runs from lake Taupo the same as steelhead runs come up from the sea during the right conditions. It has a fair amount of swift current and very good pools where fish are likely to congregate, making for good amount of high percentage fishing water.

The thing is though, that these fish see day in day out see a massive coloured blob float over their heads, invariably followed by a large and rather heavy piece of metal covered in all sorts of colours and dead animal bits. These flies are generally very similar and believe it or not there is generally another mini me of the same fly trailing by later. Be it that or a Globug. Certainly don't get me wrong here. I'm not bagging this set up as it has probably caught more fish than any other in the river but fish certainly will see it as a bit of a warning.

So try change your techniques up a bit. Swing a fly downstream. Give the big two handed rods a good crack and let the heavy nymph set up have a bit of a well earned rest every now and then. I'm sure that the same thing has been said before but that doesn't matter a whole bunch. There is just no harm in trying something totally different and new. You might love it.

Anyway, upon my travels of the internet and its plethora of fantastic fish porn, this video keeps getting watched so may as well put it up here. Enjoy this sweet little video of some pretty awesome fishing maybe with a glass of some good quality scotch to keep the belly and soul warm against the winter.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Winter Isn't All Bad

Well apart from not doing much on here in the past few days, unfortunately we haven't doing much fishing either.  A lot of local rivers are closed and the ones that aren't are water logged and blow out with the slightest amount of rain so that doesn't help much at all.

This being said, most lakes are open to shore fishing and the Taupo fishery has fired over summer so should be looking good for the winter spawning runs. Best thing to do before heading for a fish is to check the river levels and how much they have fluctuated over the past few days to week (depending on the river). The best place to check this is on the local council website for the area. They generally have a link to river level monitors in the area.

Once you can be sure that the river will be at least fishable, jump in the car and fang it to the river. Fish every run and riffle you can find and use brighter flies if the water is at all coloured up, orange being the most popular this time of year. Nymphing will be the most popular method for most people but be sure to have a few streamer patterns in the fly box to lure those big trout out of the depths. Either take weighted streamers or use a sinking leader/end of line of some sort.

While the lack of fishing has kept me inside, I have tied a ton of flies of all shapes and sizes and hopefully one of these hideous creations manages to hook a nice big fatty! Also there has been a fair bit of unused footage to pour through so I have chucked together a little mash-up clip of our last trip out for the regular season.
Just a bunch of mucking around and we managed a few fish so it was tops.

It's not much but it makes me feel better than leaving the footage sitting on my hard drive doing feck all. Enjoy!

Friday, 11 July 2014

Waste Not, Want Not

Josh and I were brought up under the 'you kill it, you cook it' mantra. It is vitally important that in our increasingly wasteful society, animals are not seen as commodities but rather beings that provide us an important service.

We have done a bit of small game hunting in the past few days, with possums, rabbits, hares and goats being the quarry. None of these animals have gone to waste. The possums are promptly plucked for their fur to be sold as well as providing food for the dogs. The rabbits and hares were eaten by us, as were the goats. Josh also skinned a goat and is currently in the process of tanning it.

The boys plucking one of the several unlucky possums
Personally and I know that Josh feels the same way, trophy hunting or killing big fish doesn't really sit right with us. I don't know whether is the way we were raised but we would sooner have a nice fat spiker or hind or a 4 pound hen trout than a massive stag or 10lb jack to be mounted. There is something really majestic about an animal at the apex of its species and it doesn't seem quite right to take it just because you can.

Josh's cousin Will with a well earned bowhunted goat
With all animals (fish included) it is also important to only harvest what you need and we could all at times give a little more respect and empathy to our animal friends. This also ensures that our resources are protected for future generations and if our children and their children get the same message, they will be able to responsibly enjoy the spoils of nature as we have for many years to come.

Josh's Dad is a butcher by trade, so Josh knows a thing or two about cutting stuff up

Sorry to get a little bit preachy, its just that some folks out there give the vast majority of hunter-gatherers that are responsible a bit of a bad name.

On a less serious note, the lads up at Manic have found a way to use this average weather to make informative videos...

Monday, 30 June 2014

Weekend Warriors (New Video)

We normally try to avoid fishing on weekends. That's because we are spoiled brats and get time off during the week to fish when everyone else is at work. When the long weekend came around and the weather looked good, we decided to bite the bullet and chance our arm.

What we came across was a river teeming with good sized fish and no one else to be seen for miles. Stoked. Here is a short clip of our adventures on that weekend, wading boot beer chugging included! Enjoy.

Make sure to open it in Vimeo for some Full HD goodness.

Weekend Warriors from Fly Guys NZ on Vimeo.