January is dry fly season...

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JoeCz
Posts: 179
Joined: Tue Nov 10, 2015 2:02 pm
Location: Monroe, NY

January is dry fly season...

Post by JoeCz » Fri Feb 08, 2019 11:15 am

...when you're able to squeeze in a vacation day during an annual business trip to New Zealand.

When hiring a guide, it's best to start the process well in advance, as many of them book up quickly and/or only accept multiday bookings. I was able to hook up with Zane Mirfin at https://www.strikeadventure.com for a day of fishing the Wangapeka and Motueka Rivers in the area near near Nelson, at the top of the South Island. Unlike the "start before dawn" mentality here in the Eastern U.S., we took our time getting out to the fishing, arriving at the Wangapeka around 9 am. Zane explained that as the fish are fewer in number than in the States, you can spend a lot of time blind-fishing in low visibility conditions without much in the way of results--it's better to wait until later in the day when it's easier to spot individual fish. We still seemed to be the first on the river, seeing numerous other vehicles going upriver past the beat Zane picked out, plus a couple of helicopters heading way up into the headwaters.
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It was just the beginning of the cicada season, so Zane wasn't sure if the fish would be tuned into them yet, but since we'd spotted one on the ute that morning, Zane tied on a pattern he called a "New Zealand black cricket," more of a generic terrestrial he'd tied himself, and pointed me toward where he thought there might be a fish. Of course, I stuffed it up with some sloppy casting. We moved slowly upstream through the run, making about three casts (near-bank, middle and far-bank) from each spot, then moving up a few steps and repeating. It was good to get me back into the swing of things without the pressure of knowing I was casting to a particular fish. It was pretty tough wading, with lots of rounded cobbles and pretty fast currents, but the wading staff helped a lot (I'd never used one before). I had to mend more and strip in line much faster than I'm used to.
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A couple hours in, a couple of hundred yards upstream, Zane spotted another fish. This one I was able to see, too, and after a few misplaced casts that somehow didn't spook it, I managed to land the fly a couple of yards upstream of the fish and it took the fly. I felt pretty good playing it and guided it into the net.
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We continued moving slowly upstream another couple of hours without seeing any other rods on the river--it seems the guides had spread themselves and their clients out pretty efficiently. Hooked three more fish and landed two of them. I lost the other to a last-second headshake that straightened out the hook. While these weren't big fish by NZ standards, they all would have been pretty nice Catskill fish, ranging from 1 - 2 kg in size. I love when NZers apologize to me for their fish being "so small". If they only knew...

We took a lunch break and then moved to the main stem of the Motueka (the Wangapeka is a tributary), which offered slower currents and easier wading. As there were occasional small mayflies emerging, we switched over to a #14 Adams and fished to a couple of rising fish, one of which I spooked and sent shooting upriver. The other one I managed to cast properly to and landed. All in all, it was an exhausting but terrific day, with 4/5 fish landed and a whole bunch of learning from someone vastly more experienced than myself.
Attachments
IMG_4119.jpg
View of the Wangapeka River
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JoeCz
Posts: 179
Joined: Tue Nov 10, 2015 2:02 pm
Location: Monroe, NY

Re: January is dry fly season...

Post by JoeCz » Fri Feb 08, 2019 11:18 am

Only the first of my pics posted. I'll put the rest as replies. Sorry about the poor presentation!
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IMG_4118.jpg
Cicada
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JoeCz
Posts: 179
Joined: Tue Nov 10, 2015 2:02 pm
Location: Monroe, NY

Re: January is dry fly season...

Post by JoeCz » Fri Feb 08, 2019 11:23 am

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Simple foam and rubber terrestrial
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JoeCz
Posts: 179
Joined: Tue Nov 10, 2015 2:02 pm
Location: Monroe, NY

Re: January is dry fly season...

Post by JoeCz » Fri Feb 08, 2019 11:24 am

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Fish on!
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JoeCz
Posts: 179
Joined: Tue Nov 10, 2015 2:02 pm
Location: Monroe, NY

Re: January is dry fly season...

Post by JoeCz » Fri Feb 08, 2019 11:25 am

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Fish landed! Wangapeka brown
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chase-da-dog
Posts: 13
Joined: Sat Feb 03, 2018 3:30 pm

Re: January is dry fly season...

Post by chase-da-dog » Sat Feb 09, 2019 9:43 am

Beautiful fish and great pics , thanks for sharing!

Barleywine
Posts: 323
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 10:38 am
Location: Wyckoff, NJ

Re: January is dry fly season...

Post by Barleywine » Sat Feb 09, 2019 11:20 pm

Great report and pretty scenery Joe. Thanks for the details. Sounds like a person really has to work for those NZ trout.

And look at you with that beauty of a trout! The Ramapo River is quite jealous :D

–Chuck
"The secret to life is honesty and fair dealing. When you can fake that, you've got it made." ---Groucho Marx

Crepuscular
Posts: 223
Joined: Sat Oct 18, 2014 12:47 pm

Re: January is dry fly season...

Post by Crepuscular » Wed Feb 13, 2019 1:34 pm

Thanks for the report Joe. I'm glad you had a chance to fish while you were there. Sounds like it was definitely worth the time. That New Zealand Cricket is definitely a guide fly. Great example of what really matters, presentation and size/silhouette. Good stuff!

Eric

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