Friday, July 27, 2007

NZ Trip -- Day 8

Went to a river near Taupo. Found the fish were in, and got a bunch!!!! There was a nice one right under the current in this pool. Turning the corner, there were 4 or 5 fish below the trees at the end of this pool.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

NZ Trip -- Day 7

I got up early and walked down to the Tongariro. Fishing under the bridge, I got 3 nice fish.

Got back to the van at about 9:00 am, and headed upriver with Dad. The aim was to fish the 'secret spot' near the Blue pool, but someone was already there! Went to the Blue Pool, and it was virtually empty -- just one other fisherman. Decided to give it a try, but Dad spent time getting rigged up, and three other cars drove up and went down to the pool. So we walked upstream -- and found some magic fishing holes (with no fish). The holes were deep, and I couldnt get Dad to wade in deep enough to get a fly into the deep fast water on the far bank.

After some lunch we went to the stream near the jail to try for some fish. Dad was far more comfortable with this stream -- the wading was simple, and the fish would be in obvious lies. The big, brawling Tongariro had him intimidated. I had no luck, but as we were finishing up and slowly fishing back to the van Dad tried under some overhanging banks, and had an aggresive take. he didnt even need to set the hook. After some spectacular splashing, the fish swam under a log, and Dad broke his Orvis 8 weight trying to horse the fish away before it got under the log. Thank goodness for the Orvis rod guarantee!

After a break to re-rig we tried the small stream some more. I saw several large fish in pools upriver -- but I only saw them as I spooked them.

Of to Turangi to try the local Chinese takeaway!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

NZ Trip -- Day 6

Met the guide for our 1/2 day introduction to the area. He explained the basic tackle (floating line, 10-12 feet flat leader to a bomb, 18" dropper to an egg or other fly), and took us to some points. We drove up the river and pulled in at various pools, where we got the good oil on what to do (take the right path and go upstream 1/2 a km until you get to the X pool, etc.). We drove up to the blue pool to be shown a secret sure fire spot -- only to find a party of fishermen wading through that location, right where the fish would be!

Drove back down and tried the braided area below the bridge. I got a touch from some pure silver on the second cast into a nice pool. But there were fishermen eveywhere. After trying some of the braids we moved on to some small streams. We tried two, including one near the local jail. No fish seen, but also no fishermen.

We went back to turangi for lunch and said farewell to the guide. Then we headed back to the 'secret spot' near the Blue Pool to try for something in the rested water. No luck, and Dad found the aggresive current hard. As dusk approached we went back to the camper, but I tried fishing through the Blue Pool with a down and accross wet -- no luck though.
So back to Turangi for dinner -- take away Pizza.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

NZ Trip -- Day 5

Leaving the Rotorua area to head down to Taupo.

We spent the night at a recommended large trout lake. I got up a first light to fish, but had no luck. Another guy showed up -- he also had no luck. A father and son showed up, but grabbed rifles and went into the bush. I did see a potoroo / bandicoot sort of creature -- not sure what it was though.

The drive to Taupo took a lot longer than it should have. As usual, the van was a terror to drive.

We got to Turangi at about lumch time. Turangi is an interesting small town -- an ex hydo scheme construction town kept alive by the fishing and skiing. We couldnt see any snow, but there were several people who were obviously skiing. More fishermen though -- the river was packed.

We found a camping ground and booked ourselves in. Then we connected with a guide and discussed our plan for the next days fishing. The plan was for the guide to show us where and how to fish -- not necessarialy to lead us to a fish.

After the preliminaries were over we went and bought up 'bombs' -- sinkers disguised as flies.

And finally we fished for an hour under the bridge, but with no luck.

The off to a restaurant for a steak dinner!

Monday, July 23, 2007

NZ Trip -- Day 4

This day was devoted to boat fishing on lake Rotoehu.

Got to the lodge at about 8:30. The lodge was right on the lake, and we got into the guides dinghy to troll around the lake. The weather was breezy and cold, but not absolutely freezing as it could have been. The equipment was sinking fly lines trolled behind a slow moving dinghy, with a Tassy Devil as a lure and a fly dropper. The fast sinking fly line got the lure down to about 5 meters deep. The technique was to troll around at the 5 to 6 meter depth mark -- the fish were down deep. There is no spawning stream on Rotoehu, so the fish are all in good condition. The fishing started slow, but got progressivly better and soon we were catching plenty of fish!

Dad kept one for dinner. The guide filletted it, and removed the bones. But, when all was said and done the mess that it made in the camper when we cooked it required a stop at a supermarket to buy cleaning supplies, so it cost more than eating out!

In the end, not my sort of fishing. The guide caught a lot, and I just reeled them in. The skill was in the guides trolling.
Day 4, and still only 2 hours of real fishing. I was starting to get REALLY anxious.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

NZ Trip -- Day 3

After a restless night sleeping in the van in gale force winds, we woke up to a grey, windy, rainy day. Dad wanted to go to the hot springs at Rotorua, so we packed up and headed out.

On the way we stopped at the 'Outdoorsman', a small looking fishing store. But each room openned onto another, and another, and another. This place had fishing, skiing, climbing, camping, etc. etc. There was a good selection for each range. A marveleous place! The sales staff were helpful too, selling us fishing licences, suggesting flies, and giving us locations to try. In particular they suggested lake Tarawera, and gave us detailed directions as to where to fish and how.

We headed into Rotorua and found the hot springs. We soaked for a while. Dad wanted to soak longer, but I was anxious to fish -- we were well into day 3 of 9 and I still hadn't even wetted a line.

Leaving the hot springs we went to another fishing store -- they again suggested Tarawera. We shopped for a bit and got souveniers, and then had lunch at McDonalds.

The clouds lifted and the sun came out, so I convinced Dad to drive up to Tarawera and have a look.

We drove down and there were a couple of people fishing from the shore. I decided to have a fish and got rigged up. Dad hadnt bought his licence yet, so he watched, but finally decided to go and phone in and get a licence. While he was arranging this a guy on the shore got a nice size rainbow -- though it was beatten up from spawning. I was watching his approach -- cast out, let the line sink, and retreive incredibly slowly. I emulated his technique, and got a couple of hits, but no hookup. After moving around a while I found a tiny creek running in to the lake, and tried casting into the current. I had no luck, but moving away from the creek I noticed a swirl right where the creek enterred. Another couple of casts and I was in on a white egg sucking leech. My first NZ trout!

A local came to help me net the fish. Turned out he was a guide and casting instructor. He pointed out some other spots, and also indicated that we were a month late for the best Rotorua fishing, but spot on for the best Taupo fishing!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

NZ Trip -- Day 2

Got up bright and early and headed off to get our camper van. The shuttle bus to the camper van service left at 9:00 am, so that was the earliest we could leave.

Got to Britz and picked up the van. The bastards required a $5,000 bond or charged an extra $20 per day -- so we had to cough up another $160 (as I didnt have $5K free on the credit card). They did offer us a chance to upgrade to a 4 berth camper van for another $9 a day. As it turned out I was so glad I didn't upgrade -- the van we had was a bastard to drive as it was.

Drove out of Britz to a supermarket and stocked up for the trip. Got fruit, ham, bread, mustard, salad stuff, chocolate, cereal, etc. And, in a tribute to Hitch Hickers Guide to the Galaxy, a towel.

We needed to head south on highway one. It should have been a simple drive from the supermarket to the highway. It wasnt -- the van had no visibility out the rear, swayed like a drunk every time we got near a corner, felt like it took up two lanes, and was, in general, a bastard to drive. We got totally lost because we saw the turnoff sign too late, and the van wasnt going to change lanes in anything less than 1km. Ended up weaving through the southern suburbs of Auckland, navigating by feel. (Thats a big road going in the right direction -- maybe if we take that we will hit the highway ....)

Eventually got on the highway and got the behemoth up to a terrifying 80kph. Traffic was shooting past left and right. But I wasn't going to get into the far left lane incase it had to merge with the middle lane -- given my visibility I would have wiped out three cars if I had attempted merging. And I wasn't going faster -- I was having a hard time controlling the beast as it was! By this time I needed some Chocolate just to keep my blood sugar up. Got dad to crack open a bar and pass me some chunks. I ate tentativly while holding onto the steering wheel with white knuckles. He kept making comments along the line of 'This van is great -- its got all the amenities we will need ...'

Heading down through Hamilton towards Rotorua, we had to negotiate what seemed like 50 roundabouts. Roundabouts are OK in a car. But the van was a trickier proposition. Given the slow acceleration and my propensity to stall, I had to wait until there was a VERY large gap in traffic before attempting to go around the roundabout.

After Hamilton we pulled over at a roadside turnout to eat a sandwich. And I had to have more chocolate.

Continued down to Rotorua. We needed to get fishing licences, so we drove into the town to find a sports store. We got to one at 4:10 -- but it had shut at 4:00. The streets were quiet, so the beast wasnt too terrifying. But Rototrua was also full of roundabouts :( After some searching, Dad picked up some KFC for dinner, and we headed out to find a camp ground. We were going fishing in lake Rotoehu the next day, so we drove towards the lake, looking for a camping site. We found a place on lake Rotoini. The supervisor was happy to see us -- it seems we were the only people there!

The campground had a TV room. We went in to watch the news. It was all about rugby. Apparently, in NZ world war III could break out, but it would get second string to the Rugby. And netball -- everyone was excited about the netball test with Australia being played in Melbourne. But as one reporter noted, the Melbourne Age had 14 pages of sport, and not one mention of netball. To most Australians netball is a game for high school girls, not an international competitive sport.

The guide for the next day's fishing called to delay for one day, as the weather was going to be a gale the next day.

The temperature plumeted, and the wind started to pick up. We hit the sack. So far two days travel and no fishing.

Friday, July 20, 2007

NZ Trip -- Day 1

Got up at 4:00 am to meet Dad at 5:00 am, so we could get the 6:00 am flight to Melbourne. Once there we had a 4 hour wait before flying to Auckland.

Had to pay excess luggage to get on the plane, what with all of my fishing gear. The problem was I took an extra pair of neoprenes, as I wasnt sure Dad would have some, and the water was going to be cold! We were, after all, going for the winter trout runs in NZ.

We got to Auckland at about 5:00 pm (3:00 pm Hobart time -- I didnt realise NZ was two full time zones away). The airport was packed -- there were tons of people coming over for the trinations cup rugby final. It was hard to believe so many people get excited about a leather ball!

We got out of the airport and went to a hotel. Day one spent traveling. Got to a hotel room at 7:00 pm Auckland time -- a good 17 hours of travel :(