I have been looking at a certain section of a Back Country river for some years now. The effort to get down into the valley has always been the deciding factor in not doing the beat. I had an exit point all sorted but getting in was always going to be a mission. As of late I haven’t really been up to missions.
Back track 9 months ago. I slipped on the Waitahanui and smashed my right knee into a rock, doing some pretty nasty stuff to everything inside it. Guiding has not been an option over winter and I didn’t think I would get into Summer guiding as well. due to the long process of building back up the strength needed for rock hopping and river crossings. Then along came a good friend who kept quietly prompting me to get out there and do it. With the help of Alex and his never failing enthusiasm to fish, I have started to really push the boundaries of what I thought I could never do again. This little story is dedicated to Alex, thanks man for all your help.
The walk in had taken two hours, it wasn’t hard terrain but it was a physical start to the day. We looked down into the valley and ooed and arred at the magnificent looking water before us. The only way down to it was well over a hundred and fifty feet of bush crashing hell. “K Bro lets do it” Alex said and we started off on what took well over one and half hours of the most strenuous, torturous efforts I have ever put into getting onto a river. We were torn from bush lawyer, blackberry and gorse. I lost both my walking pole and my spare rod somewhere in that hell hole of a maze. I would have cried but all my body liquid had been used up as sweat!! We fell into the river and sat there shaking, to rooted to do anything. This had better be good or it was going to go down as the biggest recce disaster of all times.
So with rods rigged, food and water in our systems, we started up the 4km long section that lay in front of us. The day couldn’t quite make up its mind whether to be cold or hot. I would have liked some Dry Fly action but to be honest things are still a little too cold for that. So we both had simple nymphing rigs tied up, one with a flash back as a point fly and one with a prince nymph. The rocks were slippery as grease and the going was slow. Part of this day was to get a heap of cool pictures and some awesome video footage, so when we came up to the first run I told Alex to have a go and I would do the camera work. His cast was good and as it drifted to the back of the run his indicator went under and he struck! A huge silver flash stunned my sight, I have not seen a fish this size in well over 10 months and believe me when a decent fish hooks up it makes you realize what we have been missing in Taupo for some time. Alex was in no shape to land this one by himself as it was fairly active and in fast water. He put on the pressure and I got in behind it with the net. What a perfect start to the fishing, a great jack of about 6 pound, this thing would go 8 pound easy after munching out on Cicadas all summer The next pool was mine and once again the indicator got nailed and a good flash was seen, however my nymphs didn’t set and I was left with a “what if” situation.
At times the rocks changed and the wading became very easy, other times it was miserable slow work that had the thighs bracing against the current. It was about this stage that I went for a really good swim. It would have been refreshing if it hadn’t been for the fact I had my camera around my neck and tucked into my waders. I took on a heap of water and I am now in the market for a new “water prof” camera. I’m guttered at this, as the day offered up untold opportunities of fantastic fish, amazing scenery and wild life. No one had ever been in this section of river before, to be honest we were probably the first ever to fish it! So all the pics on here today are of other fishing adventures. You would have been blown away with what I should have been showing you!!
At one stage we were creeping up a run to cross at the top, I spottered a good fish feeding in the fast water. It was the brilliant red stripe down its flank that caught my attention. I was just over one rod length away from it and so un-clipped my nymphs and lobbed them out and up stream of it. The indicator was not going to be of any use to me as it was only about an inch from the rod tip. I followed the leader down and saw the trout move across and open its Gob. I struck and was in! Wow that was awesome fun. This thing just went nuts, leaping in the air and doing its best to snag me in everything around us. Alex finally got the net under it and will a whoop whoop we had another 6 pounder. In a deep pool I pulled a beautiful Brown trout that had the most fantastic markings I have ever seen on a trout, red, gold and brown. It went just under 7.5 pounds and hopefully will be a double figure fish if and when I get back in here in a few months.
We walked past so much water it was ridiculous. I have never spooked so many trout in my life as by this stage I just needed out and I wasn’t sure how much further we had to go. Every time we did stop to fish, we pulled trout all between 5 and 7 pounds, it was an amazing beat.
We didn’t get back home until well after 8 pm, it had been a 15 hour day and I was poleaxed. Its Sunday today and I still can’t walk properly and fear I am going to wake up screaming “get the branches off me” but man was it worth it. This beat, once cleaned up will be mint and although not too many people out there will have the skill to fish it, if you can, it will truly be an amazing experience.