I had a great day yesterday and so have decided to put it into a story form, hope you enjoy it.
A Day On The Whanganui
I have been cracking my neck to get into the upper Whanganui since opening day. I already fish two beats on this magnificent River, however one of them is accessible to helicopters and due to this we needed other options. There is nothing worse than fishing a beat that has just been worked over!Â The upper Whanganui is a difficult river to access, made even more so now that the beginning of the 42 traverse in Owhanga has been closed down. I use John Sutton from Taupo Quad Bikes to get myself and clients in and out safely. His 14 years of operating the bikes and a life time of experience in the area assure a safe and very memorable trip on the bikes. I would not go into this remote wilderness areaÂ without him!
John picked me up outside the lodge at 7.00am, the plan being to explore a large section of the river even he had not seen. I was to be dropped off,(at the river edge) and to work my way up stream to the extraction point some 5km ahead. John was sure there was a gorge “somewhere” in the section but due to my outstanding ability as a guide and my good looks, I would find a way through, yeah thanks John! The reason I do these reconnaissance trips is so there are no hidden surprises for when I take my clients out, making it more enjoyable and safer, I try not to enjoy myself while doing them!
Once we arrived, I quickly rigged up. The water was very low and clear and so I chose a size 14 GB Black Nymph for the dropper and a size 16 Red Hair and Copper for the point fly. This was tied onto a tappered 12 foot Mono Leader and aÂ very small sliding indicator. I find this to be is a deadly rig and can be used in all the Rivers I fish. While John was boiling the billy I flexed my arm in the run that we had stopped by. On my third drift the indicator was “slammed”. There was no mistaking this take as it went sideways and under at the same time. As I lifted my 5 weight rod high, a very good Rainbow of at least six pounds leapt well out of the water. It then screamed off down stream leaping like a mad frog. Just as I went to follow it through the fast water the hook pulled and the line came back and covered me, I spent the next five minutes untangling myself, much to Johns amusement.Â Wow what a start!
By this stage it was 10.30, (we had taken our time getting there) and so I left John, who was still giggling and made my way upstream. Not knowing what lay ahead of me was both exciting and daunting at the same time. I was in radio contact with John and he has an inept ability to appear out of the bush to scare the crap out of me when I least expect it, but for the most part I was by myself in a very remote part of the country.Â This feeling of uncertainness was soon overcome by one of total peacefulness. The steady sound of water over rocks, the deep runs, blue green of the deeper pools and the surrounding bush are a tonic for the body and soon relax you into the amazing surroundings. There were fish everywhere too!
I had been steadily making my way upstream for about and hour when I came to the gorge. This section of water was about 150 meters long and only 15 meters wide, it was deep. I quickly broke my rod down and looked for a way through the bush on the true left. Because the bush is full of Punga and is dense the undergrowth in relatively lightÂ and so the going was not as hard as it could have been. Dropping back into the river however was a bloody mission and I went in to early. Although the ground I was standing on was shallow there was still ten feet in front of me that was deep. I couldn’t get back up the bank and so had to get wet, I hate that! I tippy toed my way across this small section of still water and was surprised at how little went inside my breathables. I rigged up and carried on my way.
The Blue Duck is apparently an endangered species. Whoever made that decision needs to check out this river in its entirety, the little Blue bastards are everywhere and they all have children!! The deer tracks by the river and the pig rootings in the soil point to a very healthy wild life environment. I had not seen one human footprint by this stage, for all I know I might have been the first person in this section. The trout were still plentiful and not spooky at all. Like most back country rivers you have a pool or deep run flowing into a bouldery shallow section, flowing into another deep run or pool. It makes fishing easy as I mostly targeted the head of the pools or behind submerged rocks. All the Trout I hooked were in fantastic condition with nothing under four pounds, and the majority being over five. Trying to control a healthy five pound Trout in fast water on a light rod is excellent fun but without someone to help net them, the outcome was more in their favour. thats my excuse anyway and I’m sticking to it, ok Brendon.
I was making good progress, passing by some water and taking my time fishing more likely spots. At one stage John surprised me by making an appearance on the river bank having found a “goat track” down to the water. As it turns out this is great as it makes the beat a little shorter and cuts out the first gorge. I say the first gorge as I found another, damn! This time getting up onto the bank was a mission but once in the bush it was a breeze and dropped right down onto the water edge. I need to do a little work on this and it will then be a piece of cake.
From there up it was fish everywhere. All of them hard fighting stroppy trout. I hooked this little beauty at one stage about twenty feet up from me. It raced back down towards me came out of the water and through the air for at least 13 feet,(right at me) then darted away to my right, lept twice more three feet in the air and peeled off down stream, where it proceeded to bust me off. Even now I smile when I think about it.
I was fairly knackered by this stage and was happy when the radio crackled into life with johns voice. The quad bikes were parked up the billy was on and he had been watching me loose trout for the last half hour. It is like having a guardian angle watching over you, except not so pretty. I broke down the rod made my way to the bikes and then then had a fabulous ride back out.
Man did I sleep well last night!