Changing Faces – 2019/20 Season Wrap
Presenting the changing faces of New Zealand’s landscape and the anglers I have had the pleasure to fish with this season. A very rewarding but strange season came to unexpected and abrupt end this year due tot he effects of Covid-19 on both tourism in New Zealand and a nationwide 4 week lockdown. Thankfully we managed to get in some great days prior with the fish were in spectacular condition and although the weather threw us a few crazy curve-balls, it was one to remember.
The Curtain Closes – 2018/19 Season Wrap
Another season finally comes to and end and its time to take a quick look back on what was one of the best yet! The video above shows off some of the highlights that I managed to catch on video, there are so many more moments that weren’t caught on camera but firmly sit in the memories of both clients and myself.
When Stars Align
It was a day that will be hard to forget and most likely one of the best of the season! Mark from Colorado went all out on a 7 day trip with me and it paid of in spades with each day better than the last. We already had plenty of fish to the net over the previous few days so we decided to try a challenging but favourite spot of mine in the wilderness. With a quiet start, things began to fire and we were picking off big fish on dries one after the other, with eats that will stick in our minds forever.
End of a Chapter – 2017-18 Season Wrap
The fishing wrapped up in the south of NZ for another season so here a are a few of the moments I managed to catch on video. Ive spent at least two thirds of the normal season on the water this year so I’ve seen plenty but haven’t had the camera out as much, instead choosing to focus on the moment and actually get some fishing in myself. The coming off-season will be action packed as I head over to Mexico to chase Roosterfish before continuing onto the USA trout states for a 2 month roady, back in time for the kick of of our new season in October and my favourite time to fish.
Guides Go Bush
As we approached the second opening day of the season for our high country rainbow fisheries, Chris Dore and myself took to the backcountry to explore some new water for me and some that Chris hadn’t been into for a decade. The long and gruelling walk in was rewarded with a some beers and a great feed in preparation for the following days fishing. We started bright and early as the sun rose over the mountains, filling the valley with much needed warmth. The fishing was great, with dozens of hookups and plenty of dry fly takes we made our way to pack up camp and hit the trail back to the car. 7 hours of hiking in 2 days had the legs screaming but it was great to explore another part of this glorious country!
A Fresh Start
It has begun! The new fly fishing season is upon us here in New Zealand and here is a quick look at what I got up to over the first few days. Plenty of great conditioned fish about, decent weather and plenty to the net made for an awesome start to the season!
Early season is my favourite time of the year to fish and is overlooked by most coming to fish NZ, you can’t beat fishing to fish that haven’t seen anglers for several months and coupled with higher flows in the small creeks, October – December can provide some very special fishing experiences.
A Memorable Reflection
As we approach another new season here in New Zealand its time to reflect on what was a great 2016/17. Amongst strange weather patterns throughout summer and the biggest floods in 15 years we still managed some amazing fishing. The most noticeable trait this season was the sublime condition of the fish, following a mild winter the browns seemed to have never stopped eating with some serious fish caught in the first few weeks of October.
In amongst many days of guiding, I also managed quite a bit of time on the water myself, which was much needed and this season I plan to do more 🙂
King Tide On Fly
After a very busy guide season I finally finished up and hit the water for myself. One of my first stops was to head to North to Tauranga and get my Salt Fly fix with Lucas from King Tide Salt Fly. Chasing big Kingfish in shallow waters is up there with some of the finest salt water fly fishing on the planet. These savage fish will either be solo cruising the shallows or bunch up on top of stingrays whilst looking to get a easy feed. Hunting them down in such a pristine harbour is not easy but every opportunity is truly pulsating and worth every minute.
We spotted this kingi cruising along a cliff drop amongst fallen trees as if he thought he was a brown trout. After an initial cast he didn’t pay much attention to the fly so we allowed him to continue his beat and circle back around. I had the fly placed and ready as he returned, then with a few short strips he began the pursuit and almost made to the boat before inhaling the fly and taking off in a blistering, reel screaming run. What seemed like an eternity later he finally made it to the net, and with my arms like jelly, holding him for a picture was a effort in itself!
Jungle Heli Fishing
Any chance to get into the backcountry is worthwhile, but when you have a helicopter at your disposal it opens up a whole world of options. Armed with just an iPhone to film this recent guided trip, I take Florida angler Matt deep into the jungle to hunt down some wily browns amongst towering peaks, cascading waterfalls and gin clear water. The weather may not have been perfect, but almost everything else was with numerous fish more than happy to down dry flies and all of a healthy size. This is just one of the many special places we have in the south of New Zealand and it was truely a day to remember.
Guides Day Off
The best fishing guides do what they do because they love it, so what do we do on our days off? We fish of course!
Fellow Queenstown guide, Chris Dore and myself caught up for a few days road tripping around our favourite region, checking out a couple of the smaller, less known streams. Even though a pre-trip storm halted our initial plans, causing the rivers to rise rapidly, we still managed to find some great water, great fish and best of all some great dry fly action! Just another day in paradise
It had finally come, the date that all NZ anglers count down as if they were children waiting for Christmas. October 1st the fly fishing season began in New Zealand and I had arranged a trip with Tyler to some of my favourite spots. After dusting of the rusty skills and following a mild winter we were looking forward to some great conditioned fish, and we got them, eventually…..
The place where some of the largest trout in the world reside, The Mckenzie Hydro Canals, a place of ecological wonder.
This video is a short introduction to the canals including some fishing action of my trips there over the winter. The fishing is challenging and the conditions can be tough but the reward speaks for itself, where else can you have a realistic chance of getting a 30lb+ trout on a fly rod?
Land Of Bones – Aitutaki
The trout fishing season had wound up in New Zealand so I decided to jump on a plane and try my first go at some decent saltwater fly action. Aitutaki was the destination due to its proximity to NZ and its famous bone fishing, it went well!
Colours Of Fall
The diverse landscape and climate provides a spectacular array of fall colours in New Zealand. This clip brings you visuals from various regions such as Otago, Southland, Waikato and the Bay of Plenty. The colours of the landscape compliment the stunning condition of the late season brown and rainbow trout that I hunted down with a couple of new mates Miles and Brooklyn from the North Island.
Crossing The Divide
The South Island of New Zealand is split by whats referred to as the ‘main divide’. Named the Southern Alps, this majestic mountain range runs for 500km down the western side of the island, separating the east and west coast water catchments, providing a contrasting and diverse range of fisheries. Over 2 days I decided to challenge myself on several different waterways, observing and absorbing the variety of methods required to be successful in each.
It was the middle of a hot dry summer when Matt came down from Colorado to experience some NZ fly fishing and he got one of the best trips you could ask for!
The warm weather ensured there were plenty of cicadas flying about and the fish were more than will to move to take them. All fish were taken on dry flies in skinny water on a hot summers day, including a couple of beasts, sounds like heaven to me!
At the end of 2015 I was heading home for Christmas and to re-explore the waters I grew up fishing. After spending a full year fishing down south it was definitely a different prospect with smaller fish but made up for in huge numbers. I then headed further south to catch up with Gareth from Trouthunting NZ and fished a couple of central north island rivers before heading back to Wanaka to bring in the new year!
Fish, Floods & Far Away
After a long 4wd into a promising backcountry trip, a unforeseen front came in and things turned rough after some heavy rain overnight flooded everything bank to bank! Luckily the waters subside as fast as they rise and by the next day we were able to spot fish in the recovering tributaries allowing us to at least get a few on the board and ensure it wasn’t just a scenic trip!
24 Hours in a Valley
With only time for a short backcountry trip we headed out for a just 24 hours, covering 20km and a night on the river bank. The rainbows around proved to be very spooky and picky making for some very difficult fishing in gin clear water but we managed to get into a few, all in amongst absolutely magnificent scenery.
Deep South Wandering
For the second video of this series, It was time for a road trip and I headed south to explore some waters Ive had on my list. It was typical October weather in NZ with strong winds and fresh snow however I managed one fine day and had an amazing time.
A Trophy Opening
This was our first trip of the 2015 season and we had to head far from home to try get around some rough weather. We still got hammered by it on the first few days but still had some fun and we got a nice fine day to cap it off. All up we landed 7 fish over 8lb and another 2 nice smaller ones, not forgetting the 10lb brown!