Technical tips from Southern NZ

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Photo by Chris Dore

Photo by Chris Dore

By Chris Dore

Whilst I enjoy chasing big fish in the backcountry here in New Zealand, there isn’t actually much to it: Find a fish. Put your fly in front of him, and strike.

It’s the smaller, hatch-driven streams that offer the challenge for me, the technical presentations their finicky trout require and often ‘outside of the box’ thinking. Straight line presentations rarely succeed and so slack line casts, chosen to beat drag and deliver your fly naturally (or not) are mandatory.

Today, Simon Chu and I visited a rather technical stream in the deep south known for its wary browns. It was a fun day shared with a good mate but we certainly needed to bring our A game. In the end we hooked 2 dozen fish between us on a range of lightweight nymphs and film flies.

Here are a few tricks which helped us today:

– Make every presentation count. Each cast needs to be executed well and land where / how intended.  These fish won’t give you a second chance.

– Grubbing fish were feeding so intently on the stream bed amongst a plethora of naturals they’d often weave to the side to eat a natural as our flies approached. However dropping our flies 2 – 3 feet in front of the fish drew attention to the drop. Sure we spooked a few but also hooked a few.

– Even unweighted flies tied on heavy wire nymph hooks snagged the bottom. Tie a few unweighted patterns for fishing shallows on light wire hooks. A softer tip fly rod will protect your lighter tippets and prevent fine wire hooks from straightening. My 8’8″ 5wt Scott G2 is perfect for this.

-Long, supple tippet to beat those pesky micro currents and allow your flies to present naturally. 5′ of 4x trouthunter nylon was my choice for the day attached to a 10′ 4x tapered leader.

Snake river mud dulled down the tippet and kept it off the surface where shadows kill presentation. A smear of mud on unweighted nymphs helped them break through the film.

-Move slow, stay low, make use of cover and let the fish come to you. These fish spook very easily so sit, watch and wait. Pick your shots when the fish are in the best position, not before.

Now for a day off!

Chris Dore
Gink & Gasoline
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