Sim­plify your fish­ing

A back to ba­sics an­gling ap­proach

NZ Fish & Game - - Front Page -

THE GROUND WAS OF­TEN FROZEN AS WE strad­dled the forestry gate and set off on the long, up­hill slog into the Whakatikei, a lit­tle known trib­u­tary of Welling­ton’s Hutt River. The ris­ing sun, golden and promis­ing warmth, would be ten­ta­tively kiss­ing the ridge­line by the time we’d traipsed up the old forestry road to the bar­ren top be­fore the steep de­scent into the val­ley floor be­low.

It was the early ‘90s and my thirst for ex­plor­ing th­ese lesser-known lo­cal wa­ters was in­sa­tiable. In fact, my mate Dan Thomas and I found our­selves in this mag­nif­i­cent, re­mote val­ley vir­tu­ally ev­ery sec­ond week­end for the en­tire 1994 sea­son. The go­ing was tough through the gorge that dom­i­nated much of the tiny stream’s length – once you were in, you were com­mit­ted. But the fish were of good size, av­er­ag­ing be­tween 4 and 6lbs (though the stream is a mere shadow of its former self th­ese days).

It was on one of many ven­tures into that gorge that I found my­self be­fore a sub­tle shadow wa­ver­ing in the wa­ter, hold­ing sta­tion just out from an un­der­cut bank. Open­ing my fly box with shak­ing hands in prepa­ra­tion, I was faced with a dilemma: which of the 50-plus pat­terns of nymphs to use on the fish? My youth­ful en­thu­si­asm and new-found ob­ses­sion with fly ty­ing meant a plethora of mon­strosi­ties lay be­fore my eyes.

“Dan, do you think I should try the pur­ple rub­ber-legged, orange head with a twist of road-kill cat and ribbed multi-strand disco thread?”

“Sure, give it a go,” he’d say.

JUST A FEW BA­SIC PAT­TERNS IN VAR­I­OUS SIZES

HARD­ING’S PHEAS­ANT TAIL FOOLS AN­OTHER

THE EARLY TEST­ING GROUND FOR THE AUTHOR’S FLY FISH­ING PHI­LOS­O­PHY

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