New Sea­son Tac­tics

AT SEA­SON’S START THE FISH CAN OF­TEN BE AS UN­PRE­DICTABLE AS THE WEATHER. TIM ANGELI WRITES THAT SUC­CESS AT THIS TIME OF YEAR OF­TEN COMES DOWN TO BE­ING FLEX­I­BLE IN YOUR PLAN­NING AND AP­PROACH TO AN­GLING, AS WELL AS BE­ING ABLE TO MIR­ROR THE SPON­TANE­ITY THAT

NZ Fish & Game - - Front Page -

IF I WERE ASKED TO SUM UP EARLY-SEA­SON trout fish­ing in New Zealand, in one word, it would have to be this: un­pre­dictable. As many well know, the weather, river con­di­tions and fish be­hav­iour are con­stantly chang­ing at this time of year when our tem­per­a­men­tal spring is sup­posed to be in its last throes but still threat­ens as­cen­dency over sum­mer when De­cem­ber rolls around.

To be clear, ‘early sea­son’ tran­scends the tra­di­tional sea­son start of Oc­to­ber and gen­er­ally ex­tends into De­cem­ber de­pend­ing on cli­matic vari­ables but also the stag­gered open­ing of dif­fer­ent wa­ter­ways through­out the coun­try, such as the high coun­try lakes of the South Is­land. So, spon­tane­ity – in our an­gling ap­proach, trip sched­ul­ing, and the abil­ity to pick trout be­hav­iour – can of­ten lead to earl­y­sea­son fish­ing suc­cess… and not for­get­ting that of­ten a good mea­sure of luck also plays a part.

I lit­er­ally lost count of the num­ber of times fel­low an­glers asked me about my plans for this sea­son’s opener re­cently gone. For most diehard trout an­glers, Oc­to­ber 1 is etched firmly in their minds – the day that marks the open­ing of many of this coun­try’s fish­eries af­ter their long win­ter rest. For those of our ilk, it is a day more keenly an­tic­i­pated than any other in the year. And as you’ll no doubt be aware, this year the sea­son start and that hal­lowed date fell on a Satur­day, cre­at­ing the per­fect op­por­tu­nity to plan a trip, even for those of us that strug­gle to sneak away from mid-week work com­mit­ments.

Yet, look­ing back a month now, de­spite my an­tic­i­pa­tion and ea­ger­ness, I still found my­self re­ply­ing to all of the ex­cited in­quiries about Open­ing plans with the same re­sponse: “I ac­tu­ally don’t have any­thing set in con­crete for the start of the sea­son this year.”

It wasn’t a flip­pant re­sponse, nor was it a cagey tac­tic to en­sure that no one else ‘stole’ my planned lo­ca­tion for that cel­e­bra­tory first

Oc­to­ber fish. The truth of the mat­ter is I stopped plan­ning Open­ing sea­son trips years ago af­ter a string of three or four con­sec­u­tive an­nual at­tempts turned into wasted hol­i­day time, with pre­cious leave spent hun­kered down in tents or back­coun­try huts get­ting pum­melled by rain and watch­ing swollen rivers flow by like chocolate milk on its way to the bot­tling fac­tory.

Early-sea­son trout fish­ing can be the most un­pre­dictable fish­ing of the en­tire sea­son with the weather chang­ing in an in­stant, tak­ing rivers from low and clear to rag­ing tor­rents. Many lo­ca­tions are of­ten plagued by high-wa­ter through the early months from the fre­quent rain, or in the case of wa­ter­sheds fed from the high-coun­try, snowmelt. These sit­u­a­tions of­ten call for big, heavy nymphs or stream­ers, with lots of move­ment to grab the at­ten­tion of the fish.

Although high-wa­ter con­di­tions can be dif­fi­cult to fish, they of­ten re­sult in op­por­tunis­tic trout, unlikely to turn down the prospect of a size­able meal drift­ing through their feed­ing zone.

PHO­TOS: TIM ANGELI

PROSPECT­ING A BIG WA­TER RUN ON A CHILLY OPEN­ING MORN­ING

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