New waters need ex­tra thought

The Press - Escape - - ESCAPE - Peter Shutt

The fish­ing wa­ter you are hol­i­day­ing be­side might be quite dif­fer­ent from your nor­mal fish­ing spots, but ba­sic fish­ing prin­ci­ples re­main. Check your tackle be­fore you go near the wa­ter. You can usu­ally as­sem­ble the rod and reel at your camp­site or at the car, but leave your ter­mi­nal tackle se­lec­tion un­til you in­spect the stream bed or edge­wa­ter con­di­tions.

There is no point in ty­ing on weighted nymphs if you are go­ing to be fish­ing over a shal­low weed bed. And nei­ther is there any point in ty­ing on a 7g Zed spin­ner if you are go­ing to be fish­ing a deep pool that fea­tures fast flow­ing wa­ter. Your light­weight tackle won’t get down to the fish.

The trick is to match your ter­mi­nal tackle to the flow and wa­ter depth so that it works in a re­al­is­tic man­ner in the bot­tom 20 per cent of fish­able wa­ter.

If that sounds com­plex, think about it this way – un­less you see trout reg­u­larly ris­ing to the sur­face, as­sume your fish are near the bot­tom.

There is good rea­son for this. Trout spend end­less hours feed­ing. Most of the feed orig­i­nates among the stones or the weed at­tached to the stream or lake bed. Skim­ming spin­ning tackle through the sur­face wa­ter will more than likely frighten feed­ing trout and they will prob­a­bly seek stone fly or mayfly nymphs on the stream bed in­stead.

There are ex­cep­tions , but gen­er­ally you will catch more fish by fish­ing the bot­tom 20 per cent of the wa­ter.

If you are fish­ing over a lake weed bed, choose nymphs that have enough buoy­ancy to re­main just above the weed, oth­er­wise you will spend all day clear­ing the tackle.

If you are not fa­mil­iar with the river or lake you are about to fish, ap­proach it slowly to avoid spook­ing un­seen fish. Do what the guides do, and stand qui­etly back while watch­ing for shad­ows in the bed of the wa­ter. Of­ten it’s the mov­ing shadow that gives away the po­si­tion of the fish.

Your shadow will spook trout too, so con­sider your cast­ing po­si­tion care­fully. On Fe­bru­ary 8 the an­nual Lake Mapourika fish­ing com­pe­ti­tion is held over three days. The con­test is run by the South West­land Li­ons Club. This is a great so­cial com­pe­ti­tion to take part in. Take your un­der 18 year-olds for a day’s fish­ing at Lake Lyn­don and pro­vid­ing they have the ap­pro­pri­ate li­cence (free for un­der 12 years and $24 for un­der 18 years) they have the chance to win a prize if they catch a tagged fish. The tagged fish were re­leased into the lake for the De­cem­ber Take a Kid Fish­ing event. Present the yel­low spaghetti-shaped tag to North Can­ter­bury Fish and Game to get a prize. As al­ways, salmon fish­ing has been sub­ject to river con­di­tions, but right now some an­glers are re­mem­ber­ing that the 2012/13 sea­son runs died away in Jan­uary.

Ob­vi­ously that’s some­thing no­body wants, but it’s a good enough ex­cuse to en­cour­age you to get out with the salmon gear, now.

Trout an­glers have not seen such a good sea­son for years. At one stage pre-Christ­mas there were up­ward of about 2000 prime trout in the lower reaches of the Sel­wyn River. Was that be­cause the lake had been open for quite some time?

Who knows, but suf­fice to say it has re­sulted in mag­nif­i­cent fish­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties. Pre-Christ­mas, cray pots off Kaik­oura of­ten in­cluded 40 or 50


Queu­ing at sun­rise: Salmon fish­ing at the Waimakariri River mouth can get busy early morn­ings.


Gotcha: Ke­gan Gray, Cameron Bartrum and Lo­gan Reinke with good catches at Lake Lyn­don in De­cem­ber.


Big blue: Kaik­oura is known for its crays and blue cod, pic­tured, but salmon will be added to the list soon.

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