Sometimes it just all comes together

Another splendid TT rainbow for Gurr

Some may remember the Tauranga Taupo River before the big flood back in 1998. In those days you could drive to the ‘Crescent’, join the always present group of fishermen and catch a limit—if the fish were cooperative. And mostly they were!

The flood moved the course of the river and, in my opinion, ruined the fishing for several years.

I’ve always loved the TT and fish it once or twice a season, usually with little or no success. It is large enough to have a good run of fish when conditions are right over the winter but small enough to be able to get around without risking life and limb.

I reconnected with the TT in February. My son had to work so, rather than fish alone, I asked Graham Dean, renowned Taupo fishing guide, to keep me company.

At 71 with medical conditions, I’m not supposed to fish alone and I freely admit I need a little help crossing rivers. Guides also know where the action is and can save time by taking you right to it.

Gurr with his TT brown, trout of the day

We crossed the TT and Graham suggested we fish here before walking upstream.

As I worked the line out to cast, a small rainbow slashed at the fly (Graham’s secret weapon, Chubby Chernobyl, with extra wings, cicada imitation). Floating the fly back down-stream in classic dry fly style, it suddenly disappeared in a huge boil of water—fish-on, first cast. The trout raced up and down the pool determinedly but, thankfully, did not leave it. (I don’t do run anymore so there was no way I could follow if it). Presently, Graham netted it, a gleaming bar of silver—a fresh run trout straight out of the lake, feasting on the abundant cicadas dropping on the water, upriver.

The fish charging up and down the pool put every thing down, but about forty minutes later the fly disappeared again as it drifted near the opposite bank. Fish number two. Two more fish followed to the net before we got to the fast water at the head of the pool.

Here we could see fish moving, obviously feeding but not on the surface. Eighteen inches of tippet attached to the dry fly with a Hare and Copper hanging underneath (dry fly dropper) proved effective, with two more fish quickly taken and released.

A bit of bush bashing and a forced march then took us to Cliff Pool, here huge brown trout were hanging in the current above the tail of the pool. Casting a fly over them produced nothing— they just hugged the bottom. A drifted nymph caused them to move aside. As they were not going to provide any action, we crossed the river, while the browns moved aside and then went straight back into position.

We moved to where we could observe both parts of the pool: the sweep where the river pushes close up to the cliff and the deep part before the tail out, overhung by trees. A couple of good fish were patrolling deep.

Waiting until they were facing away, I put the fly where the next trip around should intersect one of the trout. No need to wait—as the fly hit the water, the fish spun around sucked it down. Even after nearly sixty years of trout fishing, I still had to force myself to wait until the fish turned down before setting the hook. Fish number six. His buddy, who was still on patrol, was taken similarly—I dropped the fly in front of its nose as he swam towards us. No hesitation in taking the fly and it too came to the net.

Having totally stirred up the bottom of the pool, we moved up to where we could see a fish nosing along against the cliff. A couple of casts to get the distance right and—bang—down went the fly and it was soon in the net as well.

Graham thought he could see a fish in the slack water slightly to the side of the head of the pool, a slightly tricky cast across the current with an upstream mend to get a few inches of drag free drift produced another vicious take and this proved to be the fish of the day—a brown trout that took us around the pool several times before it too came to the net.

Ten fish in four hours in the middle of summer on a hot afternoon is great fishing in any one’s book.

“Sometimes it just all comes together,” Graham remarked. “Time for a cool beer.”

A friend and I fished the same water the next afternoon with the same flies and were skunked.

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