The Glorious 1st

The opening day of trout fishing is an annual event around most of New Zealand. It is always the first day of October, weekday or weekend, and is eagerly anticipated by thousands of freshwater anglers from around the country.

Fly fishing is a strange sport. New Zealand angling historian Bryn Hammond once described it as “arcane and esoteric to the uninitiated” but to many people fly fishing appears to be a pedantic sport practised by grumpy old men. Fly fishing isn’t easy but that is what makes it so much fun. My mate Martin de Ruyter always tells people that, “If it was easy, then everybody would be doing it”.

I was fortunate to be part of a merry troupe of men participating in the annual ritual of Opening Weekend. We took two vehicles, a boat, and enough food, booze, and fly fishing gear to last a month. Don and Peter are both retired (grumpy old men) while Cam and I pretend to work (posers) but we never mind sharing the fishing with our Nelson Trout Fishing Club (www. mates.

Settling in at the hut on the afternoon before Opening Day, we thought we should check out if we had any competition at another nearby hut.

We’d just pulled up in the carpark when out walked fishing guide Anton Donaldson of Collingwood, getting ready for a recreational day out on the 1st.

After much good natured discussion, Anton either offered to share the fishing with us the next day or was press-ganged into submission. Either way (after craft beer that night), Club President Don and accomplice Pete (grumpy cunning old men) took possession of the classic upper river while the Cam, Anton, and Zane (workers) were allocated the lower water beside the road. Opening Day dawned bleak, cold, and drizzly.

I knew the water was close to freezing when I washed my hands in an outside sink and there was little hope of any insect hatches to get the trout going. Don and Peter headed up the track (grumpy poaching old men) while Cam, Anton, and myself (grumpy younger men who pose as workers) tried unsuccessfully for the few inactive trout we saw in deep holes. Cam offered me a cast at a deep fish that had refused his flies. I saw the fish move slightly and lifted the rod and felt the weight. At the bent rod, Anton asked if I had a snag, Cam exclaimed, “He’s got it”, and I was surprised to be attached to the first trout of the season. It wasn’t an epic fight but when it floated up to the surface, Anton scooped it up with a nice net job and Cam slapped me on the back and gave me a congratulatory handshake. The barbless fly slipped out easily and after a quick photo, our joint trout was released for another day and another angler.

Anyway, we all caught trout (including the grumpy old men) and all had a great time out together. Anton caught some on weighted nymphs but my favourite was watching Cam take a wise old trout that slowly sipped down his dry fly in a classic downstream take. We’ve all caught thousands of trout between us over the years but October the 1st is always a highlight of the angling season, especially when you get to share it with old and new fishing friends.

Share this post :


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Create a new perspective on life

Your Ads Here (365 x 270 area)
Latest Stories

Subscribe our newsletter

Subscribe to our newsletter to get the latest updates direct to your inbox.


Subscribe to our newsletter to get the latest updates direct to your inbox.