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Anglers everywhere!
Braids best again.
Another funny ole week.
The boys are back in town!
You can't go wrong.
Early and late.

Early and late.
Thu 2nd August, 2018

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The fishing and the weather has improved the last few days and most of yesterday and today its been more like Spring than Winter. But despite this there are very few anglers on the river. And once you get away from town I've hardly seen a soul when I've fished. Even places like the Braids hasn't been that busy and when I parked up at Red Hut again yesterday afternoon there was one other car there.

Because the Braids has been reasonably consistent {unless I'm fishing with Mike "the Jonah" Fransham} I've been starting there early and when the takes dry up ... move on...usually to the middle or upriver. Later in the afternoon I return to where I started and fish the same stretch again.
Mike and I fished there yesterday and just as had happened a couple of reports ago as soon as he went near the place the great fishing I'd enjoyed there for most of the week vanished. We had a couple each pretty quickly but it wasn't a patch on the previous few times I'd been there and we called it a day mid-morning.

Many of you may not recognise Mike without his fishing gear on ... but here he is pictured left indulging his other passion. This was taken recently at the annual South Pacific Cross-dressers Ball when Mike and his "friend" Richard wowed the audience with their rendition of the Hokey Cokey ... speak soon Honey-bun!

There have been more fish moving through again this week and whenever I've passed the Bridge pools {or actually fished the Braids} I've seen fish caught. I can only assume those fishing the lower river are experiencing the same thing. But because the game plan has been working there's been no point in me going down there. And if I'm honest it isn't one of my favourite parts of the river anyway.

I've been fortunate to hook some nice fish since the last report with this jack and the hen above the pick of the bunch this week. When the female picked up the nymph, at first I thought I'd snagged the bottom beccause nothing happened for a second or two. Then "the bottom" headed upstream and all hell broke loose. Really testing the light gear.

Catching fish like this on a 5 wt is a lot of fun and makes a nice change from chucking out the heavy gear all day. But there are of course many places on the Tongariro where you can't fish "light"and you have to revert to more traditional methods.

I'm still catching the majority of fish on nymphs. I've had a couple on globugs when I've had to use the 8wt and indicator but even then I seem to be doing better with "naturals".

This mild spell we're in for will encourage more insect activity while it lasts. And for the last few days when ever I've been wading, the midges have been getting under my cap and using my bald bonce as some sort of indoor skating rink.

I've mentioned this peeping caddis nymph many times over the last few years but it really is one of the most effective bombs I've used on the Tongariro. And I've had several fish take it this week.

I get mine from Creel Tackle because the ones they stock are tied on barbed jig hooks ... some of the other commercial patterns aren't. Because they're tied on a jig hook and incorporate a slotted tungsten bead, the fly "swims" with the point of the hook facing up. Which greatly reduces the chances of it snagging the bottom.
Unfortunately if you use a barbless version as a bomb and tie a dropper off the bend it can sometimes fly off when casting.

But even though I always flatten the barbs on my flies the little "bump" that remains when you crush the barb down on the versions Creel sell is enough to prevent you losing the dropper nymph ... as long s you snug the knot down properly.

If you fancy tying your own one of the best is this pattern from Peter over at Sporting Life Peeking Caddis Bomb

You may not be able to source barbed jig hooks locally but there are a few companies online that manufacture or stock them. For instance Hends

I often use them when I'm Euro nymphing although most of the fish the last day or two took more conventional Czech nymph patterns.

After I left the Braids yesterday morning I drove upriver to try the TLB between "the Silly" and "Duchess". This is a cracking stretch of water that you'll often have all to yourself.

I had a few on the 5 wt and then once I got into Duchess switched rods.

This pool has changed quite a bit since I first fished it but at present its the most "user friendly" that I've ever known it. From the large rock at the tail there is easy wading and casting to the likely lies all the way up to where the bypass spills in. I had three in here ... and they all took the peeping caddis bomb. But none of them were anything to write home about.

While I was standing in the middle of the river at Duchess a couple of rafts came through and fair play they both went out of their way to paddle the rafts behind me rather than straight through the swim I was fishing ... like some of them usually do. Mind you I don't get too upset when rafts come through because the fish soon get used to them, even if they haven't seen them before. And although they may move out of the way, once the rafts have passed they very quickly get back on station. But it was nice of them all the same.

So where else have I been this week? Well, I had a day fishing the TRB above Red Hut. Starting at the Poutu ... only one fish out of of there. Briefly fished Boulder Reach but the angler on the opposite bank had been there a while and he told me he'd had nothing. Carried on up to the Fan ... did a little better there landing three but they weren't great fish. Stopped at the Cliff on the way back but although I could see a few fish they had mouths glued tight and weren't interested in anything I put in front of them. And I finished off the day back at the Braids landing a couple more.
Its my pick of the week. But if you want to catch fish there, whatever you do ...don't fish with Jonah Fransham. He's back in work for a while so we should all do alright there from now on.

Considering the fishing isn't too bad I'm surprised how little angling pressure there's been this week. But thats bound to change as the frequency and numbers of rainbows entering the river increases.

An unsettled outlook for the rest of the week with the promise of rain and showers most days from here on in. A lot milder the last few days with no morning frosts and its been quite pleasant even if you put in an early start and late finish ... see you out there.

Tight lines

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