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Anglers everywhere!
Sun 26th August, 2018


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After heavy rain at the start of the week the Tongariro rose slowy and by Thursday morning flows had peaked at around 80 cumecs. Not a huge fresh but there's been some pretty good fishing as things have settled back.

Along with what seemed like the rest of New Zealand I got on the river early Friday morning and headed straight to Judges. I haven't spent much time there the last couple of months because it just hasn't been anywhere near as consistent as it used to be. But I had a feeling it would switch on this time...and it did.

I was first in but it wasn't long before I had some company and we all caught fish. I spent the morning there and Tom and Mike pictured above were just two of several happy anglers who left the pool carrying fish before lunch.

The action wasn't non-stop. But as fish moved through it was that classic winter run scenario where things would go quiet and then the guys fishing downstream of you would start hooking up. And you knew it would be your turn again before long as more fish entered the stretch.

We even had the odd fish "porpoising" as they headed upstream.

Again this week most anglers are reporting a real mixed bag of both fresh and recovering fish. With a lot of chunky jacks amongst them.

Some of these may only be south of three pounds. But they fight well above they're weight and you'll be asking for trouble if you try and "rush" them ... especially on lighter tackle.


You often see anglers playing trout with the rod pointing straight up. Some even raise they're arms as well to gain even more height. It looks quite dramatic but isn't all that effective when attempting to gain the upper hand while trying to subdue a fish.

Doing so usually encourages the fish to the surface and as it splashes around, its more likely that you'll end up losing it.

A better option is to keep the rod low and to the side which will allow you to put more pressure on the fish and at the same time "protect" your tippet. If you have any reservations about this have a look at this short YouTube video from Orvis.



This past week has been the busiest I've seen the river for quite sometime. Mainly because we had a particular set of circumstances, which in effect created "the perfect storm". There have been a lot more anglers than usual in town ... with at least three club events taking place. And because the downpours made some of the smaller rivers unfishable, angling pressure on the Tongariro probably doubled.

Despite the fact that Nigel and I set off early yesterday morning, it was immediately clear it wasn't early enough. As we walked across the Koura Street bridge a quick glance left and right revealed anglers everywhere. Breakfast Pool, Major Jones and the Hydro all full. We had no intention of fishing any of these spots and we'd already spotted dozens of anglers when we'd driven over the SH1 road bridge so knew then we'd be going walkabout.

We had our "first stop" all to ourselves but with the river still running at over forty it was a little to quick. We tried the pool itself on the way out and landed a jack very first cast ... but that was it.

Back to the track and we carried on towards the Stag. However when we peered through the broom above "Cicada" and looked upriver we could see there were at least three anglers already there. So ... we kept on walking ... unfortunately to no avail. Anglers everywhere ... even "Sly Grog" was occupied and as we were about to head up to the "Silly" we encountered a couple of others who had walked down from Red Hut and they told us not to bother because it was the same story further up. So it was plan D and we returned to the Koura Street bridge and fished the"Rope".

Although there was someone fishing opposite us, the TRB was unoccupied right up to "the Rip". This is another one of those stretches where most nymphing methods will work. Although landing them can be tricky if they get into the fast water. You have to use plenty of "side strain" to prevent this and I sometimes dip the rod tip below the surface as well, which will often make the fish head back upstream. This "trick" was shown to me years ago by a very good Finnish angler I had the pleasure of fishing with and I'm still not entirely certain why it works ... but it does. Anyway "boatie" Nige really enjoys the Czech nymph and we had a few and lost a couple between us by the time we left.

Last stop of the day...the Braids. We took a punt that things may have quietened down there a little by now because it was quite late in the afternoon. Sod's law several other anglers had the same idea and most of the spots were still taken.

But lucky for us the angler on the opposite bank signalled to us he was about to leave and beckoned us over. We couldn't believe our luck and by the time {resident angler and part owner of this piece of the Tongariro} Duncan Frew joined us we'd already landed a couple despite the fact that the whole area had been hammered all day.

To use one of Gail's skiing terms "bluebird skies" in Turangi today. And with only nine days of winter left it actually felt like Spring as the wind dropped and things warmed up this afternoon.

Slightly milder temperatures next week from Tuesday on. With more rain and showers right up to the weekend. This should keep things ticking over nicely with lots of fish around for everyone.

Hopefully there'll be fewer anglers too so the fishing should be even better. I just hope those words don't end up biting me on the bum!


Tight lines guys

Mike
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