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More rafters than anglers ...
The good news and the bad news.
A little tougher ...
A fun week on the Tongariro.
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Up until the weekend.

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The good news and the bad news.
Sun 25th November, 2018


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I suppose the good news is that since the last report we've had some rain. The bad news is so far it hasn't made the slightest bit of difference to the river. Its forecast to get heavier this afternoon with thunder in places. But then its back to showers again for the rest of this week with more rain on the cards for next weekend.

In other words unless it actually buckets down today and tomorrow the river will remain low and clear.

But these dreary, damp days are nearly always the catalyst for some pretty good hatches along the river. And for Mayfly in particular these are ideal conditions.

Once the nymphs transform into the sub-imago their mouth-parts no longer function. So when they break free of the rivers grip, and attempt to reach the sanctuary of bank-side vegetation for the final moult, they can't feed or drink.

Obviously drizzly cloudy days give them the best chance of surviving long enough to mate because they're less likely to dehydrate.

The last couple of days the skies above the river have filled with birds keen to pick-off hatching insects and no doubt the fish are doing the same below the surface.

Don't ask me how ... but the finches always seem to sense when a hatch is about to begin. And long before you or I spot the first duns "coming off" the birds will be lining up on the rocks at the waters edge waiting for breakfast.

Unfortunately the last time I was in Judges the finches weren't the only ones lining up.

I'd arranged to meet up with Mike there and when I arrived the place was empty.

However word has got around that this pool has been fishing well, and by the time he arrived there were six other anglers keeping me company.

I'd already landed a couple but although there's plenty of room for several "rods" at a time, this pool doesn't handle pressure well. And with wet-liners and nymphers jockeying for position it was never going to be particularly enjoyable.

We had a couple more from the top of the pool but decided our best bet was to move on.

Despite it being a week day there were anglers everywhere. We could see more lined up in the Hydro when we got back to the swing bridge ... another town pool thats been consistent lately.

I don't believe for one second that there's anywhere on the Tongariro that hasn't been fished at sometime or other by someone. But there are places that don't get fished as often.

You'll be amazed for instance how many anglers will walk past a piece of water just because you can't fish it with an indicator. Other deterrents may be casting restrictions or accessibility.

Our next port of call fell into the last category.

It may be one of my "favourite little spots" but my blue eyed companion can't stand it because there's nowhere he can lay down to keep an eye on the action. However its a great stretch when the river's busy as it's out of the way and doesn't get too many visitors. You have to wade almost three quarters of the way across to get the best of the river here but most nymphing methods will work. We were both into fish straight away and were looking forward to a pleasant couple of hours there ... then we noticed half a dozen rafts heading our way. I honestly don't have a problem with rafters. After all they have as much right to be on the river as the rest of us. When they approach I stop fishing and always greet them as they pass. Four of the rafts kept to the TRB passing behind us. But the other two paddled straight through the run we were fishing against the TLB ... come on guys show us the same consideration we gave you!!


As I mentioned up until then the little bit of effort we'd put in to fish this part of the river was paying off. Mike was getting a few on his set up and I was having fun with the 4wt. Although I have to say we both lost a few in the strong current. Nymphing Euro style is becoming increasingly popular on the river. It particularly suits the type of water that fish naturally gravitate towards in low clear conditions and for the last month or so I've found myself using it more and more.

One of the things that often crops up when you chat to people who've just started to learn it, is arm fatigue. The image most people have of "Czech nymphers" {we'll call it that because thats the most popular name for it} is of the angler fishing with arm held high and outstretched, parallel with the water. But if you're not used to fishing like this, the arm muscles soon tire and the pauses between drifts become more frequent.

Since the method first took the angling world by storm in the eighties, longer and lighter fly fishing rods have become more readily available. And nowadays there's a move away from this awkward looking stance to a more relaxed style.

Modern Czech nymphing rods are usually between ten and eleven feet so in most situations that extra reach allows you to achieve the same control over your flies without the need to hold the rod and arm in such a muscle aching position to obtain that natural looking drift.

By holding the arm slightly lower and closer to your body, with the tip of the rod elevated, you only need to gradually push the arm out in the latter stage of the drift, in order to keep the flies in the same current. To further help with this I "over reel" my rod. So although I'm currently using a 4wt, its got a 6/7 wt reel on the end.

My spare out-fit is a ten foot 5wt rod matched with a light graphite five weight reel and actually feels much less balanced and comfortable to use for this style of fishing. Because of the light reel that rod always feels "tippy" and is pulled towards the surface of the water. So as you begin the drift you have to use the muscles in the forearm in order to angle the tip upwards. The oversize reel alters the balance point so more or less does this for you.

Nymphing " Czech style" involves a lot more "casts" with shorter drifts and the heavier reel on the 4wt outfit helps accomplish this with a lot less effort. Even if I'm on the river all day I rarely suffer from an aching arm because although it is indeed a heavier set-up ... it actually "feels" lighter when I'm fishing with it.


Right! ... thats enough about "bloody Czech nymphing" you must be sick of hearing the words. Since I saw Ozzie angler Glenn Rowlands who I mentioned in the last report he scored this golden coloured brown on the middle river. It wasn't a monster but at six pounds was much better than anything he was likely to catch in his part of the world.

Still some good rainbows getting caught in the Tongariro and again this week small naturals have worked for me.

Its been raining on and off for a few hours today but up to now its just heavy showers. The flows have increased a little but we need a lot more to put some color and volume in the river. Never the less the little we've had should have a positive effect on the fishing ... so I'll be up bright and early again in the morning.

Expect more browns to show up from now on particularly if we get a fresh. And next time some interesting info on New Zealand stream-bed life ... especially caddis.

Tight lines guys

Mike
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