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Some good fish around.
The Orange River
Up and Down
It looks promising.
Groundhog day

Groundhog day
Fri 1st July, 2011

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First of all well done to who ever selected the new licence photograph. What a brilliant image, they say a picture paints a thousand words and the expression on that little boys face says it all.
Last weekend was spent home in Waikanae but I've been back on the river the last couple of days and nothing has really changed. Mid-week there are still hardly any anglers around, probably because the fishing is so hit or miss. To be honest if you're connecting with more than a few fish a day your one of the lucky ones at the moment. The expected rain never materialized, with bright sunny days and the Tongariro clear and flowing at around 28.5 cumecs bombs and globugs seem a long way off. Today was just like others I've had recently and you might think some of the images were taken last week but they were all shot fresh for this report...its all a bit like "groundhog day".
I walked over at first light even then there was a stiff cold Southerly and I could see that all the sensible fisho's were still tucked up in bed. The rods were still rigged from last time so after checking the mono for any nicks put the first cast upstream. The wind was blowing hard downriver and trying to throw any sort of mend to get the drift right was proving a toughie. Finally I got one right...the indicator hesitated...strike!...and I was into a strong stubborn fish that was content to just hold its position in the current. Eventually after a little bit of careful encouragement it began sliding downstream and as it splashed into the clear shallows I could see that "ole rubber legs" had done it again. A couple more followed over the next half an hour to the same fly but with another angler nymphing his way up towards me I gave up the spot. On the way back I had a few chucks above the big pine tree and took another before crossing the river to return to the bach.
It was only around nine thirty but when the fishing is hard and there aren't many fish about it pays to be up early and get your flies in the water first because you can bet as the day goes on it will just get harder, especially if there other anglers out. While we're on the subject ever wondered why fishermen are known as anglers...yep me too so I looked it up.
"Angler" has been used to mean "one who fishes with a hook and line" since the mid-16th century, and is based on the verb "to angle," which has meant "to fish" since the late 15th century. This verb "to angle" is based on the noun "angle," meaning "hook for fishing," which is now considered archaic but was in use until the 19th century. It is true that this "angle" was spelled "angel" in Old English, but it is unrelated to the Biblical sort of "angel" (which is based on a Greek word for "messenger"). This now-obsolete noun "angle" was based on a Indo-European root ("ank") meaning "to bend" (which also gave us "ankle" and "anchor"), and was often used to refer to the rod and line as well as the hook. But "angler" has nothing to do with the "angle" between one's line and rod. That's an entirely different kind of "angle." This second noun "angle" is the one in common use today, meaning "the relation of one line to another at their intersection," usually measured in degrees. This "angle" is derived from the Latin "angulum," meaning "corner," but if you go far back enough, you run into our old friend, the Indo-European root "ank." So the two "angle" nouns are cousins, but are still considered separate words because they followed different paths into English". Thanks to the Word Detective for the explanation and if you're ever stuck on anything connected with the English language have a look at this informative and humerous little site www.word-detective.com
Where was I ?...oh yeah...It was now around ten o'clock, most mornings my guide Jake takes me to the coffee cart in the bridge car park for our mid-morning break. It's a good place to catch up on the local news and there are often other anglers enjoying a cuppa so you can compare notes.
It also means Jake can continue "his training." Its taken him over two years of hard graft but this week the penny finally dropped and Shaz did an almost perfect fetch and give without too much cajoling...now if he could only get her to sit properly!
Training over we headed upriver and tried a couple of places above Red Hut but it was pretty uneventful. Even with the cold wind it was a beautiful Tongariro day and the river looked stunning so we used the time to take a few pics for the stock folder. By one o'clock we were back at our starting point but this time there wasn't another angler in sight. The forecast had been for the Southerly to drop but if anything it had picked up. I don't mind fishing in the wind too much. I'd prefer not to but it does put some people off and on windy days even in the busy winter months you will still have stretches of river to yourself. When its blowing I try and fish spots where you don't need long casts or find areas that are less affected by it. Normally I fish three flies but if it's really gusting I always reduce this to two. If your a right-handed caster some places along the TLB of the Tongariro can be tricky in a Southerly because its blowing downriver at your casting arm. This means if you try and cast in the traditional way the line and flies are brought into you by the wind causing all sorts of mayhem. Make sure you have your sun-glasses on and if your wearing a wading jacket put the hood up...it'll save you having to dig the bomb out of the back of your head. Some fisho's will cast across their body, positioning the rod and fly line on their downwind side. The lucky ambidextrous guys just change hands. I prefer to keep things simple and just lay a straight fly line downstream then immediately sweep it low and flat back upstream.
As I said earlier when your faced with this scenario it's the drift that causes the problem because it's so difficult to throw an effective upstream mend. You end up with a great big downstream belly in the fly line despite your best efforts. Even when you get a take they are often missed because of this excessive slack line. This is exactly what was happening now and twice I'd had to remove that tell tale fish scale from the bend of the hook. Eventually I got a good drift in between gusts and hooked into a silver jumper that gave me some anxious moments and a lot of fun before giving up. This fish signaled the end of what seems to be a typical Tongariro day lately and I bet most of the other anglers on the river this week will have similar tales to tell. Small numbers of trout continue to race up and a few seem to be holding in the Bridge Pool. You still have to work a little bit for your fish but with a change in weather conditions the fishing could improve overnight...now wouldn't that be nice.

Keep trying guys

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