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Tongariro time!

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    Posted: 04 Oct 2020 at 3:52pm
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Titanium
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There is something very special about watching your indicator shoot upstream, striking tight, and feeling that first couple of pulses of a hooked Tongariro steelhead. Never gets old.

I had plenty of those exciting moments during a recent fun family holiday in Turangi. The days of my hard core trips of dawn till dusk missions are in the past, but thanks to an understanding wife I get to have my fly fishing fix amid the drives to the snow and the hot pools.

The river was like chocolate milk and running at 75 cu m/s when we arrived on Sunday (dropping from 300 cu m/s) and my first crack was a short evening stint on Tuesday in the still-coloured and high lower river - I hooked 10, landed 7, with an even split between takers of the dark brown bomb and my bead egg.
A great start, though only one of the fish was a nice fresh smoker.

Weds was a couple of hours mid-morning fishing in the middle reaches, with 5 landed out of 7 hooked - with my own lightly weighted #12 net building caddis pattern doing the damage in ever-clearing water.

Thurs was another 2-hour evening fish in the lower river, nymphing a run that a wet liner had just left. Hooked and landed 3, including the best fresh fish of the trip (see photo below), and a powerful jack. Again, the caddis was greedily accepted.

Friday was my designated 'fishing day'. I walked to some nice water in the middle reaches for the morning, back to the motel for lunch and a few rugby passes with the boys, and drove to the beautiful upper river to fish the true right in for the late afternoon. Hooked 6, but only landed 2 - on my caddis with a small dark brown bead for a bit of weight in the heavy water.

I got surveyed by DoC during the day, and reported decent fishing but fairly average quality of the fish. But by walking away from the carparks I never had to share a pool with another angler, which meant I could make the most of my short windows of opportunity during the holiday and enjoy the serenity.

Reading Sporting Life's reports, it appears the best of the season came in the traditional mid-winter time. Smaller freshes than the flood of last weekend may bring more pulses of fresh fish, but of the 17 I landed only a couple were silver bullets, the rest thinnish or darker.

I used the brand new legendary Sage XP 9', 6 weight that I've had stored in the wardrobe for 15 years, which was interesting after using an 9'6" 8 wt for most of my previous fishing on the Tongariro. I felt under-gunned when fighting fish in heavy currents, and for casting bombs when it was still 40+ cu m/s, but it's certainly a lovely rod. Jury still out in my mind, maybe just need a period of adjustment. i would hate to snap a tip with an errant bomb cast, and I want to have a go at traditional shooting head wet lining in the future, so will keep an eye out for a nice 8 wt (recommendations welcomed).

With the kowhai in full bloom and flocks of tui zooming around, kereru in the other blossom trees, and blue ducks regularly seen sheltering out of the Tongariro's main current, Turangi is a lovely place in spring, 





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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Rainbow Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Oct 2020 at 5:18pm
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Nice report!     I was also there last week and went home this Tuesday.     With my TRyCD 5/6 10' extension I decided to give Euro Nymphing a try at the head of the Lower Bridge Pool.     As I fished with mono and split shots using the Blue Hawk flyrod in all the head waters in the sixties I sort of knew what to do.    IN just over an hour I hooked and landed three with one a fresh jack in mint condition.     Then I flicked the bomb into my rod tip and to my surprise saw it sliding down my line which brought my initiation to an abrupt end.     Very effective way to catch fish but essentially quite boring and flicking mono is really not what makes fly fishing.     Cured already.  
 
I spent most of the flood free days down river with the shooting head dredging some beautiful fresh fish.     Nothing like ripping off a hundred foot plus cast to the other side of those wide pools and being rewarded with a firm hit as the fly comes across.
 
One trip with my friend Simon Pengelly I finally managed to see what Simon had been emailing to me before the trip.     You see Simon has perfected Spey casting with a 24' Type 6 fast sinking shooting head.    As the river was still at 33c/m3 the head was a bit turbulent and the fish were holing further back.    Because of the willows I could not wade down but Simon did and with no back cast room he Spey cast the head right to the other side and hooked several beauties.     It was a great display of casting with hardly any disturbance as opposed to the racket a Skegit outfit would have made on this flat water.
 
Needless to say I am already practicing this method on grass in a nearby park.    
Just goes to show there is something new happening on the Tonga every year I fish there.    
 
On the way home I got held up for three hours as a logging truck had rolled over and was blocking the road with on bypass available.
 
Back to sea fishing yesterday with some good snapper, gurnard and crays.
Aren't we luck living in God's Own.
 
Cheers
 
Rainbow
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote The Tamure Kid Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Oct 2020 at 5:23pm
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Titanium
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Nice one, Herb. Glad you had a rewarding week. It'd be a privilege to bump into you on the river some time and watch a master in action.

I admire wet line experts, not something I ever learned or bought the gear for. But I used to watch a local guy ride up on his old bike, wade across the bottom of the old Judges pool us nymphers had been hammering for hours, pull out 3 or 4 beauties on big rough Woolly Buggers in no time, and wade back soon after.
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Redfinger Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Oct 2020 at 10:41am
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Titanium
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Great fishing guys - Lester you deserved that as you dont get fishing much.
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Jonathan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Oct 2020 at 3:05pm
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I was fishing around the same days as above, got some good fish on the Waiotak, and fun on the lower braids.  best efforts was skiing in the day and these in the evening.  Paradise.


And my daughter catching her first fish just below grace road access in under 15 mins.


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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote The Tamure Kid Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Oct 2020 at 4:26pm
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Titanium
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Originally posted by Jonathan Jonathan wrote:

I was fishing around the same days as above, got some good fish on the Waiotak, and fun on the lower braids.  best efforts was skiing in the day and these in the evening.  Paradise.


And my daughter catching her first fish just below grace road access in under 15 mins.



Nice one Jonathan, lovely that your daughter had some success straight up. 

I saw a couple of teenage guys with their dad in the braids area and they reminded me of my days as a very keen youngster in the school holidays.
One hooked his first fish shortly after, but unfortunately it got off. 

How do you like the Redington Vice? What weight/length have you got for the Tongariro?
It's one of the few makers that does a 9'6" length these days. It's my favourite length, just suits my height and casting style, I think.
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