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Waitaki River Silver

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    Posted: 01 Apr 2020 at 5:40pm
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Joined: 12 Apr 2011
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Back in 07 i had a job opportunity come up in South Canterbury,I relocated to Glenavy on the banks of the mighty Waitaki river.
Was like a kid in a candy store,so much new water to explore and lots of differant fishing techniques to learn.
Had some great trout fishing in the rivers and lakes in the area and dabbled in a bit of sea fishing which was fun but not quite upto a North Islanders standards.
Fishing for searun browns(and occasional rainbow) at the rivermouth was all new to me and one i eventually learned and not quite mastered but done OK with searuns too 6lb.
It was while chasing the Brownies in the surf that i saw my first Salmon being landed by the kid fishing upriver from me.I saw him running down the gut a good 200m yelling at people to clear the way,his wee trout reel had been spooled.He eventually landed the fish a few hundred metres down the beach,and what a fish 18lbs of shiny silver goodness.
From that day on i just had to have a Salmon!

This was the start of an obession.I googled and read every thing i could and annoyed the old boys at the pub for info.

The next two months i fished nearly every evening after work and most weekends from dawn till dusk for nothing not even a nudge.Actually thats a lie i got a small brown on a colorado one day and a large Flounder another day which in all the exictment i made the fatal call of "FISH ON".

A couple of locals took me under there wing and helped me out a lot,to no avail.
The gear and techniques and areas fished was good according to them,They were catching while i stood beside them,at times everyone was hooking up except me(basically standing shoulder to shoulder)just a real bad run of bad luck.I kept persisting through there encouragement but mostly piss taking

My run of badluck was soul destroying but i kept on going fully committed,I couldnt give up after two months of effort!

One very slow day where nothing had been landed in the 4 hours since dawn,My mentors were standing well back (so they didnt catcha spell of my bad luck)Watching me go through the motions of cast   retreive   repeat   encouraging me with lines of "Jonah,go back to ya snapper or knitting etc..

Cast,pause bump, bump ,bump(lure bouncing the bottom)
cast,pause bump, bump, bump
Cast,pause bump, nothing?

HIT THE F#####G THING one screemed,What,who ,where?My rhythm was broken.

WHACK i struck,thump,thump came through the line,Whatever i had hooked thumped its head like a big moocher snapper then took off on several screaming runs.The adrenaline flowed my knees had never shaken so much.
Couldnt beleive i had finally hooked one,After 10minutes of good solid fighting in heavy water the fish finally flopped on its side in the shallows.WOOHOO I had finaly landed a Salmon and a bloody good one at that!

I basked in the glory of what had happened,few hand shakes an pats on the back and a couple of durries to calm the nerves an shaking knees (no Kingi,tuna or snap had ever given me the shakes like this)

I was back in the line.
Cast,pause bump Whack What!?
I was hooked up again on the very next cast!further encouragement ensueed Tinass,Jammy prick,Friggen north islander etc.Another strong fight and i landed number two!Bag limit!Absolutley stoked!




1st and 2nd ever Salmon!14 and 18lb Was agreat night at the pub that night after weighing.

The fish numbers really slowed up after that but did manage one more goodie that again went 18lb's


And just like that the 07 season was over,08 was a much better season.Landed 11 silver bullets loosing 7 due to fish holding in near still water making it very hard to detect bites and get a solid hookup.


Best fish of the 08 season and a PB that i will struggle to beat as unfortunally the salmon fishery has declined somewhat,24lb's


One from the Rangitata in Dec 08 could not wait for the Waitaki run so headed north as they traditionally run a wee bit earlier up there.

09 season was much harder as the council got the diggers in and created a new mouth for flood controll.Unfortunatly we lost around 2km's of good fishing water.This did create a new opportunity to learn to read the water and find fish resting areas upstream.
Walked and drove alot of the river that season, trying to find the fish and resting areas.
The Salmon just wernt hanging round the mouth,simply passing straight through the gut and off upstream very quickly.




With only a week left of the season we found some really productive water in of all places right below the SH1 bridge.Was a daily ritual of running the bridge and clambering down the ladder that we had moved to "The island".

Nailed one Salmon,every day for five days in a row Stoked!unfortnunatly after running along a main road bridge with salmon tails sticking out of packs daily was noticed by most and the spot became more of a gathering place for the last two days of the season.
Was a good couple of days though standing around the fire spinning yarns ,waiting for daybreak.

Will never forget the Salmon fishing and cant wait to have another go.Never has another fish got me so obsessed,dont know why exactly.The time put in between fish,so difficult to hook and so easy to loose i guess?The scenery and people help too!..

Afew goodies from "The Island"


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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote reel crayze Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Apr 2020 at 8:24pm
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Well done Coochdog Thumbs Up
 
Unfortunately the last few seasons have been but a shadow of what they have been in the past. 12lb is a big fish these days and it isnt uncommon to see 6 and 7lb if not smaller salmon.
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Coochdog Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Apr 2020 at 8:37pm
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Thanks RC.Its a bloody shame aye.Alot of effort going into Salmon enhancement,hatcherys,habitat etc
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Rainbow Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Apr 2020 at 10:48pm
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I know what you mean with excitement.     In 1976 I caught one 24lbs and a 17lbs salmon on the fly downstream of Peel Forest on the Rangitata Rv. using my Winston fibre glass rod and a lead core shooting head     Fly was a big, black Hairy Dog.     Unfortunately the fish were not silver anymore but still gave a massive fight on the little rod.
Living on memories nowadays.
 
Cheers
 
Rainbow
 
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Far Quirk Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Apr 2020 at 8:25pm
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Joined: 12 May 2003
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Nice report Coochdog.  Nothing like a bit of nostalgia to while away the time in lockdown.I admire your patience.  I've heard quite keen salmon fishermen might catch only 2 or 3 per season these days.
Far Quirk - I'm goin' fishn!
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