Hope you don't mind a few tales from a new member
Night Fishing Deserves a Quiet Night:
It’s 7.00pm on a manic Monday night. The kids are finally in bed – the 2 year old has been awake since 5.30am, and is well and truly passed it. His 4 month old sister is still up to her old tricks, and has passed out on her mother’s boob. The dishes are done and I’m making my way riverside to REM’s ‘Night Swimming’, the song has just enough time to fade out, as I kill the engine and pull the handbrake.
As I set up riverside, the cold air leaves me breathless. The incessant noise of SH2, slowly been drowned out by the …… river. I spend the first half an hour trying to capture a night photo, worthy of the evening, but many failed attempts later the allure of the water is just too much, stuff this thinks I. I’m going fishing. This is the realm of men, for whom personal time is an anomaly.
From the end of the summer season the fishing around here can become increasingly harder. The bigger fish are moving on up to do their business, the fish that do hang around are maidens. Fish up to 2lb, will be your mainstay. This year has been better than most. The floods that in the past devastated the younger fish, have thankfully been absent, and good stocks of small fish have flourished. Much to the advertisement of F&G. Never before have I seen so many fisherman on the Hutt during the day. Luckily for me they vanish with the sun.
The beauty of the Hutt really comes out at night. The street lights on SH2 act as both your friend and fiend. Too much light across your beat means lining your fish even in the relative darkness is still possible. Finding a run is as simple as parking your car. The fish move into the shallows, in the knowledge they will be hidden from any threat. For newer members to the sport swinging wee wets down and across can be the easiest way to get on the board. Minimizing casts by water loading the rod first means fewer wind knots and less chance of fly’s becoming imbedded in an ear. Building the confidence of casting by feel rather than sight.
The system is very basic. Starting in close, a cast is made 45degrees across and down, the fly is allowed to swing across the current, following the line with your rod tip. Once the fly(s) has finished its swing and the line is parallel with the bank you are standing on, strip the fly in slowly a couple of meters. Nothing? No! Cast again this time a bit further across stream, and again let the fly swing across the current. 90% of the time a fish will hit on the swing, and all it takes is a quick flick of the wrist, or a strip with your stripping hand to set the hook. After searching the water step down stream and start again. I usually take a step after each cast.
I tumble though my depleted fly box , not too many to choose from. A few meters down from the starting point, my fly ceases to swing, a quick tug from a nice Hutt brownie, embeds the barb of my March Brown into the first of the night. A short time later I release a 3lb fish and smile to myself for doing absolute nothing to warrant such a pretty fish.
My fly choices are as basic as the method itself. Anything small and dark will surely result in fish. My favourite the simple Red Tag has resulted for more fish than I care to remember. Tied on a size 12 or 14 long shank, a tuff of red wool for the tag, peacock hurl body and a twist or two of black soft hackle and you ready to go. I have found with newer dubbing material, my old favourite has received a makeover. I now tie it with black ice dubbing instead of peacock hurl, with deadly results.
With the fish safely back its time for a fly change. I swap to a Red Tag, and smile to myself, as the next section of river is splashed with light from SH2, and experience tells me what this means... An iridescent swirl, tug and a miss, fish number 2 gone, well beaten my friend, well beaten.
One magic night, while trying out my new adaptation to the Red Tag, I was well rewarded with six fish in quick succession. By the third fish I was intrigued as to the success of my new found favourite. Then it dawned on me. The fish were hitting the fly once it came into the luminated area under the street lights. The next 3 fish confirming my suspicions. Whether or not the fish were waiting in the lighter areas due to it being easier to see food or not I do not know. I believe the dubbing creates a shimmer when in these areas that is a trigger for the fish, as I have fished the same areas before with the normal peacock hurl Red Tag without these exceptional results. Maybe it was just one of those red letter days.
As I release the third fish for the night, I thank the night, snip off the fly and head towards the dew covered car, not another person in sight. A siren screams down SH2, a truck’s engine brake reverberates through the valley, the constant noise of life rings back into life as the peaceful sounds of the river dissipate into the fog.
Swinging wee wets may not be everyone’s cup of tea, it certainly hasn’t been trendy for many years. I like to think of it like this. If the Switchers are the hipsters, and the nypmhers the jocks, us wet fliers are surely the C grade students, we will never be in the lime light. We wee wetter’s are the forgotten, never to be called glamour hogs. A hooked fish will most probably result with a calm quiet ‘Hmmph’ than the wild ‘Wahoo-ing’ of our brethren. No camera clicks of a heroic release or the obliging grip n grin. No a fish to the net would most likely result in the flick of ash off a cigarette, than the flash off a canon. Wee wet fishing will never make ESPN, but it is perfect for people who work late, or in my case who have young family, who once finally all in bed can race out the door and within 10minutes be catching a few fish. And if you are really lucky then maybe, just maybe they would be caught on a piece of bamboo.
Sometimes things change so much that no matter how long you had been away you can never really remember how it was. This is not about one of those things.
Everything was just as it had been eighteen years prior. The only noticeable differences were that now I was able to drive and that the desire to fish was mine and not my old mans.
This was Rotoiti. I had spent two of my adolescent years living in the Bay of Plenty City of Rotorua. I lost my first fight here. My first kiss followed soon after. Pip was her name. It was at her birthday party and she was dared to. I guess I lost that one too; it all ended so badly when we kind of missed each other. She ended up drawing blood. ‘Pip bit your lip’ resounded from the posse assigned to enforce the dare. I remember fishing the Utahina Stream. How could you not it was only 10 doors down, at the end of my street? And I remember the various lakes, each famous in its own right, only an hour or so bike ride away. Surely this was paradise for an outdoors oriented kid. But it was paradise lost when our family relocated to Wellington. Growing up in a family that moved often was never going to be fun and the ties I had made in Rotorua were brutally cut. Hurting, I never really had the desire to return to Rotorua.
We used to holiday on the banks of Rotoiti, a few houses down from the Pipe. Nothing had really changed. The chain link fence still remained, boxing in what now seems to be a very average-sized Lockwood. Many nights were spent playing “cheat” while waiting for Dad to come back with the night’s takings. Big bows the size of your torso would be strewn out on the deck. Old film photos of the bigger ones still remain in Dad’s album. 4.30am wake up calls, the whisper of Dad waking me to rise for the dawn fish. I cannot remember catching anything that early, but then I would rarely leave the comfort and warmth of the Corona. When I did, the sights and smells were enough to stimulate any young boy. Ice would form on the rod tips, the wind so bitter it brought tears to your eyes. Shooting stars like you would never believe graced me with their fatal dance. Eighteen years on, the night sky provides the blessed with the same entertainment. How many must have perished for this to have continued? Or was this put on just for me- a celestial celebration for a prodigal son?
Not too far from here I caught my best ever fish. I think I was twelve. From the photos he looks 13 pound plus. From my Fathers memory he was a round 11. It was morning, the sun was up, and a red setter was the pattern of choice. The details now seem sketchy. The handle broke off the old Olympic reel, only a stick and some very quick thinking from Father saved the day. I killed that fish, and now all that remains is a photo of me and my then three-year-old brother struggling to hold him.
The unmistakable aroma of water, the flash of mist lit up by a passing car, the cold running nose and the sun finally relenting to the encroaching night. My senses strained to take it all on board. Now was surely the time. It had been a couple of hours since we slipped into the Waiti rip. My retrieve may have been a tad slow. Occasionally a small tug would stop me, maybe an irate Koura, or a bully bravely attacking the black and red marabou. Another 10 casts then a fly change. Hmmm, I recalled the long, hard nights and empty creels.
My companion had moved back to the truck for a coffee break and he was making. I took the opportunity to switch to a prototype. My cast landed smoothly at the back of the rip, it didn’t even have time to sink. The rod tip slammed down on a good solid fish. He rolled just under the surface and the line went slack. Damn! A quick haul put the fly a meter to the right, nothing eventuated. Another put it to the left, I had missed my chance, he had gone and with it any chance of reliving Rotoiti glory.
Looking back on all of this I still consider the night successful. I tried a new pattern which fooled first cast. The surroundings themselves made the trip worth it. He would have been the icing on the cake. I doubt if I would have kept him. His photo, for me, would have been enough.
Her Facebook status hails her a Widow
Once again her lover left for another
Fast, Turbulent Flows uncaring for
The Frustration of a cheating Salmonid
Dancing for life with someone else
Eyes searching for the moment
She bears all.
Not for Today, Love fails to connect
Sit – Relax light up that cigarette
Tomorrow beckons, Another Time
Bling sparkles on a master’s vice
Thoughts inept, my looks can’t match
She’s a flashy lover
Another Dance, My time must come
Advice on her well listened
Her alluring flesh
Lays beside me
Deed done I release her
To another man’s soul
But how can it be enough
Sated, far from me.
Visions of her arouse my sleep
Disheartened I Lie awake
Envious of satisfaction
I question my love.
Passion restored, but desire lacking
Renewed by the dipping yarn
She has grown since last
Light another cigarette.
Has she tired of me?
Contorted I turn to leave
Only to find barbed wire fences
Blocking my success.
Ego hurting more than the physical
Bones Dislocated, The soul more
Was this not for me
Light another cigarette.
Farewell, to the others
I return to my Widow
She see’s my return
Knowing I will again leave.
Hope some of you enjoyed, I look forward to seeing/sharing more with this forum - I have been a lurker for sometime.