Words by Mauro Dei Agnoli
Like all the other guests at the Queenstown Airport departure lounge on that Friday early morning, Wolfgang and myself were looking at the heavy snow falling outdoors and questioning how this was going to impact our flight out. The strategy was to fly to Auckland and capture the linking flight back to Sydney with a couple of hours to spare. What could potentially fail?
Our airplane wasn’t even on the tarmac yet. It was out there someplace attempting to make a landing into Queenstown over the treacherous Kawarau River valley. 3 times the pilots attempted and deserted the landing and after that the threatening statement from the airline company personnel that the inbound flight, now running low on fuel, was being diverted to Christchurch and our departure out of Queenstown was now postponed a minimum of 3 hours, weather condition allowing. Invite back to modern-day life truth! It was just the other day we were seemly on another world, casting to huge and aggressive brown trout who could not get enough of the grey mayfly duns landing on the water’s edge. It looks like ages now, however it was just 4 days back on Monday when we landed into Queenstown on a brilliant warm day. Our bags made it alright however not my 2 rods which I had actually signed in back in Albury. Sadly, the practical airline company personnel handle this every day. “It might begin the next flight however perhaps not. Most likely tomorrow. So where can we get them to you when, and if, they do get here?” I informed them I’m remaining at the Mossburn Club for the next 2 nights, 150km away. Yea sure they’ll get them to me. I’ll be fortunate to ever see them once again.
Our guide for the next 3 days, Paul chose us up outside our Queenstown lodging early next early morning and off we headed south. “Well fella’s” he stated, “the problem exists’s rain projection tomorrow, perhaps even snow, therefore the prepared journey to the Upper Oreti River is not a great concept. The bright side nevertheless is that we have actually got other alternatives. So, I’m reckoning we begin today on the Aparima river”. It took around an hour and a half to get to the charming little town of Mossburn which would be our lodging for the next 2 nights. We discarded our bags, got our jam-packed lunch that Paul had pre-arranged and off we went. We were on the river by mid-morning.
The Aparima is a normal braided New Zealand stream and at this place it had 2 or 3 running channels which were running rather quickly and the cobble stones on the bottom really slippery. On one side there was a considerable willow-lined backwater seemly now landlocked and the particles line on the surrounding trees was proof to the reality that the river, just a week back as Paul recommended, had to do with 2m greater and this would have been a fantastic location for rafting rather. The backwater was clear however we left that and headed for the braided channels where the water had a small milky turbidity. There were numerous most likely looking swimming pools and with no surface area activity the name of video game today was going to be the normal New Zealand design 2 nymphs in tandem (the heavy one as the dropper) with a sign. And we provided the water, and our casting arms, a flogging. In spite of numerous modifications to our nymph patterns and leader length, it simply wasn’t happening.By twelve noon, rather suppressed, Paul recommended we have lunch and although we were bring our sandwiches in our knapsacks we chose to stroll back to the car where we might take stock. However in doing so I recommended we first of all crossed to the backwater and follow it back to the car. The sun had actually now broken through the clouds and although every information in the water was exposed we didn’t require that to find the guaranteed indication of an increase under the willow even more up ahead.
We moved far from the water’s edge and after that followed Paul along the bank. We popped our heads over the brush and the 2 spectacular browns happily travelling around might not be missed out on.
Nevertheless, they didn’t miss us either and off they scampered to hide under the willows on the other side. It wasn’t long prior to Paul identified a number of more additional along and being fairly shallow water I went back to simply the one unweighted nymph. A number of casts in their area produced absolutely nothing however to scare them. Nevertheless, it was at this time that I pertained to value Paul’s fantastic capability to find fish at a range. Time and once again he might find a fish well in advance of us and in spite of pointing them out to me I might not see them up until they made an apparent relocation. I figured out that from here on I would constantly let him stroll in front of me and this showed to be a certain benefit.
We had the ability to get rather near to a few of the huge browns in the backwater. One was busily nosing the bottom with his tail extending out of the water and a number of times I cast the nymph in front of his nose however to no obtain. We thought that these fish were rather informed, extremely selective or probably both, therefore begrudgingly we carried on to have lunch.
Paul recommended we drive well upstream on the exact same river and here there was just the one primary circulation channel. We continued with the two-nymph rig and I likewise attempted the banner utilizing the across and down strategy however once again to no obtain, up until about the time we were considering stopping.
Paul was perambulating 15m upstream of Wolfgang when he unexpectedly screamed out, “right here Wolfy, about a metre from the bank.” Wolfgang did ultimately construct out the huge brown in the metre-deep circulation and out went his 2 nymphs. The take was guaranteed and up he came followed by a number of dives. “Follow him down! You have actually got ta get listed below him” screamed Paul. And currently he remained in the internet, photographed and launched. We then stopped and drove back to Mossburn, the Train Hotel and the wood fire. I went to the bar to get our beers and the barmaid stated, “are you Mauro? … here’s a present for you” and took out the plan with my 2 rods from behind the bar. Well, there you go, wonders do occur.
Wednesday early morning saw us develop in anticipation of what the weather condition will bring. As anticipated it was drizzling however just gently. Whatever! endeavor out to the stream side we must. Today the Mataura River was our location and after getting our ready lunch loads from the regional café, we were off. After a drive of around half an hour we reached our gain access to point and oddly the rain had actually stopped and in reality it was rather moderate. The sun was breaking through and for excellent step, we used sun block to our faces. Strolling through the farm paddocks lambing was well in progress and there were numerous day-old ones watching their mum’s.
We got to the water nearby from the automobile and right away Paul states “there’s one, and there’s another …” Wolfgang and I simply took a look at each other and shook our heads. This isn’t reasonable!
We treked downstream for about 20 minutes to the point where Paul chose we might begin with and once again, he identified one right away. Ultimately Wolfgang and I made him out also however as we approached he gradually made his method into the much deeper water therefore missed our engagement. It was soon after this that we discovered the very first gusts of wind structure up and casting a woolly sign with 2 nymphs in these conditions makes it especially dangerous. A case in point was when, in carrying for a back cast among these windy gusts helped in planting the dropper nymph right in my confront with the barb anchored”. Ever prepared, Paul took out his surgical pliers and carried out a small operation without triggering any discomfort or any damage to my excellent appearances. “Now this is a great swimming pool Mauro., Wade into the water 3m from here, start your shipment there and work your casts throughout every say metre approximately”. On my 3rd cast I was on to a strong fish and downstream he went. “Follow him down! You have actually got ta get listed below him. And keep the stress on to keep him out of those willows on the other side!” Well into the willows he went and currently I was connected onto the willows minus the fish. “You have not completed this swimming pool yet Mauro. There’s plenty more in here. Start where you ended”. 2nd cast and I was onto another excellent one. This time I was positive to use a lot more pressure and I kept him out of the willows. Quickly he remained in the internet and my very first on ball game board.
It was now around 11:00 AM and the weather condition was beginning to turn. The wind had actually gotten, dark clouds were rolling in and it was beginning to spit. Can’t stop now, this is excessive enjoyable! “I require to reveal you the fish tanks prior to it turns regrettable” stated Paul. So we placed on our ponchos and soldiered on. Moving upstream we reached a long deep swimming pool with weed beds spread throughout it. “There’s one there! And there’s another, and likewise there, that a person’s a beast!” stated Paul. With his support we ultimately made them out.
Wolfgang currently had the best mix on therefore he was best to try. The huge brown simply out from our bank was stationed on the edge of a weed bed and ignored our existence even Mataura River. The one that got me on ball game board. Mataura River. One from the “fish tank” though Paul and I had ring-side seats above him. 2nd cast was on the cash and up he pertained to take it without doubt. It was lucky his battle was relatively suppressed due to the fact that with the deep water and high banks, the alternatives for landing him were restricted and with Paul’s support he remained in the internet. The weather condition was now was turning awful and the rain was changed with soft snowflakes. Although Paul might still find the fish it was now getting much harder. Along with identifying and assisting he was changing our rigs and connecting on our flies however quickly he stated that his fingers simply would not work any longer. In any case, enjoying the sign in this snow ended up being difficult and the air temperature level was dropping quickly. By twelve noon it was simply too tough, we brought up stumps and headed for the automobile. Our ideas were with the infant lambs we passed along the method and questioned the number of would endure the night. Nature can be vicious.
We had our sandwiches in the automobile however there was no slow down in the weather condition therefore we headed back to Mossburn, picking up a hot coffee prior to we brought up at the Train Hotel. It was around 3:00 PM prior to we were settled in around the fireplace at the old hotel with a Speight’s beer and speaking with the residents. By this time there was 4 inches of snow on ground outside without any indication of it slowing down and the bartender was tossing swellings of coal into the fire to guarantee we ‘d remain… and we did. “Tomorrow appears like it’s going to be great”, stated Paul. “Now the alternatives are to direct to the Upper Oreti where the huge ones are. There’s not as numerous and they’re more apart than what we saw at the Mataura however they’re larger, and I indicate larger! It’ll include a reasonable bit more strolling in between swimming pools.”
Both Wolfgang and I concurred that the fish we came across at the Mataura were well huge enough for us. Here in New Zealand all the fish appeared to be the one size anyhow … huge! We didn’t see any little ones. We chose to have the guarantee of amount over size and another address the Mataura would fit us well. “No issue”, stated Paul. “I have actually got another good gain access to indicate the river we can go to.” At supper in the old hotel the snow exterior was still disposing down however that didn’t hinder Paul. “It’ll be great”, he stated and we pulled away to our warm spaces and bed soon after. The snow outside made it dead peaceful however in any case, I was dead to the world within minutes. The last early morning in Mossburn welcomed us with a still day and damaged cloud and in spite of the snow covered countryside Paul’s forecast of a great day was right. Off we headed to an area even more upstream from where we were the other day near Garston and parked the automobile right next to a long clear swimming pool lined with willows on the opposite bank.
We rigged up once again with the tandem nymphs and sign and began strolling upstream behind Paul and within 15 metres, as anticipated, “there’s one behind that stone, and there’s another one, a huge one, over there”. And Wolfgang and I, on que, “where?” “Mauro, you’re initially up. Try”. The snow lastly required a retreat from the river
The very first cast was brief. The 2nd too large. Next one on target and there was no misinterpreting the take and I saw the flash of his body in the water. I was all set, and I struck right away as the sign quickly disappeared from the surface area. Downstream he went and following the usualinstructions, so did I. I was connected onto a freight train and I had actually never ever seen my rod bent like this.
My casting wrist was likewise feeling the stress and as soon as I had the reel drag arranged I needed to utilize both hands on the rod grip. The swimming pool narrowed at its tail end with the river, divided by a long grassy island, streaming over rapids onto the next swimming pool however on our side the swimming pool simply came near a shallow beach which is where, under guideline, I needed to land this fish. If I release down the rapids I would need to chase it down which was not an attractive alternative.
The big brown installed a magnificentfight and sometimes he did undoubtedly press upstream and attempted to head for the willows however ultimately I started to feel the line relenting. Currently he remained in the shallows of the beach, overcome. What a relief! A couple of images and after that back into the water to eliminate another day. The 6lb brown was my most significant fish of the journey. We made our method upstream for the nextfew hours. Paul continuously mentioning the fish well prior to Wolfgang and myself might see them. We made a lot of casts, got a lot of rejections and yes even hooked a number of more, some landed and some to get us hung up in the willows and broken off.
One time Wolfgang had a great fish over the lip of Paul’s internet just to then see it make an unexpected last effective flinch and view it get away out of the net leaving the nymph behind in the webbing. I’ll spare the curs that followed. By about twelve noon the water was visibly getting more turbid and ending up being “milkier”. We presumed this was an outcome of the overflow from the current snow more upstream and the fish were ending up being more difficult to find so Paul recommended we not continue and rather return to the automobile and head for another area well downstream.Nearly reaching the automobile, Wolfgang stated he ‘d attempt the swimming pool where I captured my huge brown previously in the early morning, and it was a good idea he did. In a virtual repeat of my engagement previously, My 6lb brown Wolfgang’s fish from the exact same swimming pool he was quickly on to a comparable huge lively brown and after a fantastic tussle currently had it landed in thesame place.
We then drove downstream to another gain access to point up from a bridge on the primary roadway. Once again, the Mataura at this place had to do with 20m large with a great cobble stone bottom. It had to do with knee deep on our side and the opposite bank was lined with willows which overhung the much deeper channel.
The water was fairly clear however more notably we could not neglect the periodic mayfly hovering over the surface area and currently, we saw the very first increase out in the middle of the stream. Paul naturally might quickly construct out the fish under the surface area.
This was the start of the climax to our entire journey. One by one more fish beginning increasing and what I indicate by this is that they would bring out their snouts, greedily taking mayfly after mayfly as it arrived at the surface area. They were so concentrated on the surface area food they ignored our existence in the stream although we might be just 8m from them. Paul understood precisely which dry to utilize. A drifting emerger with a white post wing, grey called body and no hackle.
One after another we then hooked huge increasing fish in water no greater than knee deep. Nevertheless, I can’t truthfully state we landed them all. As quickly as they were hooked they intuitively headed for the willows and into the much deeper water where the underlying roots extended into the stream. For numerous, if we could not stop them they snapped the leader and if we let them run we ‘d remain in the snags. And just often did we handle to dominate.
The mayflies appeared to be active along this run which was just about 100m long and on our side was grass-lined. Beyond that a large stone beach took control of and there was no surface area activity nearby to it. So, when we got to the head of the run we returned and, taking a large berth from the water’s edge, startedback at the tail end. With the fish relatively undeterred and increasing easily we would once again begin fishing this exact same run. We did thisthree times and we lost count of the fish we took.
As they state, all good ideas need to concern an end and in due course the mayfly activity decreased. It was now about 5:00 PM and time to head back to Queenstown where Paul would drop us off and he ‘d then go on to his house in Wanaka. We bid Paul a controlled goodbye and guaranteed to be back. What a time!
And now, after our airplane had actually been diverted to Christchurch, the sky begins to clear! What else would you anticipate? I sounded Qantas New Zealand and after being executed the inescapable “please hold the line” a number of times we handled
to get a flight out later on that afternoon direct to Sydney. We were house in Albury by 9:00 PM however after an entire day in airplanes and airports we concurred it needs to have been another world we were on the previous 3 days … … Take me back there!