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FISH & GAME NEW ZEALAND

issue ninetyfour

New Zealand $9.90 incl GST

ISSUE NINETY FOUR

New Season Tactics

A Year-Long Affair

NOVEMBER 2016

Walking on Water

Huddling with Fellow Manics


F ish & Game New w Ze Z ala l nd la n 2

“Our tradition is that of the first man who sneaked away to the creek when the tribe did not really need fish.” Roderick Haig-Brown, A River Never Sleeps, 1946.


F ish & Gamee New N ew Ne w Ze Z ala laa nd nd

WELCOME TO ISSUE

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issue ninetyfour

New Zealand $9.90 incl GST

“The backcountry has a special mystique. Virgin waters that have never carried the shadow of an angler and his line cannot be found any more and this adds a poignancy to times gone by.”- Murray Rodgers

New Season Tactics

A Year-Long Affair Walking on Water

Huddling with Fellow Manics

A STUNNING MACRO SHOT OF A MAYFLY BEFORE FLIGHT. PHOTO: STU HASTIE

Features New Season Tactics

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Huddling With Fellow Manics

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HOW TO BAG FISH BEFORE CHRISTMAS. TELLING TALES IS AN INTEGRAL PART OF THE PURSUIT.

ADVERTISING Sonia Fredrick sonia@fishandgamenz.co.nz

THE MEDIA COMPANY Ph: +61 2 9909 5800 Fax: +61 2 9909 5810 PO Box 1686, Neutral Bay, NSW, Australia 2089 www.themediaco.com.au

Mark Fredrick mark@fishandgamenz.co.nz

New Era Angling Management

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Moods of Mayflies

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PRODUCTION Vincent Rayneau vincent@bdmarevolution.co.nz

Walking on Water

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Preserving the Moment

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Fish in the Fast Lane

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CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Les Hill, Neil Stuart, Peter Ryan, Hamish Carnachan, David Towgood, Bob South, Stan Tucker, Peter Carty, David Moate, Mike Kirkpatrick, Andrew Harding, Graeme Marshall, Tim Angeli, Rob Suisted, Stu Hastie, Marcus Janssen, Mike Kirkpatrick, Nick King, Derek Grzelewski.

A Year-Long Affair

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DISTRIBUTION GORDON & GOTCH NEW ZEALAND

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PUBLISHER Fish & Game New Zealand is published by Fairfax Magazines, a division of Fairfax New Zealand. *2003 Fairfax New Zealand Limited.

A PHOTOGRAPHIC ESSAY BY STU HASTIE. COULD THIS BE THE ULTIMATE CRAFT FOR ANGLING? TIPS FROM A PRO TO SHARPEN YOUR PHOTOGRAPHY. NEW FISHERIES RESEARCH HAS FAR-REACHING IMPLICATIONS. GAME BIRD HUNTING IS MORE THAN THE FIRST WEEKEND IN MAY.

Playing Favourites

IS THERE ONE SHOTGUN TO RULE THEM ALL?

Regular Features

F ish & Game New Zealand

Fairfax New Zealand Limited Level 8, Majestic Centre, 100 Willis Street, Wellington.

DESIGN Stan Tucker stan.tucker@bdmarevolution.co.nz

A PITCH FOR PRESERVING THE FISHERY FOR KIWIS FOREMOST.

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EDITOR Hamish Carnachan hcarnachan@fishandgame.org.nz

Editor’s Diary Letters To The Editor Hooked On The Present Myth Or Fact - David Moate Point Of View Faraway Country - Peter Ryan Water Matters - Rachel Stewart Master Of Tying - Peter Carty Turner’s Corner - Brian Turner Streamside - Dave Witherow In The Field Backcountry Classifieds

6 7 12 12 14 15 16 18 20 79 80 82

Fairfax Magazines, Fairfax Media, 4 Williamson Ave, Ponsonby, Auckland 1021, New Zealand PO Box 6341, Wellesley Street, Auckland, 1141.

Copyright 2003 Fairfax Publishing Limited. All rights reserved. Contents may not be reproduced without the written consent of the publisher. Most articles are commissioned but quality contributions will be considered. While every care is taken we, and the New Zealand Fish & Game Council, accept no responsibility for submitted material. Advertising within this publication is subject to Fairfax Magazines standard advertising terms and conditions, a copy of which is available online at http://www.fairfaxnz.co.nz/businesses/ resources/termsandconditions_fairfaxmags.pdf or by calling 09 634 1800. This magazine is subject to the New Zealand Press Council. Complaints to be first directed to hcarnachan@fishandgame.org.nz with “Press Council complaint” in the subject line. If unsatisfied, the complaint may be referred to the Press Council, P. O. Box 10 879, The Terrace, Wellington 6143 or by email at: info@ presscouncil.org.nz - Further details and online complaints at www.presscouncil.org.nz 317 New North Road, Kingsland, Auckland 1021 P.O. Box 12965, Penrose, Auckland, New Zealand Ph: (09) 634 1800 Fax: (09) 634 2948 RESIGISTERED PUBLICATION ISSN 1172-434X

To subscribe to Fish & Game New Zealand magazine, email subs@fishandgamenz.co.nz, or phone 021 63 79 52 Online: www.fishandgamenz.co.nz/subscriptions By mail, post to Fish & Game New Zealand magazine at P.O. Box 133075, Eastridge, Auckland 1146. Subscriptions cost; 4 issues;1 year $33, 8 issues; 2 years $60.


INTRODUCING THE X ROD COMMAND THE WATER fl y t a c k l e . c o . n z / s a g e fl y fi s h . c o m


the editor’s

DIARY LET’S KEEP IT REAL The war on trout is coming. The first shots have been fired. It’s going to escalate. Hamish Carnachan

blee in pra bl ract ctic ct icall tter errms wit ithh cu curr rren rr ent to en t ol olss an andd teech chn qu ni ques es)). es ). But u too extr trap apol o at ol a e th that at ttoo ge gett tttin ing rir d of ing o a mu much ch bro road ader ad er rran ange an ge of introduced spe peci ciies rrep epp eprese re sent se ntss a po nt pooor or gra rasp sp ooff the the pr th p esent situuattion. You seee,, the ppro r bl ro blem m iiss th that at oonl nlyy se nl s le lect cted ed for ext xter e mi minati na t on are ti are inttroodu d ce cedd an anim imal im alss th al that at cer at cerrta tain in ppeo e pl eo p e, andd irirra an rati ra tion ti onal on ally al ly ide deal alis al issttiic coomm mmen enta en taato tors rss, do don’ n t haavee n’ a cu cult lttur ural al iinv nvves estm tmen tm ennt in – they heey do don’ n’tt va n’ valu luee th lu them em.. em As Dr Ja Jami m e Sttee mi eer,r, oone off th this is mag agaz azin az ine’ in e s co e’ conntrib tr ibut ib u or ut ors, rrec ecen entl tlyy po poin innteed ou o t du durirngg a Ra Radi dioo NZ di innte tervie iew, ie w,, thhee prroobl blem e witth co em c nsser ervaati t on bioolo logy gyy iiss that th a it is a ‘so at soft ft-ssci ft cien enncee’ th that at “re refle fl ct fle c s certai ainn pe peooplle’s e’’s va valu lues when heen it ccom omes om es to th thee envi viro ronm ro nmen nm ent” en t”. t”

ANDREW CURRIE

T ISS THE HE NEXT ITERAT ATIO IO ON OF TH HIS CU HIS HI CURR RREN RR ENT EN T – and na n ïve – atte temp m t to eraadica diica c te rrat ats, sto ats, sto toat atss at and possumss by b 205 050 0, aann ob 0, obje ject je ctiv ct ivee th iv thee Go Govverrnm n entt anno n unnceed mi m dd-ye yeaar ye ar, and annd lilink nked nk edd to th thee broa br o derr drrea eam off a ppre r da re dato torr-fr rfree free fr ee New e Zea eala land n . nd Deesp s ite rati rati tion onal on al obs bsser erve v rrss seein ve ee ng st ee stra raig ra ight ig ht thhro roug uggh tthhe gr ugh gree eenw ee nw nwa wash, h, and andd ddes eesspi pite te the the ttas assk be ask be-inng plai plai pl a nl nlyy im impo poss po ssib ss ible ib lee for anyy nnum umbe beer of ffac accto torss, nott le leas a t of whi as hich ch is th thee laaug ugha habl ha b y miise s rlly fu fund ndin di g, g the extremee ggrreeens gob eobbl bled ed itt up u .... th t e prrov overbi bial bi a hook, line andd ssinker.r Suddenlyy the Nationall Go Gove veern rnme ment entt’ss pas astt annd pres pr essing transsgresssi s on onss such suuch c as, s you know, w,, dee eep eep sea oil drilling, mini ning ni n the ng hee con onservation estate, dodgy pubblilc laanndd swa swaps p for irrigation and the asssoccia fo i ted ‘dai ‘d airy ryyfic ficat ation’ ageendda, ttur urni n ngg a blind ni eyee to t com omme merc me rcial fish duum rc mppin ing, g aand g, so on, wer e e foorg rgot ottte otte t n. n No, Ke Keyy annd Co. we wereen’ n t so bad add after all. Forr a ppal altr al tryy $2 tr $ 0 mi milllllio ionn – that’s about the sum um tot total ottal al of th thee Government’s “com mmitme mm m entt” too this t grandiose goal (which, h, for the purrh, pose of context, would bar a ely coove verr driving the rats out of a sm mal a l urban suburb) – they pul ullledd th t e wo wool o ol over the eyes of the eco co-f -fanatics and bought a much-neeed eded edd iima maage g change. Whippeed into in a joyous delililiriririum bbyy th thee Goveern rnment’s e new-found affini niity forr the envi en vironment, eco-fundamentalisstss soo vi oonn sttarrte t d clamouring for the net to be w wid idden ened ed in in tthhe extermination master plan too iinc nclu nc lude d , amongg otthe her animals, trout and salmoon be beca cauuse, as onee idea ca idealiistt noted, these spo p rt rtss fis fish “w “wililillll continue uee ttoo eatt ourr natiive v fish sh int ntoo ob obliliivi vion on”. on ”. Of cou ours rse an anyy anngler gll knoows ws 95% of a trout’s diet di e con et onsi s st si stss off insects. Buut to claim salmon eat nati na tive ti ve fre resh shwa sh hwa w ter fish, innt nto oblivion even, speaks volu vo lume lu mes… me s… s… There is no ques Th esti es tion o the goal of getting rid of stoats, rats andd ppoossuums is wo worrthy (albeit impossi-

LETTER F ish & Game New Zealand

of the issue

6

W rr Wo rryi y ngly, the coons nser erva er vati va tion ti on bbio iolo io logi lo g st gi stss wh whoo st stic ick ic stririct st ctly ct lyy ttoo th the dooct ctrririnee tha h t annyt ythi h ngg intro hi nttroodu duce cedd is ce is inhe in here rent ntly ly evviil,l, are ppre rese sent se ntlly nt ly drir vviiing ng the dis dis isco sco cour urse ur ssee in N New ew Zea eala land. St Stee eeer rirghhtly eer ly ar argu gues gu es thee dis iscu cusscu sion si on nnee eeds ds to to be bbro road addenned e ttoo in incl c udde in inpu putt fr pu f om a muuch w wid ider er sseg egme meentt of the thhe po popu pula lati tion on to en enssu sure sure r a mo more r rrea ealilist stic ic and inc inclu lusi sive vee set of va v lu lues es. Th T att must mu st inncclu lude de iinp nput ut ffro rom m an angl gler erss an andd hu hunt ntter nter e s. s Butt ab Bu abov ovve al all,l, it’ t’s cleaar th that at tthe he eeme meerg rgin inng seele lecctive mor oral a itty ar al a ou ound n ‘what at-s -sta tays ys-a -and nd-w -wha hatt-go g ess’ go is dripp pppin ingg in dou doouubl blee st stanndardds. Rec Recen entt jijibe bess ab a ou outt trout er erad adic ad icat atio at i nm io maake nnoo mentioon of gget etti ting ing rrid id of sheeepp, or cow owss or – to taake k the h argum men entt to their extr trem emee le l veel of abs bsuurdi urdi d ty – thee worstt env nviironm ro menta t l deesppoiile lers r of al rs all,l, hum man a s. s

Yees, ttro Y rout ro rout u are iint ntroduced. However, they con nt ont ib tr ibut utte ssiignificantly to thhe environmentaal, ecoute nom no mic an mi and cultural well-being off New w Zealand ndd. Whililee th Wh that at in in it itse selff is indispputable, it is all too ea se eassililyy ovver erlo look lo okked e byy thhe iddea e lilst s s who adhere to the imposs im ssiblee wissh of ret etur u ningg the h country to the wayy itt oonc wa nce c was… wha h tever that at is. Some So meth me thin th hi g else the anti-trout and anti ti-iint ti n rooduuce cedd-ev de eryt ev erryt ything set conveniently ignore whilst ponnt po ntifificaati ntifi ting ng ffro rom ro m their keyboards is the fact that Fish Fi sh & Gam me (tthe organisation), th thro rouggh revenue ro gene ge nera ne ratedd soole rate l lyy ffro rom ro m fis fishing and hunting lic i en e ce c saale l s, has alm lmos osst si sing ngle ng leha le hand ha n ed nd e lyy led the charge too p ottecct ou pr ourr wa wate terw te rway rw ays, adv ay d ocate for high hi ghher wat ater er qua ualilility ty sta tand n ar nd ards d and heal alth lth thyy ririveer flo flows ws in th t e fa face ce of of ev ever er incr incr crea easi ea sing ng dem eman andd fr an from om ext xtra ract ra ctiv ct ivee iv a d po an pollllut uttinng in indu dust du stry st ry.. ry Yet the the cllam amou ourr fo forr tr trou outt er ou erad adic ad icaaic ttiion con tion onti tinu ti nues es to grrow. An Andd in incr c ea cr eassingly the noois i e is i comin inng from om the very same pe p op ople lee who h ppub ublililica ub callllyy annd openly dep epplo lore re tthe hee w wor orse seeniing ng ssta ttaate of our rivver e s an and nd lake laake k s annd, wor wor o se s , clai aim m ennvi v ro ronm nmental gu nm guar ardi d an ansh shhip ship sttat atuss. One off N One On New ew w Zea e laand n ’s mosst committtedd and out mi utsp spok sp o en cam ok a paigners forr freshw fo hw water atter er proote tect ctio ct ion, io n Dr Mike Joy, summed it up ra rati tion ti onal on ally al ly in a re r se seaar arch c pap a er: “T Thee fac actt th that at sal sal almo moni mo nids ni d hhav avve ec econom econ om mic and cul ultura tu rall va ra valu lue ue th t ro roug oug ughh at attr trac tr a ti ac ting ng spo port rtss fisshe rt herm rmen rm e en looca calllly, llly, y, and n iint nter nt erna nati tion ti onal ally al lyy, me mean a s th an that at the the h ir ppre ressre ence en ce has hhad add a possitiv itivve ef it effe fect fe ct on tthhe prrot o ec e ti tion o of on thee quuallit th i y an a d qu quan quan anti tity ti tyy of ha habi bita bi tatt fo ta f r na nati tiive fifish tive sh.” sh . .” Onne wo O w ndderrs, tthe hen, he n,, how the he tro rout uutt hat ater erss an er andd ecoec o-fu ofuundam fund am men entali taalilist stss re st r co conc ncilililee th nc t eir vi v ew ws in i the the face fa c ooff su ce such c a con ch o clus cllus usiv ive sttat atem em emen men e t. I for o one sugggest ge stss th st that att w wee ta takee Dr Ja Jami m e Stee mi eer’r’r’ss addvi v ce c and inject je ctt som me lo long ngg ove verd rdue rd ue pra r gm gmat atism baack c iint ntoo th nt t e disc di scou sc ours ou urse rsse ab a ou out pr p eeddat ator orr ffreee Ne New w Ze Zeal allan an In and. In th thee mean me anti t me ti me,, do d n’ n t ta take ke tthi ke hiss th hi thre r att aga re g in inst stt our u mos ost valu va lued edd rec ecre rreeattio iona nall sp na sport fishh id idly ly.. ly

C Congratulations to David Dew for the letter of the issue. Dan receives a LED LENSER P7.2 torch. TThe LED LENSER P7.2 torch is an upgraded version of the best-selling P7 and features cutting-edge German design. It pumps out a massivee 320 lumens of bright m h ness over a 260m range, yet weeighs a mer e e 175g. The patented Advanced Focus System allows you to eassily switch from a broad floodlight to a focused long distance beam. Like all LED LENSER products, the P7.2 comes with a five-year warranty.

Dear Hamish, It was with great interest I read Nick King’s comments and now Witherow’s regarding the burden of tourist anglers. I have fished in New Zealand for more than 50 years (I started at a young age) and all I can see is a steady decline and not solely due to the dairy industry. I mainly fish in our national parks and

the decline there is solely related to over use. Nick is well known to me and a great neighbour. The issue he raises really comes down to this: Do we want to let our fisheries The same saame issue be overrun or do we want to ma m ke sure thos oe we allow to fissh from offshore pay much more applies to all tourists visiting. I have long advocated an entry fee to New Zealand of say overall for thhe privilege?


LETTERS

Dear Hamish As a long time subscriber I just had to comment that the articles by Bob South – Covet Thy Catch – and Peter Ryan – One Man’s Pest Another’s Treasure’ – in issue 93 are absolutely wonderful and a breath of fresh air. I am also finding the magazine much easier to read with the reduced background shading. Keep up the good work. Terry Beckett, Auckland Dear Hamish, I am a long time reader, a passionate angler, game bird hunter and mountain biker. Lake Alexandrina has been featured in your magazine in past issues, and it is a jewel in the crown in the Mackenzie Country. I am not sure if you are aware, but there are moves afoot, driven by a select few individuals within the Tekapo community, to push for a new mountain bike track around Lake Alexandrina. The view is also backed by the Tekapo Community Board, which has no jurisdiction over the Lake Alexandrina area. The proposal entails forming a small road (they say ‘improved access track’) around the lake, allowing increased use for walkers, trampers and mountain bikers. The proposal is being vigorously countered by the hut holders and interest groups who hold the area in high regard, many of whom have given hundreds of hours with the Lake Alex Conservation Trust in protecting and enhancing the area for a good many years. The physical scar of a ‘track’ (small road) around the lake and the associated influx of tourr ists and future commercialisation that will inevitably follow are genuine concerns for the local community, as it is an area that is recognised as a wildlife refuge, and premium fishing area. Of recent times,, freedom camping p g and associated issues have become a

$1000 per person with funding to go to DOC C and Fish & Game to maintain re r sources. The days of ‘mining’ these resources for shortterm gain are over. Australians of course would be exempt given the relationship. I am sure many anglers like me have met visitors camping on our rivers, killing everything that moves and living here with no net benefit to the country. These are some of the “trout bums” Withe h row

problem at the nearby Lake McGregor area. Both these lakes are delicate, beautiful reserves, where nature needs protection. Both will suffer with the proposed “opening up” to the wider world. I am not sure what you or the magazine can do to help. I know that previous issues have focused on Lake Alexandrina’s beauty and fishing, along with its history. I have read articles in Fish & Game on fighting for the right to protect other pristine natural areas. The fear of many now is that the lake will become another statistic over time of commercialisation, in the quest for satisfying the tourist dollar. In June, there was a public meeting held in Tekapo, where all interested parties were invited to hear initial proposals and counter arguments. It was clear from the meeting that there is overwhelming opposition to the proposal. The fight has begun, and there is a way to go yet. Anything you or the magazine can do to assist in bringing awareness of the issue would be greatly appreciated. Terry Denley, Lake Alexandrina I appreciate that it’s little consolation, Terry, but there are many who are in the path of similar short-sighted schemes. It is indeed unfortunate that so many of our elected ‘leaders’ equate progress with squeezing more out of what can’t sustain any less. Tourism is classic example of what happens when an industry has no strategic oversight or direction, and also fails to account for its impact on locals – Kiwis like you and I. Success for this sector, spurred on by a directionless Government and absentee minister, is crackk ing multi-million visitor milestones. Little do they understand, though, that cramming ever more tourists into the conservation estate (and magic places like Lake Alexandrina) detracts from the very experience that draws people there – isolation and unspoilt beauty. There’s an impolite term for this which runs along the lines of defecating in one’s own nest. But not only do they ruin it for f the tourists,, in the ensuingg chaos the Kiwis who funded f the protection p

refers to but not all are that bad. We need leess tourists but a greater ‘yield’ fro r m them. It’s done elsewhere so why not here? Dave also is focused on hoow to limit numbers especially on fragile fisheries. In British Columbia what they have done is made certain sections of some rivers off limits to anybody but Canadians every weekend. Many anglers (and guides) will resent those

sortss of controls but un u less we discuss and implement things like those advocate ted then our te future isn’t a great one. I feel the time is right as the national mood has changed in the last year or so on this issue. David Dew, w Richm mond Have to agree David – I, too, get a sttrong sense that the tide has changed. Just look at the other letters on the matter in this issue! – Ed

Please email your le l tters to Editor Hamish Carnachan - hcarnachan@ @fishandgame.org g.nz - or post to: ‘Letter to the Editor, Fish & Game NZ Magazine, P O Box 133075 Eastridge, Auckland 1146, New Zealand’

F iis h & Ga G me m New e Ze ew Zeala ala l nd d

BOB SOUTH

ANDREW HARDING

to the editor

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LETTERS

NICK KING

BOB SOUTH

to the editor

of these places, who grew up with unfettered access as a birth right, are squeezed out and made to feel like second-rate citizens in their own country. This ‘more is better’ philosophy, coming from the top, is rife in our second major export income earner too: agriculture. The drive for bulk commodities and short-term gain – National’s only economic platform – has not only failed miserably, the massive taxpayer-funded subsidies they are handing out to irrigators and industrial dairy enterprises is doing untold damage to our environment (which happens to be that which attracts tourists here from so far abroad). What we need is smarter growth and a smart government that is capable of delivering it. Invest in adding value to the raw commodities we produce rather than throwing good money after bad by propping up white elephant irrigation schemes and funding their sycophantic lobbyists; shrink the tourist quota and put a cap on it to encourage high-value visitors who add to the economy rather than the bludging trout bums and vagrants who drive around in cheap rentals, live on a shoe-string, litter the countryside with faeces and toilet paper, and place unsustainable pressure on our wild places. I’m afraid that unless we have strong leadership, we’re going to be consigned to more of the woolly logic and pie-in-the-sky initiatives you’re facing at a local level in your (presently) beautiful and idyllic part of the world. – Ed

F ish & Game New Zealand

Dear Hamish, I was amused to read ‘To Hell with Cribbage’ (Special Issue 43) as I am an 80-year-old lifetime trout angler – still fishing – who identified with all the sentiments of writer Bob South. Particularly relevant was the difficulty of coping with fly fishing as ones eyesight gets dimmer. Now, I don’t expect you to remember every article but I would like to draw your attention to the fact that I have similar problems reading some of the content of this magazine. The magazine is excellent in other respects but I challenge you to take it into a dimly lit room, half-close your eyes and try to read some of the text and you will experience the challenge elderly fisher folk face in reading it. Rodney Giddens, Tauranga Always happy to receive feedback, Rodney, good and bad. Believe it or not we actually have significantly increased the point size and changed the font in an effort to increase readability. If we go too much larger we run the risk of having to chop back content. We thought we’d got the balance about right, but we’ll keep working to make it better where possible. – Ed

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Dear Hamish, The Outdoors Party which was recently formed by Alan Simmons and myself, issued a press release in August in response to the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment (MBIE) report which commented that with increasing number of tourists now visiting our country the pressure on our tourism infrastructure is unsustainable.

The Outdoors Party is committed to creating a Futures Commissioner, independent of government but reporting to Parliament, precisely to look at such issues to inform the best long-term policies to address such unsustainable pressure. Despite being contrary to the prevailing politics of unbridled growth, there is a finite capacity for tourism and outdoor recreation in New Zealand and the sooner we recognise this the better for everyone. Take trout fishing for example. The amount of fishable rivers is diminishing by virtue of declining lowland fisheries yet tourist angler numbers are increasing. Many Kiwis now avoid our renowned backcountry fisherr ies because of the pressure from overseas anglers. Fish & Game have limited tools to manage overfishing: controlled fisheries, such as the Greenstone River, require anglers to book a designated stretch of river, ensuring total fishing days and encounters are managed beneficially. Whilst the New Zealand fishery was established largely in defiance of such regulatory constraints borne in the United Kingdom, we may well be faced with an unpleasant choice within the next 10 years – regulate who can fish where or accept high encounter rates with high numbers of anglers. Another proposal to manage fishing capacity emanated from discussions over the guides’ licence, where some premium backcountry rivers might be available to overseas anglers only if accompanied by a licenced New Zealand guide. More radical future possibilities discussed at the recent Outdoors Party Leaders’ Forum was a tourist lottery scheme whereby, for instance, all non-resident anglers would apply for a limited number of licences, each for designated number of days, as a way to control and equitably dissipate angling pressure on our backcountry resource. The whole notion of rules and regulations is anathema to the Kiwi angler but given that MBIE is forecasting 4.5 million tourists by 2022 (compared to 3m last year) combined with our globally accessible trout fishery, keeping calm and carrying on is not an option for the next decade. With angler numbers at 49m in the US, 6m in the UK and 91m members of the China Angling Association, we need to manage and value our fishery accordingly. David Haynes, Nelson Thanks David. I’ve expressed similar concerns in my responses to other letters in this issue. Also of interest to you will be Nick King’s excellent article proposing a new era of fisheries management whereby he endorses that very point about foreign anglers needing a Kiwi guide to fish our premier waters. – Ed Dear Hamish, Tourist angling – both guided and unguided – is a huge monster that is devouring our fishing. I would describe guides as a group of people who bow to the almighty dollar while plundering the resident anglers priceless recreational heri-


F ish & Game New Zealand

BOB SOUTH

BOB BO B OB O B SO SOUT SOU S OUTH O

tage. It would be fair to say that the guides have become the enemy of the rented a cabin at the Crystal Brook Lodge which he owned. Brown trout resident angler. and George came together in a nearly faithful way. With less than a week It makes me feel angry and ashamed to see what is happening. There is left of my two weeks, I was fishing in Delatour’s Pool where the Manno dispute that tourist angling is having an adverse effect on our fisheries gamutu Stream enters. I had caught two rainbows and was changing flies and the residents enjoyment of it too. when a log-sized form came up from the pool to chase small trout over There is no dispute that our wonderful angling heritage is far more the sandbar at the confluence. It was a monster brown, certainly well important than the pursuit of the almighty dollar. over 10lb. Fish & Game, the resident anglers’ voice, needs to have full control of That evening George and I had a long discussion about the fish and tourist angling. Visiting anglers should have to hire a guide to fish, and browns in general. He felt that if I fished for it hard I might be successful, Fish & Game should allocate the number of days on rivers/lakes a guide but the odds were against me. They were. I fished both day and night can use in a sustainable manner. but only caught rainbows. George also pointed out that I wasn’t fishing Resident anglers should always have preference over tourists. in prime time for browns – he felt the best times came in February and David Linklater, Otago March. Thanks for your thoughts, David. I do, however, disagree with your gener-r So with little consideration I phoned the company I was supposed to be alisation of guides. Yes, like any industry, there are some good practitioners taking the job with in Sydney and told them something had come up, I wouldn’t be filling the position. Then I settled and some abhorrent ones – I myself have had sevMATHEWSON’S 9 3/4LB BROWN FROM eral run-ins with what I can only describe as the in to wait for the browns. I purchased a 1937 THE WAITAHANUI RIP Ford from George and spent nearly a year dolowest of the low (the Turangi guide that proceedd ed to throw a tantrum when he realised I’d beaten ing nothing more than fishing, shooting rabhim to ‘his’ favourite stretch of the Whakapapa bits and the occasional deer – they were the will know exactly who I’m referring to). And then, best days of my life. at the opposite end of the spectrum, you have exI felt at the time, and still do, that George tremely skilled and courteous operators like Mike Gatchell belongs in the top ranks of famous Taupo anglers. To a large extent he did most Kirkpatrick and Nick King who give much to the sport on top of the expertise and advice they are of his fishing in the Waitahanui rip. While so forthcoming with in this magazine. Indeed, there might well be individuals who could in political circles Nick has been a courageous out-cast George, I never encountered them. battler who has done infinitely more to advocate When February rolled around, and the time for the protection of our wild rivers than the vast George expected the browns to show up, he majority of recreational anglers. I think your apknocked on my cabin door one evening and praisal of all guides being self-serving will change showed me several flies he had just tied. He when you read his thought-provoking article in had used pukeko feathers from a road kill to this issue in which he proposes a sensible new imitate koura. Aside from the purple feathers fisheries management model to tackle the tourist he had tied the fly somewhat differently, usangler issue. – Ed ing many feathers to give the fly bulk. It looked good… and it was! On the first sevv Dear Hamish, eral nights we used it we controlled the fishI very much enjoy the magazine, seeing the fine ing. Our success drew the attention of other scenery and splendid fish which make me remanglers. I named the fly Gatchell’s 10:45 as inisce about my time in New Zealand. I hope you will see fit to publish we frequently had the best luck at that time of evening. one such recollection. George has been gone several years now. Before leaving Waitahanui to In mid-August 1972 I arrived at the dock in Auckland. I was on my way live in the South Island he turned his the lodge into a fly fishing store. In to Sydney to take a job but had scheduled two weeks at Taupo where I return trips to Taupo – both for fishing and duck hunting – George and planned to catch a 10lb brown, which I thought would be an easy matter. I disagreed on the fly’s name. By then he was calling it the Burglar. He said the name came from the Maoris who termed George “the Burglar” It didn’t turn out that way. The most important person I met was George Gatchell, from whom I because he stole all the fish using that fly.

9


LETTERS

NICK KING

BOB SOUTH

to the editor

To me it remains Gutchell’s 10:45. And in later years he tied the pattern various colours, and most important, at least to me, without the bulk of the very first ones. To this day I still have one of the first he tied – I caught many trout on that pattern and it brings back fond memories. Did I catch a 10lb brown? Nope. My best was a 9 3/4lb from the Waitahanui rip (pictured). It would make a better story to say I caught it on George’s creation, but that is not the way it ended. Keep up the good work on the magazine. Worth Mathewson, Oregon, USA

F ish & Game New Zealand

Dear Hamish, I have been fishing for trout for over 40 years in Canterbury in our beautiful high country lakes and rivers. Recently, I viewed the delightful TV series Keeping it Puree and one episode highlighted the serious problem of the degradation of our waterways and beaches with flotsam and rubbish being left behind as well as washing ashore. Of course this is a very serious matter and it brought to mind what we fishermen often see around our beautiful fishing waterways – rubbish left behind by some anglers such as empty line spools, tangled leaders, tippets caught up in the matagouri and plastic bags etc. If only this was removed we would have a more pristine environment. I appreciate that our fishing vests have limited pocket space for rubbish when they are already filled with essential spools of nylon, boxes of treasured flies and other necessary fishing paraphernalia. However, we all need to look after our environment and also create a good relationship with landowners and other users of our wonderful environment. Fishermen must take their rubbish home. That’s the simple message. Your recent issue of Fish and Game rightly highlighted the importance of everyone looking after our waterways and I suggest that we anglers also need to heed this call around the waters we frequent. Ron Parry, Christchurch

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Dear Hamish, I’ve read with interest your commentary on freshwater matters, as well as the evident growing despair amongst correspondence to the magazine about the woeful management of the resource. Under the present approach to freshwater management the rural sector has little incentive to aspire to the standards sought by environmental protagonists – they’ve nothing to lose in continuing to drag their feet and prolonging the debate while water across the country continues to get dirtier. Clearly the problem of achieving sustainable water management is bigger than the present Government cares to acknowledge. Intensive farming must move away from the current approach to land use, particularly the emphasis on dairy in Canterbury. It may be important that this initiative is led by the rural sector – otherwise the head butting that characterr

ises the Government’s Land and Water Forum (LAWF) and the Canterbury collaborative effort will continue to limit progress. We have the institutional resources available for a motivated rural sector to draw upon. The Government needs to put the goal posts in place by means of a more robust national environmental standard that sets and requires compliance with pollution limits that are designed to reverse nutrient pollution and return our waterways to good ecological health and a swimmable standard and ensures our aquifers are drinkable. The onus needs to be put on the rural sector to come up with an enforceable game plan to achieve environmentally sustainable land and water use – before being allowed any more water for irrigation, or any new converr sions to intensive dairy. A moratorium would enable Canterbury (and the rest of New Zealand) to adjust our approach to land and water use and would be a hugely worthwhile investment. In light of this, a review of the role and functioning of LAWF, and of Zone Committee’s in Canterbury, would be needed. In short, we need to take the sustainable use of our land and water resources much more seriously. This will inevitably involve radical changes to some farming practices, beyond that contemplated by present rural (and Government) leadership, and will require political courage to implement. Murray Rodgers, Water Rights Trust Thanks Murray – I agree with many of your points. However, I fear that with the continuous denial coming from the laggards at Federated Farmers, Fonterra and the rural media (not to mention key ministers), we are a long way off achieving this much-needed sectoral change. Their “foot-dragging” has led to, and continues to contribute to, the greatest environmental degradation our country has been subjected to in recent times. I have doubts about any change being led by the rural sector too. For instance, the ‘leadership’ of Environment Minister Nick Smith and Fed’s president William Rolleston, promulgating the same spin on the same day about birds being the cause of water pollution (despite initial scientific findings that the Hawke’s Bay gastro outbreak was linked to ‘ruminants’), is a case in point. That this Government is in cahoots with a marginal lobby group – with a small and shrinking membership – which acts solely as an apologist for industrial agriculture polluters and the water-thieving irrigation industry, speaks volumes about National’s intent (read: lack thereof) in this area. A moratorium is exactly what is needed, allowing us to take stock of what has been done and the impending consequences. – Ed Dear Hamish, I caught my first trout in New Zealand near the end of Easter 1969. I was 14 years old and that fish represented three hard days fishing with my father. Coming from the UK the previous November, with a solid background in coarse fishing, that Easter meant two things to us. Firstly, a very steep learning curve. Secondly, it was our first introduction to the great New


ANDREW HARDING

BOB SOUTH

Zealand outdoors. So let me do a quick recap of Taupo (and the rest of New Zealand) back then. We didn’t have waders so we were confined to the only pool we could fish effectively. That was the Whirlpool on the middle reaches of the Waitahanui. Within an hour of setting up, two locals came by, did the usual piscatorial interrogation (discovering we were extremely novice imports from the “old country”), offered some sage advice and one, a local Maori chap, donated two flies to our cause. The weather was great (the sun always shone back then), the river clear and clean with abundant birdlife. For the first time in my life I drank water direct from a river without fear of industrial poisoning. There were good stocks of fish in the river and, seemingly, plenty of water to go around. Let’s now move forward 47 years. Taupo remains a good fishery. I havv en’t fished the Waitahanui in many years, preferring to explore new water and finding the Tongariro and some of the smaller southern rivers more to my liking. But even this great fishery is under threat. Human pressure means finding water to fish at Easter can be an interesting challenge. I no longer drink straight from the river for fear of Giardia and the friendly locals are no longer as friendly. There are catfish in the lake, efforts to farm trout and carp and other potential threats to its long-term viability exist. I now spend my summers fishing the lower North Island, especially the Wairarapa lakes and rivers. Fishing can be hard but I have spent entire days on the Ruamahanga and met only one or two other anglers. Two things worry me more than almost anything else. Firstly, I have witnessed a degradation of the great New Zealand outdoors and, in parr ticular, the waterways I have fished for 47 years. I don’t drink the water in the river anymore, not only because of giardia but also the likelihood some of it went through a dairy cow just a couple of hours prior (and before you think it, I rarely drink milk either). I remember mayfly hatches so thick that hooking a fish was a triumph because the fish were spoilt for choice. Where have the mayflies gone? I believe their absence was the first indicator that our water’s health was suffering from too much pesticide runoff. But no one will do the research. I haven’t seen large numbers of dragonfly nymphs in several seasons, are they the next indicator? And every year there is less water in our rivers from a combination of irrigation water

take and drought. Now our local regional council – Greater Wellington Regional Council – is hell-bent on damming (and damning) two local rivers in the misguided hope it will lead to prosperity and regional economic growth and on the assumption everyone wants it (and at any price). Secondly, there seems to me to be an underlying lethargy in all New Zealanders but particularly those who spend time on, in or under our freshwater. We are at a tipping point. If we don’t change our attitude to the way we treat our freshwater as a nation we will lose it, probably forever. The farming lobby is loud and have gained significant advantage with both local and central government. It’s time we countered them by becoming more vocal, more proactive and making sure our voice is heard about the preservation and respect for our finite natural resources. As we enter another fishing season, I encourage readers to ask themselves this: Am I doing everything I can to preserve this wonderful environment, not only for this year but for years to come? And who said prosperity can only be measured in dollars? Paul Shortis, Masterton Indeed, these are some very salient points for all anglers to ponder this season. And I couldn’t agree more with your observations about the farming lobby. The fact that Federated Farmers has only around 7000 members and still holds such sway with this Government – and so many regional and local authorities – is astounding and certainly raises serious concerns about the state of our democracy… or should that be the price it can be purchase for? Why our elected representatives continually pander to Fed Farmers, the lowest common denominator, I don’t know. I do, however, sense a growing number waking up to this. Hopefully change will soon follow – Ed

W ’v We ve go got pl got plen en nty of pr priz izze gi ize g ve v -aawa w ys y foorr oour ur lloy ur oyyal rea eadeers aand nd d we w nt wa n you ou to wi w n! n! SSo, o ev o, veeryy llet ette et t rw wee p pub u liish ub hn now ow reeccei cei e ves ves a fr ve free e ee Fuel Fu e 360 el 6 tab tab able lett ca le cani ani nist nist ster val alue ueed at $39 u $39 39.9 .995. 5. We’ e’v ve also ve lsso go gott so s me me g ea gr e t bo b ok okss too giv ivee aw away ayy – Inc nclu nclu udi d ng Ba Back ckco ck coun co untr un try Co tr try Cook kin ingg and n

Kaha K Ka aha haw hawa waai – fo for or th t osse wh whoo ar are ru are runn run nn n ner ers rs up p ttoo ou ourr be b st llet ettteer, ette r, and winn wi nner nn er of th thee am amaz azzin ingg LE ED Leens nser er P7. er 7.22 to torc rcch. h To b bee el elig liggib i le le you o musstt iinc mu must ncclu l de a con onta tact ta c p ct pho hone ho ne numbe ne um mbe b r an and d poost stal a add al ddre ress re ss (we w won’ wo n t pu n’ ubl b is i h th the he de deta ttaail i s)). So,, gget et wri riti tiing ting ng..

Pe Pl ea ase s e ema ma ail you you ourr le etttter erss to E Edi dito di torr Ha to Hami mish h Car a na n ch chan an n - hca carn rnac rn acha ac han@ ha n@ @fis fisha ha andga nd dga ame m .o org r .n nz - or p pos ost os st tto o: ‘L Let ette terr to the E te Edi dito di tor, to r, Fis r, ish h & Game Ga ame NZ NZ Ma Maga g zi zine ne e, P O Bo Box x 13 1330 3 75 Eas 30 a tr trid id idge dge ge,, Au Auck ck kla land nd 11446, 6 N New ew w Zea e la l nd nd’ d’

F iiss h & Ga Gam mee Ne New N eew w Ze Z e al aala llaa n nd d

Write and WIN!

11 1 1


Drag-Free Drifts Best FLY FISHING LORE DEMANDS WE MEND LINE TO CREATE A drag-free drift to fool feeding trout when dry fly or nymph fishing – this is supposed to prevent spooking wary trout that will refuse the fly if it moves at an odd angle to the flow of the current. Drag, therefore, is to be avoided at all costs. But this common perception can be taken too literally and can result in less productive fishing. Certainly the time to avoid drag is when it stops the nymph sinking to the desired depth, pulls the fly out of the targeted drift line or streaks through the water (or across the surface) in an alarmingly manner that is simply unnatural. Bear in mind though that drag is almost impossible to prevent when you have a length of nylon and fly line being pulled by wind and a variety of currents, especially with nymphs that sink through different water levels that are moving at different speeds and directions. I have spent time under water watching artificial nymphs drifting past and they are all tumbled around a little by these forces. They acted surprisingly similar to naturals that jerked and bounced their way along in the water as they moved to another section of riverbed. Even artificial dry flies and naturals move a little on the surface as they hatch, struggle or get pushed about by the wind and eddies. I believe obtaining a purely drag-free drift is a myth. Instead, you

PUBLIC FUNDERS MISLEAD BY DAM PROMOTERS A Fish & Game commissioned report has revealed the Irrigation Acceleration Fund paid almost $1 million to an infrastructure project in Wairarapa based on “highly misleading” information and an application that “lacked credible economic analysis”. Water Wairarapa – formerly Wairarapa Water Use Project – applied for, and was granted $821,500 from the fund. This is on top of at least $6.7m of public money spent to date. But the report has found that the latest grant should never have been paid because the application bases all its economic assessment on 2013’s historic high dairy pay-out of $7+/kgMS. Report author, independent economist Peter Fraser of Ropere Consulting, says Water Wairarapa’s application is “highly misleading”. Wellington Fish & Game manager Phil Teal says as a result ratepayers and councillors are being “hoodwinked”.

F ish & Game New Zealan nd

FISH & GAME BY FISH & GAME Fish & Game magazine is justifiably renowned as New Zealand’s pre-eminent outdoors magazine which is why discerning readers like you are reading it right now. Soon it will have a new owner – Fish & Game. Over the years, the magazine has been privately owned by some of the biggest media organisations in the country – first by INL and then more recently by Fairfax. In the last few months, Fish & Game, the organisation, has been negotiating to buy the magazine and the deal will soon go through, restoring ownership of the magazine masthead to the all angling and hunting licence holders. Fish & Game is dedicated to continuing the magazine and making it bigger, better and more digitally relevant, so watch this space!

12

ANDREW HARDING

WITH DAVID MOATE

should try to manipulate drag to enhance the attractiveness of your dry or nymph to a hungry trout. The classic wet fly swing at the end of a nymph drift, for example, imparts lift which imitates an insect rising through the water column to hatch. This can be deadly on actively feeding trout. Similarly, dragging a dry fly can also entice a strike as it emulates a caddis or mayfly fluttering across the surface. Often, a moving fly is simply more readily detected by the trout and that triggers the instinct to grab it before it escapes. Whatever the reasons, imparting controlled drag into your dry and nymph fishing can increase your success, reduce the ‘pressure’ to create a magical drag-free drift and it adds a lot more fun as trout slam the moving fly.

in a Fish & Game-sponsored TV series. The eight programme series, Pure Fly New Zealand, screened on Sky TV and was been filmed throughout New Zealand over the last year by Dave Shaw and Nick Reygaert. Both have extensive experience in outdoors filming. Kerikeri-based Shaw worked on the popular shows Red Stag Hunters’ Club and ITM Fishing Show, while Reygart’s Te Anau company Gin Clear Productions produces internationally renowned angling films and DVDs. The eight programmes cover both fresh and salt water fly fishing throughout the country, from the rugged headwaters of North Island backcountry rivers, to Golden Bay’s saltwater tidal flats and Southland’s estuaries. Fish & Game says it is delighted to be associated with such a high quality production which will hopefully demystify fly fishing and encourage New Zealanders to make the most of the outdoors and wilderness opportunities available in this country. It is hoped Pure Fly New Zealand will also be screened on overseas TV networks. WIRELESS FOR ALL Want to know the latest on how the fishing is going in your favourite area? As well as signing up to Fish & Game’s excellent monthly Reel Life report, you can also get weekly radio updates. Every week until Christmas, Fish & Game is providing freshwater fishing information to Mediaworks’ radio audience. The service airs just after 7pm on Friday nights and again on Saturday morning and aims to give trout anglers the latest information on what is happening throughout the country’s 12 Fish & Game regions.

WESBITE REDESIGN Anglers and hunters around the world enjoy Fish & Game’s website, which THE JOY OF FISHING is jam-packed with useful information. However, nothing stands still for long Jaw dropping filming techniques have been used by an innovative New in the digital world and the website is now undergoing a makeover to take Zealand film crew to bring the beauty and drama of fly fishing to the world it to the next level. When finished, the website will be much more mobile friendly, social media capable, capable of better hosting instructional videos and provide more information about our fabulous freshwater angling and A large number of readers contacted us about the stunning double-page gamebird hunting. photograph introducing Special Issue 43 (pages 8 and 9), querying who JUST BEING SOCIAL had taken this spectacular shot. Our Interest in Fish & Game’s social media accounts is continuing to soar, with apologies for not including a credit with the photo but it was shot by none other tens of thousands of people being engaged on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram every month. Have a look and sign up for the latest news and than Mike Kirkpatrick – long-time views that affects you and the great outdoors. contributor and guiding supremo.


Big rivers, big flies, big fish...

flytackle.co.nz

F ish & Game New Zealand

Because the world needs stronger leaders

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MICHAEL WOODCOCK

DAYS OF PROMISE

HAD WOODOCK BEEN AT HOME HE RECKONS HE WOULD NEVER HAVE GONE OUT IN SUCH WEATHER, BUT THAT DAY HE LEARNED HE COULD CATCH FISH IN A GALE

F ish & Game New Zealand

Michaeel Wo Mich W od dcock c wri r te tess th that at the ccom omiing ing of sum umme merr fil fillss our hea eads ds – and per erha haps ps o our ur d dre ream amss – wi with th p pla lans ns o off fishi fis hing ng tri rips ps tto co ome me. Howe weve ver, r h r, hee al also so war arns ns aabout ut tthe he rris isk k off squ quan ande deri r ng o opp ppor ortu tuni niti t es w whe hen n in inst stea ead d yo you u ne need ed to sei e zee the h m.

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RO OM TH THEE DAARK R OF WI WINTER ER WE HA H VE EEME MERG RGED ED IINT NTO O TH THEE LI L GH G T. T BEEFO FORRE us strtret etch ches e the rrestt of sspr prin ing, g, ssum u me um merr an andd wi with th lluc uck, k, a lon ongg wa warm rm aut u um umn. n A fisshi hingg sea eason fuull ooff pr prom omisise. e. Day ayss of w wet et w wad adin ing, g, ddry ryin ingg ou outt in tthe he ssun un as we ppau ause se ttoo ea eatt lu lunchh on tthe he bban annk. Of fis fishh ho hove veriring ng bbel elow ow tthe he ssur urfa face ce rrisisin ingg to nym ymph ph o ddry or ry.. Thee co Th comi ming mi n ooff th ng thee ne new w se seas ason on ccoi oinc ncid ides witithh my birirth thda day. y. A fifish shin ingg sh shop op ggififtt vouc vo uche h r is a jjoy he o off po oy poss ssib ibillititie iess. My wi wife fe’s’s bbirirth thda dayy riritu tual al iiss to bbuy uy my ne new w se seas asoon fifish shin ingg lil ce cenc n e. TTha haat liice cenc ncee isi a cal alll to aact ctio ion. n. O One ne ccal alll is ttoo ch chal alle leeng ngee an andd re resisist st tthe he ffor orce cess at play pl ay ttha hatt un unde d rm de rmin inee th thee qu qual alitityy of oourr rriv iver erss an andd la lake kes,s, w whi hich ch w wou ould ld con onde demn mn a w wor orld ld-c as cl asss trtrou outt fisshe h ry ttoo a ‘n ‘nic icee to hhav ave’ e’. A fa fade dedd me memo mory ry. An Anot othe herr ca callll ooff co cour urse se iiss to gget et o t on tthe ou he wat ater e fish er shin ing. g. It is tthe he oonl nlyy wa wayy to hhon onou ourr an andd trrea easu sure re w wha hatt we sstitillll hav ave. e Most Mo st ooff uss ttry ry ttoo ba b lanc n e wo work rk, fa fami mily ly,, ho hous useh ehol oldd ch chor ores es,, ou ourr le leisur uree pu purs rsui uits ts,, atte at temp mptiting ng ttoo ma maxixixim mise oour ann mise nnua uall le leav ave, e, ppub ublilicc ho holilida days ys,, we week eken ends ds – aalll too sho hortrt aand nd neve ne verr en enou ough gh.. Fo Forr soome me,, wi wint nter er has ooffffer ered ed fifish shin ingg de deliligh ghts ts ooff fis fishh on sspa pawn wnin ingg ru runs ns. Forr ma Fo many ny itt is a hhia iatu tuss wh whic ichh bu builids ant ntic icip ipat atio ionn bu butt al also so ssee eess us out ooff th thee fis fishi h ng hhab abitit. Forr al Fo alll of uus,s, tthe hee ccom min ingg off sum mme merr ha hass filled ed ou ourr he head adss an andd pe perh rhap apss ou ourr dr drea eams ms w th ppla wi lans n of trtrip ipss to ccom me. e BBut ut we caan ru runn th thee ririsk sk of sq squa uand nder erin ingg ou ourr op oppo portrtun unitittie i s to gett ou ge outt on the w wat ater er.. We ccan an eeas asililyy fa fallll iint ntoo th thee pl plan anni ning ng tra r p. TTha hatt th thee trtrip ip nee eeds ds ttoo be a fu fullll dday ay oor,r, iff we ccan an,, se seve vera ve rall da ra days ys.. Be Beca caus usee th thee titime me is pr prec ecio iouss tthe he w wea eath ther er aand nd w wat ater er must mu st bbee pe perfrfec ect. If th thee wh whol o e pa ol partrtyy ca can’ n’tt go tthe henn no oone ne ggoe oes.s. AAnd nd ssoo we w wai ait fo for it all to ffal a l in into to ppla lace ce aand n lat nd a er loo o k ba back ck oonn th thee da days ys uunfi nfish shed ed.. Last La s yea earr on on a rrem emot o e So ot Sout uthh Is Isla land nd riv iver er,, Op Open enin ingg Da Dayy wa w s pe perfrfec ect.t. IItt ha hadd be b en e a long lo ngg tim imee sisinc ncee I’I’dd fis fishe hedd wa wate terr so bblu lue. e My fir first st tim timee onn thi h s ba back ckco coun untrtryy ge gem. m The T e mont mo nths hs of pr prom omisisee be betw twee eenn th thee in invi vite te and tthe he fifirs rstt ca cast st wer eree ea easisily ly m met et. Th Thee haair rai raisising ng trtrip ip iin, n the fish sh, th thee vi view ews.s. The The nex extt da dayy th thee nor or-w -wes e te terlly sw swep eptt ov over er tthe he AAlp lpss an andd do down w

the va the valllley ey whi hipp ppin ingg up a fer eroc ocio ious us san ands dssto t rm rm. Ha Hadd I be been en at ho home me I wou ould ld nev everr hhav avee gone go ne oout ut in su such ch w wea eath ther er. Th That at day I lea earn rned e I cou ed o ld ccattch fifish sh in a ga galee. Clai Cl aimi ming ng jjus ustt a fe few w ho hourrs ou outt of a weekend iss one wa wayy of ens ensurrin ingg we w maxxim imisisee ourr op ou oppo portrtun unititiees wh whililee se setttin ingg us up fo forr th thee we week e aheadd. I of ofte tenn st star art ou outt on the rriv iver er as I hhad ad fifini nish shed ed the he worrki kingg w week. k Agi g ta tate ted, d, russhi hing ng, on ttoo thhe ne next xt tthi hing ng tto do do,, al alll reefle flect cted ed inn my hur urryyingg up u stream am,, cuurs rsin ing my ppoo oor casstinng. It isi not unt ntilil I ssloow to tthe he pace of th the riveer,r wat atch chin ingg fo forr a slow ow cru ruisisinng br brow own or o the the gglilide de of fis fishh fe feed edin ingg th that at tthe he work wo rkin ingg we week ek ffad ades es. I ev even entu tual ally ly rrel elaax to th thee po poin intt wh wherre th thee ririve verr ru runss thr hrou ough gh m me. e. We aallll hav ave, e, aass An A dr drew ew Har ardi d ng ssoo el e oq oque u nttly pput ut iit,t, oour ur ‘‘frfron ontt co coun untrtry’ y’. Cl Clos osee enou en ough gh ttoo ge gett th ther eree andd ta take ke tthe he risiskk th that at aallll is no nott peerfr ec ect.t. For For m mee th that at w was as oonc ncee thee Hu th Hutttt,, no now w fo forr we wellll oove verr 20 yyea ears rs tthe he RRua uama maha hang nga. a. O Our ur oown wn ffro ront nt ccou ount ntry ry,, a ririve verr or strtrea eaam, m dam or la lake ke,, cl clos osee en enou ough gh ttoo al allo low w us ttoo ge gett to kno now w pa partrtss or iits ts llen engt gthh intitima in mate tely ly.. To kkno now w th thee pl plac aces es w whe here re m mos ostt fis fishh ho hold ld,, th thee st stre retc tche hess of w wat ater er ooth ther es er with wi thhou outt ou ourr in intitima m te kkno ma nowl wled edge ge w wilil op optitimi mist stic ical ally ly fifish sh bblilind nd, wh whililee we w wal alkk on on. Th Thee fly that th at wililll mo most st ooftften en iind nduc ucee a ta take ke. Your Yo ur fifish shin ingg da days ys of pr prom omisisee ar a e ju just st ddow ownn th thee ro road ad.. Se Seiz izee th them em!!

In praise of idleness Theree is a toTher o-do do llis istt many ma ny llin ines es llon ong. g. Inst In stea ead d I’ I’m m he here re o on n th thee ri rive verr caast stin ingg no noth thin ingg but lo bu l ng sha hadows ws acr cros osss ri rive verr st ston ones es.. – Mi M chae a l Wo W od odcoock


PETER RYAN

JAMIE’S FIRST TROUT - A MEMORY THAT WILL LAST A LIFETIME

PETER RYAN

Do you remember?

T

HE RIVER BANKS ARE CROWDED WITH trees, apart from the small clearing in which he stands. I’m distracted, somewhere in the haze that is the world of a small child, when suddenly there is a burst and a thrashing and white water as he fights a big fish. Then just as quickly the fish is gone. He brings in the line slowly and looks up at me with an expression that’s hard to remember exactly, though I’ve worn it often enough since to understand it now. That’s my first fishing memory. He caught his first fish at five. He was so excited that instead of playing it he simply ran up the bank with the line, and I know that feeling too. By some miracle the little perch stayed on and he remembers his father handing it to him. And so it goes. Not many people forget their first catch, even the ones who don’t go on to become regular fishermen. If you cast your mind back – what a telling phrase that is – I bet the memory is still there somewhere. Mine was pretty typical – the ceaseless whisper of water on stone, the endless waiting where hope turns to restlessness and daydreams. The sudden shock of a take, the fog of excitement and frozen thoughts. Dad is calm, quietly speaking over your shoulder. Let him run,

but your hands seem clumsy and the rod dips low. Up a bit son… yep, that’s the story. On light gear even small fish feel huge. There are no deep runs, just a staccato throb as the fish, somewhere out there, thrashes his jaws from side to side. For the first time in your short life you’re touching another world. Then suddenly he’s in your world as he jumps into the sunlight. There’s the final panic as he comes to the shallows, on his side now and sailing. In a moment he’s in your hand, the quick bright eye utterly alive, gills flaring, scales perfectly metallic and the sharp pleasant smell of him on your hands. A handshake and a wink, but you’re too excited to notice that he’s never shaken hands with you before, man to man. Congratulations. And from that moment you are never quite the same again. A few days ago everything went full circle, when my son caught his first despite the rain (or perhaps because of it… I’ve always been lucky after a light shower has passed through). The look on his face for a split second photo has exactly what you might expect from a youngster – immense pride as he shows it off to Mum. But there was something else there too, a little magic that caught me completely by surprise.

I look at that image and can suddenly see the man he will be. It was angling that gave me that memory and angling that gave me a glimpse of the future. That’s what separates fishing and hunting from the passive entertainment that is taking over the planet. If you’ve spent any time in the Third World you’ll no doubt have marvelled at the mess of cabling and satellite dishes that are increasingly found even there. Television and video games can be repeated at the touch of a button, they are ours to command at will – but perhaps because of that, nobody ever remembers their best day watching TV. Fish, game and wild places are different. They come to us on their own terms and in their own time. We must work for what happens, especially when small hands pick up a rod. If we’re very lucky and persistent we might somehow make a day that will be remembered 80 years from now. For those who understand, no explanation is necessary – and – for those who do not, none is possible. There is no price you can put on a moment that reaches out across the years. It’s true that most of us small-time angling dads will never be millionaires… but we are rich.

F ish & Game New Zealand

JUST OCCASIONALLY ONE OF MY EARLIEST MEMORIES COMES DRIFTING BACK. I’M STANDING ON A FLAT BENCH OF GRASS WHILE BELOW ME MY FATHER IS PERCHED ON SOME STEEP GROUND.

15


RACHEL STEWART

Trout mean healthy rivers

F ish & Game New Zealand

LIKE ALL ‘TRIBES’ BEFORE THEM, ENVIRONMENTALISTS/CONSERVATIONISTS COME FULLY EQUIPPED WITH MANY WARRING FACTIONS.

16

HE ANTI-1080 BRIGADE JUST CAN’T GET to grips with conventional greenies, who believe that its use is the only effective way to be stop possums, rats and stoats wiping the birdsong from our native forests forever. Duck shooters feel they too are doing their bit by culling an over-abundance of ducks, and all game bird hunters contribute to the Game Bird Habitat Fund when they buy their annual hunting licence from Fish & Game. The fund’s sole purpose is to ensure the ongoing protection of wetlands and other game birds’ habitat via grants. Are wetlands important? Well, they are home to a vast array of native fish, including threatened eels, mudfish and invertebrates. Yet, animal rights group SAFE would say they are not as important as the lives of ‘unthreatened’ and introduced ducks. In New Zealand less than 10 per cent of wetlands remain, compared with pre-European times. It’s an incremental loss – a little gully here, an overexcessive drain clearance there – but it all adds up. Hardcore, more purist-minded conservationists are increasingly labelling trout as devils lurking in the deep. In their perfect paradise, native fish would be untroubled by any such lowly introduced ‘pest’. Shame about the cow excretions trout (and natives) have to endlessly deal with though. Then there’s Federated Farmers – who are about as far from letting anyone describe them as ‘greenies’ as it’s possible to get – who have emphatically embraced the ‘trout equals evil’ notion. Why? Because it suits them. In 2011, Feds dairy section chairman Lachlan McKenzie made an outgoing speech to his fellow farmers. In it, he attempted to lay the blame on trout for poor quality in our waterways. Not cows, trout. “Farming affects water quality, yes, but we seem

to have been attributed with 100 per cent of the blame. “Last November, another NIWA study into lake water quality found 40 per cent of lakes with ‘dominant native catchment cover’ had declined in water quality. These are native lakes so could it be introduced waterfowl, koi carp, aquatic plants, trout or homo sapiens perhaps?” It was a nice try by McKenzie, and his “thesis” is still trotted out with monotonous regularity by Feds. Even Environment Minister Nick Smith has tried it on for size more than once, and recently. Ultimately, though, and blatant political agendas aside, it is laughable. Which is not to say that trout have no impact on any native fish. They do. Trout are predators, and smaller native fish form a part of their diet. Salmonids out-compete and prey on native galaxiids resulting in behavioural changes, population reductions and local extinctions around the country. Particularly affected are the smaller nonmigratory galaxiids in and around Otago; species which now feature heavily on the threatened fish list. The best solution to the problem, according to the Department of Conservation, is to have some reaches of rivers where only native fish are present. This can be achieved by having passage barriers that native fish can cross but trout cannot. Doing so may even have positive effects on trout fisheries, by ensuring a high production of native fish they can feed on if they move below the barrier. Because native fish will thrive in smaller streams that are not favoured by trout, quality trout habitat need not be lost. Increasingly DOC is working with local communities to install trout barriers to

safeguard threatened galaxiid populations. Preventing trout invasion of the habitat of nonmigratory galaxiids is a high priority. Fish & Game have agreed that there should be no extension in the range of trout in New Zealand, and support prohibition on movement of sports fish. Such cooperation is keenly appreciated by DOC. Nor does it escape them that trout have economic and cultural value through attracting fishermen locally and internationally. The presence of trout has had nothing but a positive effect on the protection of the quality and quantity of habitat for native fish. This economic and cultural value has given resources to Fish & Game through license fees. From there, they protect freshwater habitats for game species through advocacy and involvement in resource management decision making. The obvious spin-off is that native species also benefit, as do we humans who appreciate clean water. In other words, in what state would New Zealand’s already dire water quality be without Fish & Game’s advocacy, which is based on protecting the habitat of a, yes, introduced species? Think Horizons’ One Plan, and/or the Ruataniwha Dam debacle – neither fight being over yet. Think the myriad Canterbury water management strategy fights they’ve taken on. Think Central Otago and the fight to get restorative flows back into dying rivers… throughout the country it’s Fish & Game fighting the good fight, few others. So before old-school greenies get their knickers in too much of a knot about non-native and, let’s not forget, human-introduced species, maybe they need to digest an unpalatable fact: Sometimes in life, as in conservation, there are trade-offs to be made. Trout and healthier rivers, or no trout and worse ones.

ABOV ABO A AB BO B OV O VE H HAW WKE’ WKE KE’S B K BA AY

MATTERS

FACTOR FAC CTOR TO Y FARM FARMING ARM MIN ON T THE E BAN BANK ANKS OF A NORTH NO ORTH TH H ISLAN LA D RIVE RIVER IVE ER - OT O HE HER ER E R T N FISH TH THA S & GAM GAME E, FEW E, WA ARE FIGH IGHTIN G TIN ING THI ING HIS IS SO S RT T OF O ACT ACTIVITY ACTIVI VIT


 

    industrial agriculture remains New Zealand’s biggest challenge, and large-scale irrigation schemes planned around the country are set to make things worse...

Big irrigation schemes enable industrial agriculture - namely dairying where it wouldn’t otherwise have occurred. We have to start putting the health of our rivers before more industrial dairying.



                   

      


MASTER

of tying PETER CARTY

F ish & Game New Zealand

Jeepers Creepers

18

HEN I WAS A KID GETTING INTO Trout fishing, I used to keep hearing about the effectiveness of using a creeper – Dobsonfly larvae – as bait. Tales of huge fish and guaranteed limit bags were legend. I can’t actually recall ever catching anything on them, or for that matter ever seeing anyone else catch anything either. To be fair, I never really tried them very often and possibly never in the right conditions. However, a rubber creeper often proved to be a “day-saver”. They were always kept as a last resort and only used in waters we were allowed to spin fish in. These days, with everything from rubber cicadas to rubber roe patterns being fished and called “flies”, it won’t be long before the fly vice is replaced by some kind of home moulding kit, or maybe you’ll just buy them in white and colour them in to match the hatch. From what I understand, the best condition for fishing creepers is while rivers are clearing and dropping after a spell of high water. Of course,

as a kid, the spinning rod came out in those conditions and the good old black and old Toby seemed to produce most of the time. As I became more focused on fly fishing, stoneflies in green, black or brown became go-to patterns in such conditions, and who’s to say they weren’t taken as creepers by the fish? Of course next came the San Juan worm to eke a result out of the mud, but that’s another story... I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Russell Anderson’s creeper. As far as I know, it’s the only commercially available pattern and has a really strong following. I’ve been working in Sporting Life in Turangi since May and it seems that after every fresh we get through the Tongariro someone comes in and tells us about a fish they’ve just caught that was chock-a-block with creepers when they cleaned it. We sell a lot of Russ’s pattern in these conditions! I’ve spent years trying to come up with a Dobsonfly larvae pattern that would consistently catch fish. There are plenty of patterns out there

that are probably taken for them, such as Hare & Coppers (especially in large sizes and with a black bead), Buller Caddis and stoneflies. I think the turning point in coming up with something that worked more often than not came while guiding in some foul conditions 10 or 12 years ago. After unproductively flogging water that was too thick to drink and too thin to plough, we drove up to St Arnaud (thinking coffee more than fishing). I parked by the mouth of Black Valley Stream and watched the dirty water spew into Lake Rotoiti. It was hosing down, but we noticed fish rising on the edge of the mud. I suggested my client should saddle up and head out there and I’d come out with the net when he hooked up. He suggested that I should saddle up myself, grab my rod and we could both go out in the pouring rain and try to catch them. I’d like to tell you about how we ‘hammered’ them, but that wasn’t the case. I think one nip at a Woolly Bugger was as close as we came. It was


and wriggle until it breaks. Trim the gills to length – 7-8mm is about right.

7. You’ll need to have got hold of some 10mm Scud Back. Cut it lengthways so you have two, 5mm strips. They’ll need to be at least 5cm long. I’ve found the best way to do this is stick it on double-sided tape and use a ruler and a razorblade. Take the thread to halfway between the abdomen and the hook eye. Lay the Scud Back on top of the underbody with about 10mm over the eye, and take three tight wraps. Lift the tag and take the thread to the eye, stretch the rubber forward and take TYING INSTRUCTIONS. another couple of tight wraps. Wrap back to 1. Set your hook in your vice. Smear a drop of the tie-in point, stretch the rear tag slightly as cement along the shank. Start the thread you continue wrapping back to the abdomen. behind the eye and bind to above the barb in open wraps and back to behind the eye. Open 8. Take the thread back to the front. Apply some black dubbing and build up about half wraps will add grip to the next stage. the head, which will be around one-third the 2. Bind a piece of knitting yarn along the far area you’re working in now. Select two Black side of the hook. Start just behind the eye and Biots and tie them in on each side of the head, finish just short of where your thread finished pointing forward, curved side in and about up. Cut off any excess. Repeat on the near 6mm long. Cut off the excess Biots. Add a side. Coat the yarn with cement (not super bit of dubbing to form the head, then pull the glue) and leave for a few minutes – you should front tag back over the head stretching it a bit have formed a nice flattened underbody. and tie down with four tight wraps. 3. Cut a strip of Thin Skin. Do this with the 9. Add more dubbing to the thread and wrap cardboard backing attached. The strip should from front to back. Build up the thorax front be about 4mm wide. While it’s still on the and rear, leaving a low spot in the middle. backing, cut each end to a long point. There’s Finish with the thread at this point. Take two enough to tie two flies. Peel the Thin Skin off strands of small black rubber legs, tie them the cardboard and tie one end in right at rear in with two loose wraps, position them on of the underbody. Tie in the wire on the far the sides and lock in with another couple of side of the hook. wraps. Add more dubbing and fill the centre, 4. Bring your thread forward a few turns. Take manipulating things so the legs sit properly a strand of Micro Rubber Leg material, lay and finish with the thread behind the head. it along the under body and take a couple of 10. Pull the wing-case forward, stretching it wraps. Pull until the short end is about 10mm slightly, and tie down behind the head. Russ and make another tight wrap. Position the Kennedy showed me a great trick for tying rubber on the near side of the underbody a off when using Scud Back. Smear a drop of wrap to the rear. Pull the short end to the UV resin on the top 20mm of thread before other side and wrap to the rear. Cut the near you whip finish, then hit it with a UV light. side to about 10mm long. Stretch the tag of Scud back and cut close 5. Apply a small amount of Callibaetis Dubbing with scissors. If you used the UV trick, you to your thread and wrap forward about 3mm. can stretch it tight when you cut it and end up Repeat the rubber tie-in as above. Add more with a real neat finish. If you’ve used regular dubbing and wrap forward another 3mm. Use head cement, be careful as too much stretch the dubbing to manipulate the gills so they will result in in the thread not holding and the stick out at right angles. Keep repeating these wing case popping before you’ve had a chance steps until you’ve covered approximately to drop your back cast to do it three-quarters of the underbody. It’ll take a bit of time to master this fly, but 6. Pull the Thin Skin over the back, giving it a I suggest you stick with it. It’s a real day-saver. slight stretch, and secure it with three tight Funny, I always thought they were an early season wraps. Wrap the wire rib forward between the thing, but what I’ve seen this winter, they’re going sets of gills. A side-to-side motion as you do to get a swim all year. Don’t be tempted to add this will stop too many headaches with the lead or beads – not every nymph has to weigh a rubber gills getting caught up. When you get ton. You’ll find that being unweighted, this pattern to the front of the abdomen, tie the wire off has a bit more life to it too.

F ish & Game New Zealand

HAMISH CARNACHAN

as we crossed the stream on the way back to the car that the client noticed these wriggling things in the water and so grabbed one, which promptly bit him. On closer inspection, the stream was full of creepers being washed into the lake. The interesting thing to me was that most were just under or on the surface, hence the rising fish. Further, they were basically straight – a revelation given most of the stuff I’d been tying was on curved hooks. I also learned that you don’t need to be bouncing the flies along the bottom because when they’re getting washed down the stream, they’re all through the water column. What I tie isn’t a million miles away from Russell’s one. I tie them on a straight hook or with a slight kink in it and unweighted. You can always add shot or a heavy nymph to get the fly deeper, but you can’t take weight out of it. Many, in fact most, of the fish I’ve caught on this pattern have been in the shallow margins as the river is dropping.

MATERIALS Hook: 2 or 3XL nymph hook size #6 or #8. Thread: 6/0 black. Underbody: Wool yarn. Back: Mottled Oak Thin Skin. Rib: Black Uni Wire, small. Gills: Tan Micro Rubber Legs. Abdomen: Callibaetis Superfine Dubbing. Wing-case: Black Scud Back. Thorax and Head: Black Superfine Dubbing. Legs: Small Black Rubber Legs. Pincers: Black Biots.

19


TURNER’S

corner

BRIAN TURNER

BRIAN TURNER RECALLS THAT HE ONCE BELIEVED WE LIVED IN A PLACE AS CLOSE TO PARADISE AS ANY LEFT ON EARTH. THAT’S NOW CHANGED, BUT UNFORTUNATELY OUR ‘LEADERS’ DON’T GET IT.

IT’S GETTING

F ish & Game New Zealand

LATE 20

OW MUCH, AND JUST WHAT, CAN WE believe?’ is a question many of us find ourselves asking, and frequently. The response is, often, ‘It depends on...’ Which is why I’ve always pricked up my ears when I hear someone say, ‘Once upon a time.’ More often than not I’m about to hear references to times past and comparisons between then and now. With the summer season soon to start again – I’m writing this in Otago, in early September – I’m thinking of years gone by, of once upon a time. Thinking of what I might say if, recently, I’d been told “this will be your last season under the often wide and brilliantly sharp and sparkling starlit

skies of Otago, and other parts of the south and its lands and rivers, places that you know much better than anywhere else”. If I believed that to be true, that this season were to be my last, then which are some of the rivers and streams I would hope to re-visit? As I see it they would be places that speak to me, and for me. Places that bring to mind good times with friends young and old. For, yes, I have to accept I am growing old but, as yet, I do not wear my trousers rolled, and I’m still reluctant to join conventional folds. I grew up among family and friends apt to challenge and question, people who took little for granted and spoke of being thankful for small

mercies. Get your priorities right: in other words, needs came before wants. Over time I’ve learned that one breaks with convention at one’s peril, that much is paradoxical, thus unsettling. Nevertheless it is sometimes necessary to be bold, expose your individuality, break with convention. Here I think of angling and the need, often, to ‘try something different’. My mother’s father, back in the 1950s, used to tweak my ear and, with a barely noticeable trace of a grin, say to me, “Ask no questions and you’ll be told no lies.” “But, but…,” I’d splutter, before he’d break in with, “All right, but try to work things out for yourself before you come running to me.”


I remember my paternal grandfather telling me we had to “respect and protect our rivers”. Because? “Because they’re our lifeblood,” he said. And, like other elders in my family circle who cajoled and sternly warned us of possible dangers, and not to take risks, he’d finish with, “you mark my words.” If, as far as most of the rivers and streams I first fished and became familiar with as a boy in the 1950s were much the same today, I’d happily visit the Leith Stream that flows through Dunedin’s northern suburbs, and the Waitati that burbles down off the northern slopes of Mt Cargill, about 15km north of the city. Back then they held a lot of trout; very few now.

Their days are done. I, and other youngsters my age, and a few adults too, were lucky to have access to them, and we knew it. Those were days before I became accustomed to defilers and destroyers who failed to understand that ‘change’ and ‘progress’ were not synonyms. In my youth and young adulthood, as I recall, myths were still defined as stories that at their core unveiled truths. But another definition of myth holds that it is an accepted belief that is fallacious. We live in a time when we are controlled by people who believe that continued economic growth equates to progress. Today’s neo-liberal fraternity believes that economic expansion will

F ish & Game New Zealand

TIM ANGELI

IF WE CAN’T PROPERLY EXERCISE OUR RESPONSIBILITIES TOWARDS NATURE’S PRICELESS NATURAL GLORIES, THEN WHO WILL?

never outstrip or destroy what the Earth has or is able to provide. How so? Because we’re so damned smart and, by developing “new technologies” and harnessing more and more energy we’ll “stay ahead of resource depletion” and handle waste generation without much difficulty. And so…? It’s obvious, “progress will continue.” Not so: scientists everywhere believe scientific laws suggest otherwise. In respect to this, one of the books that I’ve found most helpful when pondering what we believe, and how and why we act as we do in the name of ‘progress’, is The Myth of Progress: Toward a Sustainable Future by Tom Wessels (University of Vermont Press, 2006). In 1969, when still a student, Wessels remembers reading a book about the Sioux Indian Black Elk who made him “realize… that it is through connection, not consumption, that will allow us to thrive” on Earth. Possibly, but whether or not we’re able to make a connection depends on the nature of who or what we’re connecting with. Humans continue to war and destroy each other and much of the natural world around us. We live in an age when, contrary to the spin, the ease of technologically driven connection is, paradoxically, creating more and more disconnection. I believe Wessels when he points out that ‘peace’ and ‘place’ have similar roots and help strengthen connections to places we’re drawn to. But the world over it’s got harder to find places in which we can find peace. Thus far, today, we lack the collective will to back away from excessive indiscriminate consumerism which has given rise to a mesmeric, compulsive desire for more and more things. Many of the rivers and streams I was drawn to 50-60 years ago are not what they were. Take some of the South Otago streams; take the Lee and Deep streams inland from the Taieri plain; take Lake Mahinerangi; take the Shag River north of Dunedin; take the Ahuriri and the Ohau, the latter to all intents and purposes, dead. I could go on and on – about the hammering of the Oreti and parts of the Mataura and the rivers feeding Lakes Wanaka and Hawea. But, and a big but, I still visit some of those waters because I can recall how they delighted and moved me years ago, changed my life, resulted in my lifetime love of places and days unforgettable. Once upon a time I believed we lived in a place as close to paradise as any left on earth. I felt that, given New Zealand’s geographical location, its climate, and our numbers relative to most other parts of the globe, if we couldn’t properly exercise our responsibilities towards others and nature’s priceless natural glories, then who could? The clock’s ticking, fast. Our so-called ‘leaders’ in many fields don’t ‘get it’. It’s getting late.

21


EARLY-SEASON

AT SEASON’S START THE FISH CAN OFTEN BE AS UNPREDICTABLE AS THE WEATHER. TIM ANGELI WRITES THAT SUCCESS AT THIS TIME OF YEAR OFTEN COMES DOWN TO BEING FLEXIBLE IN YOUR PLANNING AND APPROACH TO ANGLING, AS

F ish & Game New Zealand

WELL AS BEING ABLE TO MIRROR THE SPONTANEITY THAT IS CHARACTERISTIC OF EARLY-SEASON TROUT.

22

F I WERE ASKED TO SUM UP EARLY-SEASON ttrout r fishing in New Zealand, in one word, it w would have to be this: unpredictable. As many w well know, the weather, river conditions and fish behaviour are constantly changing at this time of year when our temperamental spring is supposed to be in its last throes but still threatens ascendency over summer when December rolls around. To be clear, ‘early season’ transcends the traditional season start of October and generally extends into December depending on climatic variables but also the staggered opening of different waterways throughout the country,

such as the high country lakes of the South Island. So, spontaneity – in our angling approach, trip scheduling, and the ability to pick trout behaviour – can often lead to earlyseason fishing success… and not forgetting that often a good measure of luck also plays a part. I literally lost count of the number of times fellow anglers asked me about my plans for this season’s opener recently gone. For most diehard trout anglers, October 1 is etched firmly in their minds – the day that marks the opening of many of this country’s fisheries after their long winter rest. For those of our ilk, it is a day more keenly anticipated than any other in the

year. And as you’ll no doubt be aware, this year the season start and that hallowed date fell on a Saturday, creating the perfect opportunity to plan a trip, even for those of us that struggle to sneak away from mid-week work commitments. Yet, looking back a month now, despite my anticipation and eagerness, I still found myself replying to all of the excited inquiries about Opening plans with the same response: “I actually don’t have anything set in concrete for the start of the season this year.” It wasn’t a flippant response, nor was it a cagey tactic to ensure that no one else ‘stole’ my planned location for that celebratory first


TROUT TACTICS

HEAVY NYMPHS ARE EFFECTIVE IN HIGH SPRING FLOWS

PHOTOS: TIM ANGELI October fish. The truth of the matter is I stopped planning Opening season trips years ago after a string of three or four consecutive annual attempts turned into wasted holiday time, with precious leave spent hunkered down in tents or backcountry huts getting pummelled by rain and watching swollen rivers flow by like chocolate milk on its way to the bottling factory. Early-season trout fishing can be the most unpredictable fishing of the entire season with the weather changing in an instant, taking rivers from low and clear to raging torrents. Many locations are often plagued by high-water through the early months from the frequent

rain, or in the case of watersheds fed from the high-country, snowmelt. These situations often call for big, heavy nymphs or streamers, with lots of movement to grab the attention of the fish.

Although high-water conditions can be difficult to fish, they often result in opportunistic trout, unlikely to turn down the prospect of a sizeable meal drifting through their feeding zone.

F ish & Game New Zealand

PROSPECTING A BIG WATER RUN ON A CHILLY OPENING MORNING

23


EARLY-SEASON TROUT TACTICS

A SPECTACULAR BROWN TAKEN ON A WORM PATTERN WHILST FEEDING IN THE FLOODED MARGINS

Y EARLY-SEASON FLY BOX IS TYPIPIccally loaded with flies like Simon’s ’s U Ugly, with two tungsten beads to qquickly get deep into the feeding zone ne iin h dd heavy fl flows, and copious rubber legs to add attention-grabbing movement and liveliness. is However, that same sporadic weather at this te time of the year occasionally brings the opposite – low and clear conditions. A few years ago I th had an epic season opening trip planned with ut a good mate. Paul had headed down to scout nt out the water a couple of days earlier, and spent on September 30, the day before the new season en kicked off, fishing a river that remained open year-round.

My phone was inundated with text message up updates from Paul as I drove down to join hi that evening, prepared for a week-long him as assault on the freshly opening rivers. He had en encountered ideal conditions that day – clear bl sky, sunshine, and active fish – but the blue m impressive aspect was that the trout were most sm smashing big dry flies. I arrived at the bach that evening to find Paul en enjoying a well-earned beer with a big smile ac across his face, and immediately he began re regaling me with tales from the day, adding de detail to the brief snippets sent by text earlier. W had started as a lazy day on the river, with What m minimal expectations, turned into a day for the

F ish & Game New Zealand

TROUT WILL TAKE DRY FLIES USED AS INDICATORS EVEN IN OCTOBER

24

A TYPICAL SCENE AT THE START OF THE SEASON SWOLLEN RIVER AND EXPECTANT ANGLER


HIGH FLOW IN SPRING OFTEN MEANS HEAVY NYMPHS AND BIG GEAR

the pitter-patter of heavy raindrops hitting the corrugated iron roof of our dwelling. We awoke to find a swollen, muddy river. Our dreams quickly evaporated, and we reluctantly accepted our fate of spending the next few days slinging heavy nymph rigs and stripping streamers through the margins. Although we landed some cracking fish from that trip, it is Paul’s day of unexpected dry fly bliss that will always stick in our memories as one of those unique highlights that the earlyseason can produce when you are fortunate enough to encounter ideal conditions. Funnily enough, the very next season produced another memorable Opening dry fly expe-

rience, but from the opposite end of the spectrum. That season the rivers were already high and dirty from the start, so we spent the first few days of our trip casting a heavy dose of big, bright nymphs and streamers. By the afternoon of day four, the river level was starting to drop, and the clarity had improved to be more like tea than chocolate milk. When late afternoon rolled around we had each landed a few fish on heavy nymph rigs, and sat riverside for a quick snack before starting the long walk back to the car. As we smashed down our sandwiches and discussed the day’s fishing, we noticed the characteristic dimple of a rise on the surface of the river in front of us. SPRING CREEKS CAN BE A GOOD BET EARLY IN THE SEASON IF OTHER WATERWAYS ARE RUNNING HIGH

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ages with countless fish landed and nearly as many fish rising to a big PMX dry fly as those that swung across for the small bead-head nymph trailing below. Dry fly success may be the norm during the height of summer, but it is a rarity on many rivers in late September. So with the fish proving so willing to take dries on a section of water that had been hammered by anglers all winter, we were absolutely chomping at the bit to get on some fresh sections and kick off the season the next morning. Unfortunately, from about midnight onwards we were serenaded by what is so often the sound-track for early-season trout fishing –

25


EARLY-SEASON TROUT TACTICS

A RARE BUT WELCOME SIGHT IN OCTOBER - A FREELY RISING RAINBOW

We ultimately had to cycle through nearly the entirety of our dry fly boxes, systematically changing fly size and pattern as the pod of trout continued to rise undisturbed, before eventually getting the desired result with a small mayfly emerger. The first fish gently sipped in the fly on the initial cast, and was pulled downstream so as not to disturb the others. That trend continued, all fish sipping in the emerger without hesitation before being brought to the net, one after the other, until the last came in with just enough daylight left for the walk back to the car – a walk that was nearly effortless while riding the high of an

T WAS THE FIRST RISE THAT WE HAD SEEN, not only that day but for the entire trip thus far, so we chalked it up as an anomaly and carried on finishing our snack. But then it rose again. And a second fish rose a few metres behind the first. And then a third. Within a few short minutes the pool in front of us had at least half a dozen fish consistently rising. Frantically we cut off our nymphs and tied on slimmer tippets and small mayfly dun patterns. I watched with bated breath as Paul’s fly drifted over the first fish’s position looking very much like a miniature sailboat bobbing along the surface. Yet the trout’s snout never appeared.

F ish & Game New Zealand

STRIPPING STREAMERS IN MURKY WATER CAN OFTEN BE EFFECTIIVE

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EARLY SEASON SUCCESS


BIG STREAMERS WILL PULL FISH FROM THE DIRTY OR HIGH RIVERS COMMON IN SPRING

varied behaviour patterns and corresponding feeding habits. The estuaries and lower reaches of rivers flowing to the ocean can be teeming with whitebait, and offer prime opportunities to target the large aggressive brown trout that grow fat on them. Likewise, lake margins and stream mouths can offer outstanding opportunity for browns and rainbows chasing smelt, while some of the rivers feeding the many lakes around New Zealand can continue to get fresh runs of fish well into December. Yes, the frequent rain and unstable water levels of the early season can certainly put a damper on fishing plans, but they can also

create outstanding fishing opportunities such as when land-based insects – worms and spiders etc. – are washed into the rivers in good numbers, providing additional food sources for the resident fish to gorge on. Beyond just the variety of diet, the fish are often much less wary during the early-season than in the height of summer too. The lack of angling pressure and frequent off-colour water temporarily gives the angler the advantage, enabling a degree less stealth, heavier tippet, larger flies and even the odd second chance – acts and actions that wouldn’t be tolerated during the height of summer.

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incredible early-season dry fly session. The behaviour of New Zealand trout is typically driven by opportunity, particularly in the early-season, when fish will often feed on whatever food source is available to capture rather than keying into one particular hatch as is typical of other trout populations around the world. This behaviour can often appear as spontaneous, whereby a fish will rapidly cycle between feeding on different prey items as they present themselves. In these conditions an angler’s willingness to adapt can often be the key to success. Early-season fish can display incredibly

THIS EARLY SEASON RAINBOW POUNDED ON A LARGE STREAMER

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WAITING OUT A SPRING SHOWER

F ish & Game New Zealand

ND ALTHOUGH WE MAY HAVE TO WAIT a few months for the dry fly and terrestrial opportunities to kick into full summer swing, there are often opportunities for that type of fishing in the early-season as well. While I didn’t have a specific location planned for October 1 this year, or even for the first few months of the season, at the very least I always have a list of rivers and lakes that I plan to visit. In the early-season, I prefer to adopt an attitude of “have car, will travel”. Rather than locking in trips to specific locations, I am flexible and can head to where the fishing is best based on the current conditions and river state. When we get some rain and high water, the lingering lake-run fish will be calling. When a weekend

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LARGE DRIES CAN OCCASIONALLY DRAW FISH FROM THE DEPTHS AT THE START OF THE SEASON

coincides with sunshine and dry weather, it’s time to head for the rivers in the hills or alternatively a spring creek will be a good bet to see if any fish are willing to take a dry fly. Then, as we approach Christmas and beyond, it will be time to take the rod and a rifle for a walk into the backcountry, in search of a few willing trout keyed in to hatching mayflies or terrestrials… and some venison for the freezer if it pans out right. We surely are blessed for opportunity in New Zealand, so don’t be afraid to be spontaneous, jump in the car and challenge the weather, or pick the biggest and most gnarly fly from your box and see what will eat it. Sometimes the results are surprising, and there’s no better time to experiment than earlyseason.


F ish & Game New Zealand

April Vokey. British Columbia, Canada. Jeremy Koreski Š 2016 Patagonia, Inc.

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FLY FISHING TRANSCENDS DAY-TO-DAY, YEAR-TO-YEAR EXPERIENCES AND ALLOWS US ALL TO REGALE IN OUR BEST TIMES AND PAST TRIUMPHS AND FAILURES ON THE RIVER. BOB SOUTH RECKONS A FAIR SHARE OF THE ROMANCE OF TROUT FISHING EXISTS IN THE MIND AND RECOLLECTIONS OF

F ish & Game New Zealand

THE ANGLER, NOT IN THE DOING AND CATCHING, BUT IN THE TELLING

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F TROUT COULD TALK, THEY COULD spin the best yarns of all,” pronounced Norris McDowell in a talk delivered at the fourth annual John D. Voelker (a.k.a. the inimitable Robert Traver) Foundation meeting at Northern Michigan University on June 25, 1993. But alas, trout can’t talk, so it is best left to anglers who pursue them to do the talking, right? Traver himself posed a most important

question in his book Traver on Fishingg, a question many a casting hacker has pondered since: “Do fishermen fish largely for fellowship, the comradely allure of later huddling with their fellow manics to brag a little and further cement their mystic brotherhood with bumpers of liquid glue?” Old Robert thought rather not. But my experience tells me that at least part of the “allure” of fly fishing, aside from

all the ‘connect with Nature’ and solitude and serenity’ spin, and ‘it’s good for the soul’ gobbledygook, is to spend time after the fact ‘talking it up’, telling the tales, shaping and verbally photo-shopping the adventures into indelible memories by regurgitating them, sometimes ad nauseam, to mates, spouses, or family. It’s an integral part of the game.


MANY OUTSIDE OUR FRATERNITY BELIEVE ALL THAT IS REQUIRED TO MAKE A GOOD ANGLER IS THE ABILITY TO TELL LIES EASILY

F ish & Game New Zealand

‘THIS THING WAS THE SIZE OF A FOOTBALL’

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‘YOU ARE NOT GOING TO BELIEVE THIS...’

ERIOUSLY, GO TO ANY FORMAL OR informal assembly of fly anglers – or spin, bait, or salt anglers for that matter – and you will encounter stories (and remarkable fabrications) about that very day’s fishing, tales about past feats, including lies and exaggerations about special days and trophy fish. At my very own local in Turangi – Spud’s bar at Parklands Motor Lodge – guides and anglers regularly can be heard yapping about fishing, trading one-ups, usually spiced by more than a little lubrication. This sort of playful, meaningless nostalgic discourse is, if not unique to our sport, absolutely significant. I mean, I know All Blacks of yesteryear, and Silver Ferns, Tall Blacks, the local first XV, all at some stage sit around over a few beers and fondly recollect

big plays, big games, and so on. That’s normal, expected behaviour. But I’ll argue long and loud that anglers do these exchanges better, more openly, and more often. Visit a luxury lodge, or some place as sparse TALTAC in Turangi, or just gather with a few friends over dinner and drinks, or around a fire, and anglers will almost instinctively start to share their accomplishments – a sad, misguided few with conceit, most with humour, others with undeniable, refreshing candour. As Paul Quinnett wrote in Pavlov’s Troutt – “When the sun is down and the flames dance and fishermen are encircled by their family and friends, they can and will speak of all the things deep in their hearts, especially life, love, the love of life, and, of course, fishing. So critical

is this social, psychological and emotional communication between fishermen and the people they care about that, to anyone who thinks fishing is only about catching fish, I can only say: Huh?” Whether a born angling raconteur, or just a plain old mumbling Joe, telling and intently listening to tales from the river, stream, or lake are glorious parts of our sport. All anglers look back on an experience – either that very day or in the distant past – and think of individual captures and of the scenes in which they fished, and given but an ounce of opportunity these anecdotes will be broadcast proudly, often loudly. As John Monniger put it in his book Home Waters, “Most anglers… cast to remembered

F ish & Game New Zealand

ONE INDISPUTABLE THING ABOUT EMBOSSING FISHING STORIES IS THAT THE PRACTICE KNOWS NO SOCIAL OR PROFESSIONAL BOUNDS

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FISHING STORIES LEND THEMSELVES FAMOUSLY TO EMBELLISHMENT, SAYS SOUTH


ACCORDING TO ONE AUTHOR, THIS SOCIAL, PSYCHOLOGICAL AND EMOTIONAL COMMUNICATION BETWEEN FISHERMEN IS A CRUCIAL PART OF THE PURSUIT

trout on remembered summer days, reading water as it breaks over sandbars, wading in sunlight, a hatch of mayflies sugaring the water just upstream… and, to a man, they love to talk about it.” I know you’ve all heard those hackneyed stories before… like this one told by John MacDonald in The One That Got Away:: “He was one of those trout over whom the fisher has no control whatever – every move an awesome phenomenon. As the line ran out, I pointed the rod down and straight after him, in a sign of resignation, waiting for the snap, which came in due course. So I wound up with just the story and without the fish and did the talking at supper that night.” But other yarns are fresh, matchless even. A favourite of mine was humbly related among cobbers at Kinloch one autumn day by Richard, a gun fly fisherman who succumbed, like many continue to be today, to the growing attraction that is the Tekapo canals and its ginormous trout that balloon to super-size by gorging on residual fish pellets from the nearby commercial salmon pens. This particular day Richard was among a long line of hopefuls spread tightly along the roadside waiting for the big hit, all situated within cooee of each other and all enjoying friendly banter. Being the newcomer, Richard was all ears at first. A fellow nearby soon hooked a behemoth and was forced to follow it as it sped down canal. Almost disappearing out of sight, the angler released his fish and upon his return to the group was asked: “What was it?” “It was a 10,” came the reply. Not long after another chap got smashed and off he ran chasing his catch, dragged much

further away from the angling throng than the previous bloke. When he returned, he was asked: “What was that beauty?” Pumping out his chest proudly, he said with good-natured bravado: “That, my good friends, was a 17.” Suitably impressed, Richard could hardly wait to emulate his two comrades and soon enough his chance came. The hook-up was fierce and, like those before him, Richard was off after it. He nearly disappeared from sight like the first fella and, after photos and a release, he fair trotted back waiting for the usual question. “What was that, Richard?”

“That That, I’m I m sorry to say, say was only a nine pounder, but a good fish all the same.” Then came the inoffensive derision. “No, no, no mate, not how much did it weigh. How many roadside markers did it drag you down the canal – 11, 16, 12, 14? We all know the fish are big here, but we tend to measure ‘em by how far down the road they take you before netting, not by weight or condition factor.” Of course, Richard’s anecdote has become folklore in them-there parts. Not too different to a local slice of history around the Tongariro that concerned yours truly, super South Island guide Tony Entwistle, and friend Chris Clenshaw.

F ish & Game New Zealand

TELLING TALES AFTER A DAY’S ANGLING IS AN INTEGRAL PART OF THE GAME

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MANY ANGLERS ARE LESS CONCERNED ABOUT CAPTURING A TRUTH THAN CAPTURING A FISH, ACCORDING TO ONE SCRIBE

F ish & Game New Zealand

FTER A SUPERB WINTER’S DAY FISHING where more than 40 rainbows were landed, the largest Chris’ of 83/4lb, the sun set and, belatedly, we decided to head home. Only thing is, we, the three of us, my two Labradors, and Chris’ best fish ever, had to cross the river in the pitch dark to get back to my truck. Stupid move I know. But it was the only way home. Long story short – which became longer over drinks that night and longer still over the years – we linked arms, headed across the tail-out, only for Tony to stumble into an unexpected mid-river hole, forcing he and I to lose our balance. The result? He and I filled our waders, he lost his polaroids and rod and reel, I lost my gear too, and to top it off Entie’s mobile phone

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got soaked as well. All the while Chris and the Labs navigated safely to the far riverbank, with Chris’ trophy still safely clinched in his fist. I think the dogs were laughing. Word of this clumsy calamity got round New Zealand lightning-fast, and deserving laughing stocks we became. But the best part of this story was that an angler actually hooked and retrieved Tony’s gear next morning in the run below our mishap, and, unbelievably, another fly fisherman managed to snag the butt section of my rod, with reel still intact later that day. Of course, stories like these lend themselves famously to embellishment – embellishment being, in fishing parlance anyway, an endearing, comfortably acceptable form of lying. Fibbing if you will.

For centuries, fishing and fishermen have overflowed with falsehood. In fact, lying is still one of the oldest tricks of the fishing trade. Confirming this notion, the late renowned angler and environmentalist Roderick Haig-Brown reckoned: “Anglers... exaggerate grossly and make gentle and inoffensive creatures sound like wounded buffalo and man-eating tigers.” Indeed! Author Arthur Ransome was of a similar school. “You will find that the more noted liars among your fishing acquaintances are men with a marked lack of nimbleness of mind, no splitters of hairs, the sort of men who apply parr ticular names in a general sense… they are not romancers, but simply dull fellows and probably

IDLE HOURS AROUND THE CAMPFIRE PROVIDE A WONDERFUL FORUM FOR FISHING TALES

AT LEAST PART OF THE ALLURE OF FLY FISHING IS TO SPEND TIME TALKING IT UP


WHAT ANGLERS DO SO WELL IS GLORIFY THIS FINE RECREATIONAL ENDEAVOUR THROUGH FELLOWSHIP, DIALOGUE, AND EVEN THROUGH INVENTION

bad fishermen. They are likely to lie to themselves in their own fishing diaries. It is these dull fellows, a few of them in every generation, who brought all talk about fishing to such a lamentable pass.” Yet, truth be told, one indisputable thing about embossing fishing stories is that the practice knows no social or professional bounds. Judges who trade their robes for waders, bankers who pocket their fly wallets rather than chequebooks and head for the eye of some pool, and all sorts of lesser mortals, can be equally guilty of subtle deception when relating their fishing conquests. What encourages so many to decorate their fishing exploits is simply explained. It isn’t in the nature of fishing to escape failure, nor is it in the nature of anglers to admit it. Arguably Thomas McGuane hit this nail squarely on the head in The Longest Silencee when he opined: “Many fishermen are less concerned about capturing a truth than capturing a fish, any fish…” In reality, some, mainly those outside our fraternity, steadfastly believe all that is required to make a good fisherman is the ability to tell lies easily without blushing and to expend as much energy in learning the art of lying as in masterr ing the double haul. And where and when might all this fishing hyperbole have started? Could it possibly have been in the bible? I mean, is it truly plausible that Jonah was swallowed by a large whale-like fish in whose belly he spent three days and three nights before God commanded the fish to spew out Jonah? Without meaning in any way to be sacrilegious, pull the other one because that’s quite a dandy fish narrative to digest around a riverside campfire, even today.

So back to the point of this article, which, let me be clear, is not to castigate any or all anglers for being consummate bull-shitters. Rather, it is to applaud and celebrate what we do so doggone well – glorify this fine recreational endeavour through fellowship, dialogue, and even through invention, by expressing aloud the joys and comforts that fishing so kindly rewards us with. It has long been said that scholars have long known fishing eventually turns men into philosophers. And as we all know and

understand, a philosopher is someone – yes, including fly fishermen – who enthusiastically and sometimes without prompting offers views or theories on profound questions. And with that definition underscored, I say long may we piscatorial philosophers continue to “huddle with our fellow manics”. Now, about that 18lb rainbow I caught last week on my four weight in a blizzard and lightning storm just on dark, using a size 28 Adams.

F ish & Game New Zealand

‘IT JUMPED SIX FEET HIGH, I SWEAR’

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NICK KING HAS WORKED AS A PROFESSIONAL FISHING GUIDE LOCALLY AND OVERSEAS FOR THE BEST PART OF TWO DECADES – IT’S A CAREER THAT HAS OFFERED INSIGHTS INTO SUCCESSES IN FRESHWATER FISHERY ADMINISTRATION, AS WELL AS FAILURES. HERE, IN NEW ZEALAND, HE WARNS, WE ARE FAST APPROACHING A TIPPING POINT AND WHAT IS DESPERATELY NEEDED IS A NEW STRATEGY FOR MANAGING

F ish & Game New Zealand

OUR FISHERY WHICH IS COMING UNDER INCREASING PRESSURE.

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HE C CRISP AIR OF THE MORNING WAS alreaady bowing to the promise of a warm summ mer’s day. The scent of dewy grass, willows and pine, touched by the first rays, was intoxicating. Bruce was to go first, and I eagerly awaited my turn, hoping today’s effort was of a higher standard than my last outing. Two respectable drives had us walking abreast down the first fairway as we contemplated how to approach the second shot. “What’s this?” Bruce exclaimed, as two previously unseen players crossed the fairway to Bruce’s ball. As one selected a club from his bag and addressed the ball the other filmed on his phone. We watched aghast as the ball soared aloft before alighting on the green to the obvious satisfaction of the new arrivals. After two-putting to the cup, the pair headed for the second tee, while we stood rooted to the spot, totally bewildered. “Should we go and confront them?” Bruce asked. “Maybe they just don’t know,” I replied. “It’s a nice morning, let’s just go start again on 10.” Ten had the club pro and his client preparing to tee off. “Looks like I beat you too it,” he smiled. “Give me 11 and 12 if you would, you chaps can start on 13.” “Well I’ll be…,” stuttered Bruce as we dejectedly walked the path to 13. Our hearts sank at the sight of 13 where two young gentlemen with expensive clubs and a haughty air stood stretching in preparation. With a smile and a cheery, exotic greeting, they informed us that they planned on playing the hole five times in a row, as they were determined to master the trophy sized bunker just short of the green.

NICK KING

F ish & Game New Zealand

NEW ZEALAND RESIDENTS SHOULD HAVE PRIORITY OVER GUIDES AND FOREIGN ANGLERS

NICK KING

KING PROPOSES CONSTRAINTS ON BACKCOUNTRY FISHERY USE BY NONRESIDENT ANGLERS SO AS TO PROTECT THE EXPERIENCE FOR KIWIS

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NICK KING

COMBAT ANGLING IN THE US - IS THIS WHERE ANGLING IN OUR COUNTRY IS HEADED?

F ish & Game New Zealand

NICK KING

HERE TO NOW?” I WHIMPERED. H “B Bloody clubhouse,” replied Bruuce. “I need a drink!” Do any off those D h situations sound familiar in the context of New Zealand angling? Okay, so the tale above would never actually happen. Why? Because failure to understand and adhere to the rules and ethics of golf is simply not tolerated, as the consequences of doing so would make the game unplayable. And when the demands on the golf course become too great, the number of players is restricted.

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Golf obviously benefits from the same set of rules worldwide; angling, unfortunately, is more area specific. However, that does not mean incumbent local ethics and lore can or should be ignored. It means that when the number of people wishing to fish reaches saturation, restrictions need to be considered in order to maintain the experience. Simple. We have arrived at a point where New Zealand angling, specifically in our hallowed backcountry, is becoming a bunfight. The ‘players’ have ceased to consciously think about the future, or others,

NEITHER THE DEPARTMENT OF CONSERVATION NOR FISH & GAME HAVE MANAGED TO CREATE ANY FRAMEWORK AROUND COMMERCIAL USE OF THE FISHERY

and have slipped into a grab-while-you-can mentality. Exacerbated by antiquated benevolent fisheries regulations, hyperactive social media, saturated industry marketing, unrestricted specialist angling lodges, filled with squadrons of unregulated and highly motivated guides, the wild fisheries of New Zealand are under the pump like never before. Combine this with the incessant demand that money maintains priority above all else, a Government driven tourism ideal of ‘more is better’, and a host of other powerful internal (not to mention external) forces, and the quintessential Kiwi angling experience is now a short cast from the sunset. If we are truly willing to let it go, and have it just play out, the rest of this article is redundant. If not, then it is time to plant a very big standard in the ground and develop a new strategy to forever maintain the delight that we know New Zealand angling to be. Any future freshwater fishery regulations need to be clean, concise and simple. And to implement a simple system with a goal of maintaining the exceptional essence of New Zealand angling, we need a simple foundation. One way to achieve this is to replicate the management regimes in of some of the world’s other premier fisheries. Picture the component parts in order of status. Once identified, it is a matter of understanding that if any part lower in rank negatively affects anything above, new restrictions would apply. If this means whole components drop off, then so be it.


S

TS

E SPREAD OF H T PE P S TO

r u o y n a e l C r e l i a r t , t a bo r e l l e p o r p &


NICK KING

NEW ZEALAND’S BACKCOUNTRY TROUT FISHERY HAS SUFFERED FROM TOO MUCH PROMOTION, TO A POINT WHEREBY ANGLING PRESSURE ON SOME WATER IS NO LONGER SUSTAINABLE

F ish & Game New Zealand

NICKNICK KINGKING

O HERE’S HOW IT’S ACHIEVED – A ‘ttotem pole’ in descending order of iimportance: t 1: The Fishery 2: Citizens and Residents of New Zealand 3: New Zealand Commercial Guides 4: Non-Resident Anglers The beauty about this model is that it’s basic, fair and impossible to refute the hierarchy. The simplicity allows managers responsible for the fishery to identify and remedy problematic

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aspects of usage. Once ruffled feathers have settled and it is the accepted norm, we can all look forward to perpetual angling of a quality that gave New Zealand its exceptional status in the first instance. It is, however, important to understand a little about each of the component parts to see how such a regime is equitable and would work to achieve that desired goal. The fishery comes first because, obviously, without the fishery there is nothing. That’s

THE FISHERY COMES FIRST AND MUST BE PROTECTED ABOVE ALL ELSE

why it is at the top of the totem. This is far and beyond the most important aspect of any future management. The fishery encompasses all of the natural and cultural elements that have put New Zealand angling on a pedestal. If we have a healthy fishery sustained by a healthy environment, protected by engaged, empowered, positive anglers, then we have a future. All anglers need to take it upon themselves to humbly submit to the fact that the fishery is the ubiquitous and non-negotiable essence of our angling, and if necessity dictates we have to accept restrictions today, on behalf of the anglers of tomorrow, in the name of the anglers of yesteryear. The citizens and residents of New Zealand come next in order of priority. As an autonomous sovereign nation, the management of New Zealand’s freshwater fishery is the sole domain of the people of this country and no one else. How we utilise it, share it, protect and develop it, is our business. If, as seems to be the case, Kiwi anglers feel disenfranchised and that control of our fishery is slipping from our grasp, it should not only be accepted but also expected that we rectify matters. After all, we are the ones who have the most to lose. Our perceived ideal of a good day’s fishing differs greatly from the guy who got off the plane last season and had a degree of success. By his standards, New Zealand is still probably a smashing place full of huge trout and ample


NICK KING

THERE ARE VERY SERIOUS CONCERNS THAT NEW ZEALAND’S TROUT FISHERY HAS BECOME A VICTIM OF ITS OWN ACCLAIM

circles suggests that the guiding fraternity is having a negative impact on both the resident angler and the fishery. As a legal infrastructure was never created, the guiding world became self-regulating and the NZ Professional Fishing Guides Association (NZPFGA) was formed. Neither the Department of Conservation (DOC) nor Fish & Game NZ have managed to create any framework around commercial usage of the fishery. DOC caved to pressure and issued a blanket

concession for all NZPFGA members, essentially allowing up to 180 individual businesses to hide beneath one blunt and ineffectual management tool. This essentially gave the NZPFGA control of the commercial aspect of fishery management. It would be inconceivable to gift other industries the same level of self-control. Imagine if Air Access operators were under a blanket concession with no control on where they went or how many landings they could do within our conservation estate.

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opportunity, free access and accommodation, cold beer and little angst. When he can no longer find fulfilment on our rivers he goes home lamenting the loss of a foreign treasure. If it ever gets to the stage that we can no longer find fulfilment on our rivers something is very broken and a hugely rich asset of great cultural and historic value may have degraded to the point of no return. In this matter it is our perception that counts, not the perception of itinerant international anglers. With government approving a distinction between residents and non-resident in the licence regime, it is pertinent to solidify resident angling as its own category. The current incumbent fisheries regulations are at present an adequate tool to manage resident anglers. We are not a perfect bunch and there is plenty of room for improvement in compliance and sustainability, however it would be reasonable to presume that New Zealanders should be the least and last affected by any change to freshwater fishery regulations. At the third tier are New Zealand commercial guides. The professional fishing guiding industry in this country has developed quite of its own accord. To this day it has no licensing regime and is essentially unregulated. Like most Kiwi endeavours it has become a juggernaut that some time back claimed quite a dominant stake in what was intended to be a recreational pursuit. General consensus within recreationa angling

NICK KING

THERE IS AN UNWILLINGNESS AMONG SOME VISITORS TO CONSIDER THE CULTURAL REQUIREMENTS OF ANGLING IN NEW ZEALAND

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NICK KING

KING PROPOSES THAT NON-RESIDENT ANGLERS SHOULD ONLY BE ALLOWED TO FISH PREMIER WATER WHEN GUIDED BY A NEW ZEALAND PROFESSIONAL

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Fish & Game and DOC in turn could tax this sale for much needed revenue. The new guide gets a valuable asset of high quality. The old guide gets a nest egg. The fishery gets protection from out of control guide numbers (as is currently the case), and the client gets a service and experience worth travelling the planet for. Such a situation, although more expensive initially, would allow guides more security in their given area. It would also develop a desire to nurture local fisheries and enhance a symbiotic

NICK KING

F ish & Game New Zealand

HE U UPSIDE OF THIS FOR GUIDES IS CHEAP entryy into the industry and no control over theirr commercial movements. The down side is that by having a blanket concession available to anyone joining NZPFGA, no one has anything to sell at the end of their career. If each guide had to hold their own area-specific concession – that was limited by DOC and/or Fish & Game – then upon retirement that valuable concession could be part of the sale of a business to the next generation.

SO MUCH FOR ANGLING SOLITUDE - GUIDED ANGLERS FISHING ON TOP OF EACH OTHER IN COLORADO

relationship with local anglers. A list of tools implemented to create a more sustainable guiding industry could include any or all of the following: • A requirement for each guiding business to hold its own area-specific concession. • A requirement for guides to hold a registered Guide’s Licence that linked a DOC concession with a desire from Fish & Game to separate commercial guides from recreational anglers. • Concessions only made available to guiding operations, not lodges. Lodges are accommodation houses and if they were granted concessions it would just start the next wave of multiple guides operating under a blanket. This would also prevent endless new dedicated fishing lodges elbowing in on a finite resource. • Guiding concessions limited to two Fish & Game regions with adjoining boundaries. This would allow guiding operations that are close to a boundary to utilise both regions. • Provision for priority use areas (i.e. national parks and named ‘platinum grade’ rivers and lakes) within Fish & Game regions, where concessions and guide days are highly restricted based on commercial carrying capacity studies. Initial quota should be allocated by historical usage. • Allowance for concessions to be transferable within the registered guiding community creating a value that would benefit both guides and management agencies. Essentially, a more stable, sustainable,


NIC NICK N NI I KIN NG

SOME TOUGH DECISIONS NEED TO BE MADE TO RECLAIM AND PRESERVE OUR FISHERY FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS

Within a few short years New Zealand’s secret places have been broadcast throughout the angling world and a whole new genus of angler has descended on our fishery armed with cameras, and videos, gleaning industry sponsorship on the way and returning with images of unparalleled angling splendour. Many have, and still do, profit handsomely from our fishery while the resource sees not a dime.Anglers from around the globe saw an avenue to not only fish the best, but also make money and enhance their industry status to boot.

The ‘trout bum’ became a phenomenon, using communal networking and tech savvy to essentially pillage our heritage on a shoestring budget and then exacerbate things by showcasing their conquests on the way to becoming paid industry professionals. This has combined with an unwillingness or inability to consider the cultural requirements of angling in New Zealand, and the new wave of go-it-alone anglers have made endless etiquette blunders, culminating in a resident population that is fed up.

F ish & Game New Zealand

managed commercial presence would go a long way to alleviating the evidently negative effects guiding is having on the two components above it on the totem pole. Commercial guides would also benefit from a fraternity that could relax in a more secure, less gold-rush crazed environment where focus can revert to long-term goals and considered outcomes. Then we arrive at the last or lowest tier. With Tourism New Zealand’s desire to have visitors outnumber residents within the decade, we have to decide right now whether we continue to have a freshwater fishery that is openly available to the whole world, or available through a controlled access strategy that protects its fragility and cultural importance. Unfortunately for the original travelling angler who enjoyed a pioneering freedom in New Zealand and both assimilated with and enhanced our fishery by bringing new techniques and diverse views, the time of such liberty may be over. Without a doubt unrestricted tourist anglers are now affecting all three components above them on the totem pole. This is fundamentally wrong. The Internet has accelerated this section of fishery usage from a trickle to a flood. The promotion of the fishery from within the guiding fraternity was the genesis of a multimedia beast that has gushed superlatives upon the fishery in an unstoppable tirade. Fisheries managers and local anglers were uncomprehending of the power of the ‘net and social media.

NICK KING

A NEW EW W WAV A AV V VE E O F GO O-I -IIT T-A -A -ALLON LO ON O NE A ANGL NGL NG GLLE ERS ER RS HA RS HAVE EM MA MAD AD DE EN END E ND N DLESS LE LLES ESS ET ES TIIIQ TIQ QUE QUET UE UET ET TT TE E BLU BLLU BL UN NDE ND DE D ERS, R CU RS ULM LMI MIN NAT ATING A NG IN NG IN A RESSIDE RES IID DE D EN NT T POP PO PO OP PU ULLA ULA LAT TIO IO ON THAT HAT T IS IS FE FED UP

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HAMISH CARNACHAN

OUR RELAXED AND BENEVOLANT FISHERIES REGULATIONS HAVE GIVEN RISE TO ‘TROUT BUMS’ WHO ARE A DRAIN ON THE RESOURCE

F ish & Game New Zealand

HAMISH CARNACHAN

LL OF THIS HAS HAPPENED UNDER THE nose of DOC and Tourism New Zealand as anglers film and photograph for hire and reward, without concessions or work permits, before slipping back home to watch their bank balance grow. All the while, they use huts like motel units, kill unsustainable numbers of fish to support long backcountry stays, and indulge in other sacrilegious behaviour that seems to have become the norm rather than the exception. These latest waves of

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OVERSEAS ANGLERS WOULD NEED TO BE GUIDED BY A NEW ZEALAND OPERATOR ON TOP TIER WATER

overseas anglers have most unfortunately swept up the previous more benign generation into an inseparable mass that can no longer be given carte blanche reign. Possible restrictions to resolve this most pressing of issues facing our fishery could include: • A substantial increase in non-resident angler licence differential fees, to match places with similar angling such as British Columbia and Alaska.

• A maximum 14 to 21-day non-resident annual licence. • Non-guided angling restricted to waterways classified as ‘second tier’ (to be determined by Fish & Game regions). • Access to ‘top tier’ or ‘platinum grade’ waterways (starting with fisheries within national parks) only permitted in a guided situation (again, such waterways status would be determined by Fish & Game regions). • Catch and release only for non-resident anglers. The above concepts are emotional, they will frustrate some and may even sit uncomfortably with our own national nature of sharing and openness. There may, however, be other avenues to explore to achieve the same objective, such as permitting resident anglers to invite nonresident anglers to fish top tier waterways in an unguided capacity, for example. But what has become overwhelmingly apparent to anyone who spends time fishing the backcountry – in a professional or recreational capacity – is that something desperately needs to be done. We have big, brave decisions to make if we intend to claim our fishery back. The above article is simply my take on things and is in no way supposed to be treated as gospel. The simple fact is I care, as many others do, and the time is upon us to make some difficult calls on the future of a fishery we all love. It is time for decisive leadership.


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F ish & Game New Zealand

    

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MOODS OF

M AY F L I E S Photos: Stu Hastie Words: Bob South

I

T’S THE MOMENT MANY AN ANGLER LIVES

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for, arguably the most powerful inducement in fly

46

fishing – silken waters, a windless late afternoon/

evening, a waning, but still warm sun, which together create perfect, even elegant, fishing conditions. Then, almost mysteriously, a dimple shatters the water here, a meaningful plop there, followed by


a dramatic ring rise. The snout that created this

sip in an unsuspecting insect. A quick glance around this heavenly river scene and all is revealed. Mayflies are starting to emerge and flitter hither and yon. An angler’s heart quickens. Suddenly it’s on.

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sphere of perfection gently lifted to the surface to

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I

N THE CATHEDRAL OF TROUT, a mayfly hatch is a magical thing and casting to fish when this fury

unfolds provides the epitome of angling excitement. When a hatch explodes, the water can fair boil with frenzied trout on the feed. It can be mesmerizing to a fly angler, as almost out of nowhere, mayflies materialise on the surface of a gently flowing river, transforming water that showed no signs of life into a montage of swirling, slashing, splashing trout. Many anglers consider the mayfly the most important trout stream insect. Dancing, delicate, fleeting ephermeral creatures, they live their whole lives in a single day, and are a principle trout food throughout New Zealand. Their brief time on the planet consists of finding food, laying eggs, and dying, very often after being consumed by voracious fish that treat their emergence much like humans drooling over an all-you-can-eat smorgasbord. There are about 40 species of mayfly

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endemic to New Zealand.

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M

AYFLIES

BELONG

TO

THE

order of insects called Ephemeoptera, from the latin Ephemero

which means short-lived, and ptera, for wings. Their short, precarious lifecycle consists of four stages: egg, nymph, dun, and spinner. One would be hard-pressed to find more

eloquent

and

accurate

words

about mayflies than those of Fish & Game contributor Derek Grzelewski: “Mayflies spend almost all of their lives underwater among rocks on a streambed – usually a year, sometimes two in the case of the largest species. “Then, when conditions are right, they ascend to the surface to hatch. There, they struggle through the viscous membrane that separates the two worlds and climb out of their nymphal shucks – think of a white water kayaker, adrift in a current, pulling herself out of a tight cockpit. Then they fly off, keeping their bodies vertical in flight, tails trailing like long legs, giving an overall impression of dainty ballerinas

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carried on gossamer wings.”

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5 51

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From Fr om m tth heirr eas heir ase e of o d dep eplo loym ymen e t an en and d st stea ealt altth, thr throu o gh ou h to of offeriing an ex e ceptio ona al pl p attfo orm for spo ott ttin ing g an and d ca cast stin st ing, g D g, Der e ek Grzelewski k disco ove vers rs tha at st stan andan d-up dup p pad ad addl ddl d eb e oa oard rdss – or SUP UPss – co coul uld d ju just st be th the e ul ulti tima m te fi ma fish s in ng cr craft. t. He ad adds d the h c cau auti tion ti o ar on ary y note no te,, ho howe w ve we ver, tha h t a ce c rtain de egree of sk kil illl is is req equi uire ui red re d so s tha hatt yo you u do don’ n’tt li lite tera rall l y en e d up ‘ge gett ge ttin tt ing g am amon ongs on gstt th them em’. ’.

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WALKING ON

52

T HAS BEEN SAID THAT FLY FISHING IS much like problem- solving: basically, the fish are feeding, and you can’t catch them, so here’s a problem needing a solution, ideally a quick one. Depending on where you’re at with your fishing, and the nature of the game itself, there are many variations on this theme – flies, techniques and strategies – though my particular quandary had to do with access to some of the most explosive dry-fly action on the planet. I live amongst the Southern lakes, which are massive bodies of water and full of trout, yet

surprisingly they are little fished except by the usual brigade of putt-putt trollers who tend to stick to predictable lanes and deep water. So, the best stretches of sight-fishing shorelines – those with plenty of structure and abundance of food – are rarely touched by anglers. Trouble is, they are also the most inaccessible. These are the crumbling cliff-lines and natural breakwater shores of giant boulders, overhung with trees and shrubs, hard to get to, even more awkward to follow, not to mention casting from them. The water there is deep-

blue or black, with little or no littoral zone and, in season, the trees and shrubs are alive with insects, many of which end up falling into the water. There, just under the surface, large trout cruise in quick zig-zagging patterns, reacting to anything that hits the water, examining twigs and leaves, gulping beetles, hoppers or cicadas though never bees or wasps. It is a sight that makes your mouth go dry and sends the heart rate spiking, for these are not the spooky fish from any popular drive-by river that can shy off at the mere wave of a


of a guy sight-fishing the Florida flats from a stand-up paddleboard. My eyes lit up. Now here was a vessel perfect for the task – stealthy and portable, quick to deploy, ideal to see and to cast from. A few emails later, my fishing-specific inflatable BOTE paddleboard arrived and changed my lake fishing forever. You’ve surely seen them around, as stand-up paddleboards – SUPs – have become one of the fastest-growing fitness fads… and for a good reason. As a way of getting into shape, paddling a SUP is right up there with swimming and cross-country skiing, a low-impact fullbody workout. You paddle with your arms and upper body but the power transfer is through your legs and feet into the boat so that all the muscles are engaged. Your legs get stronger, your ‘flabdominals’ tightened and toned, and as your core strengthens and stabilises – just through mere balancing on the board – a lot of back pains and niggles tend to disappear as well. And it’s not like this kind of fitness regimen is a chore, right? You’re out there, in fresh air and beautiful places, with a fly rod in your hand. Getting fit while fishing? Definitely my kind of workout. I’m not saying it’s easy, but then most worthwhile things usually aren’t. If you just grab your rod and fly vest and hop on a SUP you will most likely spend more time swimming than fishing. Yet with a bit of practice a SUP becomes a remarkably stable fishing platform. The progression is a lot like learning to ride a bike: your balance, turning and propulsion need to become almost second-nature before you start fanging down technical trails. To start, I put a good few weeks into just paddling, without the rod. This was a revelation in itself because the first thing you notice from the SUP is just how many more fish there are on the flats and shallows than what you could ever see from the shore. GEARING UP AND PREPARING TO LAUNCH IN PERFECT CONDITIONS FOR SUP FISHING

fly rod but the top-of-the-food-chain predators worked up to a feeding frenzy, curious and con-fident. If you’ve experienced such a sight, even once, like me, you’d be coming back again and again, hoping to relive it. But, as I say, access is a major problem, ranging from hard to dodgy, through to impos-sible. Belly boats and kayaks are next to useless (too low to the surface to see from), motorboats too noisy and clunky. So, it all seemed a bit hopeless and limited to a few accessible rocks until, somewhere on the web, I saw a picture

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CHRIS DORE WORKS A NICE ROCK LEDGE AND DROP-OFF

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ANOTHER LAKE RAINBOW COMES TO THE CRAFT

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RUISING THE DROP-OFF AND LOOKing into the littoral zone, it’s not uncommon to see several fish at any one time. This flip of perspective – looking in from the outside, from an elevated vantage point and often against a good backdrop of shoreline and trees – is one of the greatest advantages of fishing from a SUP. The others are unobstructed casting space and the stealth of approach. It is the movement that seems to spook the trout most. If you just drift and keep low and still, the fish can often swim right under the SUP without scaring off at all. The easiest way to catch fish from a SUP is to fit it with an accessory tackle rack, secure y ur rrod yo od iin n th ther eree an andd tr trol olll Wo Wool olly ly

54

Buggers and the likes along the flats and dropoffs. The takes are unmistakeable though, at least to begin with, and you may want to follow the advice of a fellow SUP-fishing convert, top Queenstown guide Chris Dore, and “always fight the fish on your knees” so that you don’t follow them into the drink. Trolling lures behind the SUP is a good entry-level way to get used to the boat, get a workout and catch dinner, but when you progress to sight-fishing it is another game entirely, one with a lot of moving parts. First of all, when you put your paddle down to cast, the vessel becomes a lot less stable. A single wake from a passing motorboat or a jet ski can take you out if it catches you unaware. Add to this th is tthe he eexc xcit item emen entt of tthe he h hun untt – th thee

fish moving fast and feeding, you trying to cast accurately to them, often at odd angles, crossbody or backhand – and it’s not that impossible to step off the board and truly “get in amongst them”. Falling in is actually good and part of the learning; just hang on to your rod and clamber back on board. After you fall in a few times you’ll be falling off a lot less. Your brain and muscle memory would have figured out the limits of balance and with time and mileage the board becomes like an extension of your body. You’ll find you can move around it, even turn, and you won’t need to drop down to your knees every time you hook up. In fact, there is nothing quite like the sensation of being

“The first thing you notice from the SUP is how many more fish there are on the flats and shallows than what you could ever see from the shore.”

DAVID TOWGOOD

A TRULY VERSATILE FISHING PLATFORM


A SOLID LAKE BROWN TROUT TAKEN ON A SUNK TERRESTRIAL IMITATION FROM THE SUP

fishing from a SUP may seem too hard and complicated, with too many moving parts, and a learning progression that involves plenty of blank days. But if you persevere like I did, become comfortable on the board and shake down the procedures – especially the transitions from paddle to rod and back again – in the end it all miraculously comes together and the rewards are beyond measure. One such day I put in at a little rocky bay on Lake Wanaka and paddled out to maybe 100 metres offshore. The lake was like glass out as far as you could see, but there was a slight southerly current running and for an hour or so I paddledd int ntoo it, well away from m the shore soo as nott to dis i tu t rbb th he water t I was abo b utt to

fish. Then I turned in again and let myself drift to within a casting distance of the shoreline. There was not a cloud in the sky and through the polaroids the water, shaded by the backdrop of the mountains, was inky black. The flashes of gold within it were the big brown trout hunting waterlogged terrestrials. For the next three hours I drifted along on the barely discernible current, casting to an untold number of trout. This may come as a surprise to many but, per kilometre of the bank, there are a lot more fish in a lake than you’d find in an average New Zealand river. And let me just say I did not get many refusals as most of these trout behaved like they’d never been fished for b fo be f re. Af After a wh hile,, I eve ven n st star arte tedd te teas asin ingg th thee fish fis h, pul ulli liingg the fl flyy li ligh ghtl gh tlyy al tl alon ongg th on thee surf rfac acee j st aass th ju they ey wer e e ab abou outt to ttak ou akee it ak it.

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towed along by a good-size fish while, with your feet, you steer the board so it follows straight. Not exactly wake-boarding but you get the idea. Good fishing SUPs, like those in the BOTE range, have provision to attach a cooler box. I use a small chilly bin with a couple of bungee cords. This not only keeps your food and drinks cool and handy but, more importantly, makes a good seat to rest on and to fiddle with your fishing gear. It is surprisingly hard to change flies while standing up on the SUP, even in perr fectly glassy water – this has to do with how our balance, sight and focus are related – so a simple seat eliminates yet another potential cause of falling in. At the first few gl g ances,, flyy

GUIDE CHRIS DORE SHOWS HOW IT’S DONE

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A BEAUTIFUL LAKE FISH ALMOST PLAYED OUT

THIS RAINBOW WAS STALKED ON THE FLATS FROM THE PADDLEBOARD

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HERE WOULD BE THE AUDIBLE SNAP of the jaws, a moment of confusion as the trout realised it had missed, then an even more aggressive follow-up take, hard and fast like a punch just under the surface. It all felt like some kind of surreal fly fishing dream – being surrounded by rising and eager trout, on a perfectly still lake, with no one else around and miles more of shoreline ahead of me. But nothing lasts forever. At one point, looking up to the h head h d off the h llake, k I saw a nor-west front f approaching, a wall of wind, dust and churning water. Within minutes it hit, changi g ng the lake from fr om gla glass ssyy to whi white te-c -cap apss, aand nd the the win windd-dr driv iven en sw wel e l wa wass sm mas ashi h ngg met hi etre tre ress hi h gh aaga gain ga inst in st tthe he r cks ro ck ks al alon ong wh ong whic ich, ic h,, oonl nlyy moome nl ment ntss ea nt earl rlie rl ieer, the

56

ROOM ENOUGH FOR A FISHING DOG TOO

trout fed with such abandon. By then, I was on my knees on the board, surfing my way to the take-out point. I had learnt my waterman’s lessons early during the rookie days on the SUP: the inflatables are a lot more susceptible to wind than solid boards. You need to anticipate the weather and its wind changes and always – always – paddle into them so that you’ll get blown back to your take-out, not away from it into the open water, or beyond b d it, i ddown the h rocky k shore h without a way out for miles. Back k at the truck, deflatingg an nd roll llin ingg up the SUP SU P in into to iits ts bbac ackp kpac kp ack k st stuf ufff ba bagg, g, I h had ad a pan angg off rreeg egre egre rett that at my fly fl fi fish sh shin hin ng dr drea eam ea m ha h d no not laast sted edd lon onge ggeer. r. T The here he re was a ssoo mu m ch morre water

ahead, so many daylight hours, so many more trout to tease. But like the storm, it was only a passing sensation and did not really matter. If you’ve been out in the bush or on the water long enough, you know that Nature is always the boss and there is nothing for it but to roll with its whims while making the best calls you can, and besides, as it was, I’d already had one of my best trout days ever. For the time it lasted, it was like walking on water, with ihafl fly rodd at the h ready. d A Andd should h ld I even mention that I’ve had many more days like that since? Visit www.undergroundsurf.co.nz for mo m re infform rmat atio at ion io n aboutt BO B TTEE sta tand up padd d le dd le boaards bo ds,, de demo monsstrratio mo ions ns, offfe fers andd ren fers en nta tals ls .


                         

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FLY FIISH SHIN ING GU ING GUID GUID DE MI MIKE K KIR KE RKP KPAT A RICK CK HAS S BEEN B CAP CA PTURIN NG HI HIS S CL CLIE ENT N S’ S AND HIS OWN ANGLING IN N BOT TH ST TILLL PH PHOT OTOG OT TOG OGRA RAPH PHY PH Y AN ND VI VIDE DEO DE O ME MEDI DIA. A. HERE ERE HE HE SHARE RES SO S ME E KEY EY TIP PS TO T HELP P YO Y U

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Preserving the Moment

58

C

lICK! ANOTHER MOMENT IS FROZEN in time. Photography – both still and video – are the only real means of capturing our special moments in fly fishing, preserving these fragments in time as a visual reminder of the events we really want to remember and places we’d often much rather

be. If not for these two forms of media, our only option would be to try to imagine the wonderful river valleys we’ve ventured into and their elusive trout… but we all know how quickly memories can fade. The thing about getting out a camera and capturing a moment on a river, capturing the

scenery or the peripheral aspects of the pursuit, is that it’s just that – captured. It’s lasting. And having access to preserved memories becomes incredibly valuable in terms of reminiscing about recent trips when you’re back behind the desk at work or, perhaps more permanently, when you can no longer physically able to get to


ESCAPA ADE ES ON N CAM A ER E A FO OR YE EARS; AR RS S;; HE HA AS Q QU UIC UICKLLY BE BECO COME ONE CO N OF TH HE BE EST T IN N TH HE BU BUSI SN NE ESS S IMPROV OVE EY YO OU UR R PHO H TOGR TO OGR G AP A HY Y AND ULTIMAT TEL E Y PR PRES SER ERVE VE THE VE H M MOMENT.

HAVING THE ANGLER OFF-CENTRE ADDS TO THE SHOT

places you once ventured but still yearn to be. This is but one aspect of photography that to me, anyway, renders it valuable beyond words. What’s more, I’ve found that flicking through photos after a day out, considering the editing possibilities, are an enjoyable extension of the sport I love.

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THERE’S A RIGHT WAY AND WRONG WAY OF HANDLING FISH FOR PHOTOGRAPHS

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FISHING PHOTOGRAPHY DOESN’T HAVE TO BE JUST ABOUT FISHING

USE A TRIPOD WHEN TAKING LANDSCAPE PHOTOS, AS THIS HELPS AVOID CAMERA-SHAKE

S

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O, HAVING ESTABLISHED THE VALUE of carrying a camera when out on the water, it pays to consider how to get the best out of this often complex equipment – as any professional photographer will tell you, getting a shot is one thing but getting a good shot is something entirely different. Almost every angler I know carries a camera of some sort, and taking a quick snap of a victorious moment or a beautiful landscape is a regular part of the day out. Yet few people really think much beyond setting the thing to ‘Auto’ and clicking away. Sure, modern digital cameras are pretty clever on full auto mode, and they come up with fairly good images. But merely relying on point-and-shoot renders 70% of the camera’s capacity redundant, so imagine the possibilities untapped. In all photography (both still and video) getting the most out of your camera means taking a leap of faith of sorts. By that I mean you need to be prepared to explore, as that’s the only way to find out what the device is really capable of. Don’t be afraid to go crazy and lose yourself in the various menus and settings and simply experiment. I’m not going to bog you down in technobabble, but for the record I shoot my DSLR (digital single lens reflex) camera mostly in shutter priority mode. This controls the shutter speed, which is a good starting point as it allows control over image sharpness for handheld or tripod use and I can make further adjustments from there. The other two main considerations for DSLR shooting are aperture mode, for depth of field (that appealing shallow focus that makes the main subject of the shot stand out in sharp focus against a blurred background) and ISO, which adjusts the sensitivity of the sensor. Very simply put, it’s all about the various ways light enters the camera through the lens, and each

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UNDERSTANDING HOW TO FRAME A SHOT WELL WILL VASTLY IMPROVE YOUR FISHING PHOTOGRAPHY


CHRIS IS S DORE DORE RE

invite the viewer in, make them feel like they are almost in the scene. Also, look to take your scenic and landscape pictures either early morning or late evening, as this is when you find the dynamic conditions that will set your images apart, with high contrasts and moody lighting adding drama and feel. Carry a tripod for those majestic landscape photos too, as the distances involved will magnify any camera-shake and ruin your shot. Using the self-timer can also help prevent camera-shake upon shutter release. Our sport, with all its intricacies of tiny flies and natural insects, also lends itself perfectly to ‘macro’ (close-up) photography in which small subjects are shot in fine detail. Even the most basic point and shoot cameras have macro functions these days and the results can be surprisingly good. What’s more, it really expands your repertoire and the variety of pictures you end up with. On that note, another important consideration in fishing photography is the use of polarizing filters, especially when taking shots of water. Such filters are adjustable, and turning the filter until the surface glare is diminished will give a much improved end result by allowing the detail below the water’s surface to be seen more clearly, like wearing polarized fishing glasses. The filters also greatly enhancing the depth and colour of the shot and, again, can really add drama to your shots – blues are deeper, green are richer. As a general rule, though, these filters are only available for DSLRs, something you might want to consider when purchasing your camera. Now, let’s face it, fishing media and personal shots just wouldn’t be the same without the ubiquitous ‘grip-in-grin’ hero shot. However, there is a right way of going about these and a wrong way, and I’m not referring specifically to photography.

DETAIL IS EVERYTHING IN PHOTOGRAPHY - GET CLOSE TO YOUR SUBJECT

while they’re fighting a fish or, conversely, gain height and shoot down on them. Again, experiment. In the digital era, when you can easily and instantly view your pictures, there’s no excuse for not blasting away. When composing your shot there is a simple ‘rule of thirds’ guide, which suggests you split the features of your shot into thirds as you frame them, both vertically and horizontally. This gives the image the best balance. An example of this in a typical fishing scenario would be an action shot of an angler in the lefthand third of the frame battling a fish with the wider river scene unfolding in the other twothirds of the image. Allowing all of the visual elements in the frame to work together is something experience teaches you, but you’ll be surprised how good a shot you can acquire purely through natural instinct if you take time to allow it to guide you. In scenery shots, for instance, you want to

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of these three functions have to be adjusted to compensate for the other to get a properly exposed shot – not too dark, not too light. Emphasis on one or the other of these settings will give a different feel to the same shot. Full manual mode is great when you have time, but for action shots or even ‘grip-n-grins’ there are very obvious time constraints that make this option fairly redundant. For those who don’t shoot on DSLR cameras, make the most of the menu options that are very self-explanatory: sport mode, for faster action, as well as scenery, portrait, sunset, night mode etc. These modes are designed to take advantage of specific in-camera settings to get the most out of each situation without you having to fiddle around at all. Enough of the technological stuff. Let’s look at composition. And this is where so many anglers get their photography so wrong. Whenever you are about to shoot a picture, take a few seconds to consider the subject and surrounding environment and lighting conditions. Is the sun behind you and casting a good light source on your subject, or is their face in shade because the sun behind them? If you can’t maneuver them around, perhaps you need to use a flash to help ‘fill’ in the light – yes, even on the brightest sunny days you may have to do this, but it can create a stunning effect. Another rookie mistake is not framing the shot properly with a balanced composition and the correct horizontal planes. There is nothing worse than a shot with a skewed angle making the photo look like its tilted and, for example, the river appearing to flow ‘upstream’. A key part of composing a good shot is exploring different angles – very quickly your images can have a ‘sameness’ about them if you only shoot straight on from a standing position. Get low and look up at your subject

POLARISED FILTERS REALLY ESSENTUATE THE COLOUR

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A GREAT GRIP-N-GRIN SHOT WITH SUBJECT FILLING THE FRAME

QUIRKY SHOTS HELP TELL THE STORY

F

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IRSTLY, UPON BEING LANDED, THE trout must stay in the water and be allowed to recover before being lifted for the shot. Consider that the fish has just fought for its life so the last thing it needs is to be raised clear of water with no way of getting vital oxygen to recover. While the fish is recuperating in the net, I quickly sort my camera and have some presets ready, depending on conditions, to quicken the process. Plan your shot before the trout is handled, with a mind on the best angle for lighting and with consideration given to the backdrop that will best suit your desired picture. The trout is then lifted out carefully, with emphasis on avoiding handling anywhere near the gills or eyes or placing excessive pressure on the sensitive vital organs. After a quick eight-count the fish should be placed back in the water (holding the wrist of its tail firmly whilst gently twisting it on its side will stop it struggling and damaging itself). If you trust your camera and settings then there is no need for more shots and a quick preview will be enough to satisfy you of your success and the fish can be released. Aside from ensuring the fish is handled with absolute care, the most critical component of grip-in-grins is ensuring you fill the frame as much as you can. There’s nothing worse than a photo of Joe Blogs triumphantly holding his fish but appearing lost in the surrounds because the image was shot from 10 to 15 metres away. Get close to you subject, zoom in, do what you must to fill the frame with angler and fish. And consider getting them to bend down near the water to add extra interest and perspective. Somewhat back to front, I got into video before still photography. I’d joined a couple of good mates on an early-season trip when I spied

62

LOOK TO CREATE DIFFERENT EFFECTS BY WORKING DIFFERENT ANGLES


a video camera in the back of James’ car. After a brief discussion it was agreed that bringing it along and filming our day might be a source of fun, reviewing later what was likely to be the usual comedy of errors, and as a way of prolonging the jibes delivered at the day’s most unfortunate victim… usually me. We found it a breath of fresh air as we were able to not only critique each other’s casting and general skills, but also to extend the enjoyment of our precious moments on the water by reliving them later in a sort of playby-play highlights package. Laughter was the main theme at these viewings, with the sight of one mate with his knees pumping up around his ears as he chased down a large trout and then face planted, rendering us helpless in fits of uncontrollable laughter on the lounge floor. In all seriousness though, an added bonus was that viewing the small details taught us a lot about both trout behavior and our angling strategies and successes, or even lack thereof... Nothing is more certain than video evidence and I, for one, found that what I thought I was doing well at times didn’t entirely gel with reality once it was studied later. It was sobering at times. We went on to film a lot of trips and even though the sole battery we had allowed for only 1.5 hours of filming, we had loads of footage to go through by season’s end. We put some of the more interesting stuff on a disk and gave it to the local outdoors store in Nelson in a bid to help generate more interest in fly fishing by playing it on their instore TV. The effect that decision had was surprising to say the least. Chris, the store owner, called and asked for more of the disks to keep up with the sales demand… Sales demand?! It turned out that, as there were few options to view good New Zealand fly angling at the time, our little effort was quite popular.

One aspect of filming that has become incredibly popular is the recent influx of action cams – most notably the GoPro variety. These relatively tiny units have taken the world by storm and revolutionised how people capture their escapades and adventures, including of course, fly fishing. They do have shortcomings though, not least of which are the lack of sound and also the distortion created by the wide-angle lens. This makes for pretty similar segments of footage which after a while can become, frankly, boring. Aside from being able to compose and frame a shot, as we’ve been through in discussing still photography, any filmmaker worth their salt will tell you that making a movie is half video and half audio. Good audio can make a major difference to even a short clip – it adds context and description to a scene, and helps keep the view engaged. The ambient sounds of the wildlife and the chuckling of the river are

F ish is h & Ga Game a mee New Zealand Zeala Ze aland ala nd d

TAKE PLENTY OF SHOTS OF THE PERIPHERAL ASPECTS OF THE PURSUIT TO ADD INTEREST TO YOUR ALBUM

core elements of the overall angling experience so it makes sense to include them for full effect. A few hard and fast rules when I film include using a tripod whenever filming distance (or small subjects) as camera-shake can ruin these shots; keep your elbows locked into your sides when handheld shooting, and move your body to follow the action; set your camera to slightly underexpose, as overexposed shots lose vital information that cannot be gained back in postproduction. And as with still photography, be creative and imaginative with your angles. Whatever shot you choose, stick with it for a slow count of 10 seconds. You want room to cut each shot down to a minimum of 7-8 seconds. Take loads of footage – you can never have too much – including filler shots of river flows, anglers walking through the shot, nature etc. Lastly, film with a rough plan that incorporates a beginning, middle and end. Tell a story. Otherwise it’s just a collection of random shots that will quickly lose the viewers’ attention. I’ve derived a huge amount of enjoyment out of photography over the years – both still and moving – and it has certainly added to the overall angling experience. It hasn’t been driven by any sense or need for peer approval or pseudo- celebrity that some have succumbed to. No, for me it is about interweaving one art form with another; and it is about capturing the moment, preserving the experience, some of which are the greatest moments to be had. Like fly fishing, I’m still learning photography and I don’t think that will ever stop – perhaps that is part of the allure. So, whether you want to embark on a parallel obsession, or simply want to improve your technical ability and ultimate photographic results, there’s only one thing for it: snap to it.

ADJUSTING APERTURE PRIORTY TO GET DIFFERENT FOCAL EFFECTS ADDS INTEREST TO THE SHOT

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CAWTHRON SCIENTISTS DR JOHN HAYES AND HIS TEAM RECENTLY MADE THE GROUND-BREAKING DISCOVERY THAT DRIFT-FEEDING TROUT HAVE HIGHER FLOW REQUIREMENTS THAN PREVIOUSLY THOUGHT. AS HE EXPLAINS, THE RESEARCH HAS FAR-REACHING ENVIRONMENTAL, SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC CONSEQUENCES, AND IN NEW ZEALAND, FOR INSTANCE, REGIONAL COUNCILS WILL BE

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NICK KING

F ish & Game New Zealand

UNDER PRESSURE TO REVISE MINIMUM FLOWS UPWARD AND WATER ALLOCATION LIMITS DOWNWARD.

ANGLERS HAVE BEEN EXPLOITING INVERTEBRATE DRIFT TO CATCH TROUT AT LEAST AS FAR BACK AS THE THIRD CENTURY


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F ish & Game New Zealand

IVERS ARE THE OUTCOME OF TWO cosmic forces acting on water over sloping terrain – the sun’s heat elevating water from its resting place, and gravity inexorably drawing it back downslope. A defining feature of rivers as they navigate the landscape to lake or ocean is that they transport material downstream. Recent research in New Zealand and Canada has revealed that an appreciation of this transport process is important for understanding the flow requirements of salmonids and other drift-feeding fish. And there are spinoffs from the science for anglers too, for instance, why fishing often improves following spates. The materials that rivers transport downstream include sediment and organic matter. Among the latter are detached algae and other plant material, and importantly, for fish, aquatic and terrestrial invertebrates. Some of the invertebrates that live on the streambed eat the fine fraction of drifting organic matter by filtering it with little nets that they spin, like spiders’ webs, or with specialised filtering legs and mouth parts. These same invertebrates, and others, are accidentally dislodged by the current or actively enter the water column to emerge or find better living conditions, and drift downstream. In turn, they are eaten by fish that drift feed, including trout and juvenile salmon, and some native fish such as the various species of whitebaits and their relatives (galaxiids) and smelt. So, to drift-feeding fish, and filter feeding invertebrates, a river is a giant conveyer belt, conveniently delivering tasty morsels to them. Of course invertebrate drift is no surprise to anglers. They have been exploiting it to catch trout at least as far back as the third century according to the first fly fishing book, De nimalium Natura.

THE LARGER THE FISH, THE LARGER THE PREY IT NEEDS FOR OPTIMAL FORAGING

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F ish & Game New Zealand 66

New Zealand… and the world. The environmental, social and economic consequences are far reaching. In New Zealand for instance, regional councils will be under pressure from Fish & Game to revise minimum flows upward and water allocation limits downward in light of the new instream flow assessment method. The new modelling approach is processbased, which in the context of freshwater ecology means mathematical, computer-based representations of physical and biological processes governing the functioning of components of river ecosystems. The modelling steps include running an invertebrate drift transport model and a drift-feeding trout ‘net rate of energy intake’ (NREI) model. The trout NREI model is based on a drift drift-for forr aging model that estimates the ‘gross rate of ener en ergy gyy inttak ake’ e (GR e’ (GR REI E ) off a fish ffro rom ro m th he avvai a la la--

NICK KING

LARGE TROUT HAVE TO FORAGE FOR LONG PERIODS TO EAT ENOUGH INVERTEBRATES TO SATISFY THEIR ENERGY DEMANDS

ble drift for a given location in the reach. The foraging model estimates the size and shape of a trout’s cross-sectional foraging area, based on prey size, fish size, water speed, depth and clarity. The model assumes a fish sits close to the bottom, where it experiences reduced swimming costs and forages over a cross-sectional semicircle into the faster surrounding water. Trout see large prey further away and more so in clear water. So the foraging radius, and related cross-sectional foraging area needs to be calculated for each prey size class. Large prey offer the best energy return for foraging effort by the fish, but they are relatively uncommon in the drift – most drifting invertebrates are smaller than 6mm. The larger the fish, the larger the prey it needs for optimal foraging. However, drift foraging profitability is consttra r in ned by the th he smal sm mal alll siize of mo m st s pre reyy avvaaiiila labl la blle

THE MODEL ASSUMES A FISH SITS CLOSE TO THE BOTTOM, WHERE IT EXPERIENCES REDUCED SWIMMING COSTS

MIKE KIRKPATRICK

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UT WHAT RESEARCH ON INVERTEbrate drift did for me was open my eyes more to how a river functions; how the physical processes that vary with flow influence the drift and feeding behaviour of trout. Sometimes researchers have a ‘eureka moment’, not through an amazing discovery of something entirely new but through drawing together known concepts from different disciplines and interpreting them in a novel way, aided by technological and analytical advances. That’s how my research team recently discovered that drift-feeding trout (and by inference also drift-feeding native fish) have higher flow requirements than previously thought. This realisation changes the way that the instream flow needs of trout and salmon and othe ot her drif her drrifftt fe feed edin ed in ng fis fish h ar a e as a sess seess ssed tthr hrou ou ugh hou out ut

MIKE KIRKPATRICK

THE HIGHER THE FLOW THE GREATER THE PROBABILITY OF INVERTEBRATES BEING DISLODGED, AND THE MORE FOOD THAT BECOMES AVAILABLE FOR DRIFT-FEEDING TROUT


In the drift foraging model, gross rate of energy intake (GREI) is estimated from the predicted foraging areas for the various prey size classes, their drift concentrations (numbers of invertebrates per cubic metre) and water speed flowing through the foraging area. Model simulations are made over a range of flows to produce a fish abundance (or growth) versus flow graph, which serves as the basis for assessing the flow requirements of fish and is the new currency for instream flow negotiation among water resource managers (regional councils in New Zealand) and fisheries managers. The traditional method for assessing fish flow requirements has been a habitat index versus flow relationship, predicted on the same hydraulic model platforms as those from which we launch the drift-NREI model. The habi habi ha b ta tat in tat i de dexx iss caallle led ‘w led weigh eiggh ei hte ted ed us usab ablee area’ rea’ re a

THE FASTER THE WATER THE GREATER THE DRIFT RATE, BUT FISH REDUCE THEIR FORAGING RADIUS BECAUSE MORE DISTANT PREY ARE SWEPT PAST THEIR POSITION BEFORE THEY CAN BE CAPTURED

(WUA). This method, developed in the 1970s in Colorado, is based simply on habitat suitability criteria which summarise fish preferences for physical habitat. Habitat suitability curves for drift feeding fish are developed from measurements of depths, current speeds and substrate composition at lots of locations where fish are observed to be feeding. A recent study by my research team comparing the predictions of the two modelling methods on the Mataura River, one of New Zealand’s best brown trout fisheries, showed that traditional habitat (WUA) modelling substantially underestimated the flow requirements of adult brown trout predicted by the NREI model. The habitat-flow model suggested that a flow of about 11 cubic metres per second (cumecs) would maximise adult brown trout habitat in the ssttud udy dy rreeaacch ch.

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NICK KING

in the drift, so large trout have to forage for long periods in order to eat enough invertebrates to satisfy their energy demands for body maintenance, growth and reproduction. As fish grow, and their swimming capability improves, they move into faster water to drift feed to satisfy their increasing food requirements. This makes sense because the faster the water the greater the drift rate, but fish have to reduce their forr aging radius in faster water as more distant prey are swept past their position before they can be captured. And the swimming costs of the fish increase exponentially with water speed. The interplay between water speed, drift rate, foraging area and swimming costs results in the rate of prey intake being maximised at moderate current speeds. These correspond to the locations that anglers search for trout through exxpe expe peri peri rien ence en ce. ce e

NICK KING

TO DRIFT FEEDING FISH A RIVER IS A GIANT CONVEYER BELT, CONVENIENTLY DELIVERING TASTY MORSELS TO THEM

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the concentration of drifting invertebrates decreased as flow declined because the river has less power to dislodge and lift invertebrates from the river bed. We have done further research on invertebrate drift and flow in the Mataura that supports the view that this principle should be in common to all rivers. In essence, as the flow declines, the dislodgment and transport capacity of the river winds down. This results in less food for drift-feeding fish because both the concentration of drifting invertebrates and the average water speed decrease. The drift transport and NREI model enabled my research team to demonstrate the conseqquences of this fundamental flow-related transport principle on predicted carrying capacity of t o t iin th trou the Mat atau taura ra stu tuddy rea each. h Th he iinsi sigh ight ht

from the research is that assessing the flow needs of drift-feeding fish is more complex than interpreting a simple habitat versus flow relationship based only on physical habitat suitability. The take-home message is this: more flow is better for trout and other drift-feeding fish. Spates – high flow – also redistribute invertebrates from where they prefer to be to where they prefer not to be. Following some floods, free-living caddis accumulate in the river margins as the flow recedes, and they can be seen wriggling vigorously up into the water column, presumably in an attempt to hitch a ride on the current to be transported downstream into a more favourablyy flowingg spot. p What is not seen are the mayflies, caddis and other invertebrates b i g bbu being buff ff ffet etedd bbyy th the ffaster t currents t furthe f ther outt

AN APPRECIATION OF HOW A RIVER FUNCTIONS CAN ALSO ENRICH THE OVERALL ANGLING EXPERIENCE

NICK KING

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HE MEAN ANNUAL LOW FLOW (MALF) at the study reach is about 17 cumecs, so the assumption from the habitat-flow model is that a minimum flow of 11 cumecs would actually improve low-flow habitat for the trout, offering considerable scope for greater water allocation. Minimum flow decisions have been made on just such reasoning in the past. But the NREI model provided an entirely new insight. It predicted that as flows recede from at least 32 cumecs (after spates) through the MALF and into the low flow range, potential growth and abundance of trout decrease owing to diminished drift feeding opportunities. Knowledge g of the processes p ggoverningg the river’s invertebrate drift transport was critical for th fo tthiis ‘eu ‘eure reka ka k m mom omen ent’ tt’. IIn tth hee M Mattaura Ri Riv iver e,

NICK KING

THERE ARE SPINOFFS FROM THE NEW RESEARCH FOR ANGLERS TOO, FOR INSTANCE, WHY FISHING OFTEN IMPROVES FOLLOWING SPATES


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NICK KING

into the channel. Every time an invertebrate scuttles over the exposed surface of stones to graze on the slime layer there it makes a trade-off between attending to its hunger and the probability of being swept away in the drift and becoming an unintentional meal for a trout. The higher the flow, the greater the probability of being dislodged, and the higher the proportion of the invertebrate stock that is made available for drift feeding trout. Along with aesthetics, an appreciation of how a river functions can also enrich what angling can otherwise become – a single-minded pursuit of fish. There is a simple satisfaction in feeding an enquiring mind, making sense of impressions acquired from informal study of fi fish sh h bbeh ehav eh avio av iour io ur whi hich ch happens byy osmosiss

through the practice of angling and sharing experiences with fishing buddies. There are tangible rewards too, in better understanding how trout relate to their world; when to time a fishing trip for instance, and where to look for feeding trout. The frenetic feeding activity of drift-feeding trout that often follows floods or high flows has been variously attributed by anglers and fish ecologists to a stint of food deprivation during the recent deluge, cooler water, rest from angling pressure and fish feeling more secure from predators at higher flow. All of these ideas have one thing in common, they remain unproven. What we now know is the simple fact that there is more drifting food available to trout following small small-moderate moderate spates and troutt ma make ke thee mos ostt of of tha hatt opppo p rt r unit unit un i y. y

AS FISH GROW, AND THEIR SWIMMING CAPABILITY IMPROVES, THEY MOVE INTO FASTER WATER TO DRIFT FEED TO SATISFY THEIR INCREASING FOOD REQUIREMENTS

HE DEVELOPMENT, APPLICATION and testing of the drift-NREI model in New Zealand was funded by: contestable government grants, NIWA’s Core-Funded Sustainable Water Allocation Programme, Fish & Game NZ, Southland Regional Council, Cawthron Institute, University Alaska, Fairbanks, and the Bureau of Land Management, Fairbanks. The drift-NREI model is beginning to be taken up by regional councils in New Zealand for revisions of minimum flow rules in regional plans. Current applications are in Southland and Otago – on the Mataura, Oreti, Aparima and upper Clutha rivers. Freshwater fisheries scientists in the USA were quick to realise the potential of the new modelling package. It is being applied in a multi-million dollar research programme aimed at understanding factors limiting federally listed endangered salmonid populations, and the success of restoration efforts, in the Columbia River catchment – funded by the Bonneville Power Administration. Undertaking meaningful research on salmonids, such as that showcased in this article, is becoming increasingly difficult in New Zealand owing to its complexity and expense in the face of reducing investment in this science sector by Government. The Cawthon Institute was founded by the foresight and generosity of Thomas Cawthron. Philanthropic investment in salmonid research is common in the USA but rare in New Zealand. However, it is now critical for complementing investment by Government and Fish & Game NZ to inform water resource management policy and hearings in the face of unrelenting pressure for intensified agriculture. Without philanthropic investment in fisheries science to provide a factual foundation, Fish & Game will continue to struggle to effectively advocate for the flow, water quality, and habitat requirements of fish and supporting ecosystems. And without adequate fish monitoring data they will fail to effectively conserve and manage our unique and world renowned fisheries. The Cawthron Foundation provides an opportunity for you to play a part in funding science for better, enduring environmental and management outcomes for the trout and salmon fisheries, or native fish, which are your passion. Visit: www.cawthron.org.nz/foundation/

F ish & Game New Zealand

NICK KING

THE TAKE-HOME MESSAGE IS THAT MORE FLOW IS BETTER FOR TROUT AND OTHER DRIFT-FEEDING FISH

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OPPORTUNITIES TO GET OUT AND ABOUT WITH THE

A YEAR-LONG

AFFAIR

SHOTGUN EXTEND FAR BEYOND THE FIRST WEEKEND IN MAY, WRITES GRAEME MARSHALL. INDEED, IF YOU’RE SERIOUS ABOUT YOUR GAME BIRD HUNTING YOUR PREP SHOULD START WELL IN ADVANCE OF THE MAIN SEASON, YES, EVEN NOW, ON THE EVE OF SUMMER

F ish & Game New Zealand

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EADING THIS IN NOVEMBER YOU MAY be excused for wondering why an ‘out of season’ article on water-fowling should appear. If you are like me, at this time of year you are pre-occupied with taking full advantage of the final weeks of the whitebait season, planning that next pre–Christmas trout fishing foray or looking for a nice fat yearling or spiker to top up the venison supplies. I’m also checking the ‘bush telegraph’ for word of the first sea-run salmon. Indeed, duck hunting is probably not entering the thoughts much at all – or should it be? Since moving to Canterbury some 10 years ago

duck hunting has become a much more important past-time for me. I would like to think, too, that my skill levels have grown somewhat as well. They certainly needed to! Nowadays, despite the other infinitely appealing sporting attractions of the region, I find that few months of the year pass when I don’t have a shotgun in my hands at some stage. Here in the Central South Island Fish & Game region, as well as a generous main season for waterfowl, there are out of season opportunities too, with two summer duck and paradise shelduck weekends in February and an extended parrie season right to the end of September. Add an

extended upland game season and we are spoiled indeed, as are some other regions around New Zealand. I try to take advantage of the special summer seasons if for nothing else than to keep my eye in. The most memorable was some years ago when good friend Dave McDermott called me to tell me about the huge mob of mallards that he had located on a field of barley that had been ruined by rain and left unharvested. The sight that greeted us when we turned up the following Sunday afternoon was unbelievable. An estimated 2000 ducks were in residence. As Dave and son


A TYPICAL MID-SEASON SHOOT FROM THE NEWLY CONSTRUCTED MAIMAI

SUMMER MALLARDS CIRCLING GRAIN CROP

PHOTOS: ALISTAIR MARSHALL

Many regions, though, are not so fortunate. But there is still plenty of gun sport to be had to keep your skills honed. Rabbits and hares are common in many parts of the country. I thoroughly enjoy kicking them out of the scrub on riverbeds, especially. Great sport and an excellent way to keep that Labrador in fine trim for the serious stuff in May. And now that Canada geese are off the licence and available year round, opportunities present that simply weren’t there when seasons dictated events. Summer and early autumn provide some excellent hunting if you are prepared to do some homework and then some door knocking. You will probably win a few friends in the farming community too if you target geese on emerging spring crops. Nelson/Marlborough and Canterbury hunters have excellent goose hunting opportunities by way of organised hunts on Molesworth Station three times a year. These are a great way to gain an introduction to hunting these wily birds and usually results in contacts for other hunts with like-minded enthusiasts. West Coasters also have an excellent club based in Greymouth that targets geese and also arranges pukeko drives, clay bird shooting days and weekends in South Westland for ducks, parries and geese. Check with Fish & Game in other regions to see if similar opportunities are available elsewhere. But some of the most exciting sport I’ve enjoyed in recent years is shooting feral pigeons over spring and early summer crops.

F ish & Game New Zealand

Chris and I set out a few dozen decoys, ducks which had lifted off at our approach literally poured back onto the paddock. We simply set up behind a fence draped with a couple of camo nets, hunkered down on plastic chairs and waited for the show to begin. It didn’t take long and within an hour we each had our 10-bird limit despite a bit of rusty shooting initially. Just seeing so many ducks in one place was an experience I will never forget. Hoping to repeat the performance the next weekend we were back. But this time there was not a bird to be seen. They had eaten the entire crop out and moved on. LOW-PROFILE MAIMAI ROOFLINE

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ANDREW HARDING

KATE RETRIEVING PARRIES DURING THE EXTENDED SOUTH CANTERBURY SEASON

SUMMER MAIMAI CONSTRUCTION - NOTE MAIMAI DUG INTO THE BANK TO REDUCE THE PROFILE

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F ish & Game New Zealand

AST YEAR MY GOOD FRIEND AND REGular duck hunting companion Grant Saxton and I enjoyed some great shooting. A typical shoot was the one we had on an emerging pea crop at Waitohi near Temuka. Grant got the word from a farmer friend, Bevan, that he was being visited by at least 1000 pigeons every morning. The effect of 1000-plus pigeons can be quite devastating so Bevan was keen to see them moved on. The word was that the birds were turning up from about 9.00am, so Grant and I duly turned up to have a look first with a quiet ‘drive by’ to locate the favoured area. That day it was pretty obvious

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that one corner of the large paddock was being targeted. Fortunately for us the field was bordered by a deep, dry ditch which was perfect for concealment and meant that we could dispense with the layout blinds. To deter them from landing on other parts of the paddock we placed fertiliser bags on stakes driven into the ground – a ploy that we have found also works well if we want to discourage ducks from using a certain pond. The birds already in residence flushed off as we drove into the paddock and hastily set to work. Within 20 minutes or so we had our decoy spread deployed – a mixture of commercially made full body decoys and a few dozen cut out silhouettes simply made from corrugated cardboard and painted up in grey and a dull blue. I was using my side by side SKB and Grant his Browning semi. With boxes of ammo laid out beside us we were ready for action and what action it was. The birds came in perfectly, straight into the gentle sea breeze blowing from directly behind us. Mainly small groups of 10 or 12 birds just simply appeared, seemingly from nowhere, jinking, diving and stalling. If you don’t rate them as a sporting bird think again. The unpredictability of the flight pattern is a shot-gunner’s dream. The air was full of lead #7 shot as group after group simply kept arriving, seemingly oblivious to the dead birds littering the ground. During the brief lulls we would race out and prop some of the victims up on small wire

GRANT UNDERTAKING NEW MAIMAI CONSTRUCTION

supports and grab the rest. After an hour or so of almost continuous action I suddenly realised that we had a crisis in the form of an ammunition shortage. Soon the last round was fired and, quite bizarrely, with it the constant flow of birds just dwindled away. A few more came in even as we were up collecting birds and decoys but the main flush had certainly been and gone. By many standards this was a pretty average shoot with somewhere around 100 shot, but it was great while it lasted. In the cropping areas of Mid- and South Canterbury it would be quite possible to find shooting every day in the best part of spring. The main limiting factor for me is the cost of ammunition. Feral pigeons, though, are simply superb for improving your shooting. As one who hates to waste any game food, I take the breasts out of every one I shoot. The taste is slightly ‘livery’ with a similar texture, but not unpleasant. Marinated in soy, garlic and ginger they make an excellent stir fry. The rest get cut up finely for my elderly cat or added to the parrie breasts that we keep for sausages. But the off-season is really a time to re-group and plan for the next waterfowl season. How many of us leave that maimai building and dressing to the last minute or think about feeding the pond just a week out from the start of the season? The team I shoot with actually starts preparing for the next season almost as soon as the season has finished. As we feed a number of ponds with an automatic feeder the first step is to retrieve the feeders, check them over and store them in a dry place after ensuring that the batteries have been removed. This is also an opportune time for retrieving those decoys that have drifted off to the far end of the pond or list drunkenly half submerged in the middle. One of our ponds in particular is a very significant breeding area and probably supports scores of nests in the spring. We have invested in a number of gas operated predator kill devices


TESTING THE AUTOMATIC DUCK FEEDER. START FEEDING IN LATE SUMMER

ROOFLINE SET BACK TO ALLOW FOR THOSE HIGH OVERHEAD SHOTS

to be hacking away at blackberry and gorse in the hottest part of the day anyway. Dressing a maimai is traditionally done using manuka or kanuka scrub where it is available. Many hunters are also using imported brush laced together with wire. This stuff, which is available at big stores like The Warehouse, is commonly used by gardeners for temporary shelter. It is ideal for duck blinds, especially where natural material is in short supply. But again, getting the blind dressed well before season Opening is essential. It may be somewhat provocative of me to suggest it but sometimes I wonder if we need a blind at all. Impressive they may be to the hunter, but I wonder if the ducks would agree. After the smoke clears on the first weekend of the season it is not difficult to see why ducks often tend to shy away from man-made structures, especially if they get blasted at every time they venture near. Some of my hunting is on riverbeds right throughout the season. In some years we get quite productive evening passshooting for both mallards and paradise shelduck. A handful of decoys on a backwater or even on the edge of the main current and some good calling can be just enough to bring a few curious birds into range. We spend a bit of time constructing a rough and ready hide out of whatever is available – driftwood, overhanging willows or patches of scrub are all capable of concealing a hunter effectively. We also do the same thing with some ponds we hunt.

Hunkering down in between a couple of flaxes can actually be more effective than shooting from a blind. Really serious water-fowlers keep their hand in with regular visits to the local gun club. Sporting clay shoots which simulate game bird hunting situations are really popular all year and especially so just prior to the start of the season. They are also great social events. So, if you want to improve your shooting, success and enjoyment from the pursuit, remember our sport is about much more than the first weekend in May.

F ish & Game New Zealand

which are especially effective on the rats which are quite common in the area and deadly on ducklings. Capable of achieving multiple kills on just one gas cylinder these gadgets need little in the way of maintenance apart from replacing the bait from time to time. Now we frequently observe hen mallards that raise a whole flotilla of offspring and not just the one or two that managed to elude the nasties in the past. Off-season is also a great time to take a good hard look at your pond and the position of the maimais. This year we are completely rebuilding some maimais by digging them into the hillside beside the pond to create a lower profile. Another is having the roof area reduced by at least 50% to enable high overhead shots to be taken. One, which we feel is surplus to requirements, will be dismantled completely and the materials re-cycled for another. These are jobs that should not be left till just weeks or even a month or so before the start of the new season. Once a pond feeding regimen is established, visits should be as infrequent as possible. Just about every duck hunter can recall times when a pond literally packed with ducks just prior to Opening is deserted on the big day. The cause of this can only be speculated upon but I wouldn’t mind betting that in many instances all that increased human activity hasn’t helped. Leaving pond excavation and vegetation trimming to the last minute is also a big no-no. One year we neglected to trim all the spring and summer re-growth until just weeks before Opening. Bad move. The roar of chainsaws and scrub bars scared the resident duck population right away with the result that Opening Day was a total fizzer for the pair of hunters who shot it. Blazing hot summer days don’t inspire one to indulge in serious manual labour but making the effort then can really make a difference when it comes to that glorious first Saturday in May. With a bit of forethought and planning you don’t have

AWAITING THE GOOSE FLIGHT, LAKE ELLESMERE

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A SINGLE SHOTGUN THAT YOU ARE FAMILIAR WITH AND IS CAREFULLY TUNED TO YOUR WAY OF HUNTING IS FAR BETTER THAN A SAFE FULL OF GEAR, WRITES SELF-PROFESSED ‘SHOTGUN MONOGAMIST’ PETER RYAN. HE SURMISES THAT WHEN

F ish & Game New Zealand

YOU REALLY KNOW ONE GUN, YOUR SHOOTING COMES DOWN TO FOCUS AND REFLEX – THE WAY IT SHOULD BE.

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B

EWARE THE ONE GUN MAN, HE CAN probably use it,” was a proverb of my boyhood. Forty years and a ton of gear later it was time to give the safe a spring cleaning. What was left was a handful of rifles and a pump action shotgun, though nothing that would get a collector excited – just an old Remington,

the first shotgun I ever owned. It’s probably different to your favourite but the point is that a single gun you know inside and out is far better than a safe full of gear. Let me tell you about it. In my case it’s an 870 Wingmaster, simply because it’s what I could afford a long time ago. It came second hand with a spare open-sighted

barrel that made it a pretty versatile outfit for a young bloke with not much cash. It was a reliable workhorse for a wide range of game, from quail and ducks up to well, whatever you can get close enough to, including some decent boars. Hip youngsters, new to the shot-gunning game, give me a bit of a ribbing over that, thinkk


PETER RYAN

JAMES PETTLERY

FROM MOLESWORTH GOOSE SHOOTS TO RED DEER, JAMES PETTLEY’S BERETTA DOES IT ALL

those of you with a long neck and arms will understand that sooner or later standard factory dimensions start to hit their limits. Mine came on a big duck hunt in North Canterbury where after a long blank spell the birds suddenly poured in. It was double quick-time stuff and the factory stock, a bit short for me but fine when there was enough time to accommodate it, was hopeless under real pressure. We got the job done but it has harder than it needed to be and so a new thicker pad went on that sorted out the length issue. It always shot well but after that bit of tuning fits like a glove. That’s one of the great things about sticking to what you know – time and repetition mean you can find any slight bugs and sort them out. For some, that time can really stretch out. In the early days of New Zealand hunting there was a scattering of local entrepreneurs who put their names to uniquely Kiwi guns, the best known being W. H. Tisdall. You may have seen one of their old side by side shotguns quietly languishing in the corner of a sports store somewhere. Tisdall’s business ran for 118 years across several New Zealand cities, but they closed their doors a few years ago. It may be that in a country so young something went with them.

ing it’s a tall tale. I tell them that US wing-shooter Bob Brister once killed a Cape buffalo bull stone dead with a single Brenneke solid from his favourite Perazzi bird gun. But the point is that having one shotgun that you absolutely know and have carefully tuned to your way of hunting is priceless. For years the factory stock worked well enough, but

F ish & Game New Zealand

PETER RYAN

THE AUTHOR’S REMINGTON 870 WINGMASTER - A RELIABLE WORKHORSE FOR A WIDE RANGE OF GAME

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TOM O’CONNOR

TOM O’CONNOR’S TISDALL ELLESMERE

T

OM O’CONNOR IS ONE OF THE FEW LEFT who still shoots their guns and he sums up the charm of owning one of these old pieces perfectly. It’s all about character and personal history. “Mine is an ‘Ellesmere’, which follows the British gun-making tradition of naming models after famous waterfowl habitats,” says O’Connor. “It’s one of at least two gun makes produced specifically for New Zealand retailers. It was bought by my uncle in 1952 as a back-up piece when he went tiger hunting in India. “It’s a standard 12-gauge, originally choked modified and full, later honed out to cylinder and full. He used it as a waterfowl, pheasant and rabbit gun for 40-odd years and hunted with me for the last 10 of those years. He gave me the gun the year before he died at 87. That was 20 years ago. I use it for paradise ducks

over pasture, rabbits and upland game birds. It’s still a lovely piece to use.” There are more practical reasons to stick with what you know. A good friend of mine – an older hunter – shot his father’s side-by-side for many years, a much-loved Greener. One day in the maimai we swapped guns just out of curiosity. When the next flight came in I picked off a nice drake with the old smokepole, then led his brother a touch more and squeezed. And squeezed. No Pete, you only get one with the first trigger. As the luckiest ducks in the South Island flared out of range I realised that through the whole thing the Wingmaster had been stone cold silent. It was so strange I didn’t even bother looking for the second trigger, thinking something must be very wrong. There was the old bloke, goofy grin and all. He inspected the mud at the bottom of the

blind, then looked up at the sky. “Couldn’t find the safety. Time for a cup of tea.” For those who don’t know, W.W. Greener had his own ideas about things and used a side safety that is almost uniquely placed on the left of the grip. Not easy to get used to, but once you have the knack it’s hard to go back to a standard tang safety, which my mate had tried to do. Remington on the other hand hides their small push-button safety more or less in the trigger guard, the last place an old-school shooter would look. So, between us ‘experts’, we got precisely one shot away at a dozen easy mallards, just by swapping guns. It was funny then and still is… sort of. Other hunters are far less fixed in their ways and move from one firm favourite to another – the serial monogamists of the shot-gunning

A GREAT OLD GUN WITH ADVENTURE WRITTEN ALL OVER IT

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HAMISH CARNACHAN

PETER RYAN

F ish & Game New Zealand

A NEW ‘W ‘‘WO W NDER WEAP AP APON’ P MIGHT HAVE CA APT P URED YOUR IMAGINATION, BUT HO OW WILL IIT HA H NDLE A TRICKY SHOT RIGHT O ON N SUNDOWN


several loads in each gun and it’s a lot to carry around in your mind. Better by far to know one gun with one top quality load; minimise the variables and you don’t have to think under pressure, in fact you don’t have to think at all. What’s left is focus and reflex, the way it should be. That’s hardly an original observation, it comes from the late, great Malcolm Cooper, possibly the finest rifle shooter in the world in his day. It works for both rifle and shotgun. Of course all of that is technical. The greatest advantage of having a close favourite is confidence. The latest wonder weapon might have captured your imagination, but since it’s never done anything for you, a tricky shot right on sundown is still a question mark. There’s always a nagging doubt when the partnership has only gone as far as wiping off the storage grease. Does this thing cycle after a soaking?

How does it really pattern? With an old friend it’s different – you simply know that this is going to work. Lean into my shoulder, Old Lucky, here we go. There’s no substitute for that. Jarrad Mehlhopt is a Canterbury-based hunter, always out and about for a deer or a duck or a tahr, often in the company of his young son Leighton. “My favourite shotgun? A Winchester SX3 semi-auto, it fits me perfectly. Every time I bring it up to the shoulder and look down the barrel I’m on target, it has also been in some of the coldest and wettest places you’ll ever see and has never failed me. I put a lot of trust in it. It gives me that confidence you need to take game as cleanly as possible.” The greatest love affairs are based on character rather than looks. Fooling around with one of his wonderful duck calls I was prompted to ask Alan Hammond about his Browning A5.

THE WINGMASTER IS IDEAL FOR PARRIES OVER PASTURE AND IS STILL LOVELY TO USE, ACCORDING TO THE AUTHOR

WHERE THE UNFAMILIAR USUALLY COME UNSTUCK - THE SAFETY

F ish & Game New Zealand

PETER RYAN

PETER RYAN

world. I’ve known James Pettley for some years now, a highly accomplished hunter and a thoughtful sort of bloke. “Some would say I own far too many firearms and that I can only use one at a time, but it’s only money. If I didn’t spend on firearms and hunting, what would I do with it?” (See James, this is why we’re friends). “My favourite shotgun? It’s the one I used at that point in time. Sometimes I look back now and wonder, what was I thinking owning that gun? Well, right here, right now, it’s a Beretta Xtrema 1. From Molesworth goose shoots to red deer… that gun does it all.” Owning many shotguns means many sets of handling attributes, safeties, triggers and chokes, not the handiest situation when the only ducks or geese of the day are about to be gone. Throw in the fact that some bird hunters use

PETER RYAN

W.W. GREENER HAD HIS OWN IDEAS ABOUT THINGS AND USED A SIDE SAFETY THAT IS ALMOST UNIQUELY PLACED ON THE LEFT OF THE GRIP

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T

HE HUMPBACK? I FIRST LAID EYES ON one way back in the days of the two-shot rule. I thought then it was the strangest looking thing. Most people carried doubles then, I had a side by side Russian Baikal. In later years, after I discovered Canada geese, I decided that an A5 would be my choice of auto for them. By then I had learnt of the genius of John Browning and the legendary status of his design and have never looked back. I like the satisfying recoil push. I like its weight and pointability. “My current A5 is a 3-inch chambered gun created out of bits from others I‘ve owned, plus a few imported parts. The barrel was shortened 2 inches and a new end sweated on that is threaded to take a wad grabber. They work by momentarily slowing the wad at the muzzle with small lugs and allowing all the shot to get away with less stringing. I’m sold on them for cleaner kills with steel and tungsten. My only other concession is a plastic stock… I can’t bring myself to rough up a nice piece of walnut by bouncing it

around in a duck boat or in the places I hunt. So, yeah, she’s been hot-rodded a wee bit to my personal tastes. Just perfect for me… but a princess she is not. “Phil Robertson, who some call the Duck Commander, was out here a few years ago and I escorted him around for a week or so. Black Beauty was laying there with drops of rain on her. He brushed the rain off. I said, ‘You like that?’ He got it straight away, in fact he shoots an A5 in 16-gauge himself. He said, ‘Real Amerr ican steel, Hammond, real steel. I just wish I had my Sweet 16 here with me.’ I used to look at the new light-weight guns available, but a couple of hidings from trying them with heavy loads and noticing that they are not immune to the odd jam perishes the thought. I pick up my Black Beauty, point it and it goes bang, just like all them. Except it is part of me.” Which brings us, rather neatly, to sentimental value. Every nick, every small scratch has a story, tiny echoes of a moment in time. It might

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LEIGHTON MEHLHOPT

F ish & Game New Zealand

HAMISH CARNACHAN

IT IS IMPORTANT TO KNOW AND TRUST THAT YOU SHOTGUN WILL PERFORM UNDER THE RIGOURS YOU WILL PUT IT THROUGH

LEIGHTON MEHLHOPT’S WINCHESTER SX3

be that grain or two of river sand still caught in the rib, or a little scrape from the frame of a maimai you built with an old mate. The finish starting to go on the action, worn by your own hand and the passing years. Sure it might not mean much now, but it will one day, when old legs find the mud and the wading too hard and what’s left are the memories. In traditional Japanese culture an ancient item like a vase is not repaired invisibly as we would do it. No, they use gold to make the chip stand out, a celebration of time and wear. I have that feeling for my old favourite. I know now it will never be sold. It was there through some tricky moments and did not fail me once. If he wants to follow me, it will go to my son one day. Which brings us to the matter of great old guns with adventure written all over them, whose owners have passed into history leaving a favourite behind. They still work, and have a magic about them that cannot be denied… but that’s a story for another day.

PETER RYAN

EVERY NICK, EVERY SMALL SCRATCH HAS A STORY, TINY ECHOES OF A MOMENT IN TIME


Interesting Summer Y OLD SPARRING PARTNER, COLOnel Elmo Guttshot, fresh returned from a two-year break in the western US, is set to make no new friends. He arrived via the airport at Queenstown, and was staggered at the frenzied rate at which the Wakatipu area is being devoured. “It’s a hellhole, Dave,” he spluttered. “A festerr ing rabid rat-trap. A whole beautiful countryside gobbled up by greed. It’s an affront to civilization.” “Well, we all know that, Elmo,” I responded. “What’s new? And, anyway, I don’t suppose it’s any better in the States?” “That’s where you’re wrong, replied the Colonel. They’re not all nuts in the US. They do have some new ideas – mostly just small, local stuff, but heading in the right direction. I saw one of them for myself, as it happens, when I was stayy ing for a while with an old girlfriend up near the Canadian border on a small tributary of the Skagit River. It’s brilliant what they have done – and we could do the same thing here.” “Alright, let’s hear it.” “Well, it’s kind of revolutionary,” said Elmo. “And you may not like it. It depends on being able to recover a specific old human instinct that modern society has abandoned. And it depends on acting on that instinct.” This was shaping up to be good, so I got a couple more cold ones and we strolled down to TwoPies’ place and collected a few drunks and went across the road to the pub. Elmo insisted it was his shout. He ordered jugs all round and when everybody was settled he started his spiel. “What most people don’t realise,” he began, “What almost everybody fails to realize, in fact, is that human beings nowadays have lost almost all the old animal instincts that have got us to where we are now. Xenophobia being a prime example.” “And a good thing too,” said Two-Pies. “No,” said Elmo. “It is not a good thing. Xenophobia – properly understood in a biological

sense – is actually fundamental to survival. It is a sound and basic intuition, shared by all mammalian species including, unti t l very recently, ourselves. “But we, in our present degeneracy, have lost it, and so instead of being pissed-off, we tolerate being invaded by all these fly-ins and migrants and cashed-up deadbeats from Auckland.” Elmo tossed back half a jug, snorted contemptuously, wiped his chops, and continued. “You don’t believe me,” he said. “But actually it’s worse than that. We don’t just tolerate these people, we’re nice to them. We suck up to them and show them around. Old Two-Pies here even feeds them whiskey and takes them to his favourite fishing-possies. Well, all that’s got to stop.” “By a return to xenophobia?” said Dougal. “That’s right. That’s what they did up in the Skagit. And in about six years’ time the tourists were mostly gone and they had their little river for themselves again.” “How exactly does this work?” asked Turner, who was looking a shade uneasy. “Do you chase them away? Wave twelve-bores around?” “No, no, no,” Elmo responded. “There’s no need for anything like that. The tourists, you see, are just like everybody else. They’re just typical namby-pamby modern degenerates who like to be nice and friendly. And of course they like people to be nice to them in return. So all you have to do is turn this on its head and you’re in business.” Two-Pies was looking perplexed. “Turn what on its head?” “Niceness,” said Elmo. “Stop being nice. Be rude, be nasty. Act like a total swine. I know it runs against the grain of all we’ve been brainwashed into thinking. But there’s no other way. We’ll just have to harden up.” Two-Pies glared. “Get real, Elmo. This is all bollocks. How is being rude to a few foreigners going to stop the kind of numbers we’re dealing with now?”

streamside WITH DAVE WITHEROW

“I knew you’d say that,” said Elmo. “But you don’t understand the psychology – it’s all to do with group dynamics, you see. It’s quite complicate t d. And then, of course, there’s the multiplier effect.” “What multiplier effect?” Elmo looked pained, set down his glass. “Surely you’ve heard about the multiplier effect? It’s ancient stuff – been studied in the universitiess for ages. There’s a mountain of literature on it.” Two-Pies still loooked puzzled. “Oh, all right then. It works like this. Let’s say you go out and be downright rude to half-a-dozen tourists. Really piss them off. Now, tourists don’t like that kind of thing, so they immediately decide they won’t come back. They finish their trip and bugger off – and after that they’ll go somewhere else.” The barman had come over and was hovering around, so Elmo ordered more jugs. “So you’ve got rid of six of them for a start,” he continued. “But what happens next is the beauty of it. Those six go back wherever they came from – the US, or Switzerland, or wherr ever – and they’re mad as maggots, so they tell all their friends. New Zealand is the pits. And the friends, of course, tell all their friends. Don’t go near New Zealand. The word gets around – that’s the multiplier effect.” There was silence… a slightly stunned silence, which Elmo interpreted as un u animous approval. “It’s unbelievably effective,” he said, fumbling around in the pocket of his old linen jacket and producing a crumpled noteppad. He flicked through the pages and started reading. “This will convince you,” he said. “It’s the latest research from Harvard on the impact of multipliers in the tourist racket. Listen to this: ‘Repeated vertical studies, corrected for random deviation, indicate that per unit of offense or insolence in any given tourist market there will ensue a quantum of pre-emptive disgruntlement amounting to the effective deterrence of 187 potential participants in that same market.’ Incredible, isn’t it. Almost two hundred from just onee hit!” Elmo peered back at his notepad. “I’ve done the sums,” he said, “and it’s actually quite staggering. If we all got out on the river for just four days a week this season and pissed off six punters a day we would pre-empt more than 100,000 of them in the long run – 100,000 of the buggers not here! And that’s just us. Imagine if we wound up the rest of the boys.” “Well, that’s that problem solved,” said Dougal. We finished off the beer and got a bottle of whiskey. It should be an interesting summer.

F ish & Game New Zealand

HAMISH CARNACHAN

COLONEL ELMO GUTTSHOT PLANS TO EMPLOY THE MULTIPLIER EFFECT TO RID HIS LOCAL RIVERS OF TOURIST ANGLERS

79


in the FIELD SCOTT FLEX ROD Introducing the all new Scott Flex series – rods so light, effortless, and forgiving, they let you focus on fishing better. Flex rods generate line speed and tight loops effortlessly, helping you cast accurately and control your presentations. And their powerful butt sections help with quick, positive hook sets and fish control. Incorporating

many of the innovations tions found in our award winning Radiann and Meridian rods, Flex finish, in our shop in Montrose, Colorado. Fish better… rods combine high performance with top quality fish the rod that works hard for you. For more info visit: components. Each Flex rod is handcrafted, start to www.manictackleproject.com

THE HEART OF HUNTING True to its title, this pictorial captures the essence of hunting in New Zealand, reflecting not only on hunting itself, but on the peripheral aspects of the pursuit also, such as the wilderness experience that is so much a part of it. Greig Caigou creatively combines storytelling and musings to cover so many aspects of hunting. And, evident of a sporting nature, his deliberations are premised on the fact that the hunter has perhaps the greatest appreciation and understanding of wildlife and wild places because he observes them in much more minute detail than the casual interloper into these environs. But it’s the photography that steals the show. Fish & Game NZZ contributor Matt Winter really showcases his skill behind the lens and his passion for the subjects and places framed in his viewfinder. He combines his outstanding photos of our valued game animals with other stunning shots of wildlife that hunters encounter when out in the backcountry. This is certainly a book that should be in the library of every hunter… or outdoor lover. The Heart of Hunting is published by Craig Potton Publishing (RRP: $49.99)

ULTIMATE BUSH RIFLE The first time you carry it in the field, you’ll understand why it’s considered one of the finest bush rifles in New Zealand – Lightning-fast in close quarters and superbly accurate for the long shot, the compact,t short-action h t ti Model Seven has been a knock-down, drag-out leader in the bush since it was introduced in 1983. Its receiver and action design are based on the Model 700 and deliver the highest level of out-of-the-box accuracy, strength and reliability in a platform that’s 2 3/8” shorter overall and

F ish & Game New Zealand

SAGE X SERIES RODS

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Renowned fly rodd manufacturer f t Sage presents its newnew est pinnacle fly rod series - the X Rod. Using KonnecticHD Technology, these fast-action fly rods create tighter loops to ensure better accuracy, efficiency, and line control with every cast. The new taper delivers greater blank recovery and a crisper tip-top, allowing anglers to dig deeper into the rod and access more of the lower sections of the blank, shifting power closer to the angler. Decreased lateral and medial movement and vibrations in the blank also result in more accurate and efficient

weighs just 6 1/2 lbs. Partnered with the Nikon Prostaff value optics mounted on rifles today, this is a rifle 3-9x40, Kiwi hunters have what we believe is the very v combo sure to endure for years to come. Bare rifle best bush rifle combo available. In a weath ther-proof iss (RRP)$1499 (RRP)$1 or (RRP)$1799 as a combo with Nikon stainless synthetic configuration with so some of o the bestt Scope. Available at Reming Remington stockists. For more info visit: www.remingto ww.remington.com and ndd www.nikon.co.nz www.

presentations, refining the synergy between angler, rod, line, and fly. The X Rod family includes freshwater models in 3-6 weights and saltwater mod models in 5-10 weights. There are also switch models from 6-8 weights at 11 feet in length, and Spey models from 6-10 weights in a variety of lengths. Freshwater models have a vera wood insert with a stealth black, anodized aluminium, up-locking reel seat. The Flor grade cork handle is snub-nosed, half-wells shaped. Saltwater and two-handed models use a stealth black, anodized aluminium, up-locking reel seat on saltwater and switch models with an integrated hidden hook keeper and down-locking on Spey

models. T two-handedd The models haave a super-plu lus fore grip and rear grip g for comf mfortrt in ha hand. The Flor F quality ity full-wells fulll-wells cork hhanndle in the saltwater models offers o ers coomfort f t while tthe EVA fighting fi hti butt b tt offers support for fighting large fish. fi The black spruce blank colour pairs with dark green thread wraps and metallic grey trim wraps. The rods have Fuji ceramic stripper guides and a hard chromed snake guide and tip-top. Each rod has a laser etched line weight on the slide band and comes in a black rod bag inside an evergreen powder coated aluminium rod tube. For more info visit: Flytackle.co.nz


SAGE 6280 REEL Sage introduces the new 6200 reel family – the pinnacle big game and saltwater reel, according to Kurt VanWyck, vice president of product development. He says time has been spent in the lab and out in the field testing this reel in gruelling conditions to ensure anglers who chase big fish all over the world have “the toughest reel with the best drag package available”. The 6200 series of reels are fully machined with coldforged, tempered 6061-T6 aluminium. The rigid frameto-spool connection offers great strength and the large,

concave arbour creates high retrieve rates and larger line capacities. Each model features Sage’s sealed carbon system drag, with a one-revolution drag knob that has 40 drag settings for adjustable and repeatable drag resolution. The series includes five models from 5/6 up to 11/12 in silver, stealth and cobalt finishes, hard anodized for surface protection and corrosion resistance. The unique porting pattern and spoke aesthetic combine for a highly ergonomic reel that will stand up to even the strongest fish runs. For more info visit: Flytackle.co.nz

in the FIELD

SMITH CHROMAPOP GLASSES No other glasses will grace this face… not that it’s much of a face, of course, and also discounting that I may have to resort to reading glasses at some stage, even though I’m not quite there yet. The point being, nothing has changed my view of the world more – literally – since I tried on a pair of Smith polarised sunglasses with their much lauded ChromaPop Polarised lenses. I have to say I was inquisitive about the name ‘ChromaPop’, but it soon became perfectly obvious: the colours, particularly reds and greens, seriously pop out of any landscape or vista. It’s quite something to behold. And what it means for anglers is that the green backs of brown trout, or the red blush of rainbows, leap out at you when scanning even the toughest roiling runs

of water for fish. To be honest, the massive colour contrast takes a bit of getting used to at firstt, it’s that profound. But B thereafter you will not find fi a more silky-smooth lens to look through that has ddefinition fi i i as sharp h as these. h I’ve ’ got a pair of Guide’s Choice glasses with ChromaPop Polarised lenses – they are matt finished frames with an ever so slight bronze mirror. With the design that has gone into the shape, the lens and materials, you’ll struggle to find better glasses for fishing in our conditions. I used to be a big fan of that Other big brand.

Now I see fishing and fish in an entirely new light, and I won’t’ bbe going i bback. k The h G Guide’s id ’ Ch Choice i comes with iha nifty integrated leash to prevent them dropping into the drink, though I found they fit snuggly around my melon anyway. Oh, the good folk at Smith inform me that this model frame is also available in bifocals (plus 2 and plus 2.5) for those angler who need the extra magnification. For more information visit: www.smithoptics.co.nz

lines, meaning you won’t need heavy fishing gear or have to overload the rod and reel. The lures generate soft, active vibrations with a frequency you can select. Jerk the rod and they prowl alternately both sides of the direction of movement – a truly lifelike swimming and evasion pattern. Unlike wobblers, Bite Booster Lures can dive rapidly when trolling simply by feeding out more line or by pulling back on the rod. This allows you to keep the lure at the bottom – or in the strike zone. In addition to trolling the lure can also be used for casting (optional) and jigging. I’ve personally found these a little heavy for casting in my local waters but there is certainly great potential for jigging in deeper lakes. When used

for vertical jigging, the lure moves to the sides and when paused, slowly returns to its original position, continuing to vibrate. Bite Booster says their lures are saltwater safe where they’d be lethal on kahawai, small kings and snapper. For more information and videos visit: www. bitebooster.com

BITE BOOSTER LURES

REDINGTON RISE III REEL

SIMMS HEADWATERS WADING BOOTS

A continued push beyond the bounds of traditional reel design, the new Rise reel from Redington brings elegant Simms’ Headwaters Boot has a lightweight, durable performance to the hands of any angler. The Rise reels are CNC-machined out of anodized 6061-T6 aluminium platform that maximises underfoot stability, control, and have a U-shaped, ultra-large arbour design for quick line retrieve. The compact carbon-fibre drag system offers and slip-resistance. The scratch rubber and high-denier smooth fish-stopping power and an oversizeed drag nylon upper ensure long life, an and a partial neoprene knob for quick adjustments. With models sized lining adds cushioning and easyy on/off performance from 3/4 to 9/10, the Rise is suited to perform m Additional features include a duual-density EVA midin a variety of fishing conditions. Twin sole for absorbing shock, ESS plates for improved moulded, soft-touch ergonomic handles cleat/stud retention, and prroven Vibram Idrogoffer comfort and the Rise easily converts rip rubber outsolees for powerful grip. from left or right hand retrieve. Equipped For more re info visit: www. with a nylon case and a lifetime warranty; mannictackleproject.com available in silver, amber and black. For more info visit: Flytackle.co.nz

F ish & Game New Zealand

Bite Booster Trolling-Plus S model lures have a unique design that creates active and attractive vibrations for predatory fish species over a wide range of trolling speeds, even when moving slowly. These lures have has been tested rigorously in Europe and Canada where they’re proven to be effective on species such as pike, musky, cat fish, bass, perch and lake trout, peacock bass, etc. There’s absolutely no reason why they won’t work on lake and estuarine trout in New Zealand. The lures have little drag in the water which gives them the ability to swim freely without rising to the surface, enabling trolling at greater depths. They can also be used effectively for deep trolling even on short

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SEA CRAFT MILLER MOYES Auckland, Ph. 09 579 9661

BAY MARINE Tauranga, Ph. 07 577 6005

TREV TERRY MARINE Taupo, Ph. 07 378 7779

BOAT CITY Paraparaumu Ph. 04 298 5931

MARLBOROUGH WATERCRAFT Blenheim, Ph. 03 573 7736

POWERBOAT CENTRE Christchurch, Ph. 03 389 1146

INDERS MARINELAND Gore, Ph. 03 208 5714

BAYS BOATING LTD Motueka, Ph. 03 528 5200


Fish & Game NZ issue 94  
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