Adventures in Fly Fishing
The Department of Conservation who manage perhaps New Zealand's most important fishery, that of the Lake Taupo Region, are currently gauging the views of anglers around a number of proposed changes to the regulations of the fishery, and have released a survey that you can fill out here.
Firstly, the are looking at potentially lowering the size limit from 400mm, to 350mm, and increasing the bag limit to 6 fish a day. The logic around this is that it will lower the pressure of the smelt population - by reducing the trout population, and this will in time lead to larger trout (due to a larger population of smelt). It could also lead to more spawning runs, as studies have shown that trout condition is one of the factors that dictate when they run. Overall I am in favour of this. Personally, I release around 90% of what I catch - and I would be highly unlikely to keep anything that is smaller than 400mm regardless. But I do know of people who may only get to the fishery once or twice a year - who love eating trout - and who would love the oppourtunity to "stock up the freezer" while they are there. And for this reason the 6 fish bag limit works. To put it in perspective - I cant still remember when the bag limit was 8 fish. And more people these days than ever before are catching and releasing. So I dont think this is going to have a negative impac on the fishery.
Perhaps the question that does concern me is around looking at what is defined as fly fishing - the reason being that Czech and European nymphing have raised questions around what is defined as fly fishing. The issue I have with this question is that it doesn't actualy state whether DOC have issues with these two methods, and are therefore trying to outlaw them. This, in my opionion, would be a backward step. Yes - czech nymphing is a highly effective way of catching fish, and I know it is popular with competition fly anglers. I also dont know of a single angler who uses this method, and nor have I seen anyone using it on the Tongariro River. But in my mind it is fly fishing. And we need to be able to incorporate new techniques as they emerge. Otherwise we would all still be fishing with wet flies, and using silk lines (which actually probably would be quite fun).
The final question is around introducing a family licence, and raising the age of a child from 16 to 18 - which I am in favour of as it gets more anglers into the sport. And another proposal for lowering the cost of a season licence for a over-65 angler. I am less in favour of this - as in my opinion most anglers over 65 have probably been fishing for many years and the cost of an annual licence is not going to break the bank.
Anyway, if you use the fishery and want to have your say, then fill out the survey. It only takes 5 minutes.
Well, another year, another International Fly Fishing Film Festival, and hopefully coming soon to a cinema near you.
One of the first trailers out of the blocks is The Dorado by Flygal April Vokey, no doubt featuring some great glass rods from Epic which she bought into in 2016.
The Crazy Charlie is perhaps one of the most iconic Bonefish flies and was developed by local guide Charlie Smith in the Andros Islands in 1977. So I couldn't possibly head away to Aitutaki without at least a few of these in my fly box.
The original pattern calls for chain-link eyes - but as I didn't have any to hand I went with what I had. The pattern is very simply to tie, can be tied in any number of different colour combinations.
The Crazy Charlie
Hook: Tiemco 8111S size 2 through to 8.
Thread: To match the wing colour
Body: Vinyl D Rib over pearl mylar wrap (I have used a clear rib, but you could try different colours)
Wing: Calf tail hair, a few strands of crystal flash.
Eyes: Chain-link, or lead.
Tie in eyes one third the way down the eye of the hook. Tie in mylar at the back of the hook, and then wrap thread forward to just behind eyes. Tie in vinyl D Rib behind eyes on top of hook shaft, and the wrap thread down to the back of the hook to secure rib, and then forward again in front of the eyes this time.
Wrap mylar flash forward cover hook. I then go back down the hook and up one more time, on the final wrap bringing it in front of the eyes. Tie off and trim excess. Now wrap D rib forward tightly and tie off in front of the eyes.
Take a pinch of calf hair fibres, tie in in front of the eyes. And a few strands of crystal flash, whip finish, and coat with zap-a-gap.
The last several months or so I have been putting off buying a new pair of wading boots. For the last year or so my current pair have been showing increasing signs of being past their best-buy date.
I've been wearing pair of Simms' Rivertek 1 BOA boots since around 2009 - and they have served me well. But after replacing the BOA fasteners once (incidentally at no cost - BOA have a lifetime warranty, so go to their website and they will ship you out replacement kits if yours fail), it has now gotten to the point that all the stitching has gone, along with most the tread on the soles, and it's only a matter of time before I end up on my ass going the wrong way down a set of rapids.
I had been mulling over what to get. We are somewhat limited in New Zealand to really two main brands - Simms, and the River Works. I did find a pair of Korkers recently in an outfitters in Turangi - but was told they are no longer being bought into the country due to the change in the exchange rate. Which is a shame, as they looked to be a solid pair of boots (just not in my size). So I revert t what I usually do - and that was to buy Simms. I am unashamedly a gear-snob, and I havent yet had a piece of gear made by Simms that has failed to impress. Sure, it's espensive - but you pay for quality, right?
I had been quite interested in the Vapor boot that Simms has recently brought out onto the market. This looks more like a hiking boot than a traditional wading boot - and is not nearly as high as some of the other boots Simms produce. And it looked light - which is something I was after. I find a day scrambling over rocks, as well as the long hike back to the car after walking up a rover several hours, to get somewhat tiring when you are wearing a heavy-duty pair of wading boots.
Finally last week I found that Totally Fly in Auckland had these boots marked down from $349 to $220.00. At that price it became too good a deal to pass up, so I bit the bullet and purchased a pair online. I'm yet to take them out on the river - but first impressions are that despite being a "light-weight" boot, they are still of pretty solid construction. In fact more than what I had expected based on the images on the website. I also ordered one size smaller than what my Rivertek's were - thinking I'd probably use these more as a wet-wading boot. As it turns out they are too big for this - but fit perfectly with my waders. I'll just need to get a pair of neoprene guard socks to wear with them on the warmer days when I want to leave the waders at home.
So, first impressions are a really nice boot that is lighter than most - but of a sturdy enough construction that they should last a good several years. I'm going to fish them "as is", and not add the optiona screw in studs and cleats that you can buy for them. I found that when I used these on my Riverteks that writhing a few months most of them had been ripped out. So overall not a huge fan. But if I find I'm not getting enough grip I may re-consider.