4 days to the opening of the High Country waters and as such the season proper for me.
Have been out for a couple of walks with the family and apart from Melanie our 10yr old catching more fish than Sue or I, things are looking great for the coming season.
This time last year we were busy putting the finishing touches on our new office and accommodations. My first fishing day was the 7th of November, this year it’s the 1st and not a break in site until the 12th December but even as I type this I’m thinking that slot is about to get taken up. So the bookings are great.
Nice to have all our regulars back and booked again but equally as important are the new faces we’ll meet over the coming weeks.
River conditions are very promising, good flows and clarity and plenty of snow holding in the mountains to keep the water cool and water levels even over the coming weeks.
Once we get to the New Year and high summer conditions will change, but after 20 years of guiding I’ve pretty well got plans A –Z for any given day and weather scenario. Still get beaten up from time to time but I can promise you all one thing and that is it’s not through lack of trying that things don’t always go according to plan. Besides that having curve balls to dodge adds to the adventure, as long as it’s not a procession of curve balls.
The next 6 weeks will be dominated by nymph fishing with irregular and patchy mayfly hatches in places. All this depends on the BIG 3 factors in fishing, water temperature, air temperature (barometric issues) and wind (direction and velocity). I’m still not able to control those 3 factors but I can certainly offer lots of flexibility in choice of venue. Venues that hopefully minimize the uncontrollable and maximise the fish catching options.
I spent a lot of time last season back in the Southland region, for reasons that evade me at the moment I’d for some reason begun to venture more North and east over the last few seasons. It was great to get back into my “old” haunts. Admittedly I had lost touch with one or 2 of the old haunts in regards to land owners and access options but things very quickly fell back into place. What never fails to amaze me is the amount of water that I’ve still to fish. We simply have so many options that it gets confusing at times.
Personally I’m very much a confidence angler and as such I get into patterns of fishing the same reaches on a casual rotation. I like knowing what’s around the next bend, but having said that I also like “discovering“ new water. The norm, if I’ve had a couple of good days somewhere, is to explore a new section of a trusted river, sometimes it works and adds to the many options I have, if it doesn’t work then the curiosity is satisfied and I can delete that venue as an option. I don’t always completely disregard that option from further visits but its going to take a lot to draw me back. As one or 2 of my regular anglers know, they have there special places just as I have mine, and there are occasions when they deliver more to the angler in aesthetics and venue than they do fish. It’s not always about the fish. Really its not.
While on that theme I can well recall some 20 years ago as a very nervous “new” guide heading to my favourite venue and having the fish absolutely on key and lined up like sitting ducks. I very excitedly detailed my plan to my client on exactly what I thought he should do. Politely but firmly he very quickly told me I’d do exactly what he wanted when he was well and ready and if he choose to sit there all day and simply watch those fish then that’s what we were going to do. Anything would be a pleasure as long as it wasn’t the 45th floor office that occupied the other 350 days of his year. Very good lesson.
So as much as I think I know at times there is still plenty to learn.