Meola Reef fly fishing club meeting. Lesson One: First Catch your fish! (more…)
First time out with the Nemisis it scored within ten minutes on my first upper harbour snapper. Not a bad start for the rod and for the season. Casts nicely and great sensitivity feeling the Worthington Worm bounce its way across the cockle shells.
It’s been a while since my friend Alan Bulmer and I had been fishing so we met up at a favourite location around dawn on Saturday morning. The wind speed was zero – as was the visibility of the horizon at times. In winter the metabolic rate of the fish slows down and they tend to feed in concentrated bursts rather than continually on the prowl. Given the cool temperature, poor visibility and lack of visible baitfish this did not pan out to be a busy day for fishy predators or fishermen.
But then that’s why you bring a camera along the catch images that people tucked up in bed would not get the experience.
No problems with water clarity – superb!
From a photographic perspective, the mist served as a wonderfully diffuse background to isolate the subject … even if they were spinning sometimes rather than fly tossing. The falling tide exposing more and more interesting structure.
But then the fly rod’s call reasserted itself to make for a truely contemplative composition …
On the final walk back, another fisherman was waiting patiently for his opportunity to make a catch.
“Fly Casting with Rio” would be more accurate but more wordy and less dramatic. And this fishing trip had several elements of the unusual and dramatic.
First of all – a half day off work on the first day of calm, clear weather after weeks of rain and stormy gusting. Then there was a new (second hand) car to give a decent run, additionally a few hours hours out with the wee wifey and the core purpose, as the title suggests, time to point my Vapen Red and Rio line combo at some real fishing water.
As with all good adventures we headed due west, out towards Manukau Heads. While the weather back around Henderson was clear, crisp blue sky once past Titirangi there was a surprising bank of mist,considering it was noon, occluding the distant landscape.
We arrived at the recommended spot to find out it was much more civilized than the impression given by satellite photographs on the internet. A short walk to a very attractive beach – with one fisherman packing up and four others with lines in the water about 300-400 meters away.
Obviously this was a fishy spot.
Reality pointed out that I had made a couple of basic mistakes in the rush to get onto the water: no line stripping tray and no boots/waders. However I was not to be easily disappointed or deterred – the water was indeed chilly for wet wading but an opportunity was not be wasted. My wife was aghast – she hasn’t actually been out fishing with me for probably over a decade so hasn’t witnessed the inconvenient and slightly bizarre things that fisherman do in the pursuit of fish. But this was about the fishing, and the casting in particular, so I managed to conscript her photographic services to record my casting prowess with the new outfit.
The lift off … though it would double as a good “trout strike”
The backcast – looking quite good I think
Worth a second look
Then outward bound with the forward cast …ha ha
Thar she goes …
I worked along the beach and back again. The water was cold, the waves kept tangling the shooting line around my shoes, but I was fishing, so it was all good. The bait fisher got a decent kahawai. For a few minutes I saw some interesting swirls in the breaker line but there was no response to my offerings.
This secluded place is a slice of swoffer heaven – nice sandy beach, shelving down a a moderate angle into clear water deep enough to be patrolled by anything wandering in from the nearby harbour mouth. Nice rocky ledges that give access and opportunity at low tide. All this in classic Kiwi bush surroundings with the calls of Tui to punctuate the tranquility as your line rustles through the rod rings onto the Manukau waters.
This is as close as I’ve got yet to the front cover of a magazine with a photograph – my shot of Craig Worthington stalking kingfish is the contents page background picture in the April edition of NZ Fishing News magazine. Just a few pages more and I’ll get there!
But you just keep on fishing ‘cos the fish are still be there and all you need is one strike …
And you are always listening, always looking for any movement in the water: the less you can see the more you focus your other senses …
Every cast is another projection of hope …
But eventually the quest reaches its appointed time and there is the final reeling in of the fly line and the walk back to the car.
Time to contemplate today’s efforts and plan anew for the next outing.
Sometimes it’s about exploring for new fishing spots – and Auckland’s Waitemata Harbour is full of potential with extensive shallow water flats, volcanic reefs, sand banks and channels that can play host to mullet, flounder, kahawai and maybe even trevally or kingfish. It’s all part of the fun!