You are warned. Below is part of the arsenal of TRM’s broken fly rods collection as visual evidence of what fresh run Tongariro rainbow trout are capable of in this 2017 season.
These ‘freshies’ really don’t like getting pricked and can deal with any slight lack of attention or complacency from anglers by smashing off so easily. The trout are not picky – all brands of cheap fly rods have suffered – Hardys, Greys, Sage, Loomis, CD’s Home made specials, all sizes, all broken.
Fortunately the Sage is guaranteed but the rest are doomed unless anyone can advise how to get them repaired?. A few years ago nearly everyone fished with sturdy 8 wt. rods and we hardly ever saw such carnage. Then as rod technology improved the they got lighter and size crept down to 7 wt. and now the most popular size seen at TRM is 6 wt. We have even seen 4 and 5 wt rods. They really need skill and patience.
If the season continues like this, rod strength and durability will need to increase rapidly. Also, as the Daily Limit has been increased from 3 to 6 it must follow that the trout size and weight will increase even more.
Just something to think about when you are replacing your 6 wt…
Also, before you remind me, the Tongariro should be regarded as a special case for anyone selling (or repairing?) fly rods.
TRM explains: Anglers, often disguised as terrorists displaying relentless positive attitudes, arrive at the Tongariro River armed to the teeth with ‘bombs’. These are not just fancy little brass bead heads on Pheasant Tails. These bombs are heavy enough to qualify as depth charges – they are specially designed to sink quickly in the stronger deeper Tongriro flows. They have to be drifting (bumping?) along the bottom to find the trout hugging the bottom where there is less flow. Then, if the usual glo-bug is rejected, the trout get stunned by the sheer weight of the bomb.
Then just as they pass out they still get hooked anywhere around the head. Anywhere ahead of the gills is near enough to the mouth to qualify as legal according to Tongariro fishos.
(Images of Malcolm Coombes above and Murray (lacks line speed) Cullen below illustrate their protective head wear to prevent concussion)
So what has this to do with broken rods I hear you ask? These dangerous heavier armed guided missiles flying around are programmed to intercept rod tips. (Still better than attacking the back of the head… That may be why TRM Lucky hats are so popular – for skull protection. But I digress)
The explosion from the ballistic missile intersecting with the rod leaves a calling card in the form of a tiny dent or nick or chip is not noticed until the fresh run trout protests about being pricked, when the rod tip instantly coincidentally breaks exactly in the same spot. So now you know.
That is also why you often notice Tongariro anglers carrying an arsenal of more than one rod. They will claim they are set up differently to provide for a variety of casting methods but now you realise they are really just being cautious. What’s the bet they have broken a rod sometime before?. So the additional weight of flinging these bombs around is another reason to consider heavier artillery for any Tongariro expeditions.