Never give up!
An unusual fishy story with a message. On the Tongariro River at this time of the summer season, there is much indecision amongst our anglers on which fly to use – cicada, smaller dry flies, nymphs? So this is might be a little lesson for those of us that cannot decide? But first I should apologise if it only confuses you further.
The images – to tease you – are all from other well-known trout rivers within an easy drive of Turangi. Over the long weekend, the Tongariro was under intense angler pressure so we sought refuge in deserted remote locations. Even then it took three attempts to discover a stretch of beautiful backcountry river to ourselves. The results hardly matter as the natural river scenery was so restful and intoxicating. Almost as good as the Tongariro…
So the story goes that a regular TRM inmate from USA arrived last week on his annual pilgrimage – back to NZ for a couple of months trout fishing. We really try to look after such tourist anglers as they contribute so much to our knowledge by introducing us to different techniques. On his first trip late afternoon, to re-familiarise himself with the Tongariro, he hooked into seven and landed three. Weather fine and warm but the gusty wind in late afternoon spoilt casting. They were all hooked on a big cicada. OK?
That was the first consistent time we could confirm cicadas were being targeted by Tongariro trout this season, so it was reasonable to assume cicadas would continue to work the next day and from now on. Full of excitement for the 2020 cicada season may have finally arrived (?), in anticipation, I rigged up my first cicada pattern for this season.
Day two – beautiful fine conditions, no wind, river low and clear. After about 3-4 hours of casting in about ten different pools or runs, only one small recovering trout hooked! Why such a change? Can’t blame global warming… We knew the trout were there. We caught glimpses of them but they ignored his dry fly options. Eventually, long after when the rest of us would have returned to find solace in the cold fridge, he just kept on trying and changed over to a small weighted nymph. He waded to a difficult, almost impossible lie that defies description as it is not where any sensible (read “mature”) fisho – like me? – would dare to explore. In a boring between-pools run he unexpectedly hooked into thirteen and landed seven from the same “pool”. Based on every fly fishing trout book I have read, it was a ridiculous location. What a splendid effort.
No – do not ask where. Health and safety regulations prevent me from suggesting anyone to try to approach the lie and wade there. So why the difference from one day to another in similar conditions? The trout were not just a shoal passing through as they were a mix of fat residents and post-spawn recovering fish that had picked on this spot where they imagined no angler could ever find them. They had certainly not read the book on where they are supposed to wait.
Every season on the Tongariro we see or hear something from our inmates completely unorthodox and not anticipated. The message I am trying to convey is, if you are not hooking into trout, to try something different. But never give up! Think like a trout. We know there are ample numbers of trout in the river system waiting for anglers. A peep into Admirals Pool confirms that.
For example, take the image above. Would you cross over there? Of course not. Moreso when there is a good sandy beach with space for a clear back cast on the TRB from where the image was taken. So have a closer look at the stick figure on the far TLB. I wonder why he is always so successful.
PS Yesterday the same TRM inmate landed 13 on a cicada “pattern” in various pools on the Tongariro – if you call a jandal with a fluffy white indicator tail a cicada pattern. Hint, hint…