Andrew Perring tries to remember the Tongariro…
(Readers will note in the following tale how Andrew blames everyone else…? I suspect he is trying to convince us unbelievers that there may be some fish other than Tongariro trout? So just for a change of pace we have included some of Andrew’s other interesting little less important fishies caught elsewhere and apologise to any of the other anglers he has ‘slandered’ by his failing memory… His Tongariro trout were too small to qualify for these stories anyway.)
In no particular order the other minor spotty fish include:
Sailfish ( Broome 2002 – Andrew’s Sailfish is his most cherished catch of them all. Perfect weather, perfect location, perfect fishing and wonderful people make Broome one of the best locations in the world to fish). Others are Colorado Rocky Mountain National Park,
Golden Dorado – Argentina,
Bone Fish Christmas Island,
Salmon – Alaska,
Bass – California Delta.
Back to his story:
Andrew started fishing on the Tongariro in the 1970s, maybe better described as starting a obsession with fly fishing.
That obsession provided Andrew with the opportunity to explore the globe and the best fishing the world has to offer.
Some of Andrews encounters on the fly include, Golden Dorado, Bone Fish, Bass, Pike, Grayling, Salmon, Tiger fish, sailfish, etc.
I think I was drawn to fly fishing through the adventure of exploring what lies around the next corner. I still enjoy fly fishing in New Zealand but seem to have taken a liking for experiencing exciting fisheries around the globe.
When and where did you start fishing the Tongariro?
Started fishing the Tongariro River in 1977
I used to mix my days fishing. Mornings at the Hydro Pool, afternoons down the bottom end and you will still find me down there today if you know where to look, then nights at the Hydro.
(Andrew’s explanation of strange fish in photo: “Not long after the Gibb river road in the Kimberlies opened Andrew undertook several months of fishing in remote North western Australia. For those who have not had the opportunity to target threadfin salmon, put them on the bucket list as they are often found in some of the most remote regions in the world knee deep in croc infested rivers “)
What was your reason to start and keep returning to the Tongariro?
I still remember my Grandfather telling me (10 year old boy) to use shop bought flies until I caught my first trout – not my home tied flies. Well Grand-dad I have followed your wisdom throughout my life except I have stayed to using my own flies.
My reason for returning – I still see my Grandfather standing on the river bank from time to time. I am still hoping that one day when I walk over to him we can once again enjoy each others company. I miss him dearly and continue to share my life with him forever in my mind.
Well my favourite pool to fish is a lower river little gem it was excellent way back when and still continues to excel today. But if I had to name a pool that was a favourite where memories and great friendships were made it would without doubt be the Hydro Pool. However I tend only to visit the Hydro Pool these days to admire the beauty of the Tongariro.
Your most forgettable and/or unforgettable Tongariro incident?
A good friend of mine from California Sieg Taylor and I would leave Auckland after work Friday evening. Our stampede would take us to the Hydro Pool until midnight chasing trophy browns.
I still remember the night Sieg hooked the trophy that sits proudly at his home in California. He had to take off his waders and strip down to his undies as he followed his big fish down river. Next morning we would be back at the Hydro by 4.30am. Returning to Auckland to sleep our days away at work
Sieg and I use to stay with John and Val Milner and when I mean stay the Milners use to house us in their caravan. John’s enthusiasm would pump Sieg and I up until the following weekend. While Val kept us well fed during our stay. Without the Milners none of this would have ever been possible.
During the early 80s the nymphing craze was just about to hit the Tongariro. Like every other angler I had been swinging streamers all season. I can see it as clearly as if was yesterday. Fishing the Hydro pool a tall strong looking almost god like man walking upstream, casting upstream. He was wearing a big woollen jersey and catching fish like I had never seen before.
I wasn’t even in my teens and this God like figure stopped to chat with me about what he was doing – has name Frank Schlosser (photo below on the lower Tongariro).
This was the first and last time I ever met Frank. I have always wished to thank him for his kindness that day. Anyhow next day I was back on the river floating line and bead chain nymphs catching my first ever 8 bag limit of which I proudly knocked ever fish on the head and took them home to show my grandfather.
7 What do you like most about the Tongariro?
The Tongariro is a social River. On and off the river great friend ships are made and lasting memories are forged.
8 Which is your favourite fishing style – dry? nymph? streamer?
9 Your favourite Tongariro fly fishing trip?
Flash back to 1986 – Sieg, Holsted and I were staying at Anglers Paradise Motel. The evening started at a party being thrown by Carol Harwood (Photo on right – Carol is now Turangi’s bird rescue lady). Followed up with a later drinking session at the local Turangi tavern where Sieg meet some local Girls who he brought back to the Motel. These days their names are referred to Siegs wife as Mary the Maori.
After they left Sieg was taking a shower when Holsted busts in and slams a trout around Siegs tackle. Well all hell broke loose in the room as it often had on those trips. Les broke the legs off several beds – honestly it was Holsted’s fault.
(At this stage – in anticipation of desperate readers wanting some Tongariro trout photos – that is Les Holsted standing in for Andrew on his last visit to the Lower Tongariro. Les confirms none of the above is true.))
The evening finished after a late night bender session at the Local Italian restaurant. Holsted introduced me to brandy and a mix of others tasty shots. The Italian food back then was a Turangi institution. Every session on the river was met with Holsted pouring a glass of port.
As we left Anglers Paradise we had to repair the broken beds and sneak out of the Motel without Val getting any wind of the shenanigans that had gone on during the weekend. Being good sorts John and Val never said a thing when we turned up the following weekend to do it all again.
This year Sieg’s wife visited Turangi and we had a dinner at the local pub. As each women entered the room she would ask – is that Mary the Maori??
10 Anything else would you like to add? Please include photos…
Grand-dad, John Milner, Ross Baker. You all have all been a special part of so many anglers lives. Enjoy the memories of the people that come across your kind hospitality. I know I say this from so many anglers throughout New Zealand and across the globe, we will never forget what you have done for us and you all hold a special place in our hearts..
(Last photo below is dinner at a local restaurant last year – from left are Nicola Squire, Deedrium & Sieg Taylor, Andrew, Ross & SWMBO, John & Val Milner, & Zack Taylor.)