So many have asked where TRM inmate Anthony caught his five hogs we have prepared a special report… We love these unlikely fishy stories that inmates bring back to TRM. Someone should write a book about them…
This is not a story for trout fishing “purists”. It gets shabby. The hero is one of those strange breeds called ‘freedom campers’ usually avoiding motels until they need a long hot shower and a laundry. Worse, this TRM inmate is a refugee from West Island and broke all DOC’s trout fishing rules. (Department of Conservation are supposed to manage the Taupo Fishery)
Late last year Anthony found himself between careers in Paihia, Bay of Islands, and decided to follow his passion and stress out for a few months to tour NZ on a fishing safari. He rejected the touristy camper van image to convert his small SUV into a cross between a mobile man cave and a compact gypsy wagon. Then he was totally independent and could drive on beaches and along river banks where the other camper vans couldn’t go and where he would never be noticed by DOC. Absolutely irresponsible freewheeling behaviour for a tourist, but he is Australian…
At Christmas he motored south to Taupo where he ‘invested’ in a fly fishing rod & reel combo and a baitcasting rod & reel. So far he has travelled about 14000 km touring the secondary roads and exploring coastal regions of the North Island and back and forth all over the South Island. It took seven weeks for him to finally discover trout fishing paradise after he arrived at TRM. He managed some coastal fishing from places like the wharf at Tologa Bay and played around experimenting at various river mouths. The only fishy success in the South Island was spin fishing on the canals at Twizel where he landed two Rainbows of about 3-4 pounds. DD will be pleased to read he religiously following CCD (check-clean-dry) with all his gear between rivers!
(WARNING: Fly fishing purists might prefer to miss this next paragraph.) At some stage he stepped on and broke the baitcasting rod so then, to maintain flexibility, he used them in combo – fitting either butt with reel into the fly rod. It could still cast and extended the fly rod version to ten feet. Eventually, he arrived at TRM where he demonstrated his casting limitations. We suspected the Tongariro River might be a step too far for a novice with such gear. He showed us his fly box comprising a dog’s breakfast including a few weighted nymphs, woolly buggers mixed with soft baits and spinners.
So we sent him west to Lake O. with strict instructions not to listen to anyone else and try anything and everything. Over there all other anglers have their own technique and secret flies and everyone has the best set up and they are all convinced they are correct. All the others were fishing from an assortment of boats from little outboard-powered fizz boats to inflatable rafts with oars. During February they had all enjoyed reasonable success considering the lake was not at its best. Without any rainfall for yonks, the outlet had been closed off and the shallow lake temperatures were rising precariously high.
It took him over an hour and two more phone calls to redirect him as he missed the turn-off from SH47 and got lost beyond Lake Rotoaira on the way. Eventually, he discovered the access to Lake O for Awesome! However he did not make it to Lake O, but followed TRM instructions to fish the canal feeding Lake O. When the lake gets too warm the fish naturally prefer the colder water flowing from Whakapapa tunnel and through canals via the smaller feeder Lake Te Whaiau. TRM had supplied him with waders, just in case, but he did not even get his feet wet.
In fact, in anticipation of him not doing too well, SWMBO had also arranged for a local angler (thanks Doug) to take him out on the Tongariro River that night to show him how it is done. When Doug turned up at 7.30 pm he had still not returned. We took that as a good sign.
The results of his first-ever TRM fishing trip were outstanding. Five hogs. The BIG brown was over ten pounds. At a guestimate, the others averaged around 8 pounds. Two were hooked on bead-head pheasant tail nymphs, one on a Toby spinner, two on soft baits, several others, that were bigger than salmon, got away. We are delighted to confirm that by following SWMBO’s instructions, he caught more trout in one afternoon than during a full month in the South Island. Meanwhile I am sulking in the laundry.