“over the last three or four sessions on the river I’ve caught twenty fish. Despite using all three setups not one of those fish was caught on my shiny new rod rigged in the traditional way with indicator, bomb and nymph … food for thought!”
As TRM have been champions of promoting weighted nymphs over the dark side and all other fly fishing methods for the last decade we cannot resist it and rose to his bait.
In the last 2010/11 extensive Taupo Fishing Survey (for more on that wait for tomorrow’s report) comparing the relative use of upstream nymph casting over down stream wet fly results, nymphing caught 85% of the catch. Those are the facts. OK Mike. End of story…?
The five year surveys confirm even back in 1990/91 survey ‘nymphers’ were responsible for 69% of the catch. The advantages of casting weighted nymphs upstream were still being discovered back then. The trend and better results from nymphomaniacs are obvious.
One of the more enterprising local anglers carried out an experiment last season. He had more time available for fishing than anyone else I know. As an x-guide he also knows the local Tongariro River scene intimately and would probably be effective with whichever method he chose to apply. So it might be a bit unfair when one can pick only the best times (after rain?) to go fishing anywhere on the Tongariro, but I think he mainly fished the lower reaches.
Anyway, he decided to have his own one fly competition with himself and stuck to just one fly for the entire winter spawning run season. Just one. It is called the KISS principle. (Keep It Simple Stupid – If you imagine any angler limiting himself to one fly lacks vision could become a bit boring, he is now tramping in the jungles of Thailand taking photos of wild elephants. So it is safe for me to divulge his secret fly.)
He started in May and finished at the end of November. His total catch was in the many hundreds. He lost count but he was relieved and delighted that his catch rate did not suffer and may even have improved on previous seasons. With just one fly. Only one.
Surely that proved, ‘beyond reasonable doubt’, that it may not be the ‘fly fishing method’ anglers employ but the combination of individual skills that were the most important determinants. OK? Pool selection, timing, reading the water, casting accuracy (not distance!), mending skills, ability to move around more, may all be equally important factors.
I should also qualify his efforts as like a lot of other sensible older TRM geezers, he did not try to wade out far due to his bung knee. So he was even limited as to the choice of pools (i.e. Hydro was definitely not on his list.) as well.
Often we have seen say three or four anglers lined up in a big pool like Judges, each using his own different method, all similarly skilled but catching nothing for an hour. Then suddenly for no apparent reason they all hook up within 5 minutes.
In our experience the best anglers we know never ever set up their lines until they arrive at the pool to then decide what method would be the most appropriate on the day. The obvious advantage is that then on arrival the angler has to concentrate more to spot trout, read the water and decide the rig based on the conditions, speed of flow, depth, etc. – rather than the usual Tongariro style for wet-liners of just wading straight in, scattering the trout and focusing along the edge of the deepest current or tail out seam.
So often we see other anglers arrive here already set up with their preferred rig and not even knowing which pool they would end up at. I remember having to pack up for one angler who had six rods with exactly the same rigs.
But as the world knows, TRM anglers are usually more successful because of their lucky hats. After typing all this stuff I was starting to believe it. So yesterday when Pumpkin took me walkies, I decided I should trial and test this magic fly theory in the nearest pool to TRM. I know – someone has to but it was not as effective for me. It took three casts for my first nice fresh run Rainbow jack to attack it. Within another 20-30 minutes (most of which was wasted untangling my line) I had my limit. Easy peasy.
TRM have used the last DOC Taupo Fishing Survey to settle many arguments over a strong cup of tea between inmates. i.e. SWMBO always gets a lot of stick for favouring nymphing over wet lining on the Tongariro. Some die-hard wet liners (Hi WG) never believe us until we present the facts from the survey.
In past years the Taupo fishing harvest has been regularly surveyed for the last 20 years in five year stages i.e. 1990/91, 1995/6, 2000/01, 2005.06, 2010/11. The trends that emerge such as that above have been of much interest to Taupo licence holders.
The last survey was well summarised by Mark Venman (now with F&G) in Target Taupo in January 2012 issue 64. TRM Daily Report will elaborate on them tomorrow.
Oh! I forgot to mention which was the single fly that slayed them last season. It is so obvious. So simple.
See tomorrow’s report…