A fishy story?
Yesterday, just as I was crossing over the swing-bridge at the end of Koura Street I glanced over the side, as you do, and just about fell off my bike – I was so astonished.
Patiently waiting for an angler was this massive trophy trout. Just off the seam of the current above the bridge the bright iridescent colours were absolutely stunning. This was about 1 pm and the sun was glinting off his/her back. Other tourist walkers also stopped to admire the sheer size of this massive fish waiting in the shallows.
The images below did not have any help from any polarised lense so you can see how reflective it was in the sunshine. Just amazing.
How big? Well I have been patrolling this river weekly for the last 14 plus years and have never seen a Rainbow Trout as big as this. From the colour I think it was a Rainbow but the size of a big brown trout. At a guess about 70+ cm? You can judge his girth from the span of the shoulders (or whatever fish have). It was enormous. Normally on the Tongariro they usually only reach ten pound plus when they escape or after they are released. But I really believe this beast was into double figures. But how often do you get the chance to film one like that from an elevated viewing platform – being the swing-bridge.. What a decision?
I had noticed an angler departing Major Jones Pool so waited until he arrived (expecting him to tell me I should go to spec savers?).
But when he – Graham from Hatfield Beach north of Auckland – arrived, he too was rendered speechless.
Biting my tongue, I asked him if he would be so kind as to wade in under the bridge and cast to it. Then if/when he hooked up I was all prepared to make it into a short video. You understand, I was only thinking of you watching all the action.
By the time Graham gently waded in he had attracted an admiring audience on the bridge – which did not do anything for concentration or casting. Fortunately Graham was very patient, possibly to make it even harder for us bridge admirers holding our collective breathes, as he quietly waded only shin deep and cast. From his first effort I could see he was in control.. He might even hook it…
Due to the cunning tactical positioning of the target it was not easy. The fish was resting behind a stone in the quiet slack water but not in the current, so the delicate presentation and mending was tricky. As it should be for a trophy trout.
Eventually, about 6-7 casts later, the fly slipped out of the current to a perfect glide naturally towards and along the flanks of Jonah. The trout did not panic at all. You do not grow that big by not carefully inspecting the fly first. He/she casually swung sideways and nudged the fly – we could see it all so plainly from the bridge. We all prayed. Then the tiny nymph was spat out and rejected as the fish swung sideways (that was when we realised how big it was) to allow the current to float it down river to disappear under the bridge into the deeper flow and out of sight.
Two hours later I could not get it out of my head so later I returned but there was no signs of it. Oh well…
Thank you Graham – you gave me my biggest buzz for ages… I am still dreaming of it.
Apart from Graham, there were anglers in most pools and most were successful. From the elevated vantage points on the Tongariro River Trail I spotted trout in every pool I looked at. Some numbers were truly amazing – about 20+ in Admirals – the standard barometer pool. Indeed, there were so many they were squeezed out into the tail and within easy casting distance from the stony beach.
But that is enough for an adrenalin rush for you today. Lookout for TRM Daily Report tomorrow when, if you can stand the excitement? – we continue with another fishy story further up river…
What a fabulous river!