My trip with Bert was a good example of what my winter project was all about. He had many years of fly fishing for Trout and also doing a range of conventional saltwater fishing.
Waiheke and the surrounding Islands of the Hauraki gulf have many interesting and productive sheltered corners where normal fisher folk do not go and are perfect for exploiting the subtle presentation’s possible only with a fly rod.
Small flies that are a hybrid of the ever present anchovy ,shrimp/and crabs are cast into nooks and crannies often only ankle deep, the fly is worked back and paused whenever a drop off or weedy edge can be seen or felt. Often the line springs razor tight as a snapper or Kahawai that has been quietly foraging the shoreline spies an interesting meal. Alternatively with the line in hand small bumps and knocks indicate the interest of a snapper and with a series of twitches and pauses the solid weight often comes tight right at the boat. Drawing the fly to the surface to take advantage of this last “hang” moment often produces an eyeball to eyeball moment with the snapper before a final rush at the fly.
Bert took good advantage of my offer to develop his double haul and work on his tracking on the local high school pitch, the goal lines offering a visual guide to track his forward and back stroke so all that energy was directed with less effort and more distance. Time well spent as when we did get on the water his casting improved all day, the better fish often a result of a soft touch down and getting the fly to the structure or weedline toward’s the shore.
The Bass series rod are designed for American bass fishing conditions, throwing large flies with minimum back casts into snaggy water and when hooked up the shorter length (7 foot 11 inches) make great tools to wrestle strong fish. The added advantage is that handling them in small boats and Kayaks is considerably easier than a 9 footer.
I carry all three from the series favouring the “small mouth” which is designed for 280gm lines for this style of fishing and the two larger models as all rounders and fishing for kingfish. Its fair to say all that fish with them are surprised by how easily they cast and feel in the hand, if only I could get Sage to rename a few to relate to our kiwi species……
I am busy right now tying up a few custom flies for Bert to go with the Bass “small mouth” rod and reel combo he has purchased.
If my mission is to introduce people to the joys of saltwater fly fishing then I think my work here is “done”, next soul to save please……..