Graeme Marshall Fishing Report for Reel Life October 2018
South Canterbury Report
The big day came and went with a bit of a whimper in my case. A grey, though windless day, low water throughout the region and other anglers at every bend, it seemed, made for a tough day. I knew it was going to be hard when the three fish lined up nicely on a drop off in the Temuka River peeled off into the deep water under the willows without even inspecting the tiny bead head nymphs that my old mate Les Hill and I threw at them. Phew! That wasn’t in the script.
The pattern was set and by late morning we still hadn’t felt the weight of a fish. When very fresh boot marks appeared in the sand and another angler was spotted a couple of pools up river it was time to de-camp. Two other access points revealed vehicles and anglers already in residence too so it was off to another river. After a lengthy walk downstream we congratulated ourselves on being first on the scene. A careful examination revealed no boot marks. The euphoria was short-lived though as after carefully sight fishing our way up one run suddenly there it was – the unmistakable, dreaded print.
Somewhat perplexed and with the day well advanced we decided to fish the water anyway. Les headed off downstream to blind fish the run we had just stalked up and I pushed on upstream. Just metres from the boot marks I came to a halt. A slight disturbance of the water just below a major side channel entering from the left caught my eye. There it was again – a fish nymphing hard, clearly taking mayfly nymphs swept down the rapid. The first, somewhat nervous cast was slightly astray but there was no doubting the take on the second drift. The indicator dipped savagely and it was all on. It took me a surprisingly long time to subdue a very strong fish of just under 2kg. The condition of the hen fish was simply stunning and I couldn’t help notice that scales came off in my hands. A sea-run perhaps? This one was coming home with me.
By the time Les caught up with me I was landing the third of four fish that I had hooked in the same short stretch. The day was looking a whole lot brighter for some reason! Buoyed by my success Les crossed over and was very quickly into a really nice fish that surprised too with its vigorous fight. We both missed a couple on the strike after that and there we were, back alongside the vehicle. It was only 4.30pm but we had walked a fair way and knew that we had plenty of fishing to do in the days to come. As Opening Days go, ours came into the category of ‘average’ but it was thoroughly enjoyable all the same. Lots of anglers are to be expected on October 1 and on busy holiday weekends. Despite that, there is a wealth of water out there and some of it doesn’t see too many anglers. I’ve found too that hatches may occur at many different times on any given day. A stretch that seemed quite barren earlier may quite suddenly ‘come on’ in response to a hatch. I’m sure this happened to Les and I. The first real sign of a mayfly hatch was noted (and remarked on) just minutes before I hooked my first fish of the day.
Sometimes a hatch will occur on a certain run with fish activity aplenty whilst stretches above and below are relatively quiet. I like to look for bird activity; swallows, terns and even chaffinches often provide a clue to insect hatches. I also examine the stones in the water carefully. If large numbers of mayfly nymphs are out crawling over the rocks trout will invariably be on the feed too.
And the rest of our week? That’s another story and happily, better for a lot of reasons...