Wellington Reel Life September 2018
Getting set up for the season
Right: Finn Harding chasing sea run trout in the lower reaches of the Hutt River (Photo Andrew Harding).
If you’re in the majority of anglers out there who chuck their gear into the nearest cupboard or dark recess of the garage at the end of the season, chances are it’ll need a little inspection and upkeep before you hit the water on Opening Day (October 1, 2018).
Here are some tips to ensure your gear doesn’t let you down:
- Check your rod guides to make sure there are no nicks or scratches that could cause line breakage and lost fish.
- Check the drag on your reel! Apply a little grease if required and remember that reels should always be stored with the drag backed right off.
- Check your line. Whether its nylon or a fly line, this is your critical connection to a fish. If the nylon is old, brittle or coiled with memory – ditch it and replace; same goes for nylon leader. Contrary to what the penny-pinchers say, nylon has a limited life.
- Treat your fly line with an approved cleaner and floatant. Ensure there are no cracks in the coating.
Most importantly, make sure you have your 2018-19 licence. Buy online here.
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Lower river reaches firing!
Kahawai and trout in the lower Ruamahanga are making the most of an excellent run of baitfish including herrings which is making for some exceptional angling.
While there’s often a stampede into the backcountry on Opening, but the lowland fishing can be just as good (and more relaxing) with very large, strong fish.
Fishing the lower reaches is also fun and easily accessible for the whole family.
When the sea-run or estuarine trout are gorging on tidal baitfish they will often dispense with their characteristic caution, making them easier to catch too.
This, combined with the fact that spinning gear is inexpensive, makes low country river fishing an ideal family pursuit, especially with the great value whole season Family Fishing Licence.
Best bang for your buck!
Don’t get caught short with the wrong licence purchase this season!
Many have previously opted for slightly cheaper licence options but have found their fishing overly limited by where they can and can’t go.
To ensure you have unfettered access to all the water in the Wellington Fish & Game region as well as the rest of New Zealand, make sure you get a Whole Season Licence – it’s by far the best bang for your buck!
Licences are available online now – Click here.
When the weather turns
We all know the weather in the lower North Island can be extreme at this time of the season until spring abates and summer settles in. It’s a fact of life for anglers that wind will plague the rivers on occasion and so too will freshes and high flows.
This doesn’t mean you have to stay inside and suffer. Far from it. While we’d all like to fish ideal conditions, the fact is that often you just have to make the most of the hand you’re dealt… the alternative is no fishing.
There are many ways you can deal with so-called ‘bad’ fishing conditions as long as you’re prepared to adapt.
Often the best bet to beat a blow or high flow and coloured rivers is to go heavy.
Go up a few rod weights if fly fishing – the heavy line will drive better through the wind, and higher density lines will sink faster - getting your flies down to where they need to be more quickly.
Switching to spinning is also a great option. Spinning lures are naturally heavy and so sink faster into the strike zone, and are easily lobbed into even the strong headwinds.
When water clarity is down due to a fresh, shiny lures stand out can be far more effective because trout have less time to discern between an artificial object and prey item.
If you’re determined to stick to fly fishing in high flows here’s a rule of thumb: If you stand knee-deep and can see your foot it’s good to fish.
Trout will ride up onto this clearer edge to feed and get out of the highest velocity water, which is generally in mid-stream.
If the main rivers are all really blown out and don’t even have clear edge flow, don’t despair.
Look to the handful of lakes and spring creeks scattered around the region.
Wairarapa has numerous spring creeks, many of which flow clear even after heavy rain, and Lake Wairarapa itself can fish well after rain and a strong blow.
Tight lines – we hope you have a superb start to the season!