May 24, 2020
New Zealand fishing at the beginning of the year.
Hello! I’m VARIVAS Field Tester, Shingo Matsui.
This is a report when I visited New Zealand (hereafter referred to as NZ), a mecca for fly fishing, at the beginning of the 2020 new year.
NZ is made up of two land masses–a Northern Island and Southern Island–and hundreds of small islands. For this trip I went to the Murupara, Hawke’s Bay region of NZ’s northern island, an area known for an abundance of Rainbow Trout. I returned to the same river that I frequently visited during my university days in NZ.
This year NZ’s North Island was dry due to lack of rain. River and lake levels were low, creating a difficult, stressful situation for fish.
That said, this is NZ, and the potential of Rainbow Trout boldly biting at big flies was still alive.
The seasons in NZ are exactly opposite to Japan, so it’s still summer during this time of year. I enjoyed fishing in the summer-like weather in early 2020.
My style of fishing in NZ is to use both dry fly and nymph rig according to the season and the particular situation.
The size of the dry fly is basically #6 and #8. The hook, a Royal Wolf, Humpy, Stim with a 2500V streamer. I recommend a hook with a long shank and a thick body so that you can wind a long knot. Most of the nymphs are #8 to #14. The hook is a lava and a flashback pattern of a tungsten bead head using 2130V-BL and 2430V-WBL. I find the so-called Dropper system with a nymph under the dry fly to be very effective.
I’d like to fish with dry fly only, but since Rainbow Trout tend to favor nymphs, I use nymphs if I want to catch fish consistently. If there is a reaction to the dry fly, I switch to only dry fly.
I’m focused on site fishing, sometimes even blindly.
In summer, it’s a good idea to keep one Cicada lure in the tackle box because the Cicada pattern often works.
Speaking of tackle–
I mainly use a 9-ft #6 rod. Most of it can cover 8.6 ft – 9.6 ft #5-#6. For this trip I used a Power Trail PT906-4 rod. It has the butt power to handle even 50-60 cm (11-23 inch), aggressively fighting NZ Rainbow Trout with peace of mind.
The fly line is VARIVAS Union Color Fly Line Ultimate Distance WF-6. I recommend Union Sand color, which is inconspicuous.
For the tapered leader, I used the new VARIVAS Tapered Leader Pro Dry FHT (front heavy taper) 3X 11 ft. It supports a good turnover with a big fly with strong air resistance and the heavy dropper system with a nymph rig. In addition, because of strong winds in NZ, the amazing turnover performance of this FHT was fully utilized, providing a great advantage. The tippet I used was a Super Tippet Master Spec Fluorocarbon 2X-3X.
The reel I used was a large Arbor-type with disc drags that allows the drag to be tightly tightened.
It was enjoyable fly fishing, resulting in numerous 11-inch plus Rainbow Trout and good-sized Brown Trout.
NZ is a wonderful place, filled with beautiful nature and fish, which hasn’t changed since my college days. I look forward to coming back again next year.
The original article was published in Japanese by Morris Company, Ltd., May 24, 2020. Field Report by Shingo Matsui