With an office in the prettiest place on the planet “the township of Wanaka”, it is hard to keep your mind on the job in hand. Outside my window it is 20°C, blue skies and a gentle breeze that is frustratingly perfect for 3 local streams that have recently opened for the season calling my name. Emails, excel docs and the hum of the air-con can quickly turn your mind to justifying procrastination in the form of fishing, or better known as “Research” now that I am part of the LOOP team.
So, now committed to testing LOOP gear for the afternoon as it happens, all other priorities faded away for a couple of hours.The local stream of choice was less than 10 minutes drive, 5 minutes of which is up the riverbed over river stones to where willow trees define the start of trouty water and a natural barrier to park up– ah, a sigh of relief to be here and nowhere better to be. A calling answered.
For the stronger minded, you may well be shaking your head at my pathetic and momentary lack of professionalism to my work, but hey, who is in the better position whilst reading this in your office chair. You’re just jealous…
Ok, weapon of choice the Opti Creek #3 rod with the beautifully fine Opti Creek Reel and Opti Creek WF3F line. A 5ft polyleader essential for this line to soften its landing, 8ft of 6lb 4X tippet and a Stu’s Fly Shop Elk Hair Caddis. This provides 13ft of leader total, almost a minimum by NZ standards.
First few casts I knew this was a good place to be, good gear and fish on the rise.
The 2 hours that followed whilst hopping from one pool to the next in amongst tight over hanging willows and the odd logjam provided 3 immaculate fish.
The first was a brown of 3lb feeding deliriously on the surface without a care in the world. The next a rainbow of similar proportions which in play spent more time in the air than the water but spitting the fly at the net ( I counted it ). And then lastly, on pure instinct in a pool I could not quite see through the rapids but had to try a blind cast over it, a beak broke the surface for my Elk HC and proceeded like a freight train straight up through the rapids with me running up after it. A biggy I thought, all the traits of a powerful fish. And it was powerful. The #3 Opti combination of rod, reel and line were bent tip to butt at several netting possibilities –what a dream to use. If I had hooked this fish on my Opti #5 setup it still would have been fun but this #3 is a really fantastic tool feeling everything the fish wants to do in this small stream.
In the net and a buzzing sigh and a look up to realize I’m at least 150m from where I hooked this lovely 5lb bow, what a fight! A quick shot of him next to my Opti Creek Reel playing as important a role as the fish itself in this experience unfolding.
On release, the silvery rainbow was happy to tear off spaying me with its tail on exit as if to have the last word. Fabulous!
An hour later I was back in my office with increased productivity and smiles all round. If you have a local stream, I recommend visiting it.