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NZ Holiday

Mr Squidy

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Thought i'd put up a bit of a report on my first trip to NZ a couple of weeks ago. The main purpose of the trip was a family holiday for my Girlfriends birthday and her parents and brother had flown over from Hong Kong to meet us there with the plan then being a 9 day road trip around the South Island. Although fishing wasn't the main purpose there was no way I wasn't going to wet a line so I booked myself a tourist license and packed a small spin rod to take along and managed to fit in three sessions during the trip.

The first session was a 5hr charter from Queenstown on lake Wakatipu that I booked for all five of us. With the GF's parents not really up for the more extreme events Queenstown has to offer I had thought this would be a good day out for all. Still, I was a bit nervous before the trip that if everyone else hated it there may be gripes that we only went because it was something I enjoyed. I needn't have worried as Simon our charter guide proved to be excellent and very accommodating especially given four beginners and three with only moderate english. I'd be very happy to PM his details and more info to anyone looking for a good charter from Queenstown.

I had originally expected that most of fishing would be trawling but in the end the vast majority of the time was spent casting soft plastics on reasonably light gear drifting the shoreline drop offs. At first I was concerned as to whether the others would be able to get the hang of this type of fishing but between the guide and I we fairly quickly had everyone getting the basics working. We fished a spot called halfway bay which had a small river emptying into the lake and in one corner of the bay we hit on a school of salmon and once we found where they were holding, it was on :fisher: Between the five of us we managed 27 salmon, three short of the bag limit with all fish in the 35 to 40cm range. Best of all everyone got at least one fish on the plastics. With beautiful scenery, top fishing and a good guide this became one of the real highlights of the whole holiday.



Suffice to say that for the next few days we absolutely feasted on Salmon. We had sashimi salmon, we had fried salmon, we had grilled salmon and we had baked salmon. This photo is just under half of the fillets.


My second fishing session was out from Te Anau. We were planing to leave at 8am that morning for the drive out to Milford Sound so I decided to get up before sunrise to sneak in a quick two hours on my own fishing a small river called the Upukerora which apparently holds good numbers of trout and salmon at times and is only around 5min drive outside of town. I arrived at the river just as the first light was hitting the clouds and after a short drive along a dirt road off the highway I found a nice accessible run which looked to me a likely spot to start fishing.



Having only chased trout a couple of times over the years I was a little uncertain as to what to try but from my reading had settled on a basic plan to spin gulps, casting up stream and hopping them back with the current and if this didn't yield results in the first hour or so I would change to Tassie Devils and head down for a quick spin at the river mouth. My research had indicated that there are yabbies living in that part of NZ so I decided to go with a 3" crabby which is one of my preferred all round gulps shapes these days for bread and butter fish. With a beautiful sunrise and the back drop of snow capped mountains I was somewhat distracted when on about my sixth cast the line came tight and I struck into a nice fish. This section of river was quite shallow and reasonably fast flowing and knowing trout to be more than a little fussy I was only using 4lb leader so I had to be quite patient with this fish. After a minute or two though she tired and came to the bank, my first ever Rainbow at 52cm, I was stoked :1clap: There is no doubt that charters are a far more reliable way to ensure you catch fish on your travels but there is something so much more rewarding about catching your target fish purely from your own planning and skills.



The fish was hooked quite deep so I took it for a taste and with five of us decided that a Sashimi entree would be the best option. I have to say that I now rate Rainbow trout right up there as one of the best sashimi I have tried.


The final fishing session of the trip came when our helicopter flight at Franz Joseph got cancelled due to heavy rain and storms so with the others happy to stay dry I decide to take the car for a couple of hours and try casting some Tassie Devils and 3" minnows at a few locations along the shore of Lake Mapourika. I had a follow from a large brown trout on a gulp at my first location but couldn't entice a strike. At my second stop however I hooked a small Salmon of around 20cm on a pink Tassie Devil. This was the smallest fish of the trip but once again very satisfying coming solely from my own efforts. One small salmon wasn't going to go far between five so this fish was let swim.


So, three trips saw fish caught on each one, we had numerous great meals of fresh fish and all the while was surrounded by stunning scenery. If only they would shut up about the Rugby I could almost say I liked the place :glare:

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What a great report of an epic trip to NZ. Managing to squeeze those 3 fishing breaks into a family holiday is quite a feat. You killed it on the salmon and those trout are quality. My heritage is from Queenstown and it certainly insipires some memories! Thanks for sharing and well done :)

Cheers scratchie!!!

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