[report]Decided to roll all my time in NZ this year into one thread.
Got out with an old friend who mostly hunts here. Weather was total shit, overcast and blowing like Crispycracker's mom.
Still, we managed to spot a few picky fish in the lake, and my buddy hooked a real beast only to have it bend the hook open just outside of close enough to net.
Regardless, we celebrated with a couple of whiskeys he had squirreled away before heading back.
I went back to the same place solo a week later and there were 5 vehicles parked at the trailhead, thanks to a DOC newsletter touting how great this particular place fishes and the incredible condition of its inhabitants. I backtracked a bit and considered the map for a while, finally settling on another lake nearby.
I didn't have much time, and didn't even build my rod as I figured I'd only hike in, take a look, and have to return at another time to fish it properly. Walking quickly along the lake's edge to make it all the way round in time to make the long drive I had ahead of me, I run smack into a good fish facing me from only a few rod lengths away. I immediately fell prone, hoping it hadn't seen enough of me to go sulking off.
Seemed like it took forever to build the rod and get a new leader all set up, then I belly crawled away and around behind where I had last seen this fish. From the angle I had there was significant glare on the water, but I could see a dark smudge that just had to be the fish. I made a cast, and as soon as the fly hit the water the fish cruised into view... and my cast was well off as the dark smudge I had cast to was not a fish. The fish cruised slowly down the bank, in a line that would take him 15' from my fly. I couldn't pick it up to recast or he would surely spook, so I had to just sit there, frozen, and watch things unfold. Just as he passed by parallel to where the fly was he turned 90 degrees and sped up to close the distance on the size 14 peacock humpy. He nosed it twice before deciding to gulp it down.
Not the biggest fish, but an incredible specimen with not a single scale out of place.
More to come...[/report]