Winter fishing on the Tongariro
Every so often I get a wild hair and disappear to the Tongariro in The Central North Island. I am usually too busy with summer fishing in the South Island to go to the North Island at any time other than the winter time. When I can finally get my head around the mostly gregarious fishing that is to be found there I really enjoy it! And then I remember that with a little effort I can spend many hours on the river and seldom see any one.
There is superb summer fishing there too as my friend Jared from Sporting Life ( ) will attest to. Jared updates the shop website as time (and fishing) permits him, several times each week. He is indeed lucky to live on the banks of a wonderful fishery that allows him to fish twelve months of the year.
From my point of view I love the long casts and mends of the fly line to assure the perfect drag free drift. One even get used to casting flies that weight only slightly less than a horse shoe...these flies are called "bombs" and you get used to fishing with the hood of your wading jacket up to avoid being impaled especially on a windy day. Your hood is your bomb shelter... Jared is particularly adept at fly removal from various parts of his customer's anatomy.
In recent times I have been using a Spey rod on the "Big T". The advantages are wonderful. The rod I prefer is 13 feet long and and uses a 7 weight Spey line. In Spey casting you mostly use roll types of casts called Spey casts even. One of the main advantages is is that you do not need a back cast. This means you can fish bits of water that can not be fished with conventional casting. Another advantage is the ease of distance you can cast. A hundred foot cast is quite easy and this of course mean that you can get to bits of river that can not be reached by conventional rods. Even better still you can mend line right down the end of the fly line; something that is so essential in this sort of fishing. You can use leaders as long as you like and flies as heavy as you want and it is nearly impossible to get yourself hooked! I think Spey rods are making a resurgence on the Tongariro. In the 1930's and 40's most of the fishing was done with the two handers; split cane of course!
One of the special times for me is at change of light at one of the many rivers mouths that flow into Lake Taupo. You often get these places to yourself and the fishing can be great!