Choices We Make: Diary from Down Under I Double double digit on the lake

Choices We MakeFishingFreshwater fishingStillwater
Choices We Make: Diary from Down Under I Double double digit on the lake
My Diary from Down Under is a true story of turning the biggest and wildest fly fishing dreams into a reality. It is Martin's diary how he chose to live one and half year through his fly rods in New Zealand and Australia.
Text and photos: Martin Dvořák
Chapter 2

With all the bad weather and rivers on the highest level we had no other choice just lakes. Actually I started fly fishing on stillwater but I didn’t come to NZ to fish blind casting into a muddy water. But what we could do? I didn’t really plan to fish lakes so my gear was a bit limited and I didn’t bring any stillwater flies. Another issue was, I expected nice weather and with 23kg limit so I didn’t pack much warm clothing. But problems are here to be solved. I spent first day behind the vice and tied some basic selection of lake flies and my friend Gary Lyttle borrowed me some fleece bib and neoprene waders. Thank you Gary! Yes, old good neoprene. It was very cold and sitting on the belly boat/pontoon in pouring rain was much more comfortable. I was so glad I brought the new Vision Scout hoody which is a perfect base layer for these conditions.

My friend Mammoth spent so many days on this lake so he set up the goal very high – double digit fish for my birthday. 10 pounds (4,5kg) trout is considered like a trophy fish on NZ. We got one week to fill this goal before we move to the different places. We fished hard for days, waking up very early, tying until midnight and sleeping not enough. We got a few nice fish, mostly rainbows, but nothing close to the mighty double digit.

So the last day on the lake came. Early start into the cold morning like always. We launched our personal watercrafts and started fishing. Last two days were very slow so we had a low expectations. But something changed and fish were more active. There was an old guy fishing of the boat with fish every 5th cast. He landed a few rainbows and then a big brown trout so I took some pictures for him. With 70cm+ and fat body, definitely a trophy fish. Me and my friend got one fish each on big streamers but I knew I have to change something. So I switched from Stillmaniac sink 3 line into the slow intermediate line with much smaller fly. Few casts and I got a bite. Set the hook and the fish jumped so I knew from the beginning this is the biggest rainbow I’ve ever hooked here. My 6wt 9’ Onki was bended to the cork and line was peeling of the XLV 5/6 reel. Not the ideal setup for big lake but like I mentioned before I didn’t even think to fish lakes. Despite the colored water I was using a strong tippet so I could put a serious pressure on the fish. Still fighting the fish with shaking hands and a bit of anxiety. These big, heavy fish are not so dynamic in fighting like smaller, younger rainbows but It took me a few minutes to get it close to my pontoon and land it. Such a beast! I screamed and finally looked around. Mammoth was also fighting a big fish! With line tangled into some rope on his watercraft, he got limited space for the fight but with some skills and bit of luck he managed to land even bigger fish then me. We met in shallows, measured our fish to be 70 and 75 cm and because he forgot the scale we estimated them like 10 and 12+ pounds. We took some pictures and safely released them back. What a feeling! We did it! Filling the goal on the last day!

Martin with a trophy 70cm & ~10 pounder

Time to hit the water again when monsters are biting. But ouch, my friend’s personal raft is not here. He forgot to put the anchor so I could spot his red backpack on the other side of the bay. I jumped on my pontoon and rowed to save it. Easy to reach with wind in my back but much more difficult on the way back. Luckily, there was guy on the boat with motor so he helped me to row back to my friend. Thank you Greig Cousins! I got two more fish after this rowing exercise and then big rain storm came.  Pretty exhausted after a week of hardcore fishing we decided to quit the fishing and leave before the lunch and get some rest.

Next chapter is going to be saltwater flats fishing which I probably like even more than trout fishing of NZ. Stay tuned!



Two tales.