Sunday, 31 March 2013

Night fishing and luck

I noticed I used the word 'luck' three times in a couple of paragraphs recently. I almost changed that before publishing, but decided to leave it as-is.

Thinking about luck and my current lack of it, I decided to change my approach to my next fish.

While there will always be an element of luck in fishing, i.e. factors you can't control, much like cards you get dealt in a hand of poker; you can also do your best to use your own knowledge and skills to help your chances.

This is all probably fairly obvious to most, but it wasn't until I really thought about it on Friday that I realised I potentially had a recipe for immediate success.

Night fishing on rivers is often recommended in articles and books, and I've had a couple of friends recommend it recently. I guess it's too easy for me to see myself sitting down with a book and red wine in hand instead of at the river-side at night to have bothered before.

So, my recipe contained the two ingredients of 1) an area I knew well, that had trout, and... 2) night.

There was a glow on the horizon as I parked near the Wairau, foretelling the imminent arrival of a full moon. The night was clear and calm - so peaceful I wondered why I hadn't been doing this before.

I walked to a spot on the bank that I have fished before but landed nothing. I cast out; all seemed quiet. Just as my lure was almost back to me, a trout seemed to come from nowhere to latch onto the lure and almost beach himself on a big rock. I was taken by surprise and he managed to get off.

My third cast had a similar result, except I was ready, and had the trout in my net before too long.

I walked about 60 metres away from the spot and had a few more casts. Nothing.

The moon was big, bright and low in the sky now. Returning to the same spot where I landed the fish, I tried again, landing another nice trout within a few casts.

I was fishing with a nice little lure that I've been using lately - a Storm Wildeye Live Vairon. You can fish them with a slow retrieve and they have a very realistic action.
Storm Wildeye Live Vairon (with hook bent by a trout).

I'm not sure whether this was night-fishing-beginners-luck, but I have a feeling I'll have more success at night than I have been during the day.

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Pleasant but unfruitful

Last night I decided to try my luck with the same recipe from the night before - have a fish at the Wairau Bar, then up-river on my way home. I figured if the Bar wasn't firing, the river would hopefully offer me another trout.

I was wrong.

Lovely still evening out, though.

Monday, 25 March 2013

I decide not to target trout

It's funny the way things work out.

I have been fishing the Wairau River lately without any luck. I haven't bothered with any saltwater fishing, as I've been enjoying trying my luck in the river. I probably haven't been helping my chances by a) often fishing either side of noon instead of closer to the change of light, b) often in fairly still-water environments, with c) lures and spinners instead of something more subtle like a nymph or fly better suited to still waters.

I've had no luck. A few curious fish, but no strikes recently. But I just love it on the river. It feels like the sort of environment I'll have fond memories of in my old age (if I make it that far). Halcyon summers and all that.

Today I decided: enough! For my own morale and to perhaps help justify this fishing malarkey, I made a plan to start regularly hitting the Wairau Bar and hope for some kahawai at least. Last summer I pulled in quite a few kahawai from there, but have been slightly obsessed with the elusive trout lately.

So, as the sun was going down, I made my way to the Wairau Bar. There were a few other people fishing when I got there; some left, some more arrived.

The conditions were pleasant, but I caught nothing and didn't see anyone else catch anything either. I left after 25 minutes of fishing.

I almost didn't stop for a fish in the river on the way home, but it seemed silly not to, so I decided to have at least a few casts. Those few casts yielded a trout! It was fairly dark by this time - I could see what I was doing with the fish, but there wasn't enough light for my flashless phone camera.

I released the trout and he swam off slowly into the dark water.

Friday, 22 March 2013


Sunrise this morning from northern Cloudy Bay, Marlborough, New Zealand; looking across southern Cook Strait towards the lower part of the North Island.