This Christmas was spent with family at Ohope, which is a nice little beachside town with funky little shops right on a great beach located just past Whakatane. Ohope beach is a great place to stop at on the way through to Opotiki and the heart of the East Cape and Waioeka Gorge to Gisborne.
Fishing in New Zealand is a great kiwi activity. Being an island and mountainous we are surrounded by the ocean, streams, rivers and lakes. This geography provides plenty of options for fly fishing in New Zealand and sea fishing.
The father in laws boat was parked on the lawn in front of the deck where the BBQ was located, which is a natural place for the boys to congregate and plan a sea fishing and fly fishing trip while cooking some venison back steaks from a previous trip hunting.
The weather had been great for the last few days and the forecast was looking good till about the 29th December. This meant a clear sea and rivers, which is ideal for the fly fishing and sea fishing plans the boys were hatching over a couple of cold beers around the BBQ.
The girls confirmed we could have a leave pass for the 26th for a sea fishing trip and the 28th for an overnight fly fishing trip. Fishing New Zealand in the North Island from Ohope beach provides plenty of options for sea fishing and fly fishing so a few more beers were required to discuss the options available.
A call was made to check out the mussel farm, which is located 6km off shore. Once at the mussel farm we could straight away see 20-30 Kingfish cruising around the ropes of the mussel farm and right beside the boat. We got a 250 gram jig working straight away and hooked up each drop, 6 drops in a row, which provided good sport when in close to the ropes as we had to put the heat on them so not to get caught up in the ropes. All the Kingfish were around 60cm long so a bit small as the minimum size is 75cm so they were all released to grow bigger.
Kingfish are a great sport fish in New Zealand. They are widely abundant particularly in the warmer waters around the North Island of New Zealand. They fight well above their weight so be prepared for a good battle.
The snapper fishing was very slow. We think they may have been spawning so not much action on this front but we managed enough for a feed of fresh snapper which is pretty hard to beat but being a South Islander it comes second behind fresh Blue Cod!
On the 28th we packed up gear for a night in the bush fly fishing, jumped in the truck and drove an hour and a half down the Old Motu Road to the headwaters of the Takaputahi River which is a tributary of the mighty Motu River. The Motu River is a major waterway of the eastern portion of the North Island of New Zealand. The country is steep, remote and mainly uninhabited. To explore the Motu River a Helicopter, Jet Boat or Raft is required.
Back to the fly fishing. New Zealand trout fishing is up there with some of the best in the world and the Takaputahi didn’t disappoint. The river was remote, clear and very challenging – enough to test any angler. There were a couple of people camping around the roadside being the Christmas holidays but generally this river would receive little pressure. We packed up and walked a couple of hours down river to where we could not go any further due to a gorge that continued for about 15km to the Motu.
We spotted a reasonable number of trout but the fly fishing was tough. The trout were very spooky. You had one cast, could not have the slightest bit of drag, no lining of the trout at all and no indicators. They would spook while we were in the bush 5m above the river sometimes!
We managed to land a couple of nice 5 pound trout and saw a few bigger trout. We spotted a very stinky goat and a very tasty Fallow yearling deer. The rifles did not come on this trip so the deer walked free to enjoy another day.
All in all a great couple of fishing trips in New Zealand! When you can have a river like this to yourself, catch a couple of great trout and see a deer life is pretty good.
Have fun out there exploring New Zealand.