September 4th, 2000

The Premiere OnLine Magazine for the Fly Fishing Enthusiast.
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The Incomplete Angler

By Steve Allard, New Zealand (aka salmo)

More than 20 years ago I was on my honeymoon , driving over the Tongariro river bridge in Turangi south of Taupo. I saw walking across the bridge a young Maori lad of about 10 or 12 carrying a rather large rainbow trout. I thought to myself, if he can do it so can I. So began a passion for the Gentle Art Of The Angle.

Next day I paid a visit (the first of many) to a tackle shop in Taupo. I walked out of the shop with a beaming smile on my face albeit somewhat poorer. New rod and line and a handful of flies I returned to my new wife at the camp and announced that a new fish killer had entered the realms of angling. The loving new bride responded; "I suppose you are going to spend the rest of our married life wasting money on this damned fishing thing." What she managed to achieve here was to very rapidly deflate my ego. "Bugger you," I said, "I am going fishing." What I learned that first afternoon was that I did not have a clue as to what I was doing.

Next morning, back I went into Taupo to find a bookshop. I found a book Called Trout on the Tongariro, which had all the information, needed to catch that elusive trout. I still have and read this book today. That first afternoon I taught myself to cast a line, well actually I managed to drop a bunch of fly line on the water in front of me. (sometimes). Next morning, after a very exciting (I was on my honeymoon) but sleepless night I set off for the river. The river is called The Tauranga Taupo and has since become one of my very favourite rivers. I blundered my way up to my knees in a pool and watched 3 trout (rainbows I think) scatter. This is great I thought, this river is full of fish just ready for my line. Not realizing what I had done I proceeded to thrash the water and work up a fairly good lather on the surface. Naturally there were no fish to be seen now within screaming distance but I was not to be deterred. I had seen this little kid with a fish and was not going to be outdone.

Two hours later, maybe longer, I was still riveted to the same spot flailing at the water. I had actually figured by now that one did not have to really cast the line, one only had to drop some on the water and let the current do the rest. The line stopped and then began to move off at a strange angle to the current, "What the hell is going on here," I said to no one in particular. I began to draw some line in to find the snag and lo and behold it was pulled out of my hand. I think I was using around a 12lb leader with maybe a 20 lb shock tippet but after an enormous battle of around 30 seconds I had beached my first trout. This beautiful specimen of the water was about 30 inches long, sparkling silver sides, with a dull black back. I promptly found the largest rock, which I could comfortably hold and proceeded to beat the living daylights out of my pride and joy.

I returned to the camp and new wife proud as hell with my achievement. I stormed into the tent to display the item of my pride. As you can well imagine the response was not what a proud angler likes to hear. Not even "a well done dear."

"What do you expect ME to do with that smelly thing?" was the greeting received. Thoroughly deflated I went over to the tin shed and dutifully and lovingly cleaned MY first fish. Fish cleaned I returned to the tent to find the cooking gear, telling my "darling" when I return you will be surprised at how delectable this tasty morsel will be. On my return to the tent I placed this pale white mush on 2 plates and prepared myself for the taste event of the century. We had one taste and decided mutually to consign the rest to the bin. It was a very long, quiet drive to the take away shop. ~ Steve Allard


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