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New Zealand Fly FishingJust about a month ago, I landed in Christchurch for a Kiwi summer. Planning for this trip took place over the past several years, through articles, internet research, emails, video watching, conversation and lots of daydreaming. When the pilot came over the speakers and said, “We’ll be touching down in just a couple of hours,” I realized that the adventure was really about to begin.Shortly after my arrival, I acquired a vehicle and since then I have been making my way around the South Island, fly fishing. It’s been quite a trip already, to say the least, and the summer’s just begun! Trout fishing hear is much different from that which I was used to in Maine. A typical rig consists of a 5 or 6 weight, olive or camo floating line, a 9 foot tapered leader and another 5 or so feet of tippet at the end of that. Yarn indicators are used with nymphs, which are primarily black tungsten beaded. When on the river, it’s a game of finding the fish, watching the fish feed (if it is) and developing a game plan. Sometimes the hardest part can be spotting the fish, but once you do find one and watch them feed, it’s a sight to be seen. I’ve had some luck on some rivers here an there, but I’m still spooking a fair amount of fish – not seeing them until they see me, or “lining” them. Once you do find the fish, figure out a game plan of the fly you’ll cast, you need to make a very accurate cast, and the sooner, the better. These fish spook if you “line” them (casting the fly line over their heads) so the object is to cast just far enough so that the fly line lands behind the fish, with the tapered leader and tippet and fly in front of them. The first 6 or so feet of your drift is the key, and if you can get your fly in the right place on the first cast, you’ll do well. Easier said than done sometimes.I was fishing a river the other day and had not seen many fish to start. I spotted one that was feeding on nymphs but I wasn’t able to invoke a strike. I moved on and a ways upstream I spotted another fish, this one feeding on the surface. I put on a dry and got a good drift and watched the fish come up right next to my fly. I wasn’t sure if it took my fly or not, so I went to set the hook and in doing so, made a noise as the fly pulled off the water and spooked the fish. These were the only fish I had seen in close to 2 miles of river.Another good ways upstream, I spotted another fish feeding on the surface. In one or two casts, I got a good drift and this fish took the fly. The moments that pass after the trout takes your fly in his huge jaws and when you should lift your rod to make the hook set are like no other. You witness what happens and you know what to do next, but you must prevent yourself from doing it too soon, or you’ll pull the fly out of the fish’s mouth and almost surely spook it. This time, I waited long enough and the line came tight.A lengthy up- and down-stream battle ensued and finally the fish was in my net. I couldn’t believe the beauty or size of the fish. It was a magnificent fish, the largest I had landed in New Zealand to date. It would go 8.5 pounds. I shook my head in disbelief as the fish swam free and decided that my day was done. A leisurely walk back to the van and I couldn’t stop thinking about that fish… until I came upon the pool where that second fish was feeding earlier. It was feeding again. I got into position and made a cast. And then I saw a set of jaws come out of the water around my fly. I got another good set and soon this fish was in my net. It would go 7 pounds. An amazing end to an already amazing day. I couldn’t keep a smile off of my face while I finished my hike. A consultation with the atlas and then I was on the road again, to another river.