I learned a new trick this week, something so obvious that I’m embarrassed to admit that I never thought about trying.
But there are extremes in weather. In the winter months, long before we get here, floods can rage out of control and be so intense that entire riverbeds, miles wide, get rearranged. It’s incredible to stand in the water at this time of year and look up into the trees where the water lines have left debris and try to imagine the unstoppable raging force of water that was here just a few months before.
Here we are fishing for trophy size brown trout. The truly record breakers are hard to find. We might walk 4-6 miles a day and some days we’ll cast to a half dozen fish, other days maybe a dozen, and they will all be beautiful, well built, and strong.
There is also wind, lots of wind at times. And can it ever rip through the valleys. Now add a 15-20 foot leader to the picture and you can see what the problem is. Trying to turn over these very long leaders and a size 8 cicada or a size 10 super beetle becomes a chore. All these years I’ve struggled with this, thinking that I had to haul harder, keep a lower rod profile, try a higher back cast, wait for a break in the gust – well, each trick would work now and then, but nothing completely solved the problem and made it go away.
And it is; we brought some of the leaders with us and now everyone in our group is using them and loving how they perform. New Zealand guides are notorious for long leaders. They keep the fly line further away from the fish and give a nicer drift to the fly. Yesterday our guide, Greg Gardner, looked at the fast rushing pocket water on the river we were about to fish and said, “Reckon a 20′ leader will be about right.” I looked at him like he must be joking, but as I watched him extend my leader by at least another 8 feet, I realized he was dead serious. And to that he tied a size 8 deer hair cicada.