Fly Fishing with Chris Dore

Your FFF Certified Fly Casting Professional, and Member of the New Zealand Professional Fishing Guides Association


Welcome to New Zealand's most instructional collection of thoughts, experiences, tutorials and links to some pretty cool stuff

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Wait for the Weight - Setting the hook on the swing

Posted by Chris Dore on July 6, 2020 at 2:50 AM


A recent river session with a good mate found us talking about short grabs - those hits to the swung fly that just never seem to convert into hook ups. My feelings were that they can often be turned into a hook up if the angler simply does nothing, and then a little bit of something. Follow me...


Tap, tap, tap. We have all felt it. It’s the bump of a fish who is following your fly in, engaging somewhat, yet not quite committing to the eat. It can be far too easy to set the hook in excitement at the first wee bump, but how many times does this result in a bent rod? You’re far better off finishing out the swing, expecting (not hoping, the best anglers are always alert and positive) the weight to come on, or resetting and working that run again.


If I’m fishing a subtle enough pattern I might put it straight back out there and work it slower, faster, or with a bit of movement to try and again get some interest while the fish is still fired up. If I was hit on a brighter, more colourful pattern then I’m more likely to take five, sit back and maybe lengthen or lighten my leader if conditions call for it. But in all situations, switch out to a smaller, more natural pattern before methodically reworking the water. In my experience, a winter run fish isn’t likely to spook after grabbing a fly if he’s not stung, and given a little time to settle back in, can often be encouraged to take another crack. It may take a few swings, but if you don’t do anything to spook him you still have the shot.


It can be all too easy to strike at the first feel of a fish, before they have committed to the fly. Sometimes they just need a little bit of slack line so they can take the fly in. Striking early and feeding slack can be resolved both by elevating the rod throughout the swing, or dropping the loop.

Check out for more info on the above techniques.

Lockdown Lesson Fly Casting Video Tutorial

Posted by Chris Dore on June 19, 2020 at 8:50 PM

So you liked what you saw in lesson 1 below?

I have compiled a page with every Manic Tackle Project  lockdown fly casting tutorial, and few of my own for your learning pleasure. I will add to this occasionally as I feel so sit back, pour a bevvie, keep your rod close and learn something. Enjoy!

2020 Freshwater Fishing Season - the Locals season

Posted by Chris Dore on May 23, 2020 at 8:55 PM


With whispers that borders may remain closed for summer 2021, this is lining up to be a truly Local season out on the water. As such, Chris has packaged together options to better cater to the good old Kiwi, and Australian angler.


New Zealanders have always been a welcomed part of Chris’ return clientbase, and so he understands the typical kiwi is not out there just looking for your bread and butter, everyday guided fishing experience.


It’s about adding value to your experience, and for the local who already knows how to catch a few fish, catching a few more just isn’t it.


Maybe chase that fish of a lifetime? Maybe experience a wilderness campout and learn to build confidence, and competence in the outdoors? Take advantage of Chris’ outside the box approach to fly fishing and learn different approaches to different waters, in different conditions.


You’ve probably attended one of Chris’ many talks, or nationwide fly casting demo’s. You religiously follow his weekly musings on the Manic Tackle Project blog and his Lockdown Lessons video fly casting series is saved to your desktop. Come and have the focus directly on YOU, and on what YOU wish to learn or improve to up your future enjoyment of the sport.


Come spend a day or three and learn from the guy who other guides turn to when they want to up skill. Email to get the ball rolling.

Lockdown Lessons #1. The Fundamental Casting Stroke

Posted by Chris Dore on April 19, 2020 at 11:35 PM

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Streamer Advice

Posted by Chris Dore on September 20, 2018 at 9:35 PM

Matthew writes:

“Hi Chris. Thank you for all the helpful articles and posts that you write. One in particular that I really liked was your article on the Dore's Mr Glister with the list of materials and the way you fish it etc. Using stuff I had amongst my tying stuff I have tied a couple of similar flies (I didn't have exactly the same stuff as you use so used what I had that was similar) and have been having some success with them in a couple of waterways near where I work. One thing I have noticed using them has been the number of fish that will get drawn to them and at the last instant decide to swim off, not sure if it's angler error or the flies. If the trout goes for the streamer out of instinct they seem to take the fly but if they see it from a distance and follow it they turn away after a while of following it. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.”

Dore responds:

“That’s awesome! Thanks for touching base. Your flies look cool by the way. Basically look at your retrieve. Fish don’t have the ability to be ‘curious’. They are efficient feeders. If they move on it, they want to eat it, but something as they close in has put them off. Try stripping faster when they take interest, imparting movement to your fly via the rod tip, and as they close in just stop! They suddenly find themselves right upon the fly and have only two choices: yes or no. If no, give it a short sharp strip and they’ll often hit it. You can also try dropping down to a smaller size. The bullies I originally tied this fly to imitate are half the size of the flies I actually use. And don’t worry about varying the pattern: that’s how you make improvements, the only reason the Mr Glister has a cone instead of a bead is that I ran out of large black beads and I kinda liked the effect of the cone!”

Galloups Antacid

Posted by Chris Dore on September 10, 2018 at 9:45 PM

Well the brown beetle are now truly taking to the wing however we don’t always wait until beetle season to tie on a terrestrial. Galloup’s Antacid is a favourite of mine from the grassy, front country streams to the high country wilderness. Its subtle, uber buggy and fish everywhere just love them.

Fished throughout October, the Antacid offers a non-mayfly option before terrestrials show, then throughout the summer months it offers a sneaky alternative as fish become weary of blowflies and cicada patterns. Small and subtle the rubber legs and deer hair wing make it a favourite indicator dry for flat water or gentler runs, and dropped onto the edge waters along a grassy bank it can prove dynamite.

So stock up your box with a few Gallops Antacids this season. It’s another winner from the Manic Fly Collection.

Rules of Engagement

Posted by Chris Dore on August 25, 2018 at 9:40 PM

1) You will never, never...never never never ever flick a tangle free from the rod tip.

2) If I say its a fish, its a fish.

3) If I say rock, its a rock. If you insist on casting to it, I WILL, walk away.

4) If the rock swims away as I walk past, we never ever speak of it again.

5) If it aint working, present it better. If you put the fly infont of the fish without dumping it on his head, he’s probably going to eat it.


Posted by Chris Dore on August 25, 2018 at 8:55 PM

I personally don’t use stoneflies a lot in the waters I guide but they allow you to really go to town on profile, accents and importantly for big, come eat me legs, let’s talk more about this...

A good stonefly imitation is my go to in deeper, rocky runs, or big pools where you need your fly to be seen. On many of my Southern waters going too big, too soon can kill an opportunity, however for me personally after presentation, bling, then weight, I want a stonefly or two in my kit.

Rubber legs on a stonefly nymph add enticing movement whereas stiff static legs push water and create an aquaplane effect, enhancing the visibility of your fly.

Often something big, visible but lightweight is just the thing along the slack, knee deep edges and the addition of deep soft weight will get them plugging the runs if needed. Otherwise I reach straight for the tungsten, you choose.

Thinking More = Catching More

Posted by Chris Dore on August 15, 2018 at 7:40 PM

Swinging sexy water. Don’t just fire out random casts thinking they will work. Identify structure in the water ahead of you and think about how your fly will present to fish holding around that structure. How fast / slow will the fly pass through the bingo zone and should it accelerate, remain uniform or slow as it does so? How deep / near the surface should it be. Will it present broadside or not? Should we add movement or just let it swing and once it passes that drop off and could we take a few strips, add a mend and have it slow as it passes that next big boulder on the swing?

Because there’s so much more to it than just banging big casts out there...

Brendons Casting Clinic

Posted by Chris Dore on August 10, 2018 at 12:10 AM

Casting with Brendon. I dont usually go into a personal 90 minute session with a plan and even wing talks / group sessions depending on what they respond best to. We may cover a lot of ground or stick with one or two main focus points depending on how the student progresses. We usually begin with the student throwing a few overhead casts and go from here. These are the take-home bulletpoints from our lesson with Brendon, who adapted bloody well to longer leaders, changes in distance and wind position.


Brendons casting notes 3/6

Key advice:

Focus on your tracking ( remember the 180 degree rule on both overhead, and roll cast ), and pulling the rod butt through to a late squeeze. “Accelerate”!

* Tracking drill. Keep the shoulders steady and hand straight. Cast along a straight line such as the rugby field

* Grip on the rod. Hold it lower down to counterbalance the reel with the heel of the hand. Elbow low, but relaxed by your side. Relax the hand throughout the stroke, squeezing only to stop the rod.

* 5 essentials: Bill Gammell

* Straight Path of the Rod Tip

* Variable Casting Arc ( the slice of pie )

* Acceleration. Start slow, finish fast

* Pause ( loop presents hard - too short. Loop flies high and fly parachutes to the water - too long )

* Eliminate that slack line

* Relax!!! Relax the hand, elbow and shoulders. Stretch if you feel tight, rest if you feel sore. Make a coffee / cup of soup to rest with a purpose.

* Distribute weight on your back foot to maybe ease the back pain. Reconsider the type of vest you use and distribute weight maybe to the hips.

* Hand to forehead on the cross shoulder cast

* Present your backcast for longer, cross body casts - finger on top. Angle the ‘away cast’ upwards and the presentation cast down

* Elliptical cast ( sidearm backcast / overhead forward cast ) for tailwinds, heavy flies

* Straight Tracking and late squeeze for headwinds. Short backcast and low forward cast.

* Pile cast slack line presentation for slack down by the leader - low backcast, high, checked forward cast. Throw this off an elliptical cast to reduce tails

* Reach mend. Stop rod high and slip maximum line. Keep it smooth and you sweep the rod right, or left.

* Finally casting on multiple planes. False cast three times on each plane before tipping the rod out.