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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Single Handed Spey 101

Posted by Chris Dore on September 26, 2020 at 1:45 PM

There’s been a lot of discussion of recent surrounding single hand spey techniques, and rightly so. However, roll casting has been around since the beginning of time and if you’ve been pulling your line into place to facilitate a roll cast delivery then congratulations, you’ve got it…to some extent.


Over time the tactics and equipment have developed to the benefit of modern fly anglers, and so have spey specific techniques. We now have a multitude of textbook casts to learn and master with all the tuition readily available, along with specific tools to make life easier and to deliver tips and flies beyond the average casters abilities with standard fly fishing kit.


With single hand spey, essentially you’re looking to deliver nymphs, wets and light streamers on lighter sink tips or polyleader type systems. It takes mass to move mass and the weight required to load your rod must be carried in your D loop. This means employing a long belly line with precision, or a modern, short and heavy, single handed spey head and shooting line set up. Here’s where we have you covered.


While your 9ft rod will perform all the casts you will want to make, the longer the rod, the longer the lever and the easier the cast will be, all things given. However there is a limit before the swing weight becomes too much and then you require two hands on the rod to avoid fatigue. I find a 9’6” 6wt Scott Radian, or similar rods with that tad extra length and low swing weight perfect for single hand spey techniques.



As mentioned, any line will do but modern more specific heads will make life easier, and for most people they make it easier to turn over sinking tips and bigger flies. We don’t often have the luxury of expansive casting room and so a shorter more compact head will allow you to fish many of your favourite but hard to get at spots.

At the forefront of our range is the Airflo Skagit Scout, a spey specific head designed with shorter two handers and single handed rods in mind. However, unlike others, a little more thought has been put into the design of the Scout giving it more versatility than just a tool designed to ‘turn stuff over’.


Ranging in length from 13.5’ for the 150gr head to 18.5’ and 480gr, they feature a short rear taper to smooth out the cast and a longer forward taper to reduce kick and offer a little more accuracy and precision to your game. From polyleaders and wee wets, to T-10 Airflo Flo Tips and beaded buggers, the Airflo Skagit Scout allows you to deliver flies from tight quarters at surprising distance. (disclaimer: distances and performance may vary if you cast like crap).


For a little more, see my earlier blog on the Skagit Scout" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">HERE

Next comes the Airflo SuperFlo TRC (Tongariro Roll Cast) line. With a head length of 46’, this line packs a lot of punch when you anchor it straight, and fire. Designed specifically for delivering heavily weighted nymphs with an upstream change of direction, this line is the Tongariro Roll Casters dream. Available in one weight, a heavy 6-8wt multi rating, Superflo technology has allowed us to marry a high mass head to a super thin polyurethane running line avoiding the issues associated with PVC. No matter your leader length or the weight of your flies, the TRC will load your rod deep and deliver it to the far seam.

A great option too for those wanting something a little longer, but with the tip mass to still deliver streamers.


Did you know, in the early stages of switch rod development the Airflo 40+ floater was the pick of the bunch for North American switch rodders, and our very first Airflo Switch combo was released in 2010 loaded with a 40+.


The Airflo 40+ is still a very versatile integrated shooting head for sending out flies and stripping them right back to your feet. Loaded with a 10’ polyleader it allows easy distance.



Your favourite coated running line may sing behind your 450gr skagit head but often your lower grain weight single hand spey heads just won’t pack the weight to tow them to the far bank. Lucky we have some other options. Mono is my go to running line for most heads under 350gr, allowing for longer, more effortless distance.

Airflo Impact Running Line is a low stretch, oval shaped mono which is relatively memory, and tangle free. Two Surgeons loop knots create a strong, sturdy loop connection in mono and a touch of glue can lock it all in place.


Airflo Miracle Braid is super easy to handle, especially in colder winter weather, and is a good option for beginners to stripping and managing thinner running lines. Simply splice a loop and secure with glue, attach your head and go.



You’re generally not using higher grain weight heads and so will be more limited compared to the guy wielding that 13’ 7wt over there, but that’s not what we are trying to achieve here.

We are realistically looking to present soft hackles, or bugger style flies on polyleaders, and Airflo Flo Tips. Many employ a simple tapered mono leader but soon find they lack the diameter to efficiently grip the surface to hold the D loop in place. If you want to fish at the surface, a 10’ floating polyleader is a much better choice.


Now generally I’m using Airflo Salmon/Steelhead 10’ polyleaders as my choice of tip, in floating, clear intermediate, fast sinking and extra superfast sink. The 40lb core of the Salmon/Steelhead polyleader withstands the shock of spey casting and quick changes of direction much better than the trout weight leaders. A good choice for swinging on the 40+, or TRC lines. If you’re particularly tall or find yourself blowing out your anchor regularly, then I’ve found the 14’ polyleader helps some clients in this regard.


T-7 and T-10 Airflo Flo Tips can be handled relatively happily on 240gr and above Skagit Scout heads. Focus on eliminating all slack line from your anchor and D loop, setting it up straight, and put in that little extra zip when throwing backwards into your D.

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Waterborne casts are predictable, easy to learn and easy to perform at your own pace. They are also more forgiving of errors than more dynamic casts such as the single spey or snake roll which generally turn to custard for most when employing short, skagit style heads.


The Circle Spey is my go to cast to teach when the flow is right to left for the right handed caster, capable of lifting the head from the water, owning the tip and clearing the rod tip easily in an upstream wind.


For a left to right flow with a right hand caster the double spey allows you to slow things down, anchor each phase of your cast to the water, and set up the D as you wish.


For more descriptive breakdown of these casts watch the clip above where we talk you through these casts.


Plan of Attack


- Learn to roll cast. Very, very well." target="_blank" rel="nofollow">HERE again we can help.

- Learn the double spey and circle spey as above. Match your sink tip to the depth and speed of the water, and where you feel the fish will be. The lighter the better when you’re learning.

- Attach 5’ of tippet.

- Choose a simple beaded woolly bugger to begin. Keep it simple and easy to cast.

- Focus on the edges, holes, drop offs, riffles and swing in towards stable banks. Forget those big casts way out into the back of yonder. You wont catch fish there. Keep it short and controlled.

- Cast, mend, swing and repeat. And repeat. And repeat. You may not catch loads of fish most days while swinging, but its a fun, relaxing way to fish and when its hot, its hot.

- Check out our back catalogue for advice, tactics and techniques to get a better understanding of swinging for trout. Get out there and enjoy.


Invest in Yourself

Posted by Chris Dore on September 21, 2020 at 8:55 PM

With the borders closed many Kiwis are looking forward to getting out and exploring their own backyard on relatively uncrowded rivers with lesser pressured trout. Now is the time to get off to the right start and invest in YOURSELF by hiring the services of a professional guide and renouned fly fishing instructor. A day or three with Chris will improve and progress your technique, mindset and knowledge of our rivers, the environment and the skillset required to enjoy your future endeavours to the fullest. Lifes too short to not catch fish and catching fish, and enjoying the outdoors need not be a chore. Check out the options and touch base with Chris to take your fly fishing enjoyment to a whole new level.

The New Scott Centric 905 Fly Rod

Posted by Chris Dore on September 21, 2020 at 7:00 PM

There are already many great reviews available online extolling the technology loaded into the new Scott Centric fly rod, and so I see little need to go into great detail on another. My advice is you should simply go and try one for yourself and take your wallet. You'll soon want one.

It has been seven years since Scott put the feel into fast action fly rods with the groundbreaking and award winning Radian, and with a further seven years of technological advances, just as many other companies are only just catching up they have done it again with the new Scott Centric. The Centric doesnt make the Radian any less of a rod, it simply again raises the standard for modern, fast action fly rods.

The one thing that immediatly struck me was the ease of changing direction throughout the cast. Effortlessly pick up the backcast from one direction and send it out straight, confidently and accurately in another. The ease of loading and effortless line speed the Centric generates certainly raises the bar yet again. It loads at 20' as easily as at 60' showing great range, and while the rod tip provides ample protection for lighter leaders, it responds truly with enough power and accuracy to throw short to medium presentations off a relatively closed stroke.

Exceedingly smooth. Exceptionally light. Effortlessly fast.

Is this an all round trout rod? No, because there simply isnt one. However with the new taper designs, precise fibre placement and densities allowed by Scotts groundbreaking resin system they are closer than ever to knocking that title off.

Winter Stealth

Posted by Chris Dore on July 16, 2020 at 11:45 PM

One thing I don’t get is how much time, effort and patience anglers put into being stealthy over the summer months and how that all goes out the window on winter time waters. These are still the same fish with all the same senses and sure, while the character of many winter rivers may see the fish less affected by a heavy footfall, you will still catch more fish if they don’t know you are there. The assumption is that fresh run fish are stupid and carefree, however they often move in numbers. Slighting one fish can disturb the entire pod. After a few days in the river these fish settle a bit and regain the wiles of any wild, NZ brown and rainbow trout.


So what are some considerations we can take into account to avoid unnecessarily spooking winter run fish?


  • Step light, and wade quietly. This is a given at any time of the year. Heavy footfalls along the bank or in the water can alert fish from quite some distance. Likewise wade slowly, and avoid the audible ‘swooshing’ one makes when wading too quick / powerfully. Consider using a Simms Wading Staff to help maintain balance and to move more stealthily.
  • Walk wide when approaching the water. Don’t just waltz up the river’s edge. Winter run trout will often rest up in the quieter water close to the bank. They won’t stick around to be caught if you bowl right past them en route to the head of the pool.
  • Use lighter heads and tips where applicable. A 550gr skagit wouldn’t be my first choice for that smooth tail out on a bright, sunny day. Instead maybe consider something in the 250 - 300gr class, maybe on the single hander, or loop on a rage compact or scandi for a bit more delicacy and much less noise. Likewise, do you really need that single hand 8wt on that bright, calm day or will your 6wt do? Extend out your leader also to keep the heavy drop of your fly line further from the bingo zone.
  • Don’t rip the water when pulling around into your D, lifting your line to recast or repositioning. Likewise beware of heavy landings. Accelerate smoothly as you peel that line from the water. Summertime fish spook from line ripping from the surface, and trust me, wintertime trout will too. Here’s a tip. Clean your line often and apply whizz lube so that your line lifts effortlessly from the water. Your Airflo SuperFlo coating repels water too and so is a no brainer when lifting your line for that next cast.
  • Cast well above the fish zone, keeping your line, and the drop of your fly away from the hotspot. Mend accordingly so your fly drifts through the right water. So many people see the pocket they want to fish, however subconsciously aim right at it.
  • Practise your presentation. Turn your line and leader over in the air cleanly so that it doesn’t dump down on water.
  • While these fish may not know what fluorocarbon is, if your leader is too heavy it can leave you at a disadvantage, especially in situations such as low water, heavy angling pressure etc. Heavier leaders ( 10 - 12lb ) do not swim your fly as freely, or move about the currents as naturally as 6-8lb, and if you want to get lighter flies deep, you want a smaller diameter line.


If you’ve been finding things a bit tough then don’t necessarily look to your fly box for the magical answer. Maybe reconsider your approach, utilise a little more cover and come out on top.

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.