What To Bring
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Bringing Fishing gear into New Zealand
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Whilst quality rods, reels, flies, tippet and associated equipment is provided, the following is a list of items you may wish to consider.
- Footwear & Waders
If you don't wish to pack your own wading gear, quality Simms breathable waders and Simms boots can be hired from Chris for $50.00 NZD per person, per day.
With the advent of felt soles being banned here in New Zealand, studded, rubberized soles now provide the best from traction in our southern waters. I prefer studded auqastealth, or vibram rubber soles, although there are a number of good products on the market today. Specialist wading boots are lightweight, and specifically designed to be used in-stream, but many kiwis use tramping, or lightweight hiking boots with good results. Lightweight, sturdy footwear is a must for the backcountry, and for ankle protection I favor boots over shoes. However, at a pinch, lightweight gym shoes or 'sneakers' are fine for the Mataura, and many of our gentler, lowland streams. A pair of gravel guards can also make your walk more comfortable, as can a good pair of hiking socks.
Lightweight, quick drying shorts or trousers are the norm on our southern waters throughout the summer months. I personally find these more comfortable and versatile than waders in summertime waters where hiking is required. Over summer, the temperatures are warm, and the distances we walk are often great, and even modern lightweight, breathable waders can become rather cumbersome by the days end. However many not accustomed to our water temperatures may wish to wear waders for added comfort. On local rivers, such as the Mataura waders are an advantage when standing in the water for prolonged periods of time. If you choose to bring waders then lightweight goretex, or similar chest waders are advisable over neoprene and other heavier materials. And whilst the majority of our river crossings are but knee deep, I have seen more than the odd pair of thigh waders over flow.
In cooler temperatures we employ polypropylene longjohns, or thermals beneath our trousers for added warmth, and these provide comfort whilst still maintaining mobility.
I tend to layer my top half with a lightweight, thermal or merino bottom layer, a quick drying long sleeved shirt, and a warm, wind resistent fleece top.
This may all seem rather intricate just for a days fishing, but as an island nation New Zealand is subject to abrupt climatic changes, and it is not uncommon to experience all four seasons in one day.
A good peaked cap, or wide brimmed hat will not only shade your polarized lenses, but provide much needed sun protection, and many like to wear modern 'Buff' style headwear for added sun protection. Sungloves too protect your hands from UV rays and insect bites.
Finally, a good quality rain jacket is a must. We fish in all conditions and the fish dont care if they're wet. As humans we do, and quality rainwear can make all the difference to our enjoyment, comfort and ultimately success in inclement weather.
Waders and a good jacket certainly make for comfort in inclement weather... as you can see above - the fish don't care if its wet...
- Polarized sunglasses
A must for UV eye protection, protection from wayward flies, and essential for cutting through surface glare and allowing us to spot trout. I prefer lenses of a yellow, or amber hue, as they allow better vision in a wider variety of conditions. Grey, or smoke coloured lenses are preferred by many on those brighter days, but can be a hindrance in low light conditions. Popular brands here in NZ include Smiths techlite lenses and Maui Jims in HCL Bronze.
- Day pack
A small, comfortable day pack may be desired to carry spare clothing and personal items on the day. Whilst I do carry a pack myself, after lunches etc are packed space becomes limited, and anything more than a lightweight jacket may not fit. A day pack can be supplied on all trips.
- Sunscreen, insect repellent, lip balm
And any medications you may require. Please inform your guide prior to your trip if you suffer any alergies from plants, insect bites or bee stings.
- Wading staff
Although water safety instruction and assistance is provided whilst wading, some people feel more confident with a wading stick, or staff of sorts. Wading is all about feeling confident, so pack a staff if you wish. Simms Wading staffs are available on request.
- Rods, reel and line
Medium to fast actioned rods of 5 or 6 weight designation are the norm with a matching weight forward line to match. Much has been written about the need for dull colored lines when fishing NZ. Bring them if you wish, but personally I use lines of a brighter hue: If I can see my line easily I know both where it is, and how its drifting. Besides - your line shouldn't be near the trout anyway so what does colour matter?
A reel with the capacity to hold 50 yds of backing and possessing a good quality, smooth drag system is a must. The 9' 5 or 6wt Scott Flex, or Radian are popular options for NZ conditions matched to an Airflo Bandit, custom NZ fly line.
I prefer the minimalist approach when it comes to trout flies: Choose a few select patterns you have the utmost confidence in, and fish them well.
Any small, dark nymph such as the Phesant tail or Hare and Copper will do the job under most circumstances. The trick is selecting both the right size, and weight for the situation. I fish a pattern I call the Glister nymph almost exclusively in sizes 12 through 18, and these range from unweighted, through to those loaded with two tungstan beads for getting mega deep.
A larger green caddis, creeper, or stonefly nymph adds a little variety to my selection, and comes into its own when fishing deeper, bouldery runs and riffles, where a little more size and weight is required.
Stillwater favourites such as an olive damsel nymph, Black and Peacock and midge pupa round off the selection and are used in swamps, ponds and backwaters, along with those slower river channels.
On top I employ a range of flush floating CDC or Deer Hair Emerger patterns along with Parachute Adams and a good spent spinner imitation, all in sizes 12 through 18. Tie them sparse - our mayflies are slim and dainty, and both size and silouhette is everything.
Umpquas Blowfly Humpy makes for a great indicator pattern and general terrestrial dry, whilst Clarks Cicada cannot be beaten in the high country come summer.
No fly box is complete without a big streamer, and one cannot, in my opinion go past the Dores Mr Glister.
In my opinion its not the imitation, but the presentation which prevails: choose a select few flies you have confidence in, and present them well!
Click Here for a printable page of my reccomendations on clothing and personal items.
Click Here for a printable page of my 'go to' fly patterns and recipies.