Fishing the Waiau River at Te Anau by Gabriel

April 19, 2013 in New Zealand, Oceania, Travelogue

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Friday found us huddled in a camper while cold air nipped at our blankets.

Movement caught my eye and I looked at the source. Mom was moving towards the heater station in the middle of the kitchen. A moment later the warm air was battling against the cold for possession of our bodies. Slowly I took myself out of my blankets and faced the day with excitement. Breakfast happened and we were on the road without further ado.

Our first stop was the park to use the bathroom but our second was the one I was excited about. Pulling off the road we bumped along a single lane road till we got to a fast flowing river near a boat ramp. We didn’t have to wait long. A car drove in as we were standing there with a jet boat on the back. The man driving backed into the trailer into the water and then pulled the boat off, grounding it onto the shore so it wouldn’t move.

“Hello, I’m Ken” He said in a pleasant voice.

“I’m Tony and this is my son Gabe.” Dad replied.

 I had a t-shirt, two sweat shirts, a down jacket, a normal jacket and a rain jacket on and yet I was still cold. Dad and I got on the speed boat with the Ken and he turned it on and we sped away from the shore and out into the fast flowing water. He drove us up the river a ways and then stopped us. We cast and reeled in, we cast and reeled in again, and again. Suddenly, after the boat had drifted down past where we had started off, Dad’s pole dipped down slightly and he said, “Got one!” and there it was. A six-inch long rainbow trout. “Yay!” I yelled.

When it was released Dad said, “Well, I may have caught the first one but it didn’t count because it was to small.”

Seconds later and he was fishing again. Time passed slowly and we drifted ever further down the river. Dad cried out in excitement suddenly and we all looked at him. His pole had dipped till it was inches from the water. Then, out over the surface, a fish leaped four feet out of the water and then fell back in. We all let out exclamations of delight. Three more times it jumped before it fell off.

Yup; it fell off the hook. Our displeasure was voiced with loud, “Ahh man!”

Again we were at the casting and reeling and casting again. Not twenty minutes later another fish hit Dad’s line. This was also small and we threw it back. Back to the old casting and reeling; over and over. Finally Dad’s pole went down yet again! This time it was a big one. He pulled and pulled and the fish leaped into the air time after time, but it was no match for Dad’s cunning power. He landed it a few minutes later. This one we also threw back because it was not hurt and Ken has a policy against keeping them if they are not hurt.

Photos were taken and then it was put back into the water of the Waiau River outside of Te Anau. Back we went to the casting and reeling. A long time passed before we had our next round of excitement.  A trout followed my lure all the way up to the boat and then disappeared into the cold dark river.

That was the closest thing to a catch I had.

Other than Ken of course: Yup; I hooked him by accident.

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Over and over we cast and over and over nothing happened. Then, yet again, Dad called out, “Got one!!” And got one he had. It flew four feet in the air and hit the water with a smack. Up it went again. And then we had it in the net. Unfortunately Dad hurt its mouth and so Ken gutted it and put it in another net to bring it home.

Then we went back to the casting. We had gone down river a long way and so Ken turned on the motor and drove us back a long way. A few minutes later and we were back to the casting. It had been nearly two hours and the frosty air was nipping at my face and I couldn’t feel my fingers beneath my gloves. My pole felt like lead in my hands and I was almost afraid I would drop it. Fortunately I didn’t.

Ken told us to reel in and turned the bow of the Jet boat upstream. Up we went, faster than a motorboat would have gone on that river, until we got back to the boat ramp. Dad and I showed off his fish as we disembarked.

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 “Do any of you wish to take a ride?” Ken asked.

Both of the little boys wanted to right away and so Mom, Hannah, and the two boys got in while Dad and I waited on the shore. The engine roared to life and they sped out of the ramp area and into the river. The little boat skipped across the water with amazing speed and was soon out of sight. Dad and I stood there till they got back. Dad took photos of the fish some more and then we got in the camper and made lunch.

I think that if you have the money and the chance then you should go to fish with Ken at Fish Jet in Te Anau. He is a good man, from what I could tell, and knew his river better than I could in ten years. Even though he has a catch and release policy it is still fun to get the fish. It is good for people who have never fished before, it is good for families, and it is awesome for experienced fishers. I highly recommend it for people who are looking to spend their money in a fun, outdoorsy way.

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