Friday Fly Day - The Visitors Cheat Sheet To The Tongariro

One of the good things to have come out of 2020 so far has been the resurgence of the good old Kiwi holiday. New Zealanders have been flocking to renowned local hotspots, previously deterred by the crowds and hordes of international tourists. This motivation has also seen New Zealanders visit somewhere new, and of recent I have been inundated by questions from first time visitors planning trips to the Central Plateau, wondering what kit they will need in this pretty unique fishery.

Here’s a couple of common Q’s to start.

Do I need an 8 weight?

No. Modern 6wts are the new 8wt. Choose an aggressive line such as the Airflo Superflo Dash and learn how to cast weighted flies. It’s not that hard, CHECK THIS OUT.

How heavy do my flies need to be?

How much water is in the river and which pool are you fishing? How fast is it flowing? How long is a piece of string? Before we talk flies here are a few considerations.

  • Longer, level leaders will pull through the water column quicker than a thicker tapered section. Consider a 5’ butt section of 1x followed by 10 - 13’ of 3x or 4x fluorocarbon. Don’t worry if it doesn’t straighten completely. This will buy you more depth. Learn to cast longer leaders HERE
  • Carry Loon Black Drops. These are non lead, eco friendly split shot which can be applied to your tippet in lieu of a heavier, second fly, a great tip if you’re losing a lot of nymphs to the bush. On clear, bright days a pair of smaller naturals additionally weighted with Black Drops may prove more effective than your larger, traditional bomb.

And what about etiquette in such large crowds?

  • Spend a few moments just watching when you first arrive at a pool. If anglers are moving upstream, join in behind them from a downstream position. If they are wet lining down, join in from above. However, many times they’re not doing much so simply approach from a respectable distance and ask, “Where would you like me to jump in?”
  • Just don’t be a dick.

As mentioned, the weight required to get down largely depends on the river flow and depth of the water you are fishing, and so it is wise to carry a small array of ‘bombs’. Taking the above considerations into account, these are my picks for getting your flies down on the Tongas.

Death Metal PT # 10 - 14

A non flash, tungsten beaded favourite for getting trailing naturals down on clear days in low flows.

Simons Iron Maidens # 12 - 14

Pure, heavy metal, these double tungsten, variegated copper bodied flies pack manageable weight and are perfect for towing down buoyant egg patterns in everyday flows.

Jig PT # 10

This is your true chuck n duck bomb designed to not only get down in deeper water, but to catch fish.

Epoxy Bomb Squad #10

With a hard, smooth finish these are Tongariro specific ties designed with slip to the depths with zero water resistance. Choose a colour, any colour and get amongst.

Remember to focus on the resting water for running fish, the softer, ‘couchy’ water below the riffles and alongside the flow. You’ll be amazed at how quick even relatively lighter patterns hit bottom in such places.