Tied to the dock in Opua for two weeks of mandatory quarantine felt like a death sentence for someone like myself who struggles to sit still for two minutes. Not only was there a barrier around the pontoon and serious repercussions for leaving but after the first few days border force kindly advised that pontoon activities were strictly for essential boat maintenance only, fishing did not count as that.
On the boat, my fishing space was further restricted to the transom, but hey at least I could still get out for a cast. My first session was a dud as was expected, a few small Kahawai but nothing to write home about. I did, however, notice something that closely resembled Luderick feeding along the pontoon we were tied to. These are a challenging fly target in Australia but certainly catchable and they put up a great fight for a fish of their size.
Some later research suggested that these mystery doppelgängers were, in fact, Parore and weed eaters like their Aussie cousins. A few small weed flies were assembled, about size 8 and because the fish I had previously observed were feeding a little deeper I opted for a strike indicator a few feet up the line. This dropper weed fly technique had worked well for Luderick. The delicacy of the polypropylene indicator had enough finesse to not spook the fish while helping detect bites as they can be quite finicky.
Strong tidal flow had moved to the Parore out of sight, it wasn’t until the slack a few hours later that they appeared again, seemingly making the most of the still water when feeding in such open areas. While they could quite clearly be seen in the clean water, presentation I soon found out was key and any flies that drifted more than a foot out from the pontoon were ignored. Accurate or fluky casts were rewarded though, and the indicator would dance on the surface as they played pass the parcel between themselves. After many miss strikes and whistling flies past my head, having patience and waiting for the indicator to dive before striking helped the little hooks find home a bit better.
These chunky fish all about 1kg fought hard, often lunging back towards the underside of the pontoon putting some serious bend in my 6wt Radian. Sideways pressure and a firm grip on the line was essential to win the battle and any slack or lose line would result in more time back at the vice.
A new species to tick off the list and plenty more hours of fun to help break the boredom between polishing paintwork and scrubbing teak decks, these Parore are good fun!