Winter means, winter fishing on the Tongariro river and other tributaries of Lake Taupo. There's a reason why it's a very well known fishery and now is the time to look over your gear, fishing set ups in preparation for the season ahead.
Like in any trade there is a tool for the job right? The one that does the job well and is the most efficient. On the other hand, there's the tool that you use because it's the only one you own and you cant justify spending money on a new one! As a result the job in hand takes longer, is less efficient and ends in undesired results. In my experience having the right equipment for the method of fly fishing will give you more enjoyment, satisfaction and even confidence on the water.
The second most important tool of fly fishing is the fly line and I'm going to recommend and share my thoughts and experiences on Airflo's Streamer Max sink tip flylines, why they are the best thing since sliced bread and the best tool for wet lining the Tongariro.
The Streamer Max fly line is built with an 18" fast sink tip blended seamlessly into a 4" transition followed by the ridged intermediate running line all on a non stretch core.
- Density compensated fast sink tip
- Seamless integration
- Has transition between sink tip and running line
- Floating running line
- Non stretch Core
The Streamer Max line's fast sinking head gets you down where the fish are, even in higher river flows the head will cut through the fast dense water as you set up for the swing through your chosen lie. What makes this line so good is the hi vis orange running line which is floating and as a result is far more manageable. As you strip your line in after a drift the running line stays on top of the water at your side and doesn't end up around your legs or around rocks, sticks etc.
The beauty of the hi viz green is that you can track and manage your drift easily to stay in touch through out the swing. Note the running line is well back from the head so there is no issue being green.
Lastly the full fly line is built on a non stretch core so you will feel every bump.
Warning: fish move off station to monster your fly so be prepared for some savage takes.
Rene's Skinny Bugger - Brown | Manic Fly Collection
How To Get The Best From The Streamer Max Line
Firstly the Streamer Max line and other integrated sink tip lines have a very heavy head section, as a result aren't as straight forward to cast. Because of their physical weight they carry a lot of momentum and are easily over powered. If you hit the rod on the the forward cast this will result in shocking the system, your forward cast will wobble around and more than likely the loop will close on itself causing a tangle as the line crashes into the water before the target.
With that said, this is easily fixed by smoothing out your casting stroke and by applying a smooth/progressive acceleration. With the line being heavy you'll need to tilt your forward cast up higher this will allow the line to travel further as the loop unfolds to the water. Shoot your final cast with the head and the blue transition just outside the rod tip as this will give you the best control and load for the cast.
FOB Wooly Bugger - Olive | Manic Fly Collection
Try and keep false casts to a minimum for best results. Finally, managing the running line. I've found by keeping the running line on the water to a minimum with a couple of large loops of line in my mouth the line will fly through the guides of the rod on your forward cast.
Here's an excellent casting video from Chris Dore that will help you deal with the Streamer Max line a lot easier. While the title is about casting big flies the principals are the same for shooting heads. Slow down, maintain tension and employ a smooth application of power.
I like to mix it up between nymphing and wet lining on the Tongariro but have found nymphing can be physically demanding at times, so it's nice to switch over and sit back a bit whilst been able to look around at the scenery a bit more.
Angeli's Foxy Swinger - Black/Orange | Manic Fly Collection
When the down stream wind picks up and is dominant the nymphing becomes a grind to the point of pulling out. This is where the wet lining shines and you can keep fishing. Casting across and even down a bit is an advantage in these conditions with the other key factor that the sink tip head line is heavy, carrying momentum through the cast with the weight of the line not being blown around by the wind. I have fished competently in gnarly conditions, catching fish and having a ball.
We are spoilt to have a such a quality winter fishery so make an effort the get away from your busy lives to fish this winter. Check over your gear, get a range of Manic streamers and if you haven't already got one grab an Airflo Streamer Max from your local tackle store and give one a try.