Totally Fly Blog

100% Dedicated to Fly Fishing. And because we get to live the dream, our mission is to share it with you so you can enjoy your fishing as much as we do.

  • Postcard from Yoshi

    Yoshi, Kyle and our great bud Sei-ichi had an incredible time in Japan. What goes on tour stays on tour, but we have some great photos. Yoshi is back at Totally Fly HQ, so he'll tell you all about it!!

    14067823_10155140733978709_3932520611171182903_o 14089029_10155140785923709_6101832176865449557_n 14102852_10155140742023709_1310353056205886614_o 14102886_10155140734373709_1929937383810311281_o 14102935_10155140733618709_2060154995030851198_o 14114836_10155140734513709_2515536195263051332_o 14114976_10155140733573709_9092212035567822509_o 14138790_10155140733428709_903036675870276918_o 14188129_10155163248968709_8917126976657319578_o 14231863_10155172147783709_6644948763792595267_o IMG_0710 IMG_0717 IMG_0822 IMG_0862 IMG_1014

  • How to choose a fly rod

    P1030051 P1030048 P1030047Buying a new rod can be a big and exciting decision. And we love the buzz of trying rods and matching them to our customers. So here are a few things to think about when you are looking for a new rod. It also explains why we bounce outside to the car park to play with them to help you make your decision!

    We know our gear is great and that we can match you to kit that will make your heart sing. It's really important to us that you're happy. As important, is cutting any B.S. and giving you a full rundown on what a particular rod will and won't be suitable for so that you get the best fit.

    About now we'll give you a good grilling about what sort of fishing you do. Knowing what spins your tyres helps us help you.

    The first thing to do is pick up a rod and give it a good wiggle. It's fun, maybe even love at first sight, grip or wiggle. It won't give you the best indication of the rods action though. Holding it and pressing the tip section against the floor is a better indicator. Really you want to put a line through it, make a cast and enjoy playing with it a while.

    We are happy to show you a few casts and what the rod is capable of. We have reels and lines that you can use, and it's great when you bring yours in too. That way you'll know they balance and work well together.

    So rip a heap of line off and let loose! This is when the magic happens. If there is something about your casting stroke that we can help you tidy up, so that you enjoy yourself even more, then thats our pleasure. Often the tiniest tweak in a casting stroke will make a major difference. Added to that we see some impressive casters and all of our customers continue to inspire us.

    Once you've cast a heap of line, seen the distance you can cast and revelled in that, consider the distance that you might normally cast on your favourite water. Test your accuracy up close, aim for a tow-bar 2 rod lengths away and hit that. Hold some line in the air, change direction, and try again with no false cast at all. Do what makes you more comfortable with the combination of you and your new rod.

    After that play a fish. This one takes a bit more imagination. Enjoying casting the rod is one thing, and you want to have a feel for how it really takes care of business when you have a fish on the end.

    And if you want to, take your time and think about it. We're good with that too.

  • Meatballs!

    With a heap of anchovy schools moving into our sheltered northern bays, now is a great time to be chasing kingfish and kahawai on fly. Chances are the birds won't help you find these, and nor do you need a frothy work up. Best of all you can have great fun in a slack tide too.
    Here's a 101 to help you get amongst them..._Y2A8953
    - Birds probably won't be your best indicator of where the bait schools are holding. There is so much food about that they could well be spread and just mopping up lazy leftovers.
    - Look for dark patches in the water, similar to a cloud shadow. Or on your sounder a roundish ball up near the surface (2 metres down is pretty normal), or a cylindrical looking school. As long as its tight (as opposed to spread at a certain level), there are predators about.
    - While they will get pushed up and you may be lucky enough to get a foamy workup to cast at, they may also be holding quite still.
    - When they are still, cast around the edges. The predatory kings and kahawai are rounding them up.
    - When the school is moving cast over the back and along the back edges of the school. The kings will have hearded the bait and just be pushing them along
    More tomorrow on lines and techniques...._20T9350

  • Warm Weather, Warm Water Trout.

    No doubt about it, our Southern Hemisphere summer can be a glorious thing. Seems we are getting a lot of weather this year too. In between the cyclones there have been some very dry and very hot spells. In this weather our favourite trout streams, rivers and lakes can get really warm, and the trout pretty dogged.
    I've surveyed a few of our seasoned anglers for a few tips, to add to our own, and to share with you.


    1. Go deep. Applies to lakes and rivers. Trout may seek sanctuary in the cooler deeper quarters of the pools in rivers, or in the thermoclines in a lake. They may be simply avoiding a raft of kayakers and swimmers. Seek them there. Bear in mind that thermoclines are not necessarily out of reach in lake edges with a suitable line such as a 40+ Di7.

    2. Use current. Obvious in rivers, and the same applies to lakes. Although current may not be so obvious, in the hydro schemes and assuming that water is being pushed through, even a little current will help keep trout active._20T8893

    3. Riffles and aerated water. Trout need five to six times the amount of dissolved oxygen in water over 22 degrees from what they do in water under 8. Riffles and turbulent water (along with photosynthesis from aquatic plants) produce dissolved oxygen, as well as a place where a conveyor belt of food will be available.

    4. Early and late. Again are good ways to avoid other water activities, and we can expect trout to be more active. Trout don't have eye lids, or sun glasses, so tend to be less active in bright sun. There are exceptions though, so be flexible. Night fishing can really come into its own too. The same applies to fishing through shadows.

    5. River and stream mouths attract migrating fish, and in summer also provide a respite of nice cool water for trout and trout food a like. A bit like a fridge.

    6. Presentation. Fish in low, warm water tend not to move far for a fly, so chuck them close. Do it nicely. Summer trout can see a lot of flies and feel the pressure, so spend time getting set up and ready for a perfect presentation.

    7. Flies. Start with something natural, (again, for the pressured trout  that may be spooky), and be prepared to change to something that will just annoy them enough to get them to open their mouth. Think of the attractor factor, hot spots, gills and rubber legs are all effective.

    8. Trout mortality can be an issue for catch and release. Land the fish as green as possible, and keep them in the water. Where you can revive the trout in aerated water to release them. Otherwise  take your time and let them kick before they swim away.

    Experiment, have fun, and if you can't beat 'em, join 'em!

  • Fishing Hard Water.

    Something to consider as our season goes on, water warms up, and fish get more pressure...

    So, I was forced to do this on the weekend. What I mean is that by choice I wanted to chuck a few light nymphs and maybe the odd dry into the nice soft sides of the runs. To picture them gently toppling downstream. And to gracefully retrieve line, at a nice relaxed speed.  I did that for a bit, and nada fish. Pressure had pushed them out into less hospitable water. And so instead I was wading in the riffles, bracing against the current and hurling double tungsten flies into white water. And catching fish, I was catching fish.

    In the overall scheme of things, trout aren't that flash at swimming. They rely on the 3 C's to survive: Current, Cuisine and Cover. Big heavy water can provide all three, and while those fish may retreat at times, if they are in the hard water then chances are they are on the feed.

    By definition 'hard' water is deep, fast and usually bouldery, more so than a riffle or pockets. Trout hunker down in the slack water between the boulders, chilling and waiting for food to blast by. There will be layers of current, fast over the top, a slower pace under that, and near the bottom and in between the boulders the water may be quite slack.

    These areas are often overlooked by anglers. They are usually a difficult wade, and require a different set of skills. They can also be incredibly productive.

    BRT 13 Caught from the far bank. Caught a heap over there that day! Have to consider that we may have pushed them out of the softer water with the first one hooked there, or that they were there all along. Either way, fishing the hard water was the trick!

    1. Go heavy. Heavy nymphs are essential. As is a leader of a reasonable length.

    2. If you are using one, the same applies to your indicator. A large bushy dry fly may be enough. Or there are many types of indicators that will do the trick. Get some balance though. As small as is practical is best. While a budgie will hold the flies up, it may also make detecting takes more difficult. What ever you use it's going to get chucked around a bit and you want to be watching it very carefully.

    3. Line management. Whether you are short line nymphing or dry nymphing, hold as much line off the water as possible. This help will eliminate drag, and increase contact. 10 ft rods make this easier.

    4. Presentation. This is the one to work on because it will vary over the water. Falling nymphs will cruise along pretty fast, and then drop into the slack water. (See point 6!!). Its possible to almost feed the nymphs down to the trout. Hydrology will also chuck your flies around, often right back to the surface. Lift your flies out of the current and see where your leader and flies are. Its stuff to think about....

    5. Drift. Using a roll cast as a mend can help your flies drift naturally. Any mend that  you use should be done with your whole arm, from the shoulder, as if it's another cast. Doing this means that you are less likely to disturb your indicator as you lift line off the water rather than dragging it through. Its not usually necessary to animate your flies in these conditions. The current will do that for you.

    While I wouldn't normally advocate a rod angle this high, Colin's rod angle was necessary to lift this fish around the boulders. Heaps of side strain in between and eventually - bingo! It helps to have a mate netting for you too.... While I wouldn't normally advocate a rod angle this high, Colin's rod angle was necessary to lift this fish around the boulders. Heaps of side strain in between and eventually - bingo! It helps to have a mate netting for you too....

    6. Contact. I bang on about contact a fair bit.Having the least amount of slack line between you and your nymphs, while still letting them come through naturally. Use your whole arm to control the amount of line on and above the water, as well as a retrieve as your flies come back.

    7. Strike. At everything. Always. Seriously, for the number times it is a fish. And the same applies to the compulsory strike at the end of the drift. Not optional, compulsory. Nymphs falling into slack water may look like a strike, same as trout eating flies do. Striking to the side (as opposed to high in the air) will set the hook nicely or leave the flies in play. Both are winners.

    8. Playing fish in this stuff can be really exciting. Work your rod angles, lots of side strain. You'll have to mix it up with a traditional high rod angle too, in case of getting wrapped around boulders. Just keep an eye on the fish, and your line (the two are not always doing the same thing). Once you can, move out of the run and into more manageable water. It usually pays to wait until you have some degree of control over the fish.

    Last of all, promise me you'll be careful wading. It's slippery in there (vibram soles and wading sticks help a lot). If you've got waders on always wear a wading belt.  Thanks!

    In the photos are Andrew and Colin Christmas - awesome father and son duo! 


  • Christmas Presents for under $100.

    Fly Fishing nuts must be the easiest people to buy presents for!! Here's a few ideas of gifts under $100 that you'll love to give, or get for yourself....       (click on the links for more info)

    Simms Sungear, easy to justify in any summer. A huge range of colours and styles.   (Shhhh, my dogs are getting me the Tidal Sungloves to match the Gaiter I'm getting from Santa). Starting at $19.99 for Anglers Sunblock.

    Not the target species, but goat fish are pretty cool too. 2016 Goals - Matching Sun Gear!!

    C&F Fly Boxes, a size for every pocket! C&F are the ultimate in Fly Boxes, perfectly practical and beautifully stylish. Fire a few flies in for a Christmas gift giving bonus. Starting at $44.99.

    Simms Nippers, a nice combination of luxury and functionality. Everyones nippers should be made from Aircraft grade aluminium! $79.99. Chose from Gunmetal, Oasis and Orange.

    Simms Half Day Pack, if you're quick! We have a few of the left on sale. $99.99

    Caps and Hats, you can't have too many of these. Chose your brand and style and go from there. And there are women's and children's sizes too. Starting at $34.99.

    simms totally fly

    Smith Creek Trash Fish, keeping our rivers and streams rubbish free. Love this one. $15.99

    Simms Tee shirts. Nice on and off the water. Starting at $49.99.

    Sean Andrews Simms Looking great and catching great trout!

    Loon Arrow Point Scissors. Are just so great to use. $29.99

    Loon products, sinkents, floatants, fresh pants (dare you!), hydro stop, caddies.... Anything Loon is great! Starting at $11.99.

    DVDs, the GinClear Backcountry series, North or South Island. Or both. $39.99

    Fill your boots or your stocking. And of course we're happy to help you chose too!  Thanks.

  • Ohinemuri Magic.

    _20T5684Being the good sort that he is, Yoshi organised and fished in the North Shore Champs last weekend at the Ohinemuri.  The Ohinemuri River is the one that you drive alongside in the Karangahake Gorge. It's a cool looking river, but very prone to flooding. There's a link to the flow chart on our website (here) thats worth keeping an eye on if you're heading there. In terms of fish numbers it seen better days, but it is very accessible and a great place to spend a day.

    The usual targets are brown and rainbow trout. They tend to congregate in certain areas so its worth moving about. You'll also likely meet schools of mullet. More than a few good size trout have been pulled from amongst those, although the mullet are notoriously tricky to catch.

    Yoshi dry/nymphed this weekend, which went well as he caught the most fish. His usual go-to's did the trick, Yoshi's X-Factor under our favourite Stimulator.

    Mark Clasper took the title, including catching the biggest trout of the day, a 44 cm brown. Yoshi came in at 2nd place and Cory Scott took 3rd.

    AF3Q3054 AF3Q3036 AF3Q3060 AF3Q2890 AF3Q3075 AF3Q2960


    Yoshi's X-Factor


  • Simplify Your Trout Fly Boxes


    Here are 4 surefire themes get your fly boxes simplified and sorted:

    1. Pattern. I know hugely successful anglers who year round only ever use a few well chosen patterns. Clearly they are super confident that they have every situation covered. They recognise that trout don't care if your legs are rubber, feather or fur. Most of us like a selection to keep us entertained (this is definitely me!), so think in general terms. For example when selecting nymphs; pheasant tail variations, hare and copper variations, caddis nymphs and a stonefly imitation will pretty much do you.

    2. Colour. Sounds obvious but it's easy to get bamboozled. A few random colours are a good idea to include in your amour, but other than that its as simple as light, medium and dark. Thats pretty much it. On any given day the condition and colour of the water and whats going on overhead are going to make subtle changes to the appearance of your flies anyway, so keep it simple.

    3.  Size.  Most of the trout we target aren't picky enough to notice the difference between a pattern tied small on a larger hook, or large on a smaller hook or fractional differences in fly size. That stuff is for us to fret about. Have a selection of sizes, but don't over complicate it.

    4. Weight. Mother Nature will laugh in your face for thinking that changing a 2.3ml bead to a 2.7ml bead is going to make a difference.  Too many other factors are at play. Presentation and velocity are two, size and density of your flies are two more. Keep a range of weighted flies. Unweighted, lightly weighted, mid and bomb are a good way to go. You can read more here.

    I love tying small dries, and a fully stocked fly box makes me soooo happy! I love tying small dries, and a fully stocked fly box makes me soooo happy!

    In case you are wondering, 'Fly choice, Educated Trout and Educating Anglers' is coming on another blog soon....

  • How do you run your Trout Fly Boxes?

    Are you a glorious smorgasbord? Perhaps a self created hatch of tastiness? Or a fully organised line up of your personnel ready for an assault on your favourite water? It's a topic we hear a bit about.
    Lots of you who come into Totally Fly HQ get to have a look at our assortment of fly boxes so here's our M.O.

    Dozens of buzzers, all in order, lined up and ready. Completely obsessive! Dozens of buzzers, all in order, lined up and ready. Completely obsessive!



    How my fly boxes start a trip and how they finish are not the same thing... The C&F vest and lanyard patches are a firm favourite with us. How my fly boxes start a trip and how they finish are not the same thing... The C&F vest and lanyard patches are a firm favourite with us.

    Yoshi: Yoshi gives many flies away so is forever robbing one box to fill another. Appearance of total chaos. Conversely every fly you need is always there, and every fly is a proven fish catcher. Can't quite work it out but have total confidence that everything is under control and every fish is catered for.

    Chris: Says he does what Yoshi tells him to. But I know he has a system, highly organised... Also a fly gifter par excellence. Has a remarkable knowledge of materials and the finer detail of colour.

    Kyle: His Canadian childhood has a lot to answer for. Kyle files his flies by genus and species with a knowledge of trout food well beyond the average angler. Not sure why, he generally catches trout with the first pattern he ties on and leaves it there. Gifted.

    Belinda: I am borderline OCD. Sectioned by weight, then size, then pattern. Labels every box. My 'Fine Dining' boxes are ordered heavy to light over three pages and then one for practical dries. (I secretly stash a box of Taupo style bombs and glow bugs in a box called 'Junk Fud'...)

    Needless to say, each of us runs many boxes. C&F are our favourite fly cases. Kilwell X'Large foam boxes make fantastic storage. And nothing beats the MFC Boat box for every fly you need to fish a lake.


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