2008-01-18, Waitomo. Day Two.

My day started with two hours to fish before my appointment to take a blackwater rafting tour.

I walked the same section of creek that I walked the evening before with the hopes that I would find and catch one fish.

I spotted a fish in the same run that I saw one the night before however my nerves got the best of me. Site fishing for browns that average three pounds is not something that I am mentally conditioned for.

I left the Marae with Wes whom is a Floridian and part-time angler originally from Alabama. The day was sunny and hot and the water clear. The creek is similar in comparison to a creek back home. This particular creek had a loam bottom, lots of undercuts, and even familiar plants like Queen Anne’s Lace, Daisy, Dandelion, and Bull Thistle. The fish in this part of Waitomo Stream are not schooling fish, they seem to be territorial and few and far in between.

Site fishing is the norm back home however typically I find schools of small fish versus one large fish per run or pool.

I was fishing my nine foot four weight Sage XP with a nine foot leader with 4x tippet. My fly was a #12 tungsten bead rubber legged cockless that I was fishing with a split shot. My first good cast at my first Kiwi Brown was a good one and it had a good drift unfortunately the split shot was not for the Brown, she spooked and I did not see her again.

I only had to walked about 50-feet to spot my next brown. I removed the split shot and took my time presenting to the Brown. I spooked the Brown with a good presentation of my Cockless pattern.

I continued to work my way upstream finding one fish feeding facing downstream in a plunge pool. The Brown quickly spooked when it realized my presence.

Eventually I found a Brown feeding on the surface. I took about 15 minutes to determine what the Brown was feeding on. The invisible hatch that was happening did not indicate what pattern to throw so I switched to a #20 foam ant pattern. Gingerly I presented the fly with a good drift on my first cast. In anticipation I captured the moment of the take with my still camera.

I managed to land the Brown of about 18-inches and to take two photos before she flopped off and headed home. The event was very monumentous for me as on my first outing I successfully caught and released my first Brown Trout in a foreign land.

I had spiral pasta with red sauce for lunch and was off to ride an innertube down the Waitomo Stream through a glow worm cave. The outfitter provided us with five-millimeter wetsuits and the tube. The tour was extreme. Tubing through a cave is something that I never imagined. Our tour lasted three hours. I saw my first wild eel, a little girl of about 15-inches long named Lily and experienced millions of glow worms on the roof and sides of the limestone cave.

We got a bit of rain at dinner time which cooled the 95-degree day down significantly. We enjoyed a few hours of Ultimate frisbee.

At dark most of the group took a hike on the Raukuri Bush Tramp to go see the forest glow worms. They are a real treat. Its not everyday that you get to see a larva that poops something that glows which they use to attract dinner. Simply amazing.

We ended the night with several rounds of beer pong and a $40NZD 30-pack of cans of Lion Red. This was my first time playing beer pong. My partner and I lost, barely, to a more experienced Rob and Zach, University of California – Davis.

On a brief walk around the Marae Steve, University of Virginia and Sacramento, California native, and I found a hedgehog which we scooped up in my fleece and brought back to the beer pong table for everyone to see and touch. Again the docile creature remained in its defensive position, a ball, until it was replaced to the spot we had found it. We spent about ten minutes with the creature which never wavered from its defensive ball.

Click on the image below to see the photos from the day.