Lessons From A New Zealand Fly Fishing Guide

As a fly fishing guide working in the South Island of New Zealand our normal clientele would be international anglers - but with the whole world wide pandemic our client base has changed to the domestic market, the Kiwi angler.
New Zealand Fly Fishing  Guides tips

Eliminate The Hassle - Lessons From  A New Zealand Fly Fishing Guide

As a fly fishing guide working in the South Island of New Zealand our normal clientele would be international anglers - but with the whole world wide pandemic our client base has changed to the domestic market, the Kiwi angler.

A lot of these anglers get in touch and say “hey I just want to get a bit of fine tuning, learn a few things”. 

Some of these people have been fishing for 20-30 years and you think "hell, how am I going to teach them something" but I guess we sometimes take for granted things that become natural or instinctive after fishing 120-130 days every season.

Let’s face it, there is a lot to fly fishing and a lot of hassle and questions - especially when you're beginning - so for me I try to eliminate as much hassle and heart ache as possible 

Here are 5 tips towards hassle free fly fishing and more time actually fishing.

Fly Fishing New Zealand

Fly Fishing Gear

I see some pretty crappy reels and lines.

I’m not sure I’d like to go to all that hassle of finally hooking that fish of a season to have my old reel let me down, I’m not saying you need the flashiest reel in the world but, if it can’t hold all your line or the drag just doesn’t quite work like it should you're going to loose fish.

The difference between a top fly reel and an average one is like 50-60 bucks.

Let me put it to you like this, if I put a set of race tires on a nice Subaru that thing feels like a race car right but if I put a set of shit tires on a Ferrari it’ll never perform like it should..... just think about it for a bit.

Fly Fishing New Zealand

Your Setup

Fly line, leader and tippet knots 

It’s frustrating getting that fly line out your guides trying to make that cast to a feeding fish eh.... why would you run a set that makes for hassle every time you actually find a fish.

First thing I do to my new fly line is cut that bloody welded loop off.... yip you heard me.

If you don’t have a nail Knott tool get one, tie your leader to the fly line with a nail knot, a drop of UV glue and trust me, you won’t worry about that knot running through the guides while you're trying to land that fish by yourself any more.

For walking around cocked and loaded put your fly on one of the last 2 or 3 eyelets on the rod , run the leader down the rod around the reel and back up so you have some fly line already out the eyelets, when you want to throw a cast just take the loop off the reel, place it in a friendly spot, strip the required line out and with a gentle tap of the rod the fly will fall off and you're good to go.

A lot of people struggle at tying their tippet knots, especially people with ageing eyes, tie a surgeons knot, I show some people that and they are like "what, how easy!" and I’m like Yeh how easy...

New Zealand Fly Fishing Guides

Reading water, fishing fishy water

Fish aren’t everywhere, they are in fishy places.

You can spend a lot of time looking into and fishing non productive water.

The skill of spotting fish and reading water is a massive advantage here in New Zealand.

One quick hint is to fish up stream it’s pretty cringy seeing people fish down stream.... just saying.

Goes without saying you want a good pair of shades but they will only do so much especially if you aren’t looking at fish.

Sounds crazy but I’m not on the river looking for an actual outline of a fish.... huh.... na I’m looking for that colour, movement that smudge in the water that if you keep looking at moves from time to time.

My eyes follow those clear windows that sometimes run down that fishy seam line or over that drop off, we call them windows for a reason.

It’s a skill that you improve on exponentially the more you do it... you kinda have to see a fish to see fish and listen to your gut. There's nothing wrong with casting at a rock, it’s the rock that swims away that you didn’t cast at that hurts.

Fly Fishing In New Zealand

Footwear and Sticks

You can pound out some miles in a season so why not do it in comfort.

There are loads of top gear on the market these days and having to break in any boots is just something you don’t have to do anymore but spend that little more it’s not a massive upgrade to get those boots that are going to last a little longer and feel a bit better.

Collapsible walking sticks are everywhere these days and for a good reason, they are light, store away, and can hang off your belt. They aren't just for the old either, they can make a hairy crossing with a 3 day back country pack on your back not so dam hairy and have other use if like a fly poke etc

Give It A Go!

In many cases the biggest mistake can be to not try

Sometimes you're just going to find yourself in a position where there is just no conventional way to have a go, or you assess a situation and think I know what that book said but this feels right.... well have a go. It might work and you learn a lot from those situations no matter what the outcome. If it works it’s a very rewarding feeling.

I could go into fly selection and all sorts of bits and pieces but this is a few easy tips to take a bit of pain out of your leisure time.

One more thing to remember is the best fly fisherman is the person with the biggest smile on their face so let’s ditch the hassle and turn that frown upside down.........and spend more time actually fishing

Gordy Watson is a highly regarded New Zealand Fly Fishing & Hunting Guide - You can enlist his services via his website https://gordywatson.co.nz/

New Zealand Trout Fly Fishing



Epic Gift Card - Gifts For Fly Anglers
Epic Gift Card - Gifts For Fly Anglers from $50.00
Give the Gift of Choice No Delays, No Shipping. The Perfect Fly Fishing Gift On Time Every Time - Instant Delivery! Looking for the perfect gift for the Fly Angler in your life? Give them the gift of choice with a gift card. Gift cards are delivered by email from you directly from our website and contain instructions to redeem them at checkout. Gift cards are charged and redeemed on our stores base currency - $US For customers outside of the USA you can still shop and check-out in your native currency, our store does the conversion for you. Shopping for someone else (or yourself) but not sure exactly what to choose?Not sure what to get? Length, color or size?  It's very easy with an Epic Gift Card. You give - they choose! Schedule a Time to Send!You can even prescheduled  time / day / date that you would like your Gift Card delivered What is this?Gift Cards are delivered to you the purchaser by email and contain simple instructions to redeem them at checkout for products in our store. Each gift card features a unique code. Your gift card can also be printed out and gifted to the recipient, or it can be emailed to them immediately. Need Help? - drop us a line and we'll help you or your gift card recipient choose. How does it Work? Simple, you purchase the gift card you would like to give and check out just like you would for any online purchase. Our system will send you an email the recipient your gift card with your custom message. (That gift card has a unique voucher code on it) The recipient uses the voucher code to redeem against the purchase of their choice. Questions: Gift Cards work just like cash Any unspent balance can be used later Purchases can be topped up with cash, credit card or Paypal for larger purchases Customers can check their balance by visiting the unique gift card link sent via email Gift Cards have no additional processing fees. Purchase in your native currency to be redeemed at any time.Any questions or problems, just email us
Double Fly Rod & Reel Vault Bag Epic Backcountry Double Fly Rod & Reel Vault Bag
Backcountry Double Fly Rod & Reel Vault $83.99 $119.95
Backcountry Double Fly Rod & Reel Vault Fish faster and smarter with the Backcountry Double Fly Rod Vault! This powerhouse of a storage solution is designed to carry two 9ft fly rods and reels, rigged up and ready to roll. Durably crafted from tough, water-resistant 600D Cordura material and reinforced by 210D Ripstop Polyester inner, you can rest assured your valuable fly rods and reels will be safe in all conditions. Waterproof YKK zippers keep moisture and dust out while the thickly padded interior protects your precious fly reels from being scratched. A hardshell outer helps look after your fly rods no matter what terrain awaits you. This is an unbeatable way to transport two complete setups. Save time and be ready to fish at a moment's notice!
Best fly reel for fly fishing as voted by field and stream best of the best Best fly reel waterproof fly reel
Backcountry Fly Reel $295.99 $399.95
Large Arbor Backcountry Fly Reel II The best looking fly reel on the river. Our Backcountry fly reel features a smooth, sealed ceramic drag mechanism that boasts 3kg of drag and is easily swapped from left to right-hand wind. Super smooth sealed drag, lightweight large arbor, stealthy satin finish. Suitable for both fresh and saltwater use. CNC machined from cold-forged tempered 6061-T6 aluminum, High capacity large arbor spool Waterproof sealed stacked ceramic drag Type III military spec hard anodised finish Suitable for both fresh & saltwater use Large Arbor Spool The large arbor spool features a curved U shaped design that adds strength and assists in line levelling upon retrieval. The exposed reel edge makes for easy palming. A no-nonsense, tough, waterproof and lightweight fly reel. Epic in every way. Finished in a stealthy low sheen type III hard anodised satin finish available in any color as long as it's black.  Backcountry 3/4 Backcountry 5/6 Backcountry 7/8 Weight: 115g (4oz) Weight: 131g (4.6oz) Weight: 139g (4.9oz) Capacity: line + 50m  Capacity: line + 100m  Capacity: line + 150m  Dia:  84mm Dia: 94mm Dia: 104mm Got questions? - Drop us a line, we'd love to hear from you.
Fly Tying Tool Kit by Epic Fly Tying Tool Kit by Epic
Backcountry Fly Tying Kit $138.99 $199.00
Backcountry Fly Tying Kit Equally at home on a trip or on your fly tying bench, our Backcountry Fly Tying kit features the very best Italian made tools by Stonfo and a pair of remarkable hand crafted fly tying scissors by Renomed of Poland. There are no finer fly tying tools made. We've taken the best of the best and presented them in a thoughtful waxed cotton canvas tool roll featuring genuine leather trim and straps fastened with classic brass catches. The hand stitched waterproof tool roll houses & protects these high quality tools and features two additional pouches to tuck away fly tying materials and hooks. The Renomed "Fly Tier" scissors feature a 'super cut' finely serrated blade that makes cutting deer hair and fur a breeze, and the larger scissor handles afford comfort and extraordinary durability and functionality. Tool Collection  Renomed Fly Tier Super Cut scissors (retail US$45) Stonfo Dubbing Twister Stonfo Hackle pliers Stonfo Elite Bodkin (Stainless Steel) Stonfo Dubbing Brush Stonfo Bobtec1  Adjustable Bobbin With Ceramic Insert (Stainless Steel) Stonfo Elite Bodkin (Stainless steel) Stonfo Elite Whip Finisher (Stainless Steel)
Stainless steel Hip Flask Hip Flask
Good Libations Stainless Hip Flask $23.99 $34.95
The Good Libations Stainless Steel Hip Flask  Carry your favourite adult beverage in style with our Good Libations Stainless Steel Hip flask. About the size of a small fly box it's the perfect addition to your fly vest or bag. Smooth rounded corners make for quick extraction in times of celebration. Stainless steel and about as tough as they come, at a hearty 9oz ( 28 ml) there's plenty to share! Stainless Steel Silicon cap retainer Easy sippin' ergo design Bigger than most Cheers! Capacity: 9oz ( 266 ml) Dimensions: 127mm x 83mm x 29ml Material: Stainless Steel Positive Mood Adjustment
Stroft Tippet carry system Stroft Cutter and Carry System - 3 spool Set
Stroft Cutter and Carry System - 3 spool Set $27.95
3 Spool Stroft tippet system Three high quality German made Stroft Cutter & retaining rings - made to fit over standard Stroft tippet Spools. Spool Holder Stroft short strap - Vest strap & Carabiner The ideal system to hold, dispense and trim Stroft tippet A retainer rings and high quality cutter ring. Cutter is razor sharp, and coated in some magical stuff that is corrosion resistant. (We couldn't even spell the alloy) Fits all Stroft spools from 25m to 50m (ABR, GTM, FC!, FC2, Fluer) Includes colour coded easy peel labels  This is an incredibly well made tippet system! *does not include spools of tippet material - Stroft Tippet Spools available for purchase separately  Got questions? - Drop us a line, we'd love to hear from you.

The Epic Fly Rod Chooser

Find your perfect fly rod with our 10 second quiz

Lifetime Warranty
Lifetime Warranty

Love It or Return It

100% total satisfaction guarantee

5 Star Support

Industry leading support and service

Easy Returns

Hassle free returns

World Wide Shipping

Shipping worldwide daily
Experience the Epic® difference.