May 27, 2020 4 min read

Reflections on Fly Fishing for the monster trout of a New Zealand mouse year ~ Jack Kós

Fly Fishing New Zealand monster brown trout mouse yearThat look when bigger is just, well, bigger. Photo - Chiel Robben

I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone that can sleep as much as Chiel. Lying amidst some of the best trout fishing on earth, he’d usually rouse somewhere around my third cup of coffee.

On a few occasions I even had enough time to build a fire, let it turn to coals and cook a cake or scones over those coals before he’d stick his head out of the tent. Luckily, he could fish as well as he slept.

I grew accustomed to seeing his olive Epic 686 hooped into positions contortionists would be proud of. In fact, the merits of carbon v glass would be a recurrent theme of the long walks we shared at the end of a day’s fishing. And these were fish that made you ask questions of your gear.

Fly Fishing New ZealandThe classic sneaky high-stick for a laid up monster. Photo - Jack Kos

Fuelled by a seasonal influx of protein, they were the bodybuilders of the trout world. No, they weren’t going to win a sprint but the sheer dogged fights and the inability to turn a trout with a 20 inch girth in heavy current meant your gear was tested: strong hooks, stout tippet, and a fly rod with some backbone.

Over the course of three weeks we lost our share of these fights and won a couple that we shouldn’t have, one of which I’m unlikely to ever forget. It was our first night at a new camp, having just restocked after a long 4 day hike, and we decided to go out for a quick poke about for a couple of hours before dark. Two fantastic early fish had us in buoyant spirits and our day was already made. With that mindset, I was fairly relaxed approaching this fish – at least as relaxed as you can be while perched atop a tree root casting to a fish that looked substantially north of double digits, with a fallen tree just below me and a massive exposed rock mid-current just below that.

On the third cast the fish took, and I remember joking to Chiel that ‘this doesn’t have a happy ending.’ The fish naturally headed straight for the tree, but to my astonishment continued past it. I was left with no choice but to leap into the river and haul myself over the tree, with Chiel pulling from the other side. Once I caught up, the fish changed its mind and decided that after all it did quite like the look of the tree and moved upstream at that steady unstoppable pace.

Fly Fishing New Zealand And it's off the gym for you buddy. Photo - Chiel Robben

Faced with climbing back over the tree or getting to the much more secure looking other side, I chose the latter and begun wading out between tree and rock. By this point any thoughts of staying dry were long gone as the water hit my chest and the bottom started to fall away beneath me. Bracing against the current I managed to just keep my feet as I crossed. At this stage the fish was ominously close to the tree and I had as much pressure on it as I dared, when I saw a small splash next to the fish and felt it turn away from the tree. I looked up to see Chiel with a rock in his hand, which this time caused a much larger splash and saw the fish abandon the tree entirely.

From then on, the fight was a formality, the slow slide of a big brown into the shallows and a waiting net to be met by two astonished anglers. It was a fish full of character; a big, scarred up jack complete with protruding kype. I often tell non-anglers about the teamwork aspects of fly fishing, and this was a testament to it. Without Chiel’s help that fish simply wasn’t getting caught.

Fly Fishing New Zealand
Jack clearly enjoys fly fishing. Still, with a fish like this who wouldn't be delighted. Photo - Chiel Robben

This kind of trip, three weeks of roaming around chasing fish, is what I live for. And yet, even despite the astonishing fishing we experienced, it was often the less tangible elements that formed the strongest memories; tired legs that kept saying yes to one more bend, esoteric ramblings between two obsessive fly fishers, hot coffee drunk with frost on the ground, and cold beers and good food by the fire in the evenings. People covet many different things, but I covet time. Time, and the opportunity to chase a rather spotty fish.

To be continued....

- This little tale of extremely large fish is related by Epic Ambassador Jack Kós. Jack is an accomplished photographer and writer  - and not a bad fly angler.

Jack was fishing an Epic 690C carbon fiber fly rod, his mate Chiel was fishing an Epic FastGlass 686


Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.


Also in The Drift - Fly Fishing, Fly Casting and Fly Rod Building

5wt 586-6 G Packlight Backpacking Fly Rod
Introducing The New Stealthy G Series Graphene Fly Rods

September 07, 2020 1 min read

The use of Graphene nano resin affords clear performance advantages. 5% Lighter, tougher and more responsive.

    Stealthy and chip resistant

    Our SnakeBelly™ Satin finish is scratch and chip resistant making for an extremely tough and durable fly rod that is less prone to stress fractures caused by collisions with weighted flies.

    Read More
    Epic Fly Rods
    Ode To A Fly Rod

    August 10, 2020 3 min read

    Giving the Epic 590 a workout on Zorro Spring Creek in the Chilean Andes last January. I was consistently amazed at the way that rod performed in a variety of circumstances. I mentioned utility in my Instagram post and I meant it. The 590 Fly Rod basically ticks all the boxes for me as a trout rod. You guys ruined me.

    Read More
    How to Clean a Fly Line
    How & Why You Should Clean Your Fly Line

    July 29, 2020 3 min read

    Why clean your fly line? Fly lines are expensive and there's more than one reason a little cleaning, care and maintenance will pay dividends. As you'll see in a moment there are a couple of very good reasons to regularly clean your fly lines - and keep them clean. Fly lines pick up and hold a film of dirt, grime ...
    Read More

    Join Us