Dave Collyer devised this New Zealand Matuka Streamer lure. The name "badger" comes from the two badger cock hackles used in the original design. I have found that during the early part of the season it is best fished deep and retrieved slowly with a pause to enliven the hackle wing and suggest life like movement.
MATUKA STREAMER WET FLIES Hook size 8 - $US each
Matuka is the New Zealand Maori name for bittern. Bittern feathers were once popular for fly tying in New Zealand until this species was protected. Sportsmen eagerly sought alternate materials for their Matuka's and so this name now refers to a style of fly. The use of such a large feather as a wing and tail was a masterstroke because when it moves through the water it wiggles and fools the fish into thinking that the fly is alive. The fly represents fry or minnows, but also makes an effective suggestive pattern of something a hungry trout would like to eat. The very robust wing that resembles the long dorsal fin of a bait fish.
Upstream Wet Fly Fishing
On my last fishing trip to New Zealand in May, John, a customer of mine, took me to his favourite river the mighty Tongariro. It is on the North Island. It is a big, wide river, running crystal-clear with long, deep holding pools and cascading rapids between each pool as it flows north into Lake Taupo. It was very similar to some of Scotland’s larger east coast salmon rivers such as the Tweed or Dee.
It has wild Rainbow trout that spend most of the year feeding in the lake, leaving it only to enter the feeder rivers en-route to their spawning redds upstream. The Tongariro is the largest of these feeder rivers.
The river was in spate after a week of rain. This encouraged a run of these wild Rainbows as the deeper water made it easier for them to negotiate river bed obstructions. The rain had stopped the previous afternoon so the water was now clear again. We parked at Birches Pool. There had been a touch of overnight frost. It was a fine cloudless morning and the day promised to be warm and dry.
I took four trout that ranged between 3-5lb all taken on a sunk line. The New Zealand Matuka wet fly streamer on a hook size 8 was used to imitate small prey bait fish. The trout lie deep in the river at this time of the year in the morning so the fly is cast fairly square across and mended to put the fly down deeper.
By noon the fish had stopped biting. The sun was up and the water temperature had risen. The fish were now to be found nearer the surface. John suggested we change tactics. We used a floating line with two weighted nymphs. A beaded olive Gold Ribbed Hairs Ear nymph on the point with a larger beaded Pheasant Tail nymph on a dropper. This way the two nymphs fished different depths.
As the Tongariro River is quite turbulent a strike indicator is necessary otherwise it would be virtually impossible to see a take. A brightly coloured piece of polystyrene tied tight against the fly-line joint works very well.
The strike indicator floats on the surface and whenever a fish goes for a nymph the indicator dips or bobs under the surface for a fraction of a second. A lightning fast reaction is required or the chance of a fish is lost. They seem to mouth the nymph gently, quickly realise that it is not real and spit it out. You have to set the hook before it is ejected.
John and I walked slowly upstream, stopping at small pockets of water off the main pools. We stalked fish lying out of the main flow that were visible through our polarised sun-gasses. I would cast the nymphs upstream away from my target trout so as not to spook him. I normally would make a couple of quick mends to the line and drift the flies towards my prey.
It is important to keep an eye on the strike indicator all the time. As soon as movement was detected, BANG. The water would erupt as the Rainbow took off downstream like a rocket. We caught 7 good trout all over 3 lb that afternoon and lost a good many others through not paying attention hard enough.
What I took away from that day was to remember to change your fishing methods as the day progresses and the water warms up. The fish like to be near the bottom on cold Autumn/Fall mornings and move nearer the surface as the sun heats up.
When the fry of many coarse fish species will have been building up weight as fast as they can throughout the summer. When they start to shoal they become a very tempting target. The trout force them up to the surface as they try to escape. They 'boil' up on the surface and seabirds can be seen picking up fry from the top of the water. This is where I cast my streamers. John Wilson. Birmingham