“9th April 2021

Today is an important day in my fishing career.

Chris Dore, one of the best (not exaggerating to say he is the best) fishing guides in NZ, took me searching for lunkers in one of the most gorgeous river valleys in the South.

Zeus was on our side, it was a perfect day. A nice stroll to the riverbank across dancing tussocks, we stand in front of the river with a breath-taking mountain backdrop.

With Chris’ 17 years of guiding experience and second to none knowledge of local rivers, I had a fish on after just 5 mins with 3 casts, a light-colored 6.5pounds hen, short and stubby. I was stoked, so was Chris, as we both can relax & enjoy the rest of the day knowing there is a fish in the bag. Soon after, another 6.5lb jack joined the party! He was gold, vibrant, and put up a good fight.

Just when we thought the day was going well with good momentum, it created obstacles to make our day extra memorable. We searched along the river banks, were presented with a few opportunities on super fussy fish, but my not-so-perfect casting skills throw them away. We then walked a while without seeing any fish, yet Chris remained positive: every rock, every shadow could easily become a fish.

Just as I was giving myself a positive self-talk on ‘I will be happy with this trip having caught 2 of these great fish’, Chris said: “Richelle, I have got just the fish for you! He is yours!” I approached Chris as he pointed at ‘my fish’ in the river, a trophy size monster brown swinging left & right, feeding hard. I could feel Chris’ excitement, he seemed different, more excited, even a tad nervous, but calm and encouraging.

He refreshed the whole rig with fresh tippet & flies, double checking the knots, and trimmed down the indicator while saying: “he is worth it”. This fish is smart, it rested where 2 small currents meet so he could feed on both. He was also sitting right in front of a large patch of debris so every cast not eaten by him, they get caught by the weed. Light flies and good drifts on long tippet were the key here. The situation was tough and it really put my casting skills to the test.

After a good number of attempts and a couple of resets, both Chris and I were feeling fortunate that the fish is still there, undisturbed, happily looking for more food. Then something magical happened. I threw a perfect cast to make Chris say: “Are You Ready?!” We all know what that means…

Chris called strike, I lifted, the rod bent.

It was one of the best days in my life.”

Richelle