Yesterday afternoon I joined my old partner in crime Harry Abbott and David Blair for a few hours on the river. I had been a little worried that the water might not have cleared after recent rain but the river was mending well and was quite fishable although probably not quite at its best.

Harry has quite a few gypsy barbel under his belt and so we were both particularly keen that David, on a whirlwind tour of the UK and Spain, should have a chance to catch his first one. He has caught all kinds of things on the fly although, being a South Island New Zealander, brown trout is his standard fare. David knows what he is doing and so it was pretty much just a question of pointing him towards the river after rummaging around for a suitable fly before he was in business.

I was really pleased to have a chance to meet David. His various exploits have been featured here on the blog in the past, most recently when he was featured flying off to a fishing venue with his dog in the back of his two seater plane. He told me yesterday that the dog had been wearing ear mufflers! I showed the younger kids that I teach this photograph and told them that the dog was flying the plane while David was taking a nap. It speaks volumes for the credulity of youngsters today that they were so slow to disbelieve this (if you are a kid reading this, it wash´t true – the dog was NOT really flying the plane)

On the river we managed to scrape together a few fish between the three of us and the best of the lot, a beautiful gypsy barbel, fell to David´s rod. He took it on a little dry fly. Unfortunately I missed out on this capture since I was a little way downstream carrying out some jungle warfare with carp.  Happily Harry was on hand to take a photo of David´s fine fish.

Over a beer later in the evening David offered to fly me out to some remote lake to catch a few brown trout if ever I managed to make my way to New Zealand.

You can´t imagine how tempting that sounds. Just as long as it´s him flying this time and not the dog.

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The best of the day. David and his fine fish.


Harry and David have fished together in the UK, New Zealand, Thailand and Spain (that I know of). If you meet them they will have quite a few stories for you.


Wian Terblanche used this deep diving damsel which is tied with a tungsten bead when he fished on the river recently. He gave me a gift of a couple and David used it to catch his first barbel.


I tied up this thing before we headed for the river. It is a little less subdued than usual but I think that helped a carp see it in water carrying a little colour.


It wash´t clear whether this was a barbel or a carp when I cast to it but it became clear pretty soon after it was hooked! Carp are much more dogged fighters although they don´t have the barbel´s speed on the initial run.


There´s nothing like an afternoon on the river.

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Who knows, maybe one day that will be me sitting where the dog is!