Two names in New Zealand fly fishing that hold a lot of history, knowledge and experience are Peter Carty & Tony Entwistle of the Murchison and Nelson areas.
I have know Pete for a couple of years now, meeting him at Trout Cottage in Lumsden, being a huge fan of his fly tying, I was a little star struck with the thought of meeting him. Like many people I hold high regard for in NZ fly fishing, the legends are usually honest down to earth types, that is certainly true for Pete, Tony was just the same!
I won a prize for a days guided fishing with Tony Entwistle, the opportunity to meet another Legend! After plans for the end of April were washed out, we made a new plan for labour weekend instead, I had asked to fish with Tony rather than be guided a full day. I contacted Pete to say I was coming through so after back and forth contact between the three of us dates were booked and a plan hatched.
Good mate Quentin was coming along for the road trip to Murchison where we would stay at Pete’s and meet Tony for a couple of days on the rivers. 750 km to and 750 km back seems like a long drive for a couple of days fishing but after driving through the Lewis pass, it seemed every river we crossed was in the backcountry and begging to be fished… the drive was worth it! We stayed in Murchison at Pete’s place, the stories and banter in the evenings is part of what makes a trip a great one!
We meet up with Tony the next morning, admittedly a little start struck once more… hand shakes and introductions over, it didn’t take long to realise, just like Pete, he’s just another one of the genuine good blokes! Just driving to the river is a great experience, hearing details of different rivers you cross and stories of their experiences through the years. Time on the river was no different, the light hearted joking and banter with a touch of a competitive edge thrown in made for a sensational day on the river.
Our first day was the best of the expected weather, a beautiful river valley to walk and fish in the first pool, what more could you want. We split into pairs to take a bank each, generously both Pete and Tony gave us first shots as guests and took some convincing to line their rods up eventually. Quentin and Pete got first on the board with a fish on his first cast, they certainly made sure we knew all about it. The competitive pressure was on and spooking my first fish and getting a gentle reminder by Tony slapping the peak of my cap made me even more nervous! Fortunately there were more fish lined up the edge of the pool… careful stalking and good presentation soon had a solid hook up.
One seriously fit fish made the net and the trip was made, it didn’t matter what happened after that… it was all a bonus from then on! It’s was great spending time with Tony on the river, seeing another anglers approach to a fishery he know’s so well, we chatted about his thought process in his approach… changing flies in colour, size and weight to achieve the results. This trip was the first time I have really used big green stonefly nymphs and one of my highlights was using one of Pete’s green stoneflies he tied to catch a fish with him on the river.
The trip had so many highlights it’s hard to write them in this blog, I could write a dozen pages and it would probably just be babble to everyone else and parts would only make sense if you where on the river with us. I have to thank both Pete and Tony for such a sensational time on and off the water, I plan a return trip next time in summer I think. The foam lines of those bush clad rivers are screaming terrestrials! The part of the trip that stands out the most was watching and listening to two such experienced guides, gathering as many tips for guiding as I could, I can only hope to gather as much experience as them in the years to come.