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Redefining Euro rods
for New Zealand trout



Many New Zealand rivers are wide and swift.  Add big fish into the mix and conditions can be significantly different to many overseas rivers. 


The rivers that flow off the Central North Island volcanic plateau such as the Tongariro and Whanganui can easily dominate many Euro style fly rods.  Also, the winter spawning runs of rainbows out of Lake Taupo up rivers that are often high and coloured, demand a rather brutal approach at times. 

The extra water flow and depth make it difficult to get flies down to the river bed where the fish will see them.  Heavy tungsten beads or split shot become necessary to do the job, frequently with long distance casts of forty feet or more.

Along with repeated casting every five to ten seconds or so throughout the day, conventional Euro style rods can struggle with these demands.  This may just be the start though, as feisty rainbows in the three-to-five-pound bracket that are commonplace here, put huge strain on the rod as they charge off into fast current.

When you invest so much time, energy and money into your fly fishing experience, using the optimum rod for the job makes sense.  I have used and still own a number of top brand fly rods that are beautifully made and suit their purpose.  They are all made overseas and often designed by top anglers for rivers and fish in Europe and America.  Stunning as many of them are, they are not necessarily the best tool for our New Zealand adaptation of Euro nymphing - or Kiwi Nymphing as we like to call it - on our powerful rivers with big fish.

While they are all built for casting light flies, some lack the strength to cast long range over current seams while others struggle to hold hard fighting fish.  Most just don’t have the backbone to cast heavy flies and split shot rigs that we use in winter on the Taupo rivers.  We need a rod that can not only cast light flies but can also deal with extended range casts, heavy Euro rigs and control hard-fighting fish.

Initial prototypes were produced at 10 feet 8 inches as this was thought to be an optimum length for Euro rods. After subsequent trials and researching the actual reach this length afforded, the length was optimised at 10 feet 4 inches.  On looking at the maths or trigonometry, the extra four inches gained such an insignificant increase in reach, that it was considered more important to reduce length marginally and then by default, reducing swing weight.  The use of long tapered leaders or micro leaders facilitates casting the extra foot or two.  See Blog post on 'Rod length, swing weight & casting distance.'

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