Josh Gallivan

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On to new things

My last week in New Zealand was a quick tour of the South Island one more time, We had a few towns in mind that we hadn’t been able to see, Also Sky’s birthday was on the 31st, and we wanted to spend it in Queenstown. On the way down we camped a few nights on the beach, ate beer can burgers,  and fished a river mouth for a spectacular fish called a “Kahawai.” This fish lives near river mouths in the ocean, and can be taken on the fly. We found camp and set up our tents and walked straight to the river mouth from the van. I had been in this area previously and it took me a while to remember exactly where the best camping spot was. When we got to the beach i didn’t expect much, as I knew Kahawai were a challenge on the fly. We spread out and casted blindly for a while, throwing our biggest trout streamers. It was low tide and the sun was setting, which exposed a flat a few hundred yards across. I waded out waist high and got to this flat, and panicked. I immediately started seeing tailing Kahawai! That rush of Bone fishing on a saltwater flat swept over me and I was focused. I casted in front of the gang of Kahawai and started stripping like mad, and suddenly hooked up. My 6 weight felt like a toothpick when up against one of these saltwater beasts built for speed. The fish broke me off on 15 pound test, on his first run, I just couldn’t stop him, I started yelling at the other boys who were elsewhere, and James came running. I quickly told him what had happened and pointed at the school, he ran out while casting and put his fly in the school and he too hooked up and got broke off. I was right behind him and back in the water in a minute with another fly and hooked up again, it was a Kahawai blitz and i couldn’t believe it was happening. Luckily this one I fought for 10 minutes and was able to slowly walk up the beach and land him.

The suspense continued for another 2 hours, where each of us landed a handful of nice fish. It was mad, it seemed every cast with waves crashing into us and the tide coming in, we were catching fish. We often got broke off and laughed about it, because there were so many fish on that flat there was always another to take its place. We decided to keep a couple of these and cook them up to supplement our dinner of beans that night. With a bottle of wine and fresh fish cooked over open flames with fresh lemon, it couldn’t have gotten better. One of the most memorable fishing experiences I have ever had, because it was so unexpected. The action was so intense, James thought of the idea of throwing poppers at them, sure enough first cast a few Kahawai battled over his popper and he was able to land one.

  • Paul McCann on March 17, 2012

    Hi Josh,

    Just a quick note to keep in touch. The pictures of you and the guys having a blast…earning and living…are inspiring. A natural, just like your dad. You’ve got the world by the tail! p.s. you’re a great writer too!!

    Uncle Paul & Aunt Marcia

  • Dave on April 11, 2012

    Aren’t they amazing? It’s so much fun to get Kahawai on the fly in that west coast setting. If you drop me an email with where you were – and I suspect we know that beach – I have a place to trade… if you’re interested for your next trip! Laced with sea run browns and kahawai… 🙂

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