Keeping It Simple with Brian

Brian, a professional guide, talks about the importance of ‘keeping it simple’.

“Keeping it Simple”.
It amazes me at times how some fishers go to great lengths to overthink the methodology in catching a trout. I have several customers come into my shop requesting a very specific colour, line weight, rod etc. The I Love Fly Fishing shop in Turangi has a very wide range of products whether it be fly tying or fishing gear but it is fascinating to see that out of all on offer somebody will want a specific colour or line weight that may or may not even exist. They may even rig up a line a specific way and to precise measurements to ensure snaring that elusive trout.

Here are my thoughts on this. If you have a particular favourite fly then fish with it in confidence. It is my belief that if you have a set up that you are confident with then you are sure to have success. I.e. if you BELIEVE it you will almost certainly ACHIEVE it.

This is because you will be fishing more precisely with presentation and seeking out preferable fish lies better because you are expecting success. I find by keeping things simple, success comes quicker. I do not have a large range of fly patterns that I use but I do have these patterns in different sizes. Different size flies, I find, will be the difference between catching no fish and a few. I also find that if your go to pattern is not firing then try the same pattern again but smaller.

There are times when a particular colour of fly will excel above all others and indeed when the trout are smelting, for example, they will only take a smelt fly or in the winter time, egg patterns generally reign supreme. But popular patterns like the Hare and Copper and Pheasant Tail nymphs will generally do the job any time. The logic is obvious. If a survey was done on all fishermen after a specific morning it would be found that the fish that were caught would have been done so by a variety of different techniques with probably no clear favourite. The secret to success is more the angler’s self belief and perseverance.
The same can be said for gear.

There are many good rods on the market today but that does not mean you require a large number of rods. Normally 2 sizes for trout fishing is all that is required for multiple use when wet lining or nymphing say a 6wt and an 8wt, or similar. One is for bigger rivers like The Tongariro (8wt) where a longer cast is needed and there may be some wind about, or a 6wt for smaller rivers where more delicate presentation is required. Other forms of fishing like Czech nymphing and Spey casting will require a different rod again as the casting technique is quite different to orthodox nymph , dry and wet fly fishing.

But on the whole, as with all things in life, don’t be too concerned about getting too technical with your fishing. You will be spending a lot of your time on a river bank changing your gear, flies etc when the best method of catching a fish is by having a fly in the water as much as your patience allows.

Hope some of these tips help and may you have no more slip ups or failures.

Tight lines, Brian Willson NZPFGA member. 021-667867 – I Love Fly Fishing Shop, 6 Wiremu Street, Turangi.



My name is Brian Willson and I have been a fly fisher for over 50 years. I am a professional fishing guide and current NZPFGA member of which I have served at executive level and have guided anglers of different skill sets, ages and gender from all over the world. I have also written two books on fly fishing and am a keen artist. I am passionate about fly fishing and the therapeutic qualities it offers and enjoy sharing this experience with people on and off the water. Over the years I have made some amazing friendships that continue to this day. I have partnered up with one of these friendships, Barrie Barnes from I Love Fly Fishing, and I sell exclusively, quality, affordable fly fishing gear at my premises at 8 Wiremu Street, Turangi, the designated I Love Fly Fishing shop in Turangi which is open all hours— just ring 021667867 anytime. I take a serious interest in my clients and freely offer advice when asked and am happy to talk fishing anytime. Tight lines, Brian Willson

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