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Two Wheels, Two Rods and Two Weeks

As every adventure rider or flyfisherman knows, even the best laid plans can go pear shaped. Call it bad luck, fate or what have you, sometimes things can just go down the crappa and can often take a hell of a lot of effort to pull things back on track. Well, this trip was the complete opposite; it was one of the smoothest, trouble-free and most enjoyable riding/flyfishing trips to date!

Photo 1 of Two Wheels, Two Rods and Two Weeks
The trip kicked off with a day ride organised by Matt. With about 50 riders all up it started in Christchurch and finished in Fairlie where the 2013 DB1K started. Good weather, stunning country and great company got day #1 off on a high note.
Photo 2 of Two Wheels, Two Rods and Two Weeks
Photo 3 of Two Wheels, Two Rods and Two Weeks
Photo 4 of Two Wheels, Two Rods and Two Weeks
A few of us shot down to Hanging Rock for a looksee
Photo 5 of Two Wheels, Two Rods and Two Weeks
The 2013 Dusty Butt was hands down the best so far. The weather was great and I was riding with a great group of four guys that all rode at a pretty good pace meaning we made really good times through the challenge sections and had plenty of time to stop for a bite to eat and a chinwag. Absolute brilliant fun
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The start of the Awakino Zigzag
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Photo 8 of Two Wheels, Two Rods and Two Weeks
Over the two days of riding with five bikes over some pretty gnarly terrain we only had one puncture which was pretty good going really
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Photo 10 of Two Wheels, Two Rods and Two Weeks
A decent continental breakfast to get the day going, this was the only photo I have of day two�s riding, the conditions and terrain were so good I was totally engrossed with riding and by the end of the day I realised I hadn't pulled my camera out once! Very unlike me. I do have some Go Pro footage of the two days that will follow though
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Once the DB1K was all said and done I headed off solo for some riding and fishing at a more leisurely pace, the first destination was the head waters of a High Country river
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Photo 14 of Two Wheels, Two Rods and Two Weeks
The track involved lots of small to medium-size crossings with lots of quicksand nearby that has claimed a number of four-wheel-drive vehicles over the years
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Photo 16 of Two Wheels, Two Rods and Two Weeks
Ample evidence to always be wary of rockfalls
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Photo 18 of Two Wheels, Two Rods and Two Weeks
This flat hut
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I had intended to cross one of the rivers further up however heavy snowmelt from a recent storm meant river levels were still far too high and dangerous, plan B was to camp up and fish a different section of water
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Looks like a nice place to camp to me.
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For this trip the Hennessy hammock was the primary accommodation
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The day of fishing that followed was simply superb. Good water clarity, clear skies and no wind allowed some fantastic fish to come to the net
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Photo 24 of Two Wheels, Two Rods and Two Weeks
This was one of the beauties, a fantastic condition High Country brown
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The remainder of the day was spent exploring small spring creeks and streams
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Heading south past some of the hydro lakes to the next destination
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Photo 28 of Two Wheels, Two Rods and Two Weeks
I had this piece of water lined up to fish that had been recommended to me. The conditions were fairly dismal when I arrive and got progressively worse throughout the morning, normally I would go and seek more sheltered water but because the chap who recommended this got skunked I was determined to land at least one fish for gloating rights! I persevered for quite some time, longer than I normally would. The wind grew stronger, the water was heavily churned and murky and most of the few fish I was able to spot were all sitting dog and wouldn't respond to any offerings. One mistimed strike and one bust-off was all that I was able to achieve, so, I too departed that piece of water with not one fish to my name. We draw even Tom ;)
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The next destination was further south again, I soon hit some heavy fog that was enveloping the Omarama Saddle
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As good as the views got from the Omarama Saddle
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Blue Lake
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As the day progressed the low cloud started to lift allowing for some great riding in nice cool conditions
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Photo 35 of Two Wheels, Two Rods and Two Weeks
I then headed to Waikaia Bush Road through to Piano Flat. After heavy rain this route certainly qualifies for the �holy crap� category! The majority of this track is absolutely spectacular but there are approximately 20 significant bog holes. You can't go around the outside as they are churned up mud pits that are worse than the actual track. I had to walk each mud hole as each varied significantly in depth from knee deep to waist deep, many had to be forded with reasonable momentum to bow wave water away from the air box. It was very time-consuming working through this mud hole section, and certainly very sketchy, but once I was through the riding became a fantastic descent on tiered rock formations and rutted rocky dirt tracks
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One of the smaller mud holes
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Photo 38 of Two Wheels, Two Rods and Two Weeks
One of the many looooong mud holes
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The stretch of gravel down by Piano Flat twists and turns through stunning native bush and is a really nice run
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Camping up for the night
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The next day was spent fishing a nearby river which is reputed to hold very few fish, it held true to this claim.
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A few small fish did come to the net however, this one here seen surface feeding was soon fooled by a carefully placed mayfly imitation
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A pannier frame bolt had worked its way loose and slogged out the subframe mount. With the toolkit and a bit of Kiwi DIY we were soon fixed up and ready to roll onto the next destination
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The new Brother Laser Multifunction XZR-2000 Printer (outdoor model)
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This was a bit of a laugh, this is promoted as "Niagara falls". It is technically in the town of Niagara and technically the water does fall to some degree so you can't squabble about the facts =)
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Some weird and wacky looking New Zealand flora
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After stocking up with four days of food and filling up the 28 litre tank the following track was certainly a bit of a wrestling match! There were many steep, rocky, washed out rutted sections.
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As much hard work as it was, the high altitude views were worth every drop of sweat; absolutely fantastic
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Some of the washouts on steep hill sides were severe enough that I certainly wouldn't take my Landy up there, the bike was certainly the machine for the task
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On top of the world!
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Photo 52 of Two Wheels, Two Rods and Two Weeks
If that track wasn't enough of a workout it was then straight on to an 8 km river bed track into a hut for the night. The recent floods had caused some serious damage so many of the river crossings left some gnarly exits up steep bouldery banks
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Accommodation for the night
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There were enough sand flies around to share with 100 people, the only problem was I was the only one there so I had them all to myself. The numbers were crazy high, I lost count of how many I breathed in
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On the next day's travels I popped in to see if Mr Hennessy was home (the man behind the hammocks), he wasn't so I carried on my way
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Photo 57 of Two Wheels, Two Rods and Two Weeks
I had originally planned to head up the Nevis Road but decided to tarmac it to the next destination as it was super hot and a great day for a fast blast up some twisty tarmac roads
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I met a father and son team on a Harley in at the Cardrona Hotel, they were doing a 2 week tour of the South Island. We exchange cameras and did the typical touristy photographs!
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As I approached the next destination I set up camp and got ready to head off fishing in the morning. My general knowledge of entomology is fairly good, as it is with most keen fly fishermen, but on my trips I am continually encountering new insect life. This chap was a first for me
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Early morning sight fishing in these conditions just couldn't be beat
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It wasn't too long before the first few fish came to the net
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Accessing the river confluence on foot was one hell of a task. The ground was boggy with numerous hidden muddy holes, the flax was unusually thick and took huge amounts of effort to push through but to top it off the bush lawyer dominated the area tearing me and my clothes to pieces. l eventually I made it through to the confluence but not before the loss of about 4 litres of sweat
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The hard work was worth it, the river was absolutely stunning
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For those non-flyfisherman readers, the months around January and February can provide some of the most exciting dry fly fishing. Cicadas dominate treetops right through to waterside flora which inevitably sees many fall or be blown onto the water's surface. Trout unreservedly and aggressively pounce on the opportunity for a substantial meal compared to their usual small offerings, if this is in fact your carefully placed cicada fly it often results in some spectacular dry fly action!
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I gave this wee fella a lifeline rescuing him from what was most likely going to be a grim ending
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Photo 67 of Two Wheels, Two Rods and Two Weeks
It wasn't just cicadas that were prolific along this stretch of water; the casings of mayflies and surprisingly large stone flies littered the rocky river edges
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As anticipated the cicada action up the river was fantastic, trout from deep lies lifted without hesitation to snaffle a carefully placed cicada fly
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The rest of the day was spent exploring some of the smaller tributaries to the main river. The fish numbers weren't high but the water structures were fantastic and the fish unreservedly rose for a cicada pattern
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A beautifully mustard coloured brown
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The next morning followed suit by walking up the main river a short way and exploring some more of the smaller tributaries
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The deep emerald green coloured pools were just fantastic
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Next up was a section of water which I did not know if it held fish or not as it is landlocked. Once I located this piece of water and peered through the bushes any reservations that it would hold fish or not were put to rest as four fish were immediately spotted patrolling the edges; you beauty! This section of water is very small, not documented, nor is it present on any topographic map so I am presuming very few people know about it. Whatever the case it was a fantastic place to spend a day fishing
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Photo 76 of Two Wheels, Two Rods and Two Weeks
As scenic as it was there was some seriously thick bush on swampy ground that had to be navigated, some of the local plants saw me fit to be carrier for thousands of their seed husks, gee thanks!
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Yehaa =)
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There were lots of little nooks and crannies to this water, most held fish
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The interesting thing was, none of these fish would rise to a cicada. Waterboatman present in their thousands seemed to be the staple diet, this was pretty much confirmed by studying the water and then watching the trout feeding. To follow suit I had to switch to nymphs, success soon came
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Before I knew it my holiday was up, time to pack up the bike and head back up the Coast to Karamea
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It was a slow trip back home as many small access tracks to rivers were explored along the way
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All in all it was a fantastic trip, already planning the next�