Boys with other fish to fry
On the hunt for troutMATT BOWEN
It's the school holidays and the Varcoe brothers could be fixated on a computer screen indoors - instead, they're on the hunt for trout on the banks of the Waikato River in Hamilton.
It's 11am when Beck, 10, casts his spinner out again.
He waits a moment, then winds.
Davis, 12, watches intently.
"That was a hit!" Beck yells, excitedly.
If it was, the fish managed to slip past the lethal barbs on the end of his line.
Stretching along upstream from the pair and the Hamilton Gardens jetty are 18 other boys taking part in Edventure's The Great Annual Trout Hunt.
As part of the school holiday programme, each one is entered into this year's week-long Lower Waikato Trout Contest.
Competition organisers Michael Lynch and John Charteris are also on the riverbank to teach the boys how to cast properly, how to spear a worm on a hook and, more importantly, how to catch trout.
Davis had no idea you could catch and eat the freshwater fish from Karapiro all the way downstream to Mercer. He reckons it's "cool".
Mr Lynch agrees. His brother regularly heads to Lake Taupo's crystal clear waters to fish for the weekend.
"I can head home from work in Hamilton, stop at Taupiri, hop out, grab a rod and catch a fish 10 metres from the van," he said between casts.
"It's that easy. I've done that heaps of times."
Once, his order of fish and chips was taking a while so he grabbed his rod and strolled to his spot behind the shops in Huntly. He landed a brown trout and was back at the takeaway in time for his meal.
There's a hardcore crew who fish the lower Waikato and Mr Lynch counts himself among them. Last year 77 anglers entered the competition and they landed 126 fish; this year's numbers are about the same and in two days 36 fish have been weighed in.
Mr Lynch says overhead cover is the key to successful fishing. The fish have cover then, and can dart out into the current to snap up bait fish.
The outside bank on bends are often prime locations, as are the points where streams join the main river.
In Huntly, there is a handful of favourite spots that get well used over the competition period from October 8 to 14.
As for the Varcoe brothers, their next stop will be beneath Victoria Bridge in the afternoon.
There's $5000 of prizes on the line for both juniors and seniors. And if the Varcoe brothers cast their lure in the right spot, some of it could be theirs.
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