Veteran Christchurch fisherman heads into 68th consecutive trout season video

DAVID WALKER/Stuff

90 year old Walter Keenan got bitten by the fishing bug early on, and has kept all his fishing licenses for the past 68 seasons...and still ties his own flies.

Christchurch man Walter Keenan bought his first trout fishing licence in his early 20s.

He has just received his 68th consecutive licence – and has all of the previous ones to prove it.

"I've never missed a year, never, no way, no."

A freshly-tied "nymph" fishing fly.
DAVID WALKER/STUFF

A freshly-tied "nymph" fishing fly.

As might be expected, Keenan loves to tell fishing stories, littered with hearty chuckles.

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"My best fish was a 13 pound brown [trout], it took me three quarters of an hour to land. Beautiful fish."

Walter Keenan has 68 consecutive fishing licenses.
DAVID WALKER/STUFF

Walter Keenan has 68 consecutive fishing licenses.

He'd been fishing Lake Coleridge with some friends and caught the fish at the end of the day, serving him well in the usual game of fishermen's one-upmanship.

Keenan's lounge features containers of lures and other fishing equipment, as well as a fly-tying table.

He ties his own flies with a deftness that belies his age. He likes to come up with his own designs.

Walter Keenan has fishing flies made from lint and bits of slipper, as well as more conventional materials.
DAVID WALKER/STUFF

Walter Keenan has fishing flies made from lint and bits of slipper, as well as more conventional materials.

One successful rig he made using lint from the washing machine.

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"People laugh at it, but boy, the amount of fish I've had on that fly was horrific," he said.

"There's one I call the slipper nymph. My daughter bought me a new pair of slippers. They had a big bit of fluff hanging out the edge of it... I tied three nymphs with it and I caught three beautiful browns out at Kurow."

Keenan said he had been fit all his life, having gone "86 years, no pills".

He partially attributed his good health to eating onions every day.

Keenan thought the 65th fishing season would be his last, but could not give it up.

Now he is 90, he has spent the last few years mostly fishing out of boats.

He had a heart attack a few weeks ago and is taking life slower.

"I'm so disappointed now that I won't be able to do it. I'm going to try hard though."

Keenan said his best catch was 15 fish in a day.

"When you're fly fishing, you've got to do everything right," he said.

"If you don't think like they do, you're lost."

He said it matters how you dress and how you move your tackle. And of course, you need patience.

"Next thing you know, there's a tight line. Magnificent."

Trout fishing season opens on Saturday, with licences available through Fish & Game New Zealand.

 - Stuff

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