Peeling Back the Skin on the South Island: Backcountry

I recently read an article by a well-known angler in which he states that in New Zealand it’s possible to find a fish in every pool, not get bitten by sandflies, and never venture far from a road. Which in turn made me think: Why bother? Why not save yourself a whole bunch of time and money and travel to the Bighorn instead? Or the Snake? Or any of the dozens of private spring creeks with stocked trout, manicured paths along the riverbanks, and maybe even sporting clays outside the lodge?

You don’t go to New Zealand to be pampered and compare the cork on fly rods. You go to New Zealand – and in particular the South Island – to occasionally get your ass kicked. To be swarmed by sandflies and nudged on the ankles by freshwater eels. To walk miles and blister and shiver and bake and, if you’re both fortunate and lucky, to land the fish of a lifetime.

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