A couple of roosters taken in a Hawkes Bay river one sunny afternoon in 2012 on my favourite hunt of all time.

New Zealand’s Upland Game season runs from the first weekend in May until the last weekend in August. I have the kind of work that allows me to hunt every day of the season, and since 2012 I have hunted every day of the season. Some days I hunt twice, and some days I also hunt ducks.

The working relationship between a hunter and their dogs is hard to understand for those who do not work animals. Dogs need to be in sync with their hunter, working as part of a team, and working close, and flushing birds within range. A good dog is a joy to work with, and a really good dog means more birds, more retrieves and more satisfaction.

My current dogs, Mabo and Bruce are black Labs, and both love working the thick stuff.  They go right into the thickest blackberry and gorse without thinking. Where I shoot that means the difference between getting birds and not getting birds, as blackberry and gorse are everywhere. Dave, however, is dead set useless and will not go in the thick stuff. He has taught me to multitask and I regularly shoot birds while swearing at him.

When the Upland season finishes the evening rise starts, provided the rivers are clear. I fish the evening rise every evening the conditions are right, and fish during the day on most sunny days through the season. I spent 12 years only fishing to fish I could see, which informs much of the tactics & strategy I have outlined on this site.

As I work from home I have a fly tying bench set up in my office with a Nor-vise set up, and another in my living room with a Regal. If I am on the phone to clients I am almost always tying, sticking to simple, effective patterns that have worked for me. I am colour blind, so I do not worry too much about colour, and consider it an evolutionary advantage because I do worry about whether I am presenting the right colour fly, or carry too many different colours. The immediate feedback loop gained from casting to sighted fish means I prefer flies that look like food and present the right way every cast, rather than a specific pattern.