2024 Taupo Regional Lake Championships - Lake Kuratau.

The final regional stillwater competition in the Sport Fly Fishing New Zealand calendar was fished on Lake Kuratau, always a popular venue because of the opportunity for high scores and consistent fishing and, in spite of some late withdrawals due to illness, twenty-six anglers competed not just for this trophy but for the remaining places at the Lake Nationals on Lake Aniwhenua in March.

Qualification for Nationals is achieved by being in the top twenty points scorers for the season, taking each angler’s best two finishes (only anglers taking part in a minimum of two events can qualify), and with a number of new SFFNZ members turning in strong performances through the season, it was always going to be a tight finish to make the list.
In the end, it went right to the last session to determine the eventual rankings, and Damon Taylor, Neil Hirtzel and Suzie Foggo all pushed themselves into the final.

In terms of the event itself, evergreen Johnny Bell led from start to finish, winning the first and last sessions, closely followed by last year’s National Champion and Lake Kuratau session record holder,
Billy Thrupp and the super-consistent Ollie Bassett. Top female was Suzie Foggo and both Noah Shapiro and Tim Anderson measured 56 cms rainbows.
Johnny focused mainly on the shallow water at the top of the lake, taking most of his fish close to the shoreline in bays there, rotating between a number of areas he had identified, resting each in turn. He fished small black and green woolly buggers on an intermediate varying the retrieve to suit the depth and wind conditions.
Johnny said “the lake fished really well in spite of the hot weather, and I was delighted to have such a consistent set of scores and finish ahead of some top anglers. I would like to thank the organisers and all the competitors for making it such an enjoyable weekend fished in great spirit”.

Organisers Billy Thrupp and Damon Taylor said “this is always a very enjoyable competition with terrific numbers of fish in the venue and we must thank KCE who were extremely helpful in collaborating with us to ensure the lake was full for cooler water conditions, resulting in better sport and healthier fish.
It was great to see so many SFFNZ members over the weekend both participating and helping out – we have a lot of new members this year and it is a great group to be part of.”


Kuratau-winners-600.jpgFrom left Ollie Bassett 3rd, Johnny Bell 1st, Billy Thrupp 2nd

Noah Shapiro and Tim Anderson, and Billy Thrupp and Phil Connor