WAIMAKARIRI OPEN - Waimak Stream - Feb 2024.

The final regional competition of the river season saw fourteen anglers assemble on the banks of the spring-fed Waimakariri Stream, competing for the regional title and the last few places at the River Nationals in April, especially given that some had only completed one event prior to this, as a result of weather related cancellations.

The conditions were hot with little to no breeze. It had been said that the Waimakariri had been holding good fish numbers in the build up to this competition and this was proved correct with
average fish number totals of fish over 20cm just over 100 per session, all released in good health due to the cool clear water. It's always a fun venue to fish, lots of variation in water throughout
the length, made more exciting by some of the changes due to recent water volumes. The last session saw fish holding to the far edges, where in the earlier sessions, deeper holes appeared to be
more productive.

In a week when expressions of interest have been requested for next year’s Senior World Championship in The Czech Republic, it was two aspiring but uncapped anglers, Ben Henton and Phil
Connor as well as 2023 Fly Fern squad member, Suzie Foggo, who dominated proceedings, with Ben eventually taking the title over Phil, and Suzie, who is in a great run of form, finishing third for her first podium this season.
Sarah Delany landed the biggest fish of the weekend at 46cm on 6x tippet.

Winner Ben Henton switched between single and double nymph Euro setups, mainly fishing caddis imitations and one mayfly pattern plus use of the worm during the third session, when it was a cool morning.
Ben had to overcome the drama of a broken rod to make it through and said “huge thanks to SFFNZ and the organisers for putting on this extra competition, which has allowed some of us to get to Nationals and to my wife, Amy, for taking care of family matters while I was away for the weekend.
Being stealthy, getting contact early while not creating drag was imperative and I would also like to thank my buddy Cory Scott for some sage advice on fishing fast to find hotspots on this venue,
leaving time to re-fish them, as well as my sponsor Kilwell whose rod I broke – sorry !”

Organisers Rachel McNae and Suzie Foggo said “There was a great feeling amongst the crew, all prepared, on time and organised and the Sunday prizegiving concluded with a fun celebration and
cake for Louise Stuart' s birthday. We would like to thank Helen, Arron, Norm and Eileen at Moondance Farm, along with Dylan and the Patren family, and Jude for unlocking the gates and
providing us with access to the water over the weekend.”


Phil Connor (2nd), Ben Henton (1st) and Suzie Foggo (3rd)

The winner Ben Henton with another fish.