A Fly Fishing Journey

Kaiva Erana Paaka (Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Pikiao) is a future gun of the fly fishing scene.

Growing up in Motueka, her path into fly fishing was Inspired by her Kuia (great grandmother), Erana Waiomia a legendary angler on the Ohau Canal in Rotorua, famous for her catches off the Te Tākinga weir (Okere Gates), who also taught Kaiva’s father, Weesang Paaka, how to fly fish.

Weesang is a gifted fly angler himself and Motueka River guru.  He’s also a teacher by trade, a top communicator and inherently patient, so Kaiva was in very good hands from the start.

When asking Kaiva about why she got into fly fishing, she says “my dad has been taking me fishing since I was about 4 years old. He used to carry myself and my siblings on his back in a backpack and we’d go fishing. I am really surprised he never slipped over or fell in the river with us on his back! 

“He would hook a fish and would let us out to play it and land it. Now I’m old enough to have my own rod and hook and land my own fish”

“It’s fun, exciting and frustrating all at the same time”

As any fly angler knows, learning to cast is one of the early challenges. Kaiva says that it’s easy practising on the lawn, but really different on the river. 

“There’s so much more going on than just ‘casting’ while on the river; you’ve got wind, current, trees, slippery rocks, thigh deep water to be mindful of, as well as the pressure to getting everything right.  You need an accurate cast, the fish to eat your fly and getting the timing of the strike right”

“It’s frustrating when you miss the strike or you briefly hook the fish then lose it!”

Kaiva has found playing fish easy, as she has been doing this with a fly rod since she was five years old.  

“Dad thinks my timing of the strike is pretty good, as is stripping and keeping good contact with the line on the water”

One of Kaiva’s favourite days was on the Motueka River last year when she had a 10 fish day with her dad, Weesang. 

“That alone was cool, but there was one moment when Dad told me not to strike, as he thought it was a rock, but I did anyway and it turned out it was a fish!”

The Motueka River is one of the country’s fishing jewels, and it’s a commonly held belief that if you can catch fish consistently on this river, you can catch them anywhere.  For Kaiva, she is already unravelling the mysteries of this river, so learning to fish on the Motueka will put her in good stead on any river in Aotearoa. It’s also pleasing to know that she has a deep respect for her local river. 

“I love my river, so if I am not swimming in it, I’d like to be fishing it”.

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