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By the Skin of our Teeth

Gene Decker, who is a member of our Rocky Mountain Flycasters, and is a retired wildlife professor from Colorado State University, is a long time guru to take people on trips to the game preserves in Africa. He knows most of the preserve managers, since most trained at CSU. He also has traveled to New Zealand annually for about the last 20 years. With this experience, and being a travel agent (with the price breaks available), he is the perfect companion with whom to take a fishing trip to New Zealand.

This February, 2007, I was lucky enough to be invited for the second time to fish the South Island of NZ with him. He is a close friend of the biologists down there, and we spend part of our time living and fishing with some of them. We even had the offer to use a spare car of one of those fine people.

New Zealand

New Zealand

We were lucky to hit the Cicada hatch down there this year on Lake Manorburn with one of our acquaintances who has a boat and we fished an area where the Cicadas were being blown in to the water. Must of each caught over 20 fish ranging from 1½ pounds up to 4 pounds. I hooked one that might have gone up to about 5 pounds that made my old Hardy Perfect sing. Unfortunately, he eventually got into the weeds and the hook pulled out. That was by far our best day.

We fished many of the streams in Southland and caught fair fish, but none of the monsters in the advertising brochures. One of the bonuses was that it is like August down there at about 45 degrees south latitude. We enjoyed the break of warm weather away from our eternal winter snow here.

Ron with trout

One of many.

We got to make the trip, just by the skin of our teeth, however. Why?

Gene and I always carry copies of each other’s passports, and credit card information in case we lose our own documents. I had provided these copies of my stuff to Gene, and on Friday, Gene went to his CSU office in Ft. Collins to make copies of his passport and papers for me to have, but ran in to get a hair cut. He forgot to lock his car and came out to find his brief case had been stolen from his car! We were to leave the following Monday afternoon, and were faced with the weekend over which nothing can be done. I also had to cancel my credit cards.

Fortunately, we found that there is now a Federal passport office in Denver, which has only been available for a little over a year. Gene was at their door when it opened at 8:00 am. He said he “guessed they took pity on a 77 year old fellow with tears in his eyes”, and they had a new one for him by 11:00 am. He sings their praises.

Well, we made the trip, enjoyed all of the fun and endured the long airline flights. By the way, we found out that you cannot carry rods on the plane flying into the USA from overseas. They must be checked as baggage.

Ron Sheets


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Last updated on 11 Jun, 2011