Back in 1956 a small band of trout fishers gathered and formed what is today known as the Whakatane Trout Fishing Club.
Sixty two years ago they were probably all male and would also have been fly fishers.
It is told that one of the band used to wear an old tweed jacket from which he would pluck a few fibres and tie a fly while standing on the river bank - this was to match the hatch.
Goodness, how times have changed.
Gone is the image of the older man in rubber waders - now younger men are standing alongside and women too, wearing neoprene or, more often than not, breathable waders.
To cap it all, not everyone is fly fishing, some are spinning and, in the case of our club, many members do not even own a fly rod.
Boat fishing is popular too.
It is relaxing to be sitting out on the water trolling, harling, jigging or anchored up and casting into the weed beds trying to catch that elusive trout.
And this is another thing that has changed over the years.
While some still use the ever-popular “tinnie” or fibre-glass dinghy with fish finder and possibly a down-rigger other modes of water transport have become popular especially a boat that doesn’t have to be towed, after all you can’t tow both a caravan and a boat.
So now we see members fishing from canoes, kayaks, inflatable dinghies and foldable boats - all able to be thrown up on a car roof rack - and we even have one member who fishes from a float tube or belly boat.
This last style of craft has long been popular in the United States but has only a small following here in New Zealand.
Personally, I’m a bit long in the tooth for sitting with my rear end in the water - even though enclosed in neoprene - so my wife and I have opted for an inflatable, easy to transport and easy to set up.
On a recent field trip to Lake Okaro one of our members had the thrill of catching 16 fish from his canoe - be assured he certainly didn’t keep them all.
Another note of interest is that some of our most successful anglers are female members, illustrating that this is a sport where the ladies are on an even footing with the men.
We also have a hard core of members who love to go tramping along rivers for their “fishing fix” so the club caters for all methods of trout fishing.
Anyone who thinks they would like to experience trout fishing is welcome to come along to our meetings, which are held most months in the St.
John rooms, Arawa Road, Whakatane.
Along with our monthly field trips we also hold fly tying evenings and should you wish any further information please give me a call on 07 312 4966.