Al Brown, celebrity chef, author and passionate fisherman has this to say about the Huka Lodge Fly Fishing Event.
"This was without question, the most fun weekend I have had the good luck to have been involved in for a long, long time.
Such a great bunch of people from all walks of life and while the lads gave it a good nudge on the rivers, it was a bunch of talented women anglers nipping at their heels and keeping them honest.
I’m begging to come again next year as it just ticks every box in my dream department … lux accommodation, extraordinary food and wine, world- class service by super friendly staff. Then throw into the mix, some of the best fly fishing guides in the country, taking you to their favourite rivers to fish … what could possibly go wrong? Join us and find out for yourself!"
Taupo turned on some lovely sunny weather especially, as anglers gathered at Huka Lodge to enjoy both legendary fishing and hospitality, at this inaugural event.
After arrival, guests settled in and some took the opportunity to brush up on their casting techniques with the guides from Chris Jolly Outdoors, on the Lodge lawn. Louis Roederer had set up a Champagne station nearby for a welcome drink as guests relaxed and orientated.
That evening Al Brown met up with fellow anglers fireside in the Lodge Room, for pre-dinner drinks and canapés before drawing names out of a hat to allocate guides and fishing spots. Everyone then went on to relax and get to know each other over a five-course dinner.
Over the days ahead anglers and their guides would gather to share a drink and trade fishing yards on their return to the Lodge.
Friday morning saw guests up bright and early for a hearty breakfast before meeting up with their guides prior to departing for the day, to their individual fly fishing spots. Enthusiasm was running high and the catches were good. Over the entire event the Waimarino River emerged as the favourite spot, with the best results.
Returning to Huka Lodge to freshen up guests then took part in a ‘Highland Tasting’ presented by Glenfiddich Ambassador for New Zealand, Phil Spector. Guests were treated to a tutored tasting of seven rare Glenfiddich releases – Glenfiddich 15-year-old Solera, 18-year-old, IPA Cask, Project XX Experimental Series, 21-year-old and 26-year-old whiskies.
Then it was time to share fishing stories and the adventures of the day over pre-dinner dinner and canapés in the Lodge Room before the fabulous Tour de France wine dinner.
This collaboration between Executive Chef, Paul Froggatt, and French-born, Wine Ambassador for Eurovintage, Ben Longhurst, featured a series of stunning food and wine matches.
- Heirloom beetroot baked in salt crust, with goats cheese beetroot mousse and red wine jelly was served with a 2018 By.Ott Rosé, from the Côtes de Provence.
- Canterbury truffles, confit hen’s egg with seaweed-roasted pumpkin and crispy chicken skin was perfectly matched to a 2016 Joseph Drouhin Laforêt Bourgogne Blanc, from Burgundy.
- Leith snapper – roasted over charcoal and glazed with fish sauce, salt-baked kohlrabi seaweed cream and sauce vierge was paired with 2014 Willm Reserve Reisling, from Alsace.
- Southland lamb, with smoked lamb bacon, celeriac confit, brown butter emulsion and a light lamb broth was accompanied by 2017 Delas Les Launes Crozes-Hermitage, from Northern Rhone.
- Kumara confit, with cinnamon and ginger, vanilla cream cheese and orange sorbet was enhanced by M. Chapoutier Muscat de Beaumes de Venise, from Southern Rhone.
This amount of serious eating and drinking wasn’t without entertainment when Al Brown shared some images from the day, and also presented some ‘fun’ awards.
The last big day of fishing, with great prizes at stake, saw everyone off after breakfast to hit the water and catch some trout. During the event a total of 82 of Taupo’s finest trout were caught and released by our angling teams, with the top team managing to catch and release 35 of these!
A return to the Lodge saw some of the guests watch a cooking demonstration by Chef Paul, showing the methods he likes to use to smoke fish.
Pre-dinner drinks and canapês led on to the much-anticipated Prize Giving Dinner with Al Brown as MC. With over $13,000 worth of prizes featuring luxury goods from Killwell Sports, Orvis, Rodd & Gunn and Helisika – there was a lot to feel happy about that evening. The prize for the biggest fish went to the guest who caught and successfully landed a magnificent 6.2 pound Rainbow Trout. It was a fun night and a great way to end such a terrific event.
Over a long and leisurely country breakfast guests shared their experiences, joked about 'the one that got away' and continued the camaraderie they had all enjoyed over the past three days. Then it was time to farewell new friends and set off for home, with promises of a reunion and more fantastic trout fishing next year.
If you would like to be advised as soon as the dates for the Huka Lodge Fly Fishing Event 2020 are announced, please contact Reservations.