Guest blog and article – Eye Magazine 2020/21 Edition 4
In a hyper-connected world that’s run on technology, more and more people are seeking out experiences from the past. Immersing themselves in nature, remote far off locations and experiencing the wild. And in New Zealand, we’re spoilt for choice.
With borders closed, cruises cancelled and tropical island getaways a distant memory, Kiwis are looking to their backyard. Not just for a quick holiday but for an experience that can not just give them a break from the hustle of everyday life but rejuvenate them, and perhaps even change them. One of the more alluring outdoor activities available in rural New Zealand is fly fishing, and no one knows the sport or the area like Jake and his team at Southern Rivers Fly Fishing.
A professional hunting and fishing guide, Jake Berry was born and bred in Wanaka and Otago area. Living amongst the beautiful fishing region of the lower South Island, Jake quickly caught the fishing bug and later, found himself immersed in the art of fly fishing. Jake combines his passion for the outdoors and wild New Zealand game to create an experience like no other, quite literally. The wildness of New Zealand’s South Island is rarely experienced and Jake and his team can take you places you wouldn’t dare to dream of. Jake’s returning clients entrust him to put together a tailored package for a 1 to 2 week trip, revolving around fly fishing – with a few surprises in between. Every last detail is taken care of – all you need to do is book your flight.
More often than not, a helicopter is used to access remote locations. For some clients, this itself is an entirely new experience. Coasting through the stunning Southern Alps is absolutely breathtaking, starting the trip off on a high. Clients are then taken to a remote Fiordland beach where they can relax while the hosts dive for crayfish to be cooked on the beach fresh from the sea along with whitebait, paua or wild venison. The wilderness plays a key role in every aspect, expect to find yourself chasing trophy-sized trout in stunning South Island rivers. More importantly, you get the opportunity to see a side of New Zealand that most people never will. The trips put you outside your comfort zone, whether it’s being in a chopper or making the connection of where your food comes from. Some clients take this chance to shoot their first deer or big game animal, learn how it’s prepped and consume it.
“Often first time clients tell me they don’t like eating wild game,” laughs Jake. “But once they try what we prepare they are blown away and hooked – and from then on request it every trip! Often I introduce my clients to the high country farming way of life and the station owners whom they would never have met had they travelled on their own itinerary.”
Jake’s trips are more than just world-class fly fishing. Sure, it’s a great skill to learn and an adventure in itself. But he finds clients are mesmerised by the people they meet, stunning locations, delicious cuisine, and most importantly stepping out of their comfort zone and feeling more alive for it. An insider’s guide to the beauty of the South Island’s wilderness, Jake is not only an expert fly fisherman but also incredibly detail-orientated, making it easy for both his new and returning clients.
“Fly fishing is what these people often love doing and they come to New Zealand because it has the best trout fishing in the world. It’s up to me to show them that it is also the best country in the world,” explains Jake.
International tourists come to New Zealand year after year to experience the power of nature and the ruggedness of the landscape. Now, it’s time to explore our own backyard – and what a backyard it is. The Southern Rivers Fly Fishing high-end package for women focuses on groups of four or eight with an emphasis on fun and the experience of the new. A four day trip, the group will fly into Queenstown where they are picked up by helicopter or by a luxury vehicle. From here it is a marriage of luxury and adventure, expect to stay in a high-end lodge, eat the finest cuisine including wild New Zealand food caught from the land itself. Learn the art of fly fishing or for those who already know how to, advance your skills to the next level whilst on a wilderness adventure. The true allure of these trips is seeing parts of New Zealand that many Kiwis don’t get to see, let alone tourists. Jake has mastered the art of putting his clients out of their comfort zone by just the right amount. The result? Leave feeling rejuvenated, accomplished, with a feeling and memory of doing something you wouldn’t normally do. This is no vineyard weekend or ladies lunch – it’s an experience, an escape – a true adventure for the adventurous and the not so adventurous looking for something new. All in the name of fly fishing.