What Our Clients Say About Us
“There are a few trips in my life that I’ll look back on as truly life defining experiences, and hunting in New Zealand with Zane Mirfin was definitely one. I’ve been fly fishing in NZ before with Zane, but was blown away by the hunting. I feel like it’s still an un-discovered secret for US hunters. New Zealand has it all: the animals (unique species like Himalayan tahr, chamois, and red stag), no seasons (the best hunting is in our “off season”), no licences /tags needed, plenty of public land, no dangerous animals and easy firearms transport.
Country and conditions aside, hunting with Zane is really what made my trip special. Our 10 days together were a non-stop learning experience for me which isn’t surprising seeing that Zane has been guiding for over 30 years. He knows what makes these animals tick and I think it’s because he is part-mountain goat himself. In addition, Zane has the gear and connections to get into the type of places that can make or break a trip like this. Above all, I jumped at the chance to write this because of who Zane is: he genuinely cares about your experience, has a deep-seated love of the outdoors, and is fun to be around after many days in a tent. I can’t wait to be back for another adventure soon.”
Baxter R, California, USA, April 2016.
“Just like Plato and his world of ideals, I had a picture in my mind of what my ideal fishing trip would be like. Unlike Plato, on this trip, my ideal world and the material world would turn out to be essentially identical. A serendipitous chain of good fortune allowed me and two friends to enjoy two spectacular wilderness fishing days. Sure, we had good luck on a number of fronts but I have to thank Zane for his energy and trust. Thanks Mate for all your hard work and I know we will return again!”
Dr Chris Topovsek, Queensland, Australia, November 2015
“Zane, I can’t thank you enough for another wonderful fishing adventure. As you know I love the “early season” fishing which gives you some shots at fish you might not have after they have been fished over for months. Your access to stretches of river are wonderful. We had great days of fishing and caught beautiful trout. When I’ve shown photos to my buddies, their response is ‘I guess you’re done as you can’t possibly do any better’. Of course I’m sure next year will be better still.
Having fished annually in NZ for over a decade I appreciate how good you are: great eyes for spotting fish and patience with my mediocre casting. I also appreciate your meticulous planning. If you have anyone who wants to talk about South Island New Zealand Fishing with Zane, please don’t hesitate to have them contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org See you next year.”
Dr Paul Brower, California, USA, November 2015
“Zanus…You were fantastic. Had a terrific time. See you next year.”
Fishing New Zealand. 18 Years Later...
Dale Kinsella, California, December 2015
Lance Severson has fished with Zane many times before, in both hemispheres, since 1991, but not in New Zealand for the past 18 years. Here’s Lance describing his 2015 guided fishing adventure in his own words…
“Dear Aimee & Zane, Thank you so much for your gracious hospitality these past 10 days. It was special to meet your family and spend time with you again. You are blessed with great kids who obviously bring much happiness to your home. Enjoy every minute of it.
It was so nice to see that in the 18 years since my last visit that little had changed, except for the addition of a few grey hairs. I enjoyed the 8 days of fishing tremendously. The variety of fishable waters, from small tributary streams to larger rivers allowed a great variety of fishing opportunities. I had never experienced a larger average fish size in any of my previous six trips to the South Island. Catching a sighted 9 pound brownie on a dry fly is a moment I will never forget, although landing a larger 9 pound plus fish on a nymph was also a highlight. The fish quality and quantity was exceptional in my opinion.
Coming to New Zealand to go fly fishing is a truly multifaceted holiday. The sight fishing itself, the camaraderie on the river, the spectacular scenery, and the local culture made it a truly special trip. Thank you Zane & Aimee for making this my best New Zealand trip ever. It could never have been so good without all your efforts. I definitely won’t wait so long before my next visit.”
Lance Severson, California, USA, 27th October 2015.
In July 2015 we were invited back to Southern California by seven fly fishing clubs to present our 55 minute fly fishing show called "Affordable Fly Fishing in New Zealand". Here's what the clubs said about us...
"One week out from my 3 day heli-fishing trip and everything was sorted, the brief was to catch myself and my US based mate a big brown trout each. Zane had it all planned and we were set.
Fast forward 24hrs and it all unravels. Colleague grounded due to ill health and the finance director is not going to approve a solo heli-mission. I am pretty deflated.
'No problem!!!' beams Zane down the line between Brisbane and Nelson, 'bring comfortable boots, a sense of humour and whatever extra fitness you can build and we'll hike in for your 10lb shot. Won't promise you a fish but we will see them'.
Well, 3 days and 15 fish later, I managed 8, 8lb or bigger, and achieved my 10lb goal with an 11.5lb pig.
Zane works hard, fishes to the conditions dealt up on the day which may mean a wholesale change to Plan A from yesterday's briefing session to maximise the chance of active and catchable fish. Always with an array of "Mirfz Special" flies he customises to the environment that just work.
The hook pulling out of a couple well over 12lb at the net is all the impetus I need to get back next year."
Steve Lennard, Brisbane, Australia, 21st March 2015
"Zane, thanks for another memorable and enjoyable fishing trip. You will always be the innovator (an inspiration we have embraced) and you always work hard for us without question. Many, many laughs are always a feature, as well as a bit of two way comparison and reflections on life's experiences and lessons. No matter what the outcome of the day, nothing beats having an adventure with a great mate as you have become to us..."
Nathan Dickens, ACT, Australia 15th April 2015
“Thanks Zane. What a fab photo. Dom and the boys had an awesome day to remember – thanks”. Angela Zame, Nelson, NZ 8 July 2013
“ Zane, I have bad news. Our beloved father, friend and fishing partner Hugo passed away last week. As you know, Dad fought a great fight, and the fact that he lived – and fished well – was remarkable...The trip that Jeff and I were able to take with him to NZ remains a highlight – and we remain grateful to you and Tony for taking such good care of the Old Guy….Hugo was so very fond of you both. And yes, I remember Hugo still flirting with Aimee and delighting in your kids: he was that kind of guy. Enjoy the photos: great memories abide…
We will head to the Henry’s Fork in July to scatter Dad’s ashes upon the waters, and you can be sure that we will lift up his flask and share some Laphroaig and toast this good man. Best wishes to you and your crew, and I hope we get to celebrate Hugo’s life together sometime before too long, ideally on a fine stretch of water.
Rick Melvoin, USA, 5 April 2013
“Thank you Zane. We had a wonderful holiday. It was lovely to meet Aimee, and your beautiful family too. Until next time.” Mai Nguyen & Jim Stievater, 17 February 2013
“…I must say that the five days fishing with you were excellent. Fishing got better day by day, and it was fabulous to “leave the party at it’s best”! The last day was just marvellous. Thank you for the professional guiding. Let’s do it again some day” Markku Hynynen, Finland, 13 January 2013
Fish & Game Magazine Testimonial
“Fish & Game New Zealand magazine has now been going for an incredible 20 years. It is a record we are wildly proud of , as is our officially audited readership of 303,000. The magazine continues to be a lifeline for avid freshwater anglers and bird hunters interested not only in the how-to and where-to of their sport, but also the topical environmental and political issues that permeate it. Our ‘second-to-none’ stable of contributors includes many of this country’s finest outdoor writers, among them Les Hill, Brian Turner, Dave Witherow, Hamish Carnachan, Peter Ryan, John Hayes, Tony Entwistle, David Moate, and Zane Mirfin, as well as an equally talented group of wildlife photographers led by Zane Mirfin, Les Hill, David Towgood, and Martin Simpson. It is our good fortune to celebrate 20 years and 116 issues (80 commercial and 36 Special issues) by making this special subscription offer. We thanks our devoted readers and will work hard to continue to bring to you a quality product into the future.”
Bob South, Editor – Fish and Game New Zealand Magazine, May 2013-05-15
Buy yourself a subscription at www.mags4gift.co.nz
Nelson Lakes - St. Arnaud Fishing Adventure
"On the advice of the folks at the Fisherman's Spot fly shop in Los Angeles, we contacted Zane to arrange a trip to the South Island. After my initial email contact, Zane suggested that we SKYPE so that he could get to know us better and help plan our trip with our interests and skill levels in mind. All went well in our SKYPE talk. All I had to do was wire the deposit and set the dates. Zane took care of everything else, including booking our lodging. I must admit that my wife Aimee and I were a little nervous about a new country and a new guide we'd never met. But even our wildest dreams were exceeded. We were met at Nelson airport by Aimee Mirfin and were off to the excellent Monaco for our first night. The next day Zane arrived and we drove to the Nelson lakes district and the Avarest B&B. By 10am we were fishing in a famous wilderness river where we quickly learned what a great guide Zane is and how much we needed to improve our skills. Zane overcame our skill problems and had both of us on to huge trout by the end of the first day. We then went back to our spotless, comfortable, and spacious accommodations at the Avarest and a excellent meal featuring NZ Pinot and rack of lamb. For the next four days, Zane worked hard to show us huge fish and new rivers. Our fishing improved immensely and Zane never ceased to amaze us with his fish spotting ability. He worked hard to choose rivers that both my wife (who is a beginner) and I (I'd call myself intermediate) would appreciate. You can't just walk up to any river in NZ and hook a 5 pound trout. You walk up to a river chosen by Zane and a fish spotted by Zane and float a fly chosen by Zane to the exact drift specified by Zane. Then you have a good chance of hooking that huge trout.
This was simply our best fishing trip ever -- and I've been fishing (sometimes with great success) for trout and steelhead in Montana, Utah, Wyoming, New York, Pennsylvania, Colorado, Wisconsin, Michigan, California, and Alaska. We are already planning our return next year.
This was a "bucket" list trip that has turned into an annual pilgrimage." Peter Rossi, Los Angeles, California, USA 18 December 2012
….. "Thanks Zane awesome fishing experience for us both, we are still talking about it". Peter Rickards, Nelson, New Zealand, June 2012.
What A Great Experience
I recently utilised the services of Zane Mirfin, (fishing guide extraordinaire) to take myself and my eldest daughter sea fishing. This “one on one time” with my daughter was special for both of us and Zane did not let us down. Firstly with Zane it is not about him, it’s about his clients and making ones experience out on the water the best possible, and one to put in the memory books. He was patient, caring, knowledgeable and a true experienced professional both in terms of safety, and to not only find the fish but having the skills for us to catch them. He also has that all important passion which rubs off on everyone.
So just a recap on the day where the Maori fishing calendar said would be very unproductive. (Virtually a waste of time!) We caught loads of snapper, gurnard, kahawai and topi on bait, jigs and flies, that did their best to pull us over the side – What a fantastic day. I’m not sure we could have kept up if it was a 'good' day.
Pete Rickards B Ag Ec, CFP CM AFA
Cally and I are back in Zimbabwe after a trip of a lifetime in NZ. You guys certainly live in a beautiful country with great people that are actually very similar to ourselves. I suppose it is because we all come from the same 1820 settler stock. Some ships headed for Africa, others to Australia and New Zealand.
This is just a quick note to thank you for guiding me and helping me to get some great fish to the net despite the difficult situation after heavy rain and my bad knee.
Just for the record Zane, you were the most professional guide I worked with and you certainly helped me get the best trout of my New Zealand trip. Unfortunately my fishing further south was a disaster. P.J. Jacobs' (Editor: 'The Complete Fly Fisherman' - Africa's Fresh and Salt Water Fishing Magaqzine) advice about you was correct and I will be telling him so.
.....Please send my regards to Aimee and your four great kids. I just love to see close happy families. Once again, thank you. Graham Richards, Zimbabwe, Africa, May 2012
Rick Rosner has recommended your work as NZ Fly Fishing Guide at Strike Adventure Ltd.
Dear Zane, I’ve written this recommendation of your work to share with other LinkedIn users.
Details of the Recommendation” “Thanks to Zane some of my best memories are days spent fishing the South Island. Simply put: he has provided the best fishing memories in 40 years of fly fishing” Service category: Fishing Guide
Year first hired: 1994 (hired more than once)
Top Qualities: Great Results, Personable, Expert
Rick Rosner, California, USA – LinkedIn Recommendation 25 December 2012
“Hi Zane, Thanks again for our great time together. I appreciate you putting up with me!...Anyway, I am already thinking about my next trip and as of now plan to return sometime in the January – march time frame in 2014. God willing I will be there and hope to book some fishing days with you again☺
Doug Hudgins, USA, 24 March 2012
“There are several guides on our site that specialise in your area who I would highly recommend. The one guide I would always go for first however is Zane Mirfin. He is fantastic, knows the area intimately, gets great feedback and has an international reputation for his skills, photography and his writings in magazines. He runs the company ‘Strike Adventure’ and is Richmond based. He will also supply everything your guests need for a day or three of fishing. He can also arrange helicopters if they really want to have a remote backcountry experience as he has all the necessary concessions to fish and guide on DoC land. Guides such as Zane usually provide meals for the day, transport (guests are picked up from your place) etc. The charges for guides vary and zane is at the higher end, but he is undoubtedly the best. And if he is already booked he will get another good guide to step in for him..”
Doug Stevens, Owner / Managing Director, nzfishing.com online directory, 10 July 2012
Team Effort 2011:
Tony Entwistle on video cam, Patti Moore on rod, Dave Moore on net, Zane(not visible) on camera.
Thanks again for the wonderful trip. Patti and I enjoyed the fishing, weather, and wonderful companionship. Your gracious assistance and kindness were very much appreciated.
Today I mailed a video that I made in New Zealand 25 years ago that features Patti's father ( Bus Entsminger) and Tony Entwistle. In the video you will see me during the introduction and you will see an interesting video of Tony by Patti's father. Unfortunately, I look 25 years older...Tony does not.
I hope you find it interesting. The video is approximately 1 hour. It features two helicopter fly-in trips to Larry's Creek and another into the back country where the Johnson River flows into another. You will see each of us speak about NZ fishing and lots of fishing action in this 60minute video. Please feel free to use it in any manner you would like.
If we can ever help you here in the states, just let us know. Hope to fish with you again in NZ soon. The trip exceeded all our expectations. Dave Moore, USA, April 2011
Steve Lennard, Brisbane, Australia
Just back in Oz mate and wanted to drop you a line. Thank’s again for the sensational day on Wednesday. 40 plus fish in less than 4 hours fishing, my biggest trout to date and a hot bite. A pretty good day’s fishing in anyone’s books. It’s no wonder you have the reputation you do as a premier guide, customising the day to meet the environment and assessing your client’s (limited) skills and objectives all inside 15 minutes, putting together a plan to match those considerations and then working in synch with the fishes preferred bite times, to deliver a very memorable day. I just hope my young bloke gets those grades so I can shout him that back country helifishing trip with you at the end of 2012!!! Steve Lennard, Brisbane, Australia, March 2011
Thanks for all your help in giving me these memories of this adventure. Hope we can do it again someday. Don’t hesitate to use my name as a reference for anyone thinking about coming from the U.S. Scott Johnson, USA, March 2011
Thanks for the signed copy of the book – it will be consumed here in short timeframe..As always we had a great couple of days with Cam, got into some nice fish yesterday on the Wairau. Hope to be back down again sometime in the future and fishing the Nelson area again. David Richards, USA, March 2011-04-06
You really turned on a memorable day for our visiting friends from Cornwall the other day…Neil Bruce-Miller, Tasman, NZ, February 2011-04-06
Graham McDermid, sons Cam & Matt, with Graeme Kennerley.
Thanks for a fantastic weekend guys, I really enjoyed it as I’m sure you did too. There were so many stories from by-gone trips and of course this trip has added to that tapestry. I’ve put the best of my pics into a slide show format that can be viewed on this link: Please feel free to pass this link onto others for their viewing too.
Click the link below and choose Slide Show
And looking forward to our next Strike Adventure again real soon. Graeme Kennerley, Wellington, NZ, February 2011
Matt Wheadon & Nathan Dickens enjoy back country success.
A short note to offer you my sincere thanks for a great few days and for the great conversation and the many laughs and memories. It was certainly a memorable experience for us and we will certainly be back in to the Nelson region and to spend a few days with you. My best wishes always and my regards to Aimee and the tribe. Nathan Dickens, Canberra, Australia, January 2011
Rene Vaz reckons fishing with others better than yourself can only improve your own angling abilities
“ One of my most memorable lessons was two years ago fishing the Nelson region with guide and Fish & Game New Zealand magazine chief photographer Zane Mirfin. Zane is based in an area that I’ve often found the most difficult fishing in New Zealand. Of course, an experienced angler like Zane has all the skills you’d expect from a top guide; he can read water well, spot fish like a hawk, make the right casts, he’s even a pretty good flytier. But the thing that stood out the most was Zane’s careful and calculated approach when targeting each fish. Where I’d cut my teeth on the abundant rainbow fisheries of the North Island, Zane has specialised in fisheries where it was not uncommon to see just a few fish in a day. The result for Zane is that every fish seen needs to be approached carefully and meticulously, as it may indeed be the last or only chance for the day.
Zane’s saying that has stuck with me ever since is “slowly, slowly,, catches the monkey”. I certainly believe this lesson, even on more plentiful fisheries, is the key to success when targeting difficult, large fish and the screeds of photos Zane puts out with different clients and friends with trophy fish is testament to how well this approach works. On difficult fish, Zane’s regular approach is to make one cast and, if you feel you’ve covered the fish well, then change something. We all know what most of these changes are, but most likely you’re like me and would rather blaze away casting than make a presentation. Of course, Zane will change his fly pattern, trying something smaller, or larger, or perhaps with less flash. Then there is his leader length, or perhaps tippet diameter or material to consider. Then, when nymphing, there is always the indicator to get rid of that’s perhaps making the fish wary. All in all, this patient and calculated approach to fooling trout is a skill many of us could learn from when approaching our fish…”
Rene Vaz, “Lessons from Great Anglers – Understanding what makes a good flyfisherman” Fish & Game New Zealand Magazine, Issue 71, January 2011.
Zane, I just wanted to send you an email and thank you for your help organising my day on the river. It was magical!! I was so excited to be fishing with Tony and I knew it was going to be much more than just another day on the river. I’m quite new to fly fishing and I’ve read quite a few books and have come across Tony’s name several times. He is an amazing teacher and has tweaked my cast and has given me tremendous amounts of knowledge that you just can’t read in a book. We finally made it back to Invercargill today and I’m looking forward to trying out my new cast and skills on the Mataura. I notice you guys offer 3-6 day wilderness backcountry experiences where you helicopter and hike. I’m going to talk to a friend who is as passionate about flyfishing as I am and see if he would be interested in going with me…Rolando Diaz, USA, January 2011
Zane, just a short note to thank you for all your support and efforts in 2010, a year in which Fish & game NZ magazine reached a milestone 100 issues and, after advice today, our audited readership has gone to a noteworthy 261,000. Your contributions and involvement are sincerely appreciated. I eagerly look forward to working with you in 2011. Bob South, Editor, Fish & Game NZ Magazine, December 2010
Hi Zane, Praise from the master is praise indeed! Thank you. Just got back from a couple of hours on the Pelorus. Best was a very nice 5lb rainbow. Your technique with the shooting sinking line works so well. I am grateful for all your help. Ian Bowman, Wellington, NZ December 2010
Another great newsletter. Keep them coming regularly as they are great promoters for your business. Chris Clenshaw, Chairman Nelson / Marlborough Fish & Game, Tasman, NZ, November 2010
Mirfin you prick. Here I am up to my ears in bloody work and you’re sending me pictures of big fish – have you no shame??? Why don’t you write another book about the secrets of fishing for trophy trout for me??
Graham Gurr, Publisher,Halcyon Press, Auckland, NZ, November 2010
Thanks for ALL your hospitality and time Zane! Will have a look at the footage in the next couple of weeks – should be a segment!! Will also do an article on River Rafting and fishing. Bill Classon, Publisher AFN (Australian Fishing Network), Melbourne, Australia November 2010
What a killer trip. That was just what I had hoped for! Thank you for making it so good – I enjoyed it immensely. I thought you might like to see a little video I put together to show my friends who are green with envy.
Click link below.
Dr Joe Roberson, California, USA, October 2010
Zane & Aimee, Loved your newsletter. Lots of great photos. Look forward to seeing you both again soon. Cathy Beck, Barry & Cathy Beck Photography, Pennsylvania, USA, September 2010
Zane – You Old Devil – sending me all those pictures and movies of brown trout fishing in New Zealand!! I often think of all the great times we had, and still have a nymph in one of my fly-boxes with a big circle around it – and the words, “11 big browns caught in a row (on the fly with Zane Mirfin)” That was the time we were over in Molesworth Station on the Severne and the Acheron, and the fish were all fat as footballs. You also set a world record unlocking the gate…Please keep in touch – your emails and news make my day!! Ben Taylor, California, USA, September 2010
I often dream of those incredible three days and those huge browns. Gordon Dawson, Scotland, UK, September 2010.
“Dad is as tall as a giant and he is brown and has got black hair. My dad likes to fish and hunt and sleep. He is smart and strong. Dad is orrsome to me because he is always here for my birthday and Christmas and easter. My dad is kind caring and cuddly and nice to others. He is cool and funny. He is very cool and dad works as a fishing guide. He is a legend of 2008 or 2009. He is not home a lot of the time and my Dad makes me feel better and I see him at home and he loves me 2000,000 times around the Earth.”
Ike Mirfin, Aged 8, Descriptive Writing, Henley School, June 2010
Thanks to son Chris, and Zane Mirfin, an elite South Island guide, I was able to leave NZ knowing I caught some of those big Kiwi browns. Bob Cornelisen, USA, April 2010.
……Please use any of my photos in your marketing programs. That permission extends to any part of this letter that you would like to use as an endorsement or reference. Feel free to use me as a point of contact to any Americans or others who might consider using your services.
Zane, I know you are constantly evaluating your decisions in an effort to overcome mistakes you may have made. From my point of view, you made 100% correct decisions from the concept and strategy for the week down to the daily plans on what to do and where to go. The immersion into New Zealand life in Reefton and elsewhere was a very important part of the adventure. We started with difficult weather conditions and certainly made the best of it. I think the difficulty of fishing in N.Z. has been overstressed. Americans have been warned that the fish are few and far between and the expectations are reduced as a result. I’m sure our success was due, in large measure, to your skills and knowledge. Everything about the trip exceeded my expectations. The EPIC adventure was truly Epic. The camaraderie, the environment, the fishing, the interaction with everyday New Zealanders, was all better than expected. I am glad I knew of you from our meeting in Colorado. Your program is flexible and customised to your client and is a much better option than going to a full service fishing lodge in my opinion…
Jim Stievater, USA, January 2010
TOP STUFF Zane….you write very (very) well!
You’ve got the gift, a nice ‘touch’ in pulling together the info you must have gleaned from sitting yakking with these gents…
Greig Caigou, Author, NZ, January 2010
Thanks Zane, I really enjoyed our last trip together, even though the numbers were down compared to my trip in October with Joe. Walking all those beautiful rivers in spectacular surroundings really is unbeatable. We would have hooked more fish without the high wind, but these things happen. You will
see me again.
, Melbourne, Australia, December 2009
Zane will be right upfront with you as to where the best fishing is at the time. He’s one of the best guides we’ve ever worked with.
Cathy & Barry Beck, Pennsylvania, USA, November 2009
Zane, you're an absolute legend! You totally changed my approach to reading and fishing likely water. the fishing was great! Thanks for your patience and knowledge. Zach Norton, Melbourne, Australia, November 2009
What a lovely surprise to see all those slides in the mail a couple of days ago – thank you so much! Great memories of a good trip. Despite the weather, it makes me want to go out on the river now! I will have to content myself by tying a few flies instead and finish off that 10wt rod I have had half made up for awhile and then you can show me how to hook up on a kingfish..
Neil Bruce-Miller, Upper Moutere, Tasman, New Zealand June 2009
Thanks so much for the pics, great stuff!! Some wonderful memories there! We speak often, of the days with you rafting. Can’t wait to bring some guys over and do an extended trip….
Glenn McCarthy, Angling Adventures, Geelong, Australia, June 2009
Thank you for sending me my photographs. They remind me of exciting moment of fishing in NZ. In some day I want to go back to NZ for fishing. If possible, I want to try heli-fishing with you next time. I will work hard to save money for next fishing trip…Atsushi Suzuki, Japan, June 2009
My mate Michael and I went on a fishing expedition on the Motueka River with your guide Cameron back in March. We had a sensational time and it was without doubt the very best fly fishing experience ever….Cam is a superstar and we had such a great day with him.
Bjane Kristensen, Australia, June 2009.
Many thanks for the great photos of a great day. You have even managed to make me look almost photogenic – a great challenge at the best of times, but I suppose the big fish helped! Hopefully we can repeat the exercise sometime in the future.
Tim Hammond, Sydney, Australia, June 2009
…both Ron and I would like to thank you for a wonderful time and we will always look back on the wonderful experience we both had. The beautiful country we saw and the cordial people we met made the New Zealand Experience something that will be long remembered. Hopefully Ron or I, or both, will be able to get back to New Zealand. In the meantime, we have ‘The Last Best Place’ to look through fondly as we remember that we too have fished some of the last best places in NZ…In gratitude and full of memories,
Dennis Larson, California, USA May 2009.
Thanks again for a great time on Sunday. Dad and I talked about it all the way home. Can’t wait to get back to NZ again and am planning a trip already in cicada season.
Aaron Heafield, Traralgon, Victoria, Australia, February 2009.
Thanks for the days you guided us! You never disappoint and even though the conditions may not have been perfect you made it a memorable experience…I hope I will have the pleasure of being guided by you again in a few years time!
Per Thelin, Sweden, January 2009
Five days fishing with you was very exciting and I had a precious experience. I learned from you some fishing techniques and noticed that I need to practice more to fish better. You must be tired from long driving and my poor English. But if you don’t mind, I want you to guide my fishing some day again…without you I would not get even one fish. Thank you Zane.
Atsushi Suzuki, Japan, January 2009
Thanks for the great family photo. You’re a very lucky man – but of course you know that. The plan for 2010 sounds good. We can’t wait, we’ll be counting the months and days…
Cathy & Barry Beck, World Famous Fishing & Travel Photographers, Pennsylvania, USA, January 2009
I’m a keen fly fisherman stuck in Afghanistan at the moment, in dire need of getting out on a river. Unfortunately I’m not in a position to try anything locally because of land mines etc. I enjoy your photographic images in Fish & Game magazine and thought I might be able to sooth my frustration at my lack of fishing action with some of your photographs for the wall in my office and hut…
Major Trent Corbett, NZ Provincial Reconstruction Team, Afghanistan, May 2009.
I think the front cover of our (Nelson Trout Fishing Club) newsletter has turned the corner with the wonderful shot of your beautiful girls and boys and could be a turning point for other clubs to follow. It’s a fresh new idea for fishing clubs. I look at the cover many times and just smile. Thank you for sharing your ‘pin-up girls & boys’ with our club. At times I wish we had a few or lots of young kids in the club. Your family story that accompanied the cover shot was superb. You are a real asset to this club.
Richard Boyden, Past President, Nelson Trout Fishing Club, February 2009
Dear Zane. After reading your recent article ‘Wildside’ in the Nelson Mail, I felt moved to write and express to you what a well-written worthwhile story I thought it was. I wholeheartedly agree with your views – working in a school I continually see young boys who desperately need the mentoring and contact you talk about. Congratulations on a great article! Let’s hope the message gets across…
Lynda Frater, Letter, Motueka, New Zealand, January 2009.
Thanks again for a wonderful day up the xyz river mate. Really enjoyed it and appreciated all the coaching and advice…when you get a chance can you please send me a few pix of the fish I caught in ‘the last best place’ on the xyz – I’d like to frame it for my office!
Bob South, Editor Fish & Game NZ Magazine, Turangi, NZ, November 2008
We both enjoyed fishing with you and had a wonderful time in the Nelson area…I’ll keep and pass on your contact info and hope to fish with you in the future. Good luck in your life’s continuing journey Zane and thank you for a good and positive encounter. Take care my friend.
Jon Rappaport, USA, November 2008.
Mate, I just read your great book, I loved it. The pictures are enticing and the script both funny and thought provoking. Will very much look forward to fishing with you again sometime soon. Maybe we can have another crack at the Crow?
Scott Sanders, Owner Grand Mercure Nelson, Winner of the HANZ Supreme Award for Excellence and judged the Top Hotel in the Nation in 2008, Nelson, NZ, November 2008.
I never did thank you for a fabulous few days in the Karamea, so thanks. Your magic must have rubbed off as the team I was in won the One Fly Contest, no particular thanks to me I might add. I am currently in the UK paying too much to fish the beautiful but hardly challenging Chalk Streams of Hampshire…Can’t wait to get back to NZ…
Lorenzo Lodge, Darwin, Australia, July 2008.
Gidday Zane. I read and enjoyed your debut article (Wildside) in the Nelson Mail and was impressed by your foresight and preparedness…
Fred Frahm, Letter, Nelson, New Zealand July 2008.
Zane, what a KILLER adventure you provided for us. In terms of the setiing, logistics, and the subject matter (5-6lb average) this trip was a life experience to be savoured and replayed over and over. I can’t imagine a better thing for a father and son who love adventure and fishing to share together. Baxter and I will never forget watching those multiple 6 pound browns taking dries in a clear emerald pool of energy filled water…” Joe Roberson, California, USA, January 2007
Everything worked great. We all had a blast…Henry was fantastic. He put together a week of fishing that varied from day to day and built up to a grand finale. It was nice that the gods helped us out with the weather. Marg and Steve were great hosts. Everything was smooth and flawless…we could not have asked for a better trip..”
Ian Adelman, USA, February 2007
Tony…thank you for a great four days. The weather may not have been kind (though, at it’s worst, it wasn’t bad) and there have been fewer fish than usual, but the rivers, the scenery and the possibility of a big one are very special. I very much appreciate all the care, thought and effort you put in to make my trip satisfying and your incredible patience and good humour. I think that you’re a superb guide, an outstanding teacher and a wonderful companion. I’ve been bitten by the bug and I definitely plan to be back.. Michael Wolfson, USA, March 2007
Thank you for taking Kim and I on a fly fishing adventure on the Baton. We really enjoyed our day and the surroundings were fantastic. Of course, seeing and casting to wild brownies, and catching a couple to boot, was certainly a highlight of my trip to NZ. Incidentally, when we were in the Marlborough Sounds, the place we stayed had a stack of Fish & Game magazines, and we were excited to find a bunch of your pictures and a few articles written by you…
Micah Grossman, Texas, USA, November 2007
I am one of the NMIT students you came to speak with on Tuesday, and I would like to let you know that I really appreciated the time you and Tony took out of your busy schedules to talk with us. I feel I got an honest, raw and real perspective on the world in which tourism operators function in these days which was a welcomed new experience for me, in comparison with the guest speakers we’ve had so far. I particularly appreciate the years of experience and data collected that you were happy to share with us and analyse so that we could understand. You’ve caused me to think outside the square now with how I will approach running a tourism business one day as you triggered a lot of in-depth thinking in myself with the comments and experience you had to share. Ka mihi nui ki a koura (a big thank you to the both of you).
Jackie Ihaia, Tourism Student, Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology, Nelson, NZ, September 2007.
Wanted to tell you that the other guides you lined up for our party were great. We found each of them to be reliable, professional, and very knowledgeable of the area and that experience shone brightly through for us during our several days. While initially skeptical about not getting you (Zane) or Tony for the whole week, we would definitely recommend the Strike Adventure team to other anglers who travel far to stalk the big browns. The helicopter trip was a real treat for all. I for one will be back…
John Havlick, Australia, March 2007.
Thank you for a wonderful fishing experience. Hawk eye Henry was a great guide (I still don’t know how he sights those browns). The accommodation was fantastic and the wife and kids had a great time at the Lake.
Patrick Georgiades, Zambia, Africa, January 2006.
“…thanks for all your guidance and help when I was fishing with you. It would have been impossible to catch anything without you…”
Graham Hutton, UK, December 2006.
“…fishing with Henry…we found him to be not just an outstanding fisherman and knowledgeable, but the most delightful person with whom to spend a day on the river…” Jennifer & Philip Rimell, UK, March 2006.
“thanks very much for the fishing – that was pretty much the best day of fishing I have ever had. It certainly was on trout!
James Yerbury, Australia, November 2005.
“Thanks Tony & Zane. Good luck with the new adventure. Will be signing up for another fishing trip in the not too distant future..”
Tony Wilkinson, Hong Kong, November 2005.
‘Zane and Tony, Congratulations on the formation of your new joint venture..you have a great thing going, and I am glad to see that the company is being run by a couple of great fly fishers and all around good guys…”
Jerry Smith, USA, October 2005.
“…thank you so much for setting me up with Don. He was excellent in many regards, especially that he put me onto cast-forgiving fish! Marta and I really enjoyed working with him and as he likely told you, I had an excellent day, with many fish, and even an eight pounder. Wow!”
David Nevala, USA, November 2004.
Thank you for all your great hospitality and company. You guys made the trip another winner…”
Max Kellogg, California, USA, January 2002
Zane, those three days really tired my arm out, catching all those monster trout on such beautiful rivers. We really whacked them – 60 fish!!!
Ryan Meulemans, Tennessee, USA, April 1999.
(Tony) “…The entire trip went smoothly and each of the clients had their expectations exceeded! Thanks for the completely professional way you handled arrangements at your end..”
Dick Galland, Clearwater Trout Tours, California, December 1992.
Blast From the Past
We found this old type-written testimonial in late July 2010 when sorting through old papers. It was written by Tony Entwistle about Zane in 1991 when he applied for a Fish & Game job. Zane had a lucky escape and is thankful now that he didn’t get the job! We include this unedited testimonial as a historical snapshot of an age long before Strike Adventure Fishing.
17th April 1991, The Manager,North Canterbury Fish & Game Council, 61 Bealey Ave, CHRISTCHURCH 1
RE: ZANE MIRFIN – REFERENCE FIELD OFFICER’S POSITION
I have known Zane Mirfin for the last 10 years.
After High School, Zane came to work for me originally as a supervisor for our rental canoe business. Zane worked under the supervision of my Charter Launch Skipper much of the time, but also worked long periods alone.
Zane proved responsive when directed in his new work, and reliable when left unsupervised. Like most youngsters at this stage (17 years old), he worked best when given direction.
Because he was a keen and successful fisherman, I started training Zane as an apprentice fishing guide. He worked in conjunction with myself and other senior guides, observing us with clients, moving vehicles, packing gear and helping with second anglers etc. After a short initial period, he commenced taking anglers out unsupervised, and very quickly developed the skills necessary to be a good guide.
In subsequent University holidays Zane has continued to work very successfully for myself, Lake Rotoroa Lodge, Ron Mackay, and other suppliers, as a contract guide. Zane works well as a member of a team, and has an excellent rapport with other guides.
Guiding is a ‘people job’. The guide is central to the paying angler’s success and enjoyment. Zane has become a first-rate guide. This is not only because of his superior fishing skills, but because he relates very well to most people. His easy, relaxed manner, sets his anglers quickly at ease. He can be firm when directing anglers, without being aggressive.
Zane is imaginative in his guiding approach, which means he regularly produces results much better than some guides with more overall experience. His education has helped him to be a lateral thinker which is a great attribute. Zane doesn’t like to settle for an average result, even though sometimes he might casually indicate that what he has achieved wasn’t particularly difficult. Zane is actually very proud of his achievements as a guide, with good cause.
Over the last five years of close association with Zane, I have observed a growing maturity in his attitude to his sport, and responsibility to the animals and fish he pursues.
With respect to the specific skills you have mentioned…
People Skills: As indicated above I think Zane has people skills well above average. His general personality, makes relating to people easy for him.
Occasionally Zane has shown sensitivity to people who have judged him on his age and youthful appearance rather than his skills or knowledge. As he has matured, he seems to find this easier to deal with.
Report Writing Skills: Zane’s Master’s Thesis is good evidence of his command of the English Language. Zane had some difficulty in tackling the write-up of the research he had conducted, and needed some prodding from the Nelson Acclimatisation Society and their Field Officer (too much beer and chasing me! – Aimee ☺). Once started however, he completed the job swiftly and well.
Ability to Work Unsupervised: Zane has the ability to work unsupervised, and do an excellent job. I’m confident that he will apply himself well and work conscientiously. Initially Zane may need encouragement and direction in establishing regular work habits.
Initiative in Problem Solving: Zane is a lateral thinker. You will find him innovative, progressive and positive. He is willing to discuss problems to seek others views as to the best result or action. His education, guiding experience, above average intelligence and enquiring mind are significant evidence of his problem solving skills and potential – the best trout fishermen are always great problem solvers.
Zane has always presented himself neatly and cleanly in my presence. Zane is proud of his personal appearance without being vain, and should be a good advertisement for Fish and Game in his first introductions with people. He speaks the fisherman’s and hunter’s language because he is actively involved in his sport. He loves it.
Fronting up to someone who has committed a Fish and Game offence shouldn’t be a problem for him, given some initial support and training. I am sure that he will be diligent in following up prosecutions where necessary.
In Zane you have a very good candidate for the position you have advertised. He is at the raw edge, starting in his first job. In reading your Position Description, I cannot see any particular weaknesses Zane has with respect to the principal accountabilities or qualifications and skills.
Zane has the potential to be a first rate Field Officer. Give him the encouragement necessary to foster his enthusiasm and engender confidence in a new job, and zane will be an asset, not only to you, but the whole Fish and Game movement.
Fish and Game to Zane isn’t a 9.00 – 5.00 job. To date it has been a very significant element of his life and development as a person.
I am pleased to provide this report on zane, and happy to recommend him to you. If you have any specific questions about Zane, or wish clarification of anything in this report, I can be telephoned at the following numbers.
Tony Entwistle, Managing Director, Rod & Gun Outfitters Ltd