Fresh water and salt water fly fishing in New Zealand and Australia. Brought to you by Riverworks waders, wading boots, vests, jackets, fly rods and reels.

Jack Kos – Redemption

I’ve never been very good at studying. Particularly not when all I can think of is that instantaneous loss of tension that comes with losing a big fish. I don’t know about you guys, but whenever I lose a fish I can’t help but replay it over and over in my head. What should I have done? If I’d just put more pressure on to start with? If only I’d struck a little harder? Well after a few days thinking like that I realised there was only one thing I could do about it… I could seek redemption.

The day began at the ungodly hour of 3:15am when I awoke, crawled into a shower, realised we were out of gas, and thus hot water, and finally crawled out of the shower a cold shivering mess. I managed to force feed myself about 37 pieces of toast, knowing that I’d need the energy. Picked Andrew up and we were on the road bang on 4am. It was a long drive to get there and an equally long walk into the river. The goal was to walk downstream for a couple of hours, before fishing our way back up. Only problem was that we kept spotting fish on the way down, then trying to catch them despite having just walked straight in front of them. Needless to say we didn’t catch any like this.

Finally we reached our turn around point, a braided section that allowed us to cross the swollen river. I think we’d probably walked about 3 minutes before spotting a large brown cruising a piece of slack water. Andrew cast out his stonefly and got no reaction at all. I suggested that he gave it a little twitch, thinking the fish could easily take the large green fly for either a damselfly or a small bully. Well, that certainly got a response. The fish followed it, getting closer each time the fly moved…then finally striking… and promptly swimming off, leaving Andrew with a very perplexed look on his face. Ah well. Andrew blind fished his way up the pool before I spotted a large shape – worth a cover. First cast over it and bang, Andrew’s rod doubles over. Cool.

Good fight with a couple of jumps before the net closes over this cracker.

I think Andrew was quite happy?

Not a bad way to start off the day…

Well I was up next… I spotted a fish feeding on the lip. The slack water in between necessitated a fairly long cast. Out goes the flies… drifting down happily…and then past the fish. I was about ready to recast when Andrew made an excited sound and shouted for me to strike. Unfortunately my reaction was akin to a sloth and the other fish, which had come from between a spot in the rocks to take my fly, had spat it. It’s just a little bit frustrating when you’ve dropped a good fish lately, then missed the strike on another good fish. To add insult to injury a couple of casts later this same fish came up and had a go at my dry fly. Now whether it bumped my tippet on the way up or perhaps it simply missed the fly, I watched the dry completely avoid the fishes mouth. Bugger once more.

The run above this last one held several good fish, most of which showed complete disdain when presented with my offerings. A long bronze shape at the head of the pool turned down a couple of flies, but it simply couldn’t resist the mother of all, double tungsten beaded, rubber legged, purple stonefly.

Came pretty damn close to my backing, can’t even remember the last time that’s happened…


And the fish. The satisfaction of finally seeing the net close over a fish, and a good one at that, cannot be aptly put into words. I felt like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. Equilibrium had been restored to the world yet again.

Prospecting a side braid a wee bit further up the river Andrew hooked another fiesty brown on the secret fly. This guy did the usual brownie scrap in the shallows before he too succumbed to the pressure.

Andrew is a strange man.

Well my turn on deck again, and it didn’t take long before we spotted another fish. One of the most refreshing aspects of the whole day was the sheer number of fish we saw – stark contrast to most of the rivers we had fished this season. This guy had the audacity to reject the secret fly, but soon succumbed to an outrageous creation of my own invention just a couple of casts later.

Mine’s bigger… er…tongue, that is.

One for the ladies…

After this fish we were feeling pretty damn good about the day, so took turns fishing at the rest of the fish we saw. I must have gotten lucky, cause the next fish that I fished to took a liking to the secret fly. There’s something enormously satisfying that follows a successful strike. That solid contact with the fish, and those few seconds where it hasn’t yet decided to tear off across the river. And then the bedlam when it realises it’s hooked and does everything in its power to get rid of it. I was in a bit of a tough position here, as one hundred metres downstream was a nasty logjam, and there was only one spot where landing a fish was particularly feasible. Oh well, let’s just hope it’s hooked well. Pressure goes on, and I manage to swing the fish into the shallows where Andrew pounces with the net.

Fantastic looking fish this one…

And another angle…

We kept plowing our way up the river with Andrew on strike. Unfortunately a few fish decided to do the dirty on him, spitting his fly in record time. A bit further up we came across a nice fish feeding on the edge of some fast water. While he was changing his fly I saw the fish rise. ‘Give a parachute adams a go, bro.’ I always offer helpful advice. Well, this was a rare occasion where the advice was in fact helpful, with the fish rising and taking the adams on its second drift. Andrew damn near hit his backing here, as the fish tore across the stream in very heavy water. Thankfully the hook and knots held, and he was able to beach another cracking fish.

This was quite a rare day, as Andrew actually smiled for some of the photos.

That was it on the fish front. We ate our last sandwich and packed down our rods beside the river, the dying sun beating down upon us. If it wasn’t for the fact that we knew we had a good hour and a half of tough walking ahead of us then it would’ve been nice to sit there a while longer and reflect on a day well spent.

Sadly there was no escaping the walk. We were  exhausted by the time we reached the car. We’d arrived at around 7am, and only reached the car again at 6 50pm. It had been a big day, but it had been a very good day.My need to catch fish has been quelled (at least for now) and I might actually be able to get some work done.

I know I’ve said it several times now, but this actually will be the last decent report until the 9th of November. Might do a quick fly tying post later in the week, but other than that it’ll be study study study. I hate exams.

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