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Andrew Hearne – Sometimes once just isn’t enough…

Well, it’s now past the half way mark between the end of April and the beginning of October.

I’m not one to wish for time to pass too quickly, life is too short for that… but I really am looking forward to the start of the new season, as I’m sure every other freshwater angler is too.

I’ve been keeping pretty busy, today Jack came around, among other discussions we talked about how awesome we will be this coming season, and we tied more than a few flies each.

Anyhow, I thought I would share some of my experiences with you all in relation to multiple encounters with specific fish. I’m sure you’ve all been there too at some stage. I’m not really one for getting too deep and meaningful, but this is a subject I find reasonably interesting.

We’ve all encountered fish that were memorable. Sometimes you just have to go back for more. Many of us have had more than one encounter with the same fish. However i’d be interested to hear how many people have actually landed the same fish more than once?

This past season I was fortunate enough to catch two different fish twice during the course of the season. It’s a rare occurrence for me at least, I can only think of one other fish I’ve caught twice, which was a few seasons ago now, and even then I only realised later when I was going through photos at home.

The two fish I refer to from this season were different though, I knew that they were the same fish as I’d previously caught even before I had them to the net.

Both fish came out of small streams with small populations of fish. They were holding in the same place each time, and were the only fish resident in their respective locations. They were both weighed and photographed, I’m 100% sure they were the same fish.

The first fish was caught at the end of October. I ducked away for a sneaky day trip while Jack was at the business end of studying for his end of year exams. He loves it when I go fishing at that time of year…  (Not really, I think he actually hates it)

I caught it from where it was stationed at the eye of a fantastic pool holding only that fish. According to my scales it was eight pounds on the dot. Unfortunately I took the picture with my old point and shoot camera and got it all wrong. Despite being one of the first ever digital cameras available, it usually does an acceptable job, howvere I was out of practice at the self timer technique on this day and to make matters worse I also had the flash set wrong. The result was a completely blown out picture of me holding a very nice fish.

I caught a couple of  other great fish that day and returned to Christchurch to tell Jack of my good news. Jack was thrilled for me when I emailed him the picture. (Again, not really…)


The first of my two encounters with this fish

After I received the reply email I sent another which mentioned the fact that I  had also seen a couple of really big fish which I didn’t catch. I suggested we go back together to try and catch them immediately after his exams were finished.

Two weeks later we were on the road. There were less fish in the river this time, but my fish was exactly where it had been a fortnight earlier. Again it was holding nicely in the eye of the pool. Two casts and the fish was on again. It was pure deja vu. I even landed it in the same spot as the last time. Fortunately this time I had my trusty sidekick with me to take the photo, I definitely didn’t want another crap picture!


Jack swore at me when I was landing this fish.


Together again…

For the record, that day Jack caught one of the big fish I’d seen on my previous visit. For that reason alone he should never complain again when I go fishing while he is studying.

Anyhow, that was the first of my twice caught fish for the season. The next one wasn’t quite so straightforward…

The first encounter came when I first visited the stream on a bright sunny day in January. Again, I was fishing alone, and the trip was an exploration of sorts.

I’d seen other fish, which I failed to catch, and I was nearing the point where I intended to stop and turn around. Not to mention the end of my patience, with fish which just weren’t interested!
The fish was easy to see in the shallow sunlit water holding on the near edge of the run, and was one of the few which was actively feeding that day. But, to cut a long story short, I didn’t catch it that day. In fact, I saw that fish on a few subsequent occasions and failed to catch it every time… until one overcast day in February when my luck finally changed for the better.

Jack had just returned from his summer break in the North Island, and was with me on this day and fizzing to be back in the best part of the country again. He caught a fish more or less straight out of the car which at nearly 30 inches long tipped the scales at a whopping 5 pounds (It looked like it was the result of an ugly trout that couldn’t find another willing trout, so spawned with an eel instead) I had briefly hooked a good fish a short time earlier but it didn’t stick, so I was still fishless for the day. Until we came to the run where the very fish that had by now become my nemisis was residing.

It all went right. The hook connected well, and stayed that way until I removed it. The fish was weighed, photographed and released. At that moment in time I was a very happy man. Persistence had paid off, and I could cross that fish off my list of fish that must be caught.


My nemesis fish. Tamed at last.

That was mid February. Fast forward almost exactly two months to mid April when I returned to the stream.

Once again I found myself at the same piece of water, and after searching for a while I spotted a healthy looking dark shape sitting in the fast water near the top. I hooked the fish, and landed it without any trouble. It was the same fish as the one caught in February. As with the other twice – caught fish from earlier in the season, it was great to see it had been released unharmed the first time and had continued to live in that same piece of water. However the feeling was definitely different from the first time in that the first time was much more emotionally charged, the second time it was still nice, but without wanting to sound too negative, there is a touch of “been there, done that” about it.


There’s nothing to it really


For me, if I know there is a good fish resident in a certain piece of water then I’ll go to great lengths to catch it. If I hook that fish and don’t land it, then it only serves to increase my desire to catch that particular fish. However, once that fish is caught the desire to catch it again is nowhere near the same. For sure, if the photo doesn’t turn out, I’ll try and catch it again to get a good picture of it, or I’ve failed to catch a fish for the day then I’ll certainly go looking for it in order to save the day, but otherwise I think I’ll just leave them alone.

Keep an eye out for our next video clip due out in a few days. It’s the footage from our November trip… it’s worth a look.

5 responses

  1. Nice leggings, and fish. Are those required apparel for NZ?

    July 26, 2011 at 4:22 am

  2. Cheers guys. Thanks for sharing your experiences. Thanks for the positive feedback, Its good to know that you guys enjoy looking at this stuff.


    July 25, 2011 at 5:51 pm

  3. Robert

    Great stuff Andrew.

    I have a catched a trout 2 times this year aswell, kind of funny to see how they react the second time you hook em, first time he wasnt as shocked to be hooked it seemed, as the second time he just went crazy and did everything he could to get free.

    July 23, 2011 at 6:45 pm

  4. Dundee

    Great report. The last two pics of that trout are beauties.

    July 21, 2011 at 5:10 pm

  5. Howdy Andrew, et. als. // I’ve got a slightly different version of this theme, but quite satisfying. On a small, but highly productive cutthroat trout stream in Idaho, I hooked, but didn’t land a quality fish that resided underneath a BIG fallen tree that traversed the stream. The stream was 10 feet across at the time, maximum.

    Being reasonably certain the fish was still there (it was VERY well protected from predation, on a reasonably unknown, secluded stream, and from being caught and potentially killed by another angler), I took a friend up that stream the next August. I told him, “Just get the fly somewhere up under that tree and get ready.”

    First cast, fish on and a few minutes later, a 20 inch native cutthroat was brought to hand. I could never document it, but I’m about as certain as I can be it was the same fish. My mate’s biggest cutthroat brought to hand by a large margin.

    That was incredibly satisfying.

    Conversely, I had a fish break me off on a river somewhere southeast of the Ahuriri Saddle that I’d stalked, and managed not to spook in the cold and rain while hiding behind a bush (the fish was working a beat in a big, complicated eddy). Just hooking that fish felt like a great accomplishment at the time, but just after I set the hook, it went straight for the bottom of the eddy/pool and was far more than the 6 pound tippet could stand. “Ping!” The next year I went for some payback, but with the water levels were significantly lower, I couldn’t tell which fish was which and it was likely that fish had moved on to a better location.

    There also lives a BIG brown in an eddy of the Henry’s Fork in Idaho I hooked two years ago that took off upstream lurching like a freight train. When I tried to stop it 30 seconds later, the 5 pound tippet snapped. I’m not as confident that fish is still in exactly that location, but next month I will be back there watching for a big snout sipping PMDs or caddis for as long as it takes to determine whether or not it’s still there.

    Such are the episodes that keep me (us?) coming back for more.

    Very much enjoy reading about your and Jack’s escapades.


    July 21, 2011 at 1:47 am

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