Andrew Sturt – My best 5 fish this season
My season started off in good fashion but things certainly went quiet after Christmas for a few different reasons. However along with Alex, Lucas and Andrew Marshall a lot of time and money was focused on the saltwater side of things and we had some success in that department.
At the start of the season Joel and I headed up the line to spend a few days paddling around on Lake O to try and satisfy the winter trout fishing cravings and bend some rods. We put in a lot of hours and a lot of energy over the three days we fished and were rewarded by the fish gods with quite a few fish landed. The typical Lake O bows were full of life and extremely strong. On one of the afternoons we jumped on a mates boat and I was able to snag this beautiful fish who ran me through all his tricks before finally accepting his fate.
Although this fish wasn’t a particularly big one, or in fact two, they are fish I will remember for a long time. The day after I caught the bigger one above, we awoke to torrential rain. Our friends had arrived in the comfort of their warm dry truck and were out on the water as we woke up. We crawled out of tent and had breakfast and got ready in the rain. Soggy and tiered we rowed out up to the top of our drift. Or friends on the boat had had no luck so spirits were fairly low. First cast I hooked into a decent fish and as I turned around to brag I saw that Joel had also hooked up. The guys on the boat must have been spewing and so we had a great laugh as we played them. These fish were pretty special to me because I remember thinking at the time that even though I was cold, wet and tiered, there was no place I would rather be in the world. (photos looking back at each other)
Back at home a few weeks later I headed out with the old man for an afternoon fish after work. The weather was looking great and there had been a good rise in the river temperature so we were keen as mustard to get over the hill and see what we could find. Sure enough not long after we arrived the hatch commenced, as did the evening rise. I was trying to make sure Dad picked up the first fish as he hadn’t heard his reel zing in quite a while, so he was on point. Luck just wasn’t going his way that day with a couple of false hook ups and a couple of fussy feeders. We came up to a favorite pool and there was a fish feeding like a maniac up in the eye. Dad had to re-rig and insisted that I try for him. Murphies law being the way it is, first cast he slurped down my offering. Feeling somewhat guilty that I had stolen an easy fish that Dad would have had for sure, I put the hurt on him and lent back hard on the rod. I hadn’t seen any part of the fish at this stage apart from his nose so I was surprised he was so strong. None the less I kept dragging him up to the net and was dumfounded when I lifted him out of the water. Unfortunately the image doesn’t really do this fish justice as the flash bounced back off him. He was covered in the most beautiful red and brown markings and fat as a house across the back. If I had any idea of what sort of fish he was there’s no way I would have put that much weight on him with my little sz16 emerger and 4lb leader. Thankfully luck was on my side.
A week or two later we jumped on a plane and headed down south for our annual, high country opening pilgrimage. On the first day of our six day trip we headed out and chased a few browns around in the morning. Later that afternoon it was off to the rainbow spot to see what we could see. I had been fishing in a favorite spot for only about ten minutes when there was a heavy splash out in front of me just within casting distance. Although I couldn’t see the fish I just tossed out my fly as far as I could in the direction of the rise. A couple of aggressive twitches and jerks and the line came tight. Just as the browny from earlier I never saw this fish until it reached the net. This one however I knew was a solid fish, It made a few good runs but it just felt heavy. I was ecstatic to land what would be my heaviest trout for the season and a new personal best. For the rest of the trip I had a big grin on my face.
As Alex mentioned in his post, February this year we headed North to chase down Tuna, Sharks and Kingies on the fly. As it played out we spent much of our time trying to land Tuna. I emphasize the word LAND as these things are in a league of their own. Although they don’t look that imposing to the uninformed, these things are bullets. They are built of 100% muscle and are stream lined to be exceedingly fast through the water. After spending the trip hooking up and loosing fish due to broken leaders and poorly seated hooks I finally managed to land this guy at the end of the trip. I can honestly say I have never been so relieved to land a fish in all my life. I can’t wait for round two next year.