Five fish I’ll never forget. No matter ho hard I try.
This entry differs from what the other boys have done recently. I’ll put my top five together later on, but for now this is all about five of the most memorable fish I didn’t catch.
My apologies for the lack of images… but I guess you’ll understand why.
This happened the season before last. I was fishing the Canterbury High Country alone in the heat of summer and the Cicadas were in full swing. I’d caught one fish and lost another already that day on a Cicada pattern, and I had the feeling I was a good chance at catching anything I fished to that day.
I approached a run where I’d seen a pretty big fish a few weeks earlier, and my excitement level lifted. As I made my way to the top of the run I was buzzing with nervous energy, and there it was. I spotted a solid looking fish sitting in the prime spot.
I had to drop slightly to get into a good casting position, which meant I could no longer see the fish. I sent the cicada into the strike zone and hoped for the best. I didn’t need to wait long… the water erupted as the big brown slashed at the fly and I don’t even think I needed to strike, the fish had probably set the hook itself. A strong fight took place from there and I could tell the fish was a good one. It had plenty of length, and was strong and determined.
I got it in really close and was prepering to net it when it rolled on top and I saw its true size for the first and only time. It took off and the line pinged. My tippet hardly ever snaps, but it did on this occasion. I stood there and swore at the heavens for quite some time, until I was eventually able to pull myself back together and carry on for the day.
This is going back a few years. I think it was the start of the 2003-2004 season. The location isn’t too far away from where number 5 took place.
I had fished upstream all day and was on my way out, walking along the side of the river as I went whenever possible. As I came to a certain pool with a small creek pouring in I spied a fish sitting under the feed line. It looked like a pretty nice fish, and it wasn’t there a few hours earlier. I crept into position and started casting to the fish for what seemed like forever. It stayed where it was more or less, drifting slightly but never moving far. After god knows how many casts my indicator dipped under and I struck. I was most surprised when the line went tight and the mighty fish exploded from the water.
My surprise turned into heartbreak when the fish landed on my tippet. In one moment it was all over. I headed for the car thinking about what might have been.
This happened near the end of the 2002 – 2003 season, not long after I had shifted to Christchurch from Nelson.
I’d returned to Nelson for the wedding of some very good friends. While I was there for a few days I thought I should head out for a bit of fishing, I had some unfinished business that needed taking care of at a river nearby.
I’d fished the river a few times, and been alerted to a very nice looking fish which was resident in one of the pools by one of my mates who worked in the area. The trouble was that there was a fallen tree sharing the pool with the fish, keeping it safe. As time passed by, the tree swung closer and closer to the bank… until eventually it was out of the way enough that a chance at catching the fish became possible.
That day I’d caught four great fish on Cicadas. You couldn’t miss, they were moving a mile for them. I decided to drive up the road to the tree pool, and have a go at the big boy. Nervously I peeked over the edge of the bank trying to see where he was, but the light was poor and the water was covered with glare. I was a bit dejected at not being able to see the fish, but I went down to the water anyway.
I worked my way through the pool methodically, and into the fast water at the top. I’d never seen the fish holding this high up, but I fished it anyway. My indicator stopped, and when I struck I was fast into a fish. THE fish!
I worked hard to gain control, and just when I thought I had the advantage the fish leapt high out of the water and I watched in slow motion as my nymph tracked towards me through the air. The fish was free. After all of my previous unsuccessful attempts at capturing it, on this day I had come oh so close, yet I had failed again. This was to be the last time I would try to catch this fish, unfortunately the opportunity never again presented itself.
This is really going back a long time. I was 14 years old, and I hadn’t been fly fishing all that long. I was with my best mate Sam, and we were fishing our favourite river. He’d just caught his biggest ever trout, which was in the vicinity of 7 pounds, and in fact I would confidently say it was the biggest trout either of us had ever laid our young eyes on.
No more than a few hundred metres upstream from where Sam caught his fish from was a mighty pool. It was long, wide, and had plenty of depth in all the right places. It had a nice rapid entering in at the head and a solid rock bottom on the far side providing plenty of stablility.
As we neared the top we spotted a line up of about half a dozen fish, all suspended high in the water column and feeding away nicely. To this day I doubt I have ever seen another situation as perfect as this. I cast my basic rig consisting of a Hare and Copper nymph with wool indicator above the top fish, the biggest of them all. It didn’t hesitate to come across to my nymph and took it with all the confidence of the much smaller fish I was so used to catching. I responded to the indicator dipping with a solid lift of my Daiwa fly rod , and the line tightened.
This fish didn’t treact like the fish I was used to catching, infact I have never experienced the same reaction from a hooked fish in all the years that have passed since. This fish did not splash, or panic. It calmly swam across the river, slowly but surely taking line with it as it went, and took up a position on the bottom. I stood there next to Sam on the side of the river in absolute bewilderment, I had no idea what to do. Several minutes passed, the fish shook its head from time to time, and eventually my line snapped.
Even though I had minimal experience with fish of any size at that point in my life, I knew I had just been attached to something special. With all the years gone past since then, I realise even more now just how special that fish was. If I was to hook that same fish again today I would be in a far better position to land it than what I was back then, but it was incredibly powerful, and nothing is certain. One thing I can say for sure is that fish is lucky it got away, for if I had landed it as a 14 year old boy, there is no doubt I would have taken it home with me to mount on the wall.
This one sits in a similar ball park to number two. It was a bit of a toss up for which sat where in the grand scheme of things… but I decided this one could take the top spot.
It was December 2009. A couple of days after Christmas. I had arranged to take my mate Paul from Timaru and his Dad with me for a day on the water. The fish were in top condition that season, and I knew that where we were going we would have a decent shot at a good fish. It had rained a bit and the water was running a bit high, with enough colour for it to work in our favour.
The day started with a hiss and a roar when Paul caught his first ever fish on a fly. At 8 pounds it wasn’t one to be scoffed at… I made sure I let him know how many years it took for me to catch one that big.
Soon after I briefly hooked and lost one which was about the same size as what Paul landed. A short distance upstream I spotted another fish sitting near our edge which Paul insisted I fish to. I fished at this one for quite some time, and every so often I saw it clearly through a window in the water, it was a big fish.
Many, many casts, and about seven fly changes later I got a result. I set the hook into a very angry fish. It took off at warp factor 6 across the swollen river and angled upstream, taking all my fly line and a good part of my backing with it. I couldn’t do a whole lot to start with, but eventually I gained some back and my fly line came closer to where it needed to be.
This is where it really turned pear shaped. I watched my backing knot as it neared the tip top of my rod, and as the two made contact, time slowed down as I witnessed the knot disintegrate with my own eyes. The trailing fly line flailed off into the current, still attached to my big angry fish. I stoood on the riverbank swearing while Paul and his dad watched in disbelief, before I dropped everything and tore off into the current searching for the trailing line in desperation and anger.
I didn’t find the end of my line, which meant I didn’t get my fish. It put somewhat of a dampener on my day. This is the one which takes the cake.
All of these fish have caused me to lose sleep at some point, but if I’m completely honest I’d have to say I probably wouldn’t change any of them given the chance. Thats a big call I know, but it wouldn’t be the same if we landed them all, would it?
What follows is a list of my favourite fish from the season. Not necessarily the biggest or the prettiest, but the most satisfying for one reason or another. In fact it has surprised me while constructing this list how many of the bigger fish have been left off. They’re certainly satisfying and look great in photos. But these are the fish I’ll remember.
5) Kicking off the list was a very solid rainbow taken on a tough day. To be honest any one of a number of fish could have filled this spot. The fish were feeding selectively on swimming mayflies and couldn’t be tempted by anything else. Once hooked this fish proceeded to take me for the ride of my life through the pool. There aren’t many stronger fish in the rivers than a football shaped rainbow.
4) This was a brown taken blind in a small stream. It was a strong fish and good looking to boot. Andrew snapped a great shot of it.
3) This fish was an unlikely conquest. Al and I left home at midday and rocked up to the river feeling relaxed. In a riffle at the tailout of the run I spotted a smudge moving upstream. I figure I had spooked it, but covered it anyway. It was with more than a little surprise that I watched a snout poke out of the water to take my klinkhammer. What followed was a very determined fight from a fit fish. Eventually Al secured it in the net and proceeded to snap a photo with a Canon P+S camera from the 1980s that he’d acquired for $2 that morning.
2) I was tossing up between these last two. My number two was also my biggest fish for the season, and my biggest rainbow ever by over a pound. It was a seriously good fish taken in atrocious conditions. It fought hard, if unspectacularly and I was unbelievably pleased to have caught it.
1)But my number 1 had the whole package. It was the total experience. Andrew S and I set off after work and headed north. By the time we pulled up at the stream I’d had 1/2 dozen beers (don’t worry, he was driving) and was in a merry mood. The weather was superb so we donned our jandals and set out for a streamside stroll. The first few fish were spooked in glorious fashion…followed by more…and more. It wasn’t until we came to a bend in the stream and spotted a fish rising 20metres further up that our hope grew. I was on point, so assumed the position. I didn’t dare approach too much more given the behaviour of the previous fish so it was going to be a long cast. The alcohol settled the nerves and the cast was perfect. I thoroughly enjoy the casting side of fly fishing, so a fish caught with a special cast is always that little bit more valuable to me. It’s vividly seared in my mind the sight of the golden fish rising vertically to intercept my fly. As I set the hook it absolutely erupted, tearing off upstream at some pace. In the water it had looked like a nice fish, maybe around 4lbs. After an absurdly strong fight, during which the pitfalls of wearing jandals fishing became apparent to Andrew and I (Andrew, I believe, still has the scars to prove it), a rather bigger than expected fish came to the net. The whole experience of catching this fish was topped off by its appearance. It was short, but incredibly round and heavy. In absolutely perfect condition with substantial giraffe like spots dotting its body. For me it was the fish of the season and one of the most satisfying and enjoyable fish I’ve ever caught.
The day started well…
This solid rainbow took a well weighted colubriscus after several presentations. It was the first fish we saw. I was happy.
This happiness, however, was not to continue.
Andrew and I were planning on putting some serious leg work in and heading up up up. All was going well until we concluded that the gorge was impassable, so we’d have to take the alternate route around. Quite how it happened I’ll never know, but for some ungodly reason Andrew and I found ourselves on opposite sides of the river both following what we thought was ‘the track’. As it transpires my ‘track’ turned out to be nothing more than a blaze trail put in place to get to the pest traps. It was absurdly hard going. There was no defined path, just sporadic animal tracks that all of a sudden gave way to waist high falls through rotten logs. I pushed on for longer than I should have, assuming Andrew had to be ahead of me. Eventually, after managing to injure myself in some unprecedented ways, I beat a retreat. Back at camp I wrote a message in ash on our egg carton, and decided to try and salvage something from the day. After all, it couldn’t get worse, right?
I wasn’t sure quite what section of river Andrew might be fishing or whether he was ahead of me or behind me, so I decided to try and do a deep wade to get myself into a position to fish a bit of awkward to access water. The wade was particularly deep at one point, so I decided to shimmy my way across a couple of rocks. Then all of a sudden I hear an odd noise followed by a thud. I turned, just in time to see my Pelican waterproof camera case falling from my now split bag. The image of the case hitting a rock, splitting open and my Canon G11 sinking to the bottom of the river is seared in my memory. After retrieving the camera I simply sat on a rock in disbelief.
Eventually I gathered myself, crossed the river and started slowly making my way upstream. My heart wasn’t really in it, so I wasn’t hopeful when I spotted a smudge sitting a foot from the edge. I had to sit on a log to fish to this fish, so there was a little novelty to the attempt. My first cast was perfect. My second saw the wee beadhead pheasant tail rocket into the water about 6 inches to the right of the fishes face. He ate. The fight was uneventful, but the capture of my first brownie (and quite a solid one at that) of the trip raised my mood slightly. As for the pictures, well…you get the idea.
A little after this Andrew and I bumped into each other. He commiserated with me over the demise of my camera and we commenced our assault on the river in earnest.
It wasn’t until we came to a major bend in the river that created a large swirling pool that the action heated up. Andrew pulled a good fish from the head of the pool that had been rising consistently. It was a horrible drift because of the swirling currents, but eventually the fish ate his wee nymph. It then tore madly around the pool until he subdued it.
I figured that had to be the end of that pool after the antics of Andrew’s fish. However, a fish in the far side continued to rise. It was moving a long way to feed, so it felt like all I had to do was put the cast in the right place. I did, and it ignored it. It wasn’t until near the end of the drift when the fly started to skate along the surface that the fish tore backwards and engulfed it. I’d like to have hooked it this way, as the aggression was rather neat. Sadly the hook never set. Until the next cast when my nymph got eaten. Fool me once…
It wasn’t the best conditioned fish, but it had been a while between drinks.
We continued searching upstream to no avail. Deciding to hedge our bets and head upstream fast while there was still light we skipped a lot of water. But the gamble paid off. Arriving at a pool we’d seen several fish in the day prior it didn’t take long before we’d spotted on. The fish was cruising a slow beat and inspected Andrew’s fly very closely before refusing it. All of a sudden we realised there was a second fish about 3 metres behind. I can’t remember whether Andrew had to cast again or whether he simply continued the drift, but this time his tiny nymph was intercepted. This fish fought like a trooper. A large log bisected the pool and on numerous occasions I thought the fish had made it there. But Andrew fought it hard and there’s only so long a fish can resist such constant pressure. Eventually a great rainbow was brought to the net.
A little further upstream I got another chance and after getting the drift right I was connected to a silver bullet. It wasn’t quite the scrap that Andrew experienced, but a fit well conditioned rainbow will always give you a run for your money.
With darkness descending we headed back to camp to enjoy the now traditional steak, mash and peas topped off with gravy.
We caught some great fish that day, but unfortunately for me it was a tainted day. Taking all the possible precautions and still drowning my camera was a real slap in the face. Still, you can’t be too upset when you’ve still got 3 more days of fishing ahead of you.
Over to Andrew for the final wrap up…
A while back I got a message from Chris, one of the boys I used to go to school with way back in the day.
It turns out Chris has been into fly fishing for a wee while now. He has been spending a bit of time during the past couple of seasons fishing with Ben, who we also we went to school with.
The boys have even been reading the Riverworks Lifestyle blog!
It was long overdue, but today we finally got out for a fish together.
We didn’t travel all that far from home relatively speaking, so we left at a reasonable hour in the morning and found ourselves on the water just as the sun was peeking over the hills. The idea was to explore a piece of water none of us had fished before. Although most of the water we passed looked very promising, it turned out to be very disappointing indeed.
We saw one fish. (We didn’t catch it)
There ain’t no fish here…
Plan B was hatched after we came to the realisation that plan A sucked. We marched back to the car and took off up the road.
There were a few fish in the short stretch we fished, and they were as difficult as usual.
Right near the end we found one in the lower part of a pool which was feeding happily. Chris went forth and tried to entice it… unsuccessfully.
Ben went next, and after several fly changes he had it fooled.
It fought a good fight, and when it came to the net I could see why.
And there it is, Ben’s biggest trout.
It wasn’t long before this I’d been saying to Ben that often a single fish can make the entire day worthwhile. This was one of those fish.
It was time to leave after that. We had to get back to town, and I was losing my sanity fast as I became the food supply for several thousand sandflies.
We’re gonna do it all again before the season ends. Next time we’ll head somewhere with a few more fish, even if they are slightly on the smaller side.
Here is a little fish I caught a week or so ago, it was a fat wee pig. I caught it on a black terrestrial pattern.
Somehow I’ve managed to swing the whole month of April off… so I hope to get out fishing once or twice during that time. Watch this space…
I haven’t put much up here lately, mainly because I haven’t been out much. I was at work the other day and a guy by the name of “Big Paws Hensley” asked me when I would be putting up another report, I assured him I would get one done as soon as I could. (He’s a big man and I don’t want to make him angry)
So here goes nothing…
After what seemed like forever, I finally had a few days available to get out for a fish. There was only one problem… it was blowing gale force almost everywhere. The forecast was for it to remain that way for a couple of days, so I decided to wait it out.
After three days of sitting at home the weather was finally settled enough that I wouldn’t feel like snapping my rod across my knee. I summoned the ever available Shagger to accompany me on the trip, and I collected him at the horrific hour of 4am on the Monday, along with a mountain bike borrowed from Rodney McSuperchrist.
Once Shagger was on board it was straight to the nearest BP for some gas and the mandatory Wild Bean coffee. Then it was full steam ahead to destination #1, with Shagger entertaining me with his war stories the whole way.
It was worse than cold when we exited the car and mounted the bikes. It was close to freezing. Fortunately we warmed up reasonably quickly riding with full packs on.
It was a pretty misty, gloomy start to the day. We were hanging on the hope the sun would burn through by the time we started fishing, I’ve been to the valley a few times, and its pretty tough trying to find fish there in overcast conditions.
After a couple of hours slogging away we locked the bikes up and were ready to start fishing. Our wishes for better light had been granted and the valley was in full sunshine without any hint of wind. It didn’t take very long to find fish.
This fish responded immediately to a deer hair cicada. It is the smallest fish I’ve ever caught from the river, but it was a positive start to the day.
Shagger got onto another fish in the same run.
This one wasn’t huge either, but it pulled plenty of string. It nearly had Shagger’s backing through the top eye of the rod at one stage.
Soon after that I found a fish while walking along a high bank. Shagger was otherwise occupied at the time, so I crept down to river level and put the cicada over the fish. It responded the same way as the others had done, and we became attached at opposite ends of the line.
Shagger emerged from the bushes looking about two kilograms lighter and just in time to assist with a photo of my second victim.
The second smallest fish I’ve ever caught from the river.
After that another fish was spotted near the top of the same run, feeding nicely in shallow water against the near edge. I stayed put while Shagger moved into position behind the fish. At that point I realised I hadn’t captured many fish on video so far this season, so I set the camera up for the action that was to follow.
The fish came to the cicada on the second cast and Shagger hooked up. After a long tug of war he netted it safely downstream.
Soon after that we came to a run which seemed to be teeming with fish. They were literally only a few metres apart and all of them were feeding. Some of them spooked from being disturbed by others, but we spent quite a while at that run hooking and landing fish after fish.
This one must have been through some hard times… As you can see, it had a really munted head.
Shagger hooked and landed another nice fish which then pulled a Houdini act as we were setting up for the photo. (Becoming an all too common occurrence for the two of us)
After we finished reaping the riches of that piece of water we didn’t see anything for a while, until we came to another run which was long and wide, with a high bank on the true left. We stalked along the bank and found a fish holding tight against the edge over the brown rocks. It was hard to see, but it was there, and it looked to be larger than what we had caught so far.
It took a few attempts, but eventually the brownie lifted to the cicada and I set the hook. The fish got a bity stroppy at this point and used all the dirty tricks.
It took a fair bit of time and pressure, but eventually the fish was subdued to the point he could be netted.
It was bigger than the others, but had seen better days. He could use a Mac Attack or two to help him put on some condition. I might take one with me for him the next time I’m passing by. This one had a scuffed up head too for some reason?
It clouded over pretty quickly after that and spotting became very difficult. We found the odd fish, but more often than not they were being spooked as we got too close.
It wasn’t all bad though, it seemed that some fish were allowing us to get pretty close in the diminished light. The next fish caught was cast at from 90 degrees off a bank.
They weren’t as keen to come to the top by now, so a certain little nymph was atached as a dropper to do the job, and it worked well.
Things went quiet after that for quite some time, until right near the end of the day when the fish became active again, taking from the top. Unfortunately they were also a bit skitterish, and were quite easily spooked at this time. The light wasn’t helping much. The fish were all moving quite rapidly and it was hard to pinpoint their location until they broke the surface.
Only one more fish was taken that day. It was caught blind on that same nymph.
This one could also do with some Macca’s or something similar. It looked like it had been on the Jenny Craig diet for a while.
That was all for the day. It was time to retire for the night and we would fish again the next day before returning home.
Shagger was in charge of the cooking that night. He whipped up a couple of “Back Country Cuisine” meals. It was my first experience of these, and lets just say they’ve got nothing on steak and pasta. But it was a feed nontheless, and I was grateful that Shagger went to the effort he did.
Sleep came easily that night, and I slept right through my alarm in the morning. I eventually woke up feeling a bit second hand from the previous days effort. We packed our gear up and set off for destination # 2.
The day was a good one. We had full sunshine and there was bugger all wind.
Once we started fishing it didn’t take long to find a fish. Shagger did a splendid job of fooling the fish with both nymph and dry fly on the same cast, and landed it after a good scrap.
There he goes…
That was a decent start. We continued on our way, spooking a couple of fish in the process of trying to catch them. We approached a deep pool which looked for all money like it would hold something, and sure enough it did. The thing is we only saw it when we were virtually standing over it. The combination of the water depth, light, and the paleness of the fish meant it was tough to see until you got really close to it.
The fish darted out into the curent, and I thought I had spooked it – until it returned and repeated the action. This one was very deep down, but it just so happens I have a few patterns in one of my boxes which were tied with this very situation in mind.
Shagger watched in disbelief as I attached the biggest, baddest nymph in my fly box to my tippet. I was riding bareback so to speak… (To coin a phrase from a certain well known angler who may or may not have appeared here on the Riverworks blog in the past) There was no point attaching an indicator to this rig. I wouldn’t describe it as casting, but whatever it was I did I managed to get the nymph in the water and in front of the fish. I saw it shoot sideways and when I lifted I felt that satisfying thud that only a fish can provide.
It was on for all money from that point onwards. The fish went deep and long – fast. I leant on it as hard as I dared and after a while I had the fish in a position where Shagger could trap it with the net.
This was hands down my favourite fish for the two days.
We continued upstream for a while after that without success. Shagger had a take but missed out, and that was about it. We turned around and headed for home.
The fish Shagger missed was back in place. He had taken his fly off at that point, so I cast to it with the biggest, baddest nymph. It spooked. However, there was another one in the run, over the other side of the river and downstream from where the first one held.
I launched the big bad nymph over to the fish, taking as much care as I could not to;
- Break my rod
- Knock myself out
- Knock Shagger out
Fortunately for all involved I managed to avoid all three of these things, and as a bonus I even placed the fly in front of the fish!
It was still operation bareback at this point, and we both watched in eager anticipation as the fish swung to intercept its prey. As it straightened up I lifted the rod in perfect harmony with Shaggers call of “Yup!”
This one fought hard too, but not quite hard enough.
A nice bonus on the way home.
We came across a couple of guys on the way back down the river. They hadn’t had much luck… they probably didn’t expect the river to have been fished already that day. We talked to them for a few minutes before continuing downstream.
We got to one of the runs where we had spooked a fish earlier in the morning, and I was surprised to see it was back. Shagger took my rod and tried a couple of nymphs over it before it appeared to spook. At that point he pulled the pin and gave me back my rod.
I watched as the fish returned to its spot, and I muttered under my breath as i began stripping line from the reel. I had a feeling about this one for some reason.
I cast over the fish, this time with a different nymph from the one I had caught the other fish on. Again we watched aas the fish swung to the right and again I lifted into solid resistance. Shagger said some of his special unkind words to me while I fought valiantly against my fishy foe. I wasn’t feeling the love.
Shagger soon softened and netted my fish, despite his explicit statement that he would neither net or photograph it for me.
We were both surprised and disgusted as the fish lay in the bottom of the net with something emerging from its vent. I still don’t know what it was…
Whatever it was, it got caught on the mesh and the remainder emerged from the fish.
It must have been welcome relief to get that one out. I’m pleased we used Shaggers net on this occasion too!
I guess it must have been a small fish, or eel or something? Whatever it was – it was disgusting.
That was the end of that. We high tailed it to the packs, and then the bikes after that. It was a horrible experience getting to the car, it took forever and I even crashed off my bike… falling from a bike isn’t too flash with a full pack on either. Not to worry, no harm done.
And the special nymph… the biggest, baddest nymph in town. If there is enough interest then I will reveal the identity of this creation, otherwise it can remain anonymous. If you’re keen to see it, then post a comment. If I get 10 or more requests, you’ll see the fly.
Anyhow, that is all for now. I’m heading south in the next few days, hopefully I’ll have something to report once I’m back.
The crusade continues.
In case anybody out there is wondering whether Jack is still alive… just so you know, he is. He’s pretty busy at the moment studying and writing essays etc.. That’s why you haven’t heard from him too much lately. However, he did manage to find enough time to come fishing yesterday!
After approximately four hours sleep I woke to the shrill sound of my cell phone alarm, I did my best to make sure I had everything I needed for the day before collecting Jack from around the road. For some reason he wasn’t at his place, he’d texted me an address for where I could find him the night before.
With the amount of sleep I’d had it was necessary to add a large dose of caffeine to the bill when the car was filled at the gas station. It hit the spot, and we were on the way.
We weren’t too sure where we’d stop. It would more or less come down to how windy it was in any given place. As it turned out, we found somewhere early on which wasn’t too bad. We stopped there and agreed that we would fish a short stretch, and if the wind came up as we expected it to then we would bail out and find somewhere more sheltered. This place is top secret, it is unlikely anybody reading this will recognise it and because I’ve been sworn to secrecy I can’t disclose the location. If someday you are fortunate enough to discover this place, then you are very lucky indeed!
The run we intended to fish first had another good looking piece of water beneath it, so we walked down to it and before too long Jack found a fish. Even better – he invited me to fish for it.
His rod was set up more appropriately than mine for the situation, so I took it across the river with me for the task at hand.
The first nymph I tried didn’t work. I can’t even remember what it was now, but I think it was too light and not getting deep enough. I changed to a green caddis with a black tungsten bead and it took first cast. The fish gave a good account of itself before being landed without any problems. It was a pretty good start to the day.
After that we crossed the river and climbed the bank. Straight away Jack saw another fish. This time it was his turn to get across and pretty soon after that he was connected to the fish. It was slightly smaller, but that didn’t matter. We were going great guns so far.
Another victim for the green caddis
It was pretty keen to leave when given a chance at freedom. What about that look on Jack’s face?
We continued on upstream after that and saw a few more fish. For some reason we stopped catching them though. We were pretty good at putting them off their breakfast though. We didn’t fail at that.
The last run we came to is one which I have a vivid memory of. It’s not a happy memory either. Jack went along one side while I was on the other. Just as I was nearly at the top of the run I hooked into a fish. I looked across to see Jack wandering into the distance with his back to me so I called him back. He crossed over to me near the bottom of the run where I netted the fish. It was a solid fish, but it didn’t make up for what happened there last season.
The wind was nearly howling by now, so we took off in search of somewhere more sheltered. Fortune was with us again, because we didn’t have to go far.
Along the way Jack discovered this one finning away and tricked it into eating a Coloboriscus imitation.
We found a few fish in our new spot, but not many. At least we could see what was there though and we didn’t need to worry about battling the elements.
After some failure, Jack spotted a fish in a pool as we crossed at the tail. It was good work on his part, because there was a lot of glare on the water and it was a tough one to see. He was seeing them much better than me on this day that’s for sure – I’ll use the excuse that I was tired.
Anyway, the pool has some sentimentality attached to it so it was my fish to catch. I pitched the green caddis up and I saw the fish lift in the water. When I set the hook and it was all on. The fish dove deep and went along a rock ledge on the far side, I had to really lean into it to lift it from the bottom. After a couple of good minutes the fish tired enough for me to secure it and I was a very happy man.
It was quite overcast by now. The forecast rain wasn’t far away and there were thousands of sandflies attempting to dine out on the exposed skin of my arms and Jacks legs. We went upstream further towards where we suspected there would be more fish. Just as we were walking along and engaged in one of our many riverside discussions I noticed a fish surfing the pressure wave in front of a rock near the tail of a small run. I performed the appropriate stop, drop, and roll while directing Jack to follow my lead.
I looked over my shoulder from on the ground and saw him walking a wide arc back downstream. He wasn’t wasting any time to get into position for this one.
There were two main obstacles to catching this fish.
- Although it was feeding very actively, there was a consoderable drop directly below its lie and it was going to be hard work to gat a good drift
- There was a tree in the water right next to the fish, it would go in there for sure if given half a chance
With the latter pouint in mind, I offered the best advice I could of “If it takes, rip its head off” from my seated position on the bank opposite the fish. My advice did not go unnoticed, Jack managed to get the required drift and set the hook. He did a great job of clearing the fish from close to the tree as soon as he hooked it and after that he was home and hosed. The fish gave a good fight but there was nowhere for it to go once it was clear of the obstuction.
That was all for the day. We retreated to the car and headed for home. Not bad for a Monday.
In February this year we disappeared into the High Country for a couple of days for what turned out to be a great time. We walked a lot of miles, caught plenty of fish, and even made some friends while we were there!
This is the last of our videos from last season. Hopefully in a couple of weeks time when the new season begins we will be getting some more footage.
Almost a year after the trip, here it is… the November Trip video.
The second to last in our collection video clips from last season. Saving the best for last.
By the way… my apologies for some of the behaviour displayed in this video. Sometimes it all just gets a bit too emotional!
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.
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.
Back in February I spent a day fishing a backcountry river with a couple of South African guys. Actually, only one of them survived the walk (it isn’t short…). Oh well, more fish for the two of us to fish to. Phil was the survivor, and he turned out to be a really top guy. Plus he could fish.
Things started slowly. We were fishing a coloured river, and although we could see fish they weren’t active in the cold morning temperatures. It wasn’t until the sun was a bit higher in the air that things started to change. It was like a switch flicked and flicked good. After lunch we fished to about 15 fish and hooked every single one of them. There was nothing small either. It was just magic. I dream of days like that. Oh, and the fly? Lets call it Andrew’s take on a cicada. Christ does it work.
For bizarre reasons that I won’t go into now, I’ve only got video of Phil fishing, and photos of my fish. So lets let the video do the talking for Phil…
As for me? I suppose I did alright.
Caught in the same lie that I pulled a much bigger fish from earlier in the season.
A casual cast revealed that this was not, in fact, a rock.
Last cast of the day. What a way to finish.
That was only about half of the fish from that day, it was truly spectacular. It’s days like this that I look back on with envy as I study for exams. No idea what’s happening with Uni after these latest aftershocks (btw hope that everyone out there is ok! All safe and sound at the wunder-flat). Apparently they’re letting us know tonight, but that doesn’t make it much easier to motivate myself to study. Andrew’s got a report for you guys coming up in the next week or so with another video from our season.
One last thing – if you haven’t already then join Riverworks (at http://www.facebook.com/riverworksnewzealand) and TwoTroutBums NZ (at http://www.facebook.com/twotroutbums.newzealandflyfishing) on Facebook. That way you’ll stay up to date and get all the good oil asap.
Till next time.
Just a quick one from me. Still haven’t had a chance to get out for a fish. Spent the last few days in Melbourne. Saw Joe Bonamassa play live at the Palais Theatre – truly special. Then had an amazing dinner with Dad at Momo. Great trip. Now it’s back to reality. Couple of thousand more words to write on a Judicial Review essay, then it’s time to get cracking on studying for my Advanced Land Law exam. Joy.
Here’s a vid to remind me (and you) of happier times. We’ve got heaps of video footage from the season, so it’ll just be put up sporadically over winter.
Bit of a catchup session here, as I’ve been fishing so much since getting down south that I haven’t really had a chance to write about it.
I took a trip down to the Fly Fishing Conclave in Middlemarch late last month. Managed a few good days fishing for fighting fit rainbows on the way down with Jeremy.
The fishing was pretty tough with good rainbows cruising slow deep pools. The first fish was actually a slight fluke (I should really claim that it was highly skilful – but that’d be a straight up lie). As I was stalking my way up an almost still pool I saw a disturbance out of the corner of my eye. What eventuated was an enormous eel chasing a nice ‘bow out of the eye of the pool. Well, it was worth a go. Crouched on my knees with about 9ft of leader INSIDE the top eye I pitched my nymph out. I could almost see the trout’s eyes light up as it sighted my nymph. All thought of pursuing eel out of its mind, it snaffled up my nymph. As I struck from virtually on top of it I pulled it clear out of the water. Having a good bow on that short of a line is a slightly intimidating experience. Once it calmed down it was easily led to the net.
Good start to the day.
Following that the fish played ball a little more, with several bow’s falling to oversized terrestrials.
The ‘Blow Me’ snared this great fish.
Jeremy took a liking to it too…
That night we camped at the head of a river valley, planning to fish the river during the day. Well we could barely even cast into the wind in the morning. I managed one nice fit rainbow before we ran out of fishable water.
Oh, if you’re wondering about the sunglasses… I lost my previous (quite flash) pair of sunglasses swimming through a sheer and otherwise impassable gorge. The fishing on the other side of the gorge was worth it though…
After that we headed to Middlemarch, with just a brief stop for the most outrageous platter of fried food in existence. Upon arrival the beer started flowing freely. Then the whisky and ginger ale. I made the mistake of drinking with Chris Dore. If he’d gone one for one with me it may have been a bit fairer, but the man played dirty. Before I’d finish my drink he’d have bought me another one. I managed to buy him one drink, so he bought me two. It really wasn’t pretty. I woke up about 3 times in the night, desperately scrambling out of the tent before expelling my stomach contents. On one of the occasions I emerged from the tent to a pointing and laughing Chris.
That day was a succession of casting and fly tying courses, with some casting competitions in the middle. To be honest, I was still drunk from the night before until about 2pm. A little after midday I attempted the casting games. I have absolutely no idea how I managed it, but I ended up winning the competition. I can only really attribute it to the alcohol coursing through my system giving my casting a nice relaxed style.
Photo c.o. of Stefan Florea
I was surprised how much I enjoyed the conclave. I met a lot of really good dudes and learnt a lot. Any collection of very good fisherman typically brings out some serious egos, and that can taint the atmosphere. On this occasion though there were no egos and the attitude of everyone was fantastic. I think this was highlighted when I noticed one casting instructor (he doesn’t need anyone else calling him a good bastard, so I’ll deny him the pleasure of naming him) standing out in the gale force winds going through the fundamental aspects of an overhead cast with the least experienced person at the clave. This wasn’t the only time I saw this happen either, so good on you mate.
The next morning saw the distance casting competition go to Carl McNeil (not too many surprises there). Because Carl had actually donated the prize he generously gave it to a gun young caster. That brought proceedings to an end, so Jeremy and myself jetted off to do a spot of fishing.
Camo’s for pussies, bitches.
Arriving home I thought to myself ‘I’ve been fishing every day for the last week, why not go for a fish tomorrow’, so I jacked up a days fishing with Matt. A long drive and a long walk brought us to our destination – which turned out to be completely filthy. Still, you can’t walk that long without throwing a cast or two. I’m glad I did, as on about the 3rd cast my cicada was engulfed by a great brown.
There’s a real satisfaction about catching fish in conditions that would make most people turn back.
Three casts later I had another.
Even more satisfaction.
Things got quiet after that, although I did manage one slightly smaller fish caught in comical circumstances.
A week back in Wellington had me chomping at the bit to get back down south.
The day after arriving I took a couple of South African guys fishing. The day was so epic (and I don’t have even half of the videos or photos) that I’m going to wait and do a whole report on it. It’s one to look for though.
It didn’t take long for Andrew and I to formulate an over the top fishing plan. Doing a short notice multi-day trip into the backcountry isn’t always advisable, but sometimes it’s the best way to do it. Just make sure you’re prepared and check the weather.
We dawned before the day did and made our way to the start point of our tramp.
Safety garb is important in the bush
Two hours in we decided to start our fishing for the day.
I think it took about 3 minutes before Andrew had his first fish of the trip.
Just round the corner he had his second.
His tactics were dirty, but they worked so I adopted them.
We landed a good number of nice fish over the course of the day before commencing the final slog to the hut.
Quite honestly we were rooted when we finally got there.
The snakes went down a treat.
I was in charge of cooking duties, and whipped up a fine feed of steak and mushrooms with a side of pasta.
Rarely has sleep come as easy as it did that night.
The next morning saw the fishing go slightly slow until the water warmed up. Andrew was getting fairly disheartened after the constant success of the day before. He got even more disheartened when I managed to snare this fantastic fish.
Thank goodness I had unusually heavy tippet on, as the fish had its mind set on wrapping me around a boulder. This fish alone justified the blood sweat and (almost) tears that it took to get there.
It didn’t take much time at all before I spotted a rising fish holding in a tiny pocket against the bush-clad edge. Calling Andrew over I knew this fish would be a sitter if he could just get the cast right. And he did.
A stonking little fish that would have been seriously big if it had any length to it took him through some rough water before coming to the net.
The dry fly action continued as Andrew put a hopeful cast over a lightly coloured smudge and was rewarded with this gorgeous brown.
Definitely the prettiest fish of the trip.
For a few hours there were simply no refusals. Fish would freely rise, and rarely did we have to change from our small mayfly imitation.
One for me.
One for him.
Another for me.
Another for him.
Eventually the water just got skinnier and skinnier. At the junction with a tributary we made the call to turn back and bash our way down to the lower hut so as to give ourselves an easy walk out the following day.
The walk was a bit of a prick, but after a couple of days shouldering our packs we were getting used to it. Arriving at the hut we discovered we had company. Sadly it wasn’t two hot Swedish girls, but rather a couple of American troutbums who turned out to be really good dudes. We swapped a fair few flies before going out for a fruitless night fish.
Upon return the yanks busted out one of the strangest substances I’ve ever tried – chewing tobacco.
Skeptical before trying it…
It was an acquired taste… lets leave it at that. The banter and bullshit extended into the wee hour.
The next morning we were up and out as quick as we could. We had a date with fried food to keep. Salty fatty fries have never tasted so good. When I finally got home I passed out asleep for over 14 hours. Yep, I was pretty damn tired.
Uni starts on Monday, so I won’t quite be able to match the intensity of the past few weeks. I’ve got every Thursday off though, so that’ll be my fishing day – plus the weekends of course. Life is good.
I’ve been unusually altruistic of late. The last couple of times I’ve been fishing the day’s aims had nothing to do with me catching a fish. Today’s goal was to get Ryan a new PB, preferably over 5lbs. Well I’m pleased to say we succeeded…twice.
Preparations began the night before. I knew it was going to be a big day, so heaps of food was required.
Sausage, avocado and cheese. They were remarkably hard to finish.
It had to be an early start, after all it was going to be a big day. Picked Ryan up at 5am and hit the road with a vengeance. A long drive followed by an equally long walk saw us arrive to a slightly swollen and coloured river. I was nervous. Thankfully all nerves were quashed when less than 10 metres from where we set up our kit a fish rose and took off the surface. Righto Ryan, no pressure. And what do you know… first cast of the day in a river renowned for fickle fish and the tinny bastard hooks up. The fish fought pretty damn hard, but eventually it succumbed to the pressure and I got the net underneath it. Not a moment too soon either, as the fly pinged out as it thrashed around in the net.
A new PB. Strangely dense fish this one, we had to check the reading on the net several times before we believed it.
Who’s lookin’ at ya?
A little further upstream I had a rise to my blowfly humpy from a very nice fish, but sadly the strike didn’t stick. This was to be a bit of a theme for the day, as I hooked four to land only one. Ryan on the other hand had two strikes and two fish. A little further upstream we came across a long segment of broken water. I said something about skipping it and walking further up to Ryan, and almost immediately spotted a fish. It examined practically every fly in the box, before finally taking a deviant variation of the secret fly in some very heavy water. Ryan did well to control this fish, as the water was little more than a succession of rapids. Following a fairly aggressive netting job by myself this fellow was in the net…
Despite looking bigger than the first fish it in fact weighed less. Still above the desired 5lb mark though.
By this stage I was pretty pleased with how Ryan had fared, so thought I’d better actually catch a fish myself (the three hooked and lost fish were just practise sessions…honest). I spotted a great fish sitting just behind a large pale piece of bedrock. As I waited for Ryan to retie his tippets and catch up I watched the fish. Rise. Rise. Rise. Ah, a small klinkhammer should do the job. And it did. For the 3 seconds that the fish was hooked. Oh well… About 20 metres further upstream feeding in a pocket behind a large rock was what appeared to be a fairly average looking fish. Wrong. Second drift past it with the mighty blowfly humpy and it came over to slurp it in. What then proceeded was a fantastic aerial display really informing me just how far from average this fish was. Bastard, this really put the nerves up as I’d already lost 3 fish that day. However this time the hooks held (finally!!) and I managed to guide a cracker brownie into the waiting net.
Relief at finally catching a fish. Not a bad fish either….
Yeah, I was pretty pleased with this one.
That proved to be it on the fish front. We had a lot more chances, but by that stage the wind had come up and the spirit had dampened. We’d got what we wanted from the trip. It was a longer walk back than we’d thought, and it was two utterly exhausted lads that finally reached the car. A quick stop on the way home for a big burger and chips (plus the obligatory red bull…), and then finally home. The couch has rarely felt so inviting.
This’ll be my last post for a couple of weeks. No, not because I have exams or can’t go fishing or anything like that. Rather the opposite. On Wednesday Andrew and myself embark upon a 10 day odyssey chasing big browns around the south island. We have a vague idea as to where we’ll end up, but it’s all weather dependent. One thing is for sure…it’s going to be a big one. If I get a chance to upload a few photos from an internet cafe while we’re on the trip then I’ll do so, otherwise look out for some great reports once the trip is over.
Dry flies and rainbows go together like bbq’s and beer: they could be made for each other.
I thought Wednesday would be a hard day to beat, but in terms of sheer enjoyment and satisfaction I think today took the cake. A few weeks back Andrew and I had offered to take Thomas, a keen young fisherman, out for a days fishing. Well today that day came about. Thomas has done a lot of spin fishing, but this was to be his first big fly fishing trip. It started off in classic fashion with me scoffing as many weetbix as I could stomach on four hours of alcohol induced sleep, before dashing off to pick up the others.
We got the river and were astonished to see no-one else there.
Turns out there was probably good reason. Our first choice was very borderline fishable, but we persevered for a few hours. The river yielded two mighty trophies for us though.
Andrew snared this behemoth…
Before I trumped him with this monster…
We’d had enough of that spot, so ate some kai and motored onwards to our next port of call. It didn’t take long…
Guess where we started…
Thomas’ biggest to date on a fly rod. It rolled back to take my bionic bug in classic rainbow fashion, and once hooked I handed over the reins.
Not much further up we spotted another fish. Andrew chucked his big Royal Wulff up, and the fish moved a good few feet to hoover it in. Once again, Thomas did the honours. Really good fight from this big bow.
Tom’s last fish came from a very stubborn fish, which I eventually snared with a wee woolly bugger. We took the opportunity to teach him how to play fish on the fly rod, showing him how to guide them into the slacker water.
Rainbows in heavy water, good times.
He played it well, and yet another rainbow fell to the young fella.
Andrew then proceeded to do what I thought to be impossible. He missed four strikes on one fish. By the end of it it had ceased to be frustrating and had simply become hilarious. Somehow I don’t think he agreed with me. However karma was to get its own back on me. We’d crossed some pretty heavy flows that day, so it was fitting that I would fall flat on my ass crossing a shallow braid. As soon as I felt myself falling I flung my rod up in the air and cradled Andrew’s precious camera. If there can be such thing as a coordinated fall on your ass then this was it.
The rod still worked though, as this wee bow will attest to. They just couldn’t get enough of our big dries.
That was it for the day. We stopped off on the way back for pies before dropping Thomas home. It was a fantastic day, despite the frustrating start. Watching Thomas chasing a big bow downstream at full pace was priceless, as was his smile when we finally got it in the net. Both Andrew and I agreed that it was a hell of a lot more fun than catching the fish ourselves!
Couple of days rest for me before a wee trip out with Ryan on Monday.
Surprise surprise, I went fishing again.
Had another early start, fuelling up with one of Andrew’s trademark fry ups. These breakfasts are pretty damn crucial if you plan to have a really big day on the river, heaps of beans, toast, eggs – all the good stuff. We headed off to a small stream which I had intended to fish on opening day, but due to high flows couldn’t. After a long drive filled with conversations not fit to print we arrived at our destination. The river was carrying a touch of colour, but was certainly fishable.
We did a bit of bush bashing to get down to the river and pottered our way up for a minute or two. Andrew made a passing comment about how fishy the eye of the pool ahead looked, and what do you know, there was a fish. I was first up today and commenced my attempts with a size 16 version of my go-to nymph. I wish I could say that the fish took it with wild abandon, however this was not the case. In fact the whole time I fished to it the brownie didn’t swing to take a natural once. Changed nymphs several times before settling for a fly I had received in a flyshop flyswap (Thanks HerkDrvr/JD). The weight on the fly just seemed right, plus it had that tinge of red which can so often trigger a response early season. My first cast went slightly wide but the second was drifting right over its nose. The fish didn’t appear to move a muscle. It just sat there finning in the current. Hang on, my indicator just dropped. STRIKE! It must have simply opened its mouth to intercept the passing nymph. Immediately after feeling the prick of the hook the fish took off for the other side of the river. I put as much pressure on it as I dared and managed to halt its progress. A dogged battle ensued in the middle of the stream before I began to get the upper hand. Finally the fish was in the net thanks to a graceless (but hella effective) swipe from Andrew. Upon examination the fly was barely imbedded right on the neb.
This is how close I was to losing it.
And the prey we seek.
That proved to be the one and only fish we saw in that stream for the day. After being bluffed a couple of times due to the heavy flow we ended up cutting our losses and heading back to the car to continue our day elsewhere.
We ended up deciding to have a potter up a delightful small stream that neither of us had fished in the past. Started slowly without seeing much. I was on one side of the stream with Andrew on the other. Suddenly he exclaimed ‘****’, the bow wave heading upstream explaining to me the cause of his frustration. Not much further up he spotted a fish apparently unaffected by the spooked fish’s antics. First cast over it with a small colubriscus and bang, fish on.
A good bend in the rod.
We pottered up a bit further before spotting a fish sitting just back from a branch in the tail out of a pool.
Spot the fish.
I couldn’t quite rustle up Andrew’s first cast magic, and ended up changing my flies several times before finally hooking the fish on a small #16 grey and brown nymph. It put up a pretty damn good scrap given the confines of the small stream, but eventually it too succumbed to the pressure.
A great fish for such a small stream.
Grip and grin.
We prospected our way up for another 15 minutes before Andrew again spotted a fish. It was sitting just off a swirling back current, clearly darting into the swirl to feed. Andrew pitched his nymph into the back current and we enjoyed a great visual of the fish moving a good metre to take his nymph. This proved to be the scrap of the day, really making his reel sing.
Hey there fish.
After this we continued our way up, but didn’t see another fish. Possibly they were having their afternoon tea break, but the glare was pretty crappy. We turned back, content with our efforts. I tried to make friends with the old lady in the tea room on the way home, she was not friendly back.
This may well be my last report for a couple of weeks. I’ve got 3rd year law exams starting in just a couple of weeks, so for the first time ever I may have to prioritise something over fishing. Keep the comments coming guys, and be sure to subscribe in order to stay posted.