Just a quick one from me, in keeping with the duration of the trip.
Headed up country immediately after my Nana’s 80th birthday festivities drew to a close on Sunday. I had a special guest with me this time: dad.
After sorting out the lodgings we quickly hit the river, although the first hour or two was rather fruitless with few fish seen. As the light diminished the fishing increased. Things took a definite turn for the better when we came across a deep corner pool riddled with snags. At the head holding high in the column just off the lip was a golden shape. For the briefest moment I thought it was just another log, except logs don’t rise. I shimmied into position and put the perfect cast over it with a #14 parachute adams. And…nothing. And again…nothing. The third was slightly wayward, and met with similar determined resistance. A change of tactics was called for. Off with the dainty mayfly, on with a big ugly terrestrial. It only took one cast. A determined, if unspectacular, fight ensued with the most effort exerted keeping the fish from the countless snags. After a couple of dashes from the shallows the battle concluded with a stonking brown safely in the net.
A reason to smile.
I’m far from an elitist, but I’ll always value a fish on the dry just a little bit more.
The next wee while saw a few fish sighted, usually too late. Dad was unlucky not to rise a couple of fish that he covered well. Finally, with darkness well on its way we approached another corner pool with more than one impediment to casting. Dad opted out, so there I was standing up to my neck in grass watching (well really listening to) a fish rise just feet away. It was almost dapping, but it sure brought about results. This time the #14 para adams certainly wasn’t rejected. What the previous fight lacked in spectacle this one more than made up for in aerobatics. I think the fish spent more time in the air than the water. But the trusty #5 absorbed it all and the fish soon succumbed to the constant pressure.
Another superbly conditioned brown.
After that we retired for the night, got a filthy feed of chinese takeaways and returned to our room where we were embraced wholeheartedly by cold beer.
The next day saw an early start, which turned out to be well worthwhile as not 5 minutes after we started we noticed another angler 100 metres or so downstream of us. On about the fifth cast of the day Dad caught the fish of the day. In fact, barring one small model I picked up, it was the only fish of the day. It rose confidently to eat his cicada and burst downstream as soon as it felt the bite of steel. I had to employ some boot camp tactics to get dad chasing it as at one point there was over 30 metres of backing out. I’ve seen fish fight harder than this, but I’ve never seen them fight so one dimensionally. It just swam in one direction, downstream, for the duration of the fight. Once we’d caught up to it the netting was practically a formality.
Dad once again demonstrates his propensity to make 4lb fish look tiny.
This proved to be the only real highlight in what was otherwise a very quiet day. The trip home was interrupted only by a brief stop for kebabs and a briefer stop for coffee. Great to get out on the water with dad and catch a few fish!
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.