The Mouse year of all mouse years!
North Canterbury is enjoying what is probably its biggest ever mouse plague. The trout have been gorging on mice all season and on some rivers double figure trout are now common. I heard of an angler catching 17 doubles this season, another 28 and the most insane figure of all, a friend of mine, who I won’t name because I think he prefers anonymity, had 42 when we last spoke over a week ago. His best was 16.5 weighed on a digital scale. He saw one weigh in at 17.75.
Jeff and I decided to have a crack before the season ends. To be honest, I was not that keen on going at first, even with the prospect of catching a very large trout. I thought there would be anglers everywhere and the fishing would be painful because of it, getting jumped on every turn. Jeff twisted my arm, I phoned a friend up there and that fired me up a bit more. We were going. We’d take it whatever way we found it, even if that meant only having a pool or two to ourselves. We’d just join in the madness!
After a 7 hour drive we arrived at 2am and made camp. There were signs that the area had been busy with campers with all the rectangular patches of flattened grass, but we could see no other tents in the darkness.
The next day we realised that there were indeed lots of anglers about. We carefully selected our water each day and managed, both by design and good fortune, to have almost uninterrupted fishing over the 4 days and nights. Luckily on day one, even though we blanked during the day, we found 2 perfect pools for night fishing. Each day consisted of a 9am start, fish all day, back to camp around 6, have a beer or 2 and a snack as darkness fell, head off into the darkness to our 2 pools for a night fish, back to camp for dinner and beers and bed around 2am. If we knew that a total lunar eclipse was forecast for one of the nights, we would have been on the water for its duration. Unfortunately we were already back at camp when it begun and neither one of us could have been motivated to venture back out again. We just enjoyed it from our camp-fire!
We got a mixed bag weather wise; pissing rain, gales, blue skies, warm sun, icy mornings. We fished hard day and night over braided river and tight gorges to make the most of our time there. The mission was to catch a double figure brown which we succeeded in. I might go back before the season is out!
It was an incredible trip. I think it’s pretty well described in the photo’s below. Thanks, Jeff, for making it happen!
If you’re in no way competitive “The Schnide” wont effect you at all. Personally, I’m a little competitive. I want to fish well alongside my fishing partner. I want us both to have a great day. “The Schnide” is a term used by a few fella’s who guide in Western Alaska. The term describes that rut we find ourselves in from time to time, when nothing we do seems to work. It’s compounded by the fact that our fishing buddy is catching but were not! There are few rules to help you out of “The Schnide”.
1. Don’t loose your cool. It will pass.
Actually, that’s it, One rule!
It can be difficult not to let it get to you. For example, on Jeff and my recent trip to North Canterbury, Jeff caught 2 very big fish to my zero on the first night. Of course I was delighted that he was getting it right but I also felt a little sting that I couldn’t put it together myself. The next day first blood to Jeff once again, and another big fish. At that point I had to keep my cool. Because I was in “The Schnide” no fish were turning up on my bank, If I was to swap banks with Jeff then there would be no fish on that side either but they’d show up on the bank I left, that’s the way it is. You just have to wait it out. When a shot does present itself (and it will) you must have the confidence to fish as well as you’re able to nail the chance. If you don’t, “The Schnide” gets deeper and harder to climb out of. I’ve seen fella’s so deep in “The Schnide” that they’re beaten before they even cast. I did not want to be that person. Jeff very graciously offered me a shot at a fish on his bank. Pickings were lean that day so I came across, took the shot, got the fish and “The Schnide” was over. A good fishing buddy can help you out of “The Schnide”, so maybe the second rule could be, “Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth”!
Tight lines and screaming reels!