It didn’t take long to convince myself to head straight to the river after work on Friday. Plan was to target some of those big fish from last week at night. After a long drive/hike/climb I made it in just before darkness fell. While the light was failing I took a few shots but everything spooked! This was totally unexpected. A week ago they were hard to spook during the day. I went up into the forest and made camp while giving the pool time to rest until true nightfall. I got a small fire going and set my sleeping bag on the forest floor. Once that was sorted I kicked back for a while and enjoyed the absolute peace with only the sound of the river. Then it was time to launch my night time attack! Unfortunately the night was so dark I simply had to shine my headlamp to get down from the steep sided forest to the bouldery river. This would not have helped my quest even though I kept it brief. The total pitch black night made it tough but I managed ample casts into the zone with no joy at all. I was happy to return to camp, drink some wine and eat some chicken from the BP, then a little more wine. I slept soundly after that.
The next morning I thought things might be different. I fished from almost pitch black into daylight. When I could see into the pool I realised they were not in their usual spot. They were spooked. Right, time to move on.
I walked for a long time before eventually finding a pool with fish in it. Not one or 2 fish either, shitloads, and they were big! I had a dry dropper combo rigged so I started with that. I kept missing fish. Brief hookups then nothing. Finally I landed a silver hen of about 6lbs. Then more misses. After checking my rig I realised a hook was broken. Ok, start again. Forget that bad start. Re rig the way I know I should. But I was not 100% sure! I just ran out of 8lb tippet so I used 6 because I thought they were finicky.. I landed a fish on that but then broke in one. Changed again to 8lb scraps. Landed some more then lost all in a bush. Right. Straight 10lb tippet. The fish didn’t care and by now I had figured out the retrieve, depth and casting position.
Once I finally had everything right, I nailed it for a while. Eventually they got wise to everything I showed them however. This is normal. Then I launched a Mr Glister at them. The last of the big fish took it on the drop. For the day I had at least 20 fish events, probably 25. I landed 8. Five were between 4 and 6lbs and three were 9lbs plus. The best one was over 9.5lbs. No double but what an unbelievable day. If I started with the correct rig and method it’s not know the sort of day I’d have had. The thing is, I should have known exactly what to do from last weekend. Sometimes instinct is wrong! But that’s ok, that’s fishing and I’m learning. Some of the break off’s made no sense though. I even had 10lb tippet smashed! Maybe I’m not realising fully the sheer power of these fish. Now that I’m writing this I realise it! After almost every fish I had to change my fly because it was bent out. It takes lots of pressure to bend a Kamasan B175. Also the tippet had to be changed almost every time because it was scratched and frayed. These fish run with insane power, they bore under rocks, and whatever else they can, To land these fish you need to be almost as quick as they are to keep the strain on them, and keep the strain from the right direction. I realise fully that It was an amazing day, the best big fish day I’ve ever had but I cant help feeling that I should have done a bit better. I guess I always feel that way!
That day on the water was last Saturday. Sunday was my 22 year fly-fishing anniversary and St Patricks day. My first day was with Dad and Granddad all those years ago. Maybe my grandfather, Paddy, gave my some help on Saturday! Who knows… Here’s to him anyway! And Dad of course who is well and truly alive!! He’s planning his next trip to NZ.
Below the pics is this weeks episode from SLTV, “Camo Guy and the 9lb trout” How apt!
ps. WordPress changed a bit, now you have to click a picture 4 times to view it full size as opposed to once before. What a dumb change.
In this episode Paul’s slightly competitive nature shines through, Hence the title of this blog! Also you’ll meet Camo Guy. Guy has been a great friend to Paul and I over the years!