There is a phrase skiers use after a really tough day skiing, They say, “we left it all on the mountain”. That’s how Craig, Badger and I felt after our day on the river on Saturday. We left it all on the river.
We started early but were beaten to our desired spot by a spin fisherman and a fly-fisherman. I spoke to them and they didn’t really know what their intentions were. When I said I’d like to walk down and fish back up, they then decided that that was their plan too. Annoying, but they were there first and I’ll always respect the rights of the first angler to the river.
We went up river into some tough terrain and covered enough water for a full day fishing in half a day. The reason for this was the lack of fish. There were few opportunities to stop and fish so we just walked, climbed and searched.. At lunch time we assessed the situation. Do we continue up, or get out and try another place on a very crowded river? The going was tough, Badger had fallen in 3 times and his boots were breaking up and there were dam all fish. We decided to get out and take our chances elsewhere.
Farther down river there were vehicles at all the accesses. We picked one with only one car at it as we could see 2 anglers downstream so we thought we were in luck. We fished up. I saw, hooked and landed a fish straight away. Then I crossed and got another. Could we be so lucky as to be first here on the opening weekend at 1pm? It seemed so.. but then we spied 3 anglers walking down! We went and had a chat. They had been through this section already and their day was cut short by 2 anglers walking down from an access farther up. There were people everywhere! We continued up since fish were clearly out on the feed again and picked up 2 more. We went pretty hard in our afternoon session and had another big walk out.. We were all shattered at the end of the day. We sort of packed 2 days into one so it was not surprising.
The plan was to stay and camp but Badgers boots fell to bits so we went back to Cromwell. I had a spare pair that had only seen 6 seasons. Honestly, with fatigue and the number of people about I was happy to get out of it. I have a feeling Badger and Craig were too.
Day 2 we took on medium sized river with lots of runs and riffles. There were very few fish about which was surprising because it is usually a good early season bet. I picked up one fish that rose in front of me. After that we got out and tried a small creek. Not many fish as expected but we all got a difficult shot or 2 each. The highlight of the weekend was Badger taking on a fish under trees with no room for a back or roll cast. After manoeuvring himself lowly and slowly as close as possible to the fish he took aim with a bow and arrow cast and fired. The fish confidently ate his dry, the strike was well timed.. but the fish came off just as badger was about to horse it out of the roots!
Apart from picking up a cold on Friday night which has been getting progressively worse, It was a great weekend. We all got to know each other a little better and we will fish together more often I hope. The craic was good and there wasn’t a squidgy in sight!