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Red letter day and a flat battery...


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Ronan's report

Wednesday 23rd, November 2011

The Alarm went off at 4:30am and I packed up the truck and headed over to Jack's place. We hit the road and headed for one of the South Islands mountain lakes for the day to see if we could find some cruising browns. We arrived at the lake and was welcomed by a reluctant wave from the farmer who according to Jack was a "moody bugger" though he was good enough to let us park in his field.

As we approached the lake an exiting stream ran under a bridge and sitting in the crystal clear pool bellow was a rather handsome looking brown. With Jack laying prone on the bridge I crept up through the paddock and into position. Jack had watched the fish enthusiastically chasing little midges, even for a moment leaving its watery home in pursuit of its airborne prey. I tied on a sz16 Adams(ish) dry and made a cast, the fly landed a foot in front and without hesitation the trout rose and engulfed my offering. The strike evoked an explosive, leaping run straight back under the bridge and out the other side. I put the pressure on and managed to retrieve it back through the arch and after more jumps and determined runs at the weedy edges I managed to slip it in for a quick pic before returning it to its pool.

That was a great start to the day and to be honest I was quietly thinking that it was my only chance as the morning breeze was quickly turning into a hoolie.

The wind was fiercely hammering down the valley depositing two foot wave onto the shore and on any other day, I would have turned round and gone home. The sky was mostly blue with Simpson's like cloud's rolling past. As we walked along the lake edge the wind pushed tears across my face and I was having trouble seeing let alone spotting.

Jack spotted the first lake fish, pointed it out to me and I may or may not have seen the fish but to save my own embarrassment I said that I could... what with the waves and fish like stones it took a while to "get my eye in".

With tight loops slicing through the headwind Jack planted the fly only a few feet into the water, but that was enough. The first real glimpse of the fish I had was as it leaped from the water! Another stunningly spotted brown was unhooked in the water and I was amazed! Firstly that Jack was able to spot fish in the wind swept waves, secondly how close the fish was, only a few feet from the waters edge and most of all...that Jack could cast that far in these conditions!

The day continued like this with Jack pointing out the fish as we took turns in trying to trick them with Blow flies and Damsels. I got better at spotting as the day went on and learnt a lot from the experience. Even in these conditions its entirely possible to have a Red letter day on what could have been a premature drive home.... There were times that I had concerns about the pressure the wind was putting on the rod might break it, seriously it was that blowy!

Fish after fish was spotted cruising in the shallows with the sheltered bays making the whole process a lot easier. By the time we walked back to the bottom corner of the lake we had more than a dozen fish under our belts. As we turned the corner we stumbled across a group of fish working the waved shoreline. Fins broke the surface for a 20 yard stretch as scores of Brown Trout's surfed playfully in the waves. It was a magnificent thing to watch, Trout acting like pods of Dolphins or a harem of Seals. Something neither of us had ever seen on such a large scale. We managed to winkle out a couple more fish each, one of which had the most stunning iron blue back and yellow belly I had ever seen....

Once again, in adverse conditions, I had been blown away (literally, too) by the fishing NZ has to offer. I'm looking forward to some calmer weather conditions as the summer warms up but to be honest, if the bad conditions can still provide red letter days I'll be a little more enthusiastic to leave the warmth of my bed/truck to brave out the elements!

On a side note. At no point that morning did I leave my lights on, flattening the battery causing me to go "tail between legs" to the grumpy farmer's house and politely ask if he would help jump start my truck...Jack suggested that I hook it up to the electric fence but I was too tired to explain on quite how many levels this, was a rubbish idea.....


PS Waiting on Jack to send me a photo to use as PoD, I'll forward it on as soon as it arrives!

Pic Of Day

Pic Of Day

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