Taking Shots

Taking Shots

Paul Arden | Monday, 12 November 2018

Here is a day this week... zoomed down the lake for 50 mins flat out. Went looking for babies. Found three sets. First set babies were large and chased the fly before the adult got a glimpse. Second set I took a difficult shot that I thought was perfect but the light was poor and I could’t see the reaction or lack of. Third set spooked at the sound of the approaching thruster motor. In between I found a few patchy free-rising Snakehead but no shots made. Evening session I went chasing Gourami. Found two. One was a difficult shot - not a shot really - but I took it. Fish had gone. Other was an even more remote shot which I didn’t take and tried for a better position which didn’t materialise.

Thunder appeared and we fled but didn’t make it back. Torrential rain and lightning saw us shelter next to the shore for an hour or more and the eventual drive back was slow, dark, wet and sparked with lightning.

Ashly enjoying the storm.

Of course it could have been a blinder of a day. There is a very fine line between nothing at all and hitting jackpot. If there is a harder fishery than this I don’t know what it is. Opportunities are glimpses - fleeting moments - that require immediate exacting presentation. It’s a shot game like no other. The difference between a fishless day and an amazing day is any one of these moments resulting in a fish. It doesn’t get any harder and consequently it doesn’t get any better. I hope they make it catch and release because if they don’t then, like some big free-rising Toman, it will all but disappear. 

In the meantime however there is a lot to be learned, skills to be honed and moments to be taken. If you think you can fish then get over here and prepare to be humbled. If you need to catch fish then go to a stock pond! This is the real deal. 

Here is another day this week... went north and found a set of babies. Waited for an adult to surface. Shot went in. Fish chased and ate at high speed towards the boat. I stripped like fuck to make contact but by the time I caught up with the fly the fish let go. Stayed with the set. Second adult rose. Shot in, fish chased and tried to eat the fly - but missed! Arghh! Third attempt first fish again - follows the fly right past the boat and it’s game over. Three follows from one set is already more than pushing your luck. 

Moved into another bay and a Snakehead rises in front of the boat. Shot goes wild - no! - fish still seen. Picked up and shot goes in, properly this time. Fish smashes fly and fish on! Fish dives into snag. After a bit of a tussle fish out of snag and 3.5KG Toman in the boat with a chunk of the snag attached to leader! Celebrations all around. 

Next bay think I see Gourami and shoot with the popper and leave static. Every 1000 attempts one eats so WTF? But it’s not a Gourami but a lightly coloured Snakehead! So strip strip. Follow follow. Faster strip. Faster follow. Even faster and wham - fish on. Smaller - but still decent - Snakehead in the boat.

Afternoon session finds three sets. Ashly takes the shots. Two shots on the nose (literally) and fish spooks both times. Third set no shot. But it’s been a good day. You can keep your other fishing for now. For me it doesn't get any better than this!

What’s your favourite type of fly fishing for taking shots?