|Gathering of the Clan
|Better late than never - Day 1
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|Author:||mls [ Wed Mar 07, 2018 2:50 am ]|
|Post subject:||Better late than never - Day 1|
I mentioned I would post about my trip to the South but what with one thing and another, I didn’t get the photos until now. I had booked these two days as sort of a treat and anniversary. It was 7 years since I had been awarded with two days of guided fishing by Patsy for being 9 months off cigarettes.
My gide and I headed South of Nelson to fish around some water we had worked a couple of times before. Unfortunately (we thought), there was a vehicle at every one of the first half dozen access points. Not to worry, we went a bit further down the valley to a stretch not fished much because it is so close to the highway and everyone believes it is fished very hard. Truth is it gets fished less than the upstream beats. We were lucky with the weather too. Previous trips during October were plagued with wind and bad weather.
I was using my new Sage X 5wt with a Rio Gold line and a 9’ tapered leader (to 3x) with a 4x, 4’ tippet. We hiked across to the river and spotted a nice fish almost immediately. It lay in a tricky spot very close to our bank (true right) just below a medium sized rock that protruded out into the flow. A ‘Cocktail Party dress’ parachute fly (a Little Black number) was chosen as the weapon of mass destruction. I made 3 drifts but had trouble getting it in the narrow slot that would drift the fly to the fish instead of away from it. I deliberately cast well to the right to break the pattern and then dropped it in the right place. The fish obliged by siping the fly and I was into a nice brown. It didn’t go berserk but dogged it for a while as I steered it down to some shallows and had a nice 4 pounder in the net.
We crossed the river and eased up toward where a small stream came in. I was informed this little stream stayed cold and fish often lay just below the inflow. Sure enough there was a large shape in the right place. I set up with a ranging cast, stripped off the necessary line to reach the fish an dropped the #14 black parachute just above it. Owner of wonders it rose and took and more amazingly, I timed the strike just right and didn’t panic when a very long fish thrashed about. Sadly it didn’t fight much but I carefully guided it into the net in only a couple of minutes. I couldn’t believe it was so long, 73 cm! It would have been a magnificent fish in its prime but without a recent mouse year it was thin and barely 6 pounds. Impressive nonetheless.
We released him to get the chance to relive his former greatness.
We then walked to the inflowing stream and the guide spotted a fish in a turbulent bit on the upstream side. Many drifts and two fly changes later and it swam off. It just wasn’t interested. The next 50 yards was a series of feeding slots in amongst large rocks or bedrock. We switched back (let’s be honest here…the guide made the decision, I was the compliant client) to a dry and I had a swipe and a mis by a 2-3 pounder that looked nice and fat. We continued on up past the section without seeing a decent fish. The next sighted fish was in relatively shallow water and a ranging cast to judge distance before dropping the Cocktail dress fly (ply them with bling) a foot ahead worked a treat and the fish took first drift. A nice fish of about 4 pounds. Amazingly the next fish went the same way. Spot the fish, do a ranging cast, watch the fish take on the first drift, set the hook and land a 4 pounder.
We then broke for lunch and spotted another fish while masticating a sandwich. No rush, the weather was holding good, water levels, while low, were adequate and temperatures were conducive to fish feeding all day. (I don’t think I’ve had more than a handful of such days in my life, especially with the opportunity to fish for fish of this size). With lunch out of the way, we redeployed up the system and had a take on the first drift over the fish. Another 4+ pound brown. The next stitch of river flowed over gravel slots with bits of bedrock poking through. We could see three fish line up in the next 30 m. The first fell on a first drift! (I’m beginning feel like I am in a Killwell ‘Heaven’ and am wondering when the angel tells me the sad truth). The next took on the first drift but the fly didn’t stick and it swam out. We were going to continue on when the fish came back. It required several casts and a fly change or three but it took again on a #14 mayfly imitation. Another 4.5 pounder in the tally.
Oddly, none of the fish up to now had gone ballistic. When I commented on that, the guide said it was because after two seasons working on it, I was finally learning how to use soft hands to handle good sized browns. I think I had one refusal about now but the next fish was actively taking off the top and my miracle run continued with a take on the first drift. This was a better fish and required more care. We eased it downstream about 10 m and eased it into the net. The heaviest fish of the day at 6.5 pounds, if not as long as the alligator jack.
We finished up with enough fish to make an even dozen for the day. The last two were rising but only about 3 pounds each and the last one decided to run and jump and jump and jump. My guide asked “What did you do to piss him off like that?”. It was truely a day to remember, twelve fish, all on dries, and at least 8 on the first cast. Made me feel like I was a real fisherman.
|Author:||Satchel [ Wed Mar 07, 2018 5:20 am ]|
|Post subject:||Re: Better late than never - Day 1|
It's 34 degrees and snowing, it's 5:15AM, I've got to go to work all day thinking about a place in the world I'd rather be with fish as beautiful as those.
Thanks again Michael for making a miserable day ahead for me.
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