Last week saw a day trip to a medium sized tributory of a large river in Otago. I set off around noon with Isaac and Dave with the plan being to explore a new area and catch some trout. We achieved both of those goals but it wasn’t exactly spectacular. At first we were greeted with rather fine weather, sun high in the sky and little in the way of wind. Naturally by the time we tackled up there was a gale blowing! Branches being blown off trees, water leaving the surface of the river….. this all made for a pleasant experience (he says tongue firmly in cheek)! We managed to spook a few trout during the day although we really didn’t stand a chance given conditions. Fortunately the evening saw a nice hatch of small upwings and some rising trout, they were small but they most definitely counted in terms of preventing the dreaded blank! Parachute adams tied on and one cast later the blank was off! Dave pipped me two to one and managed a bit bigger fish than the others we caught.
I had thought that would be my last fishing day before my exams but Dave convinced me to fish the river that flows through campus last night, we’ve already done it and already had success – you might remember from the Tale of Two Halves Last night we wandered down and found the usual small fish rising away but we spotted an interesting one, a bigger fish rising away quite the thing just underneath a bridge. We tackled up and set to work on the smaller fish downstream as a warm up, one quickly caught, well not that quickly, it was a bit fussy with the parachute adams at first, size 18 so I didn’t have any smaller ties. Eventually got the drift just perfect and he took, a nice trout of around half a pound. On to the big one….
I slowly made my way upstream to the trout which Dave was spotting from a high position, as Dave guided me into position I could see it consistantly rising but anytime it turned from its lie I lost sight. Fortunately my spotter was doing a grand job and keeping me right. I presented the dry up in front of him, first cast didn’t get the best drift, second was much improved but the fish showed no interest. Third cast received a follow but no take, another cast again yielded nothing so a change of tactics was in order. A quick addition with a small, short shank sz16 pheasant tail nymph around a foot and a half below the dry. First cast was caught in the wind and went well wide, fortunately outwith the fish’s “spook range”, second landed just right and as it drifted down the fish took hold of the nymph, my dry popped under and I tightened into what I then realised as a much bigger fish than first thought! A few seconds later the fish went airborne and my jaw dropped, a lovely fish! He turned out to be a spritely 2lber, lovely markings and an awesome fish for the wee stream he came from – I was stoked.
Here’s a video of the fish – including an exemplary guide of how not to unhook a fish. Annoyingly the nymph was barbed, one that missed my barb crushing process, and the forceps were strategically placed in the bag with Dave up high above. Fortunately the fish swam away well and I went back this morning to find him settled in the same lie feeding away just as before.