Trout Fishing Afternoon to Remember
By Chris Dore
The sunlight beamed through the windscreen as the Mitsubishi cruised smoothly along the highway, carrying its three occupants into what was to become a trout fishing afternoon to remember.
Richard Thomson, Neil Cornish and I arrived riverside at around mid-day, where we discovered our favourite little stream (the name eludes me, brain-fade) low and clear and as usual, full of potential.
While tackling up at the car, Richard spotted a 3 1/2 lb brown cruising a backwater only metres away from our position. Giving me the honours I crept into position at the bottom of his beat and placed the #14 Hare’s Ear Nymph carefully into his path. A slight twitch with the index finger and it was all on, almost! The fish took off upstream and then turned at an amazing speed. The inch or two was all the slack line he needed to throw the hook.
Moving several hundred yards downstream we fished the true right bank, taking turns with sighted fish. Neil cast his unweighted Hare and Copper to a dark shape weaving in and out of the weed bank only metres from shore. The fish changed direction, and swirled, Neil struck and it was all on.
This fish exploded upstream at a great rate of knots, peeling line from the LC8O at an alarming rate. On-going pressure from the angler persuaded the brown to change tactics and barrel downstream back towards us. Retrieving the line effectively, Neil soon had the fish on a taut, three-metre line controlling the situation. We were readying the net when the fish made a last desperate attempt at freedom by bowling into a small willow clump at the water’s edge.
Neil’s IM7 took on an amazing curve before the 6 lb tippet broke cleanly in the middle. ”Not to worry,” Neil remarked. “Plenty to come.”
I cast my size 16 Pheasant Tail to a “cruiser” spotted by Neil, travelling tight along the bank. My nymph sunk the one to two metres required, and I awaited the trout’s return. Sure enough, he emerged from the overhanging vegetation exactly where expected, and I was into a fit 3-pound fish. This one headed straight into the dense weed, one and a half metres to his right and could still be there for all I know. Two hooked, two lost – I was not doing well at all!
While retying my leader I was distracted by two incredibly friendly horses, who began to chew on my shoulder, my net, then my hat. After telling Mr Ed and his friend a few home truths, I continued upstream to find Neil with his rod bent over, and Richard with his net into another good one. When fishing in this situation teamwork can be really useful. One person spotting, one fishing and one with the net can really make life easier for all. The fish thrashed around on the surface a lot before coming to the net. A nice 4 1/2 lb brown in lovely condition was released soon after.
Moving upstream to a new piece of water, a 3 1/2 pounder was spotted cruising deep but feeding sub-surface in a long pool. Within seconds Richard was in position with his fly in the water. The fish came up, inspected the Pheasant Tail and carried on. Immediately ﬂicking the nymph back up to the fish there was an instant response. The fish fought deep in the middle of the pool, occasionally coming up for a series of spectacular jumps, one of which was caught on film.
Eventually, Richard guided the brown into the shallows where we thought he could be netted. I stress the word “thought”. No sooner than we unfolded the McLeans net, the fish darted back to the depths and the fight was into round two. This time the trout came to the surface where Richard could control him better.
Five minutes later a nice brown was on the bank. After a quick photo session, this fish was released in good health. Richard was stoked. By now it was 3.30 pm, so we cruised to another river (which strangely, I can’t remember the name of either!) where we got into some 5 – 8 pounders, but that’s another story.
All up we had a great trout fishing afternoon to remember, all within an hour of Dunedin (was that a clue?) and in great weather, company and surroundings.
Until next time, good fishing!
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