Last time, on Trout open weekend the story ended in anguish…
Isn’t it interesting, often, the “fish that gets away”, has a greater lasting impression on us than the ones we land. For the last 3 months, that one, lost trout, the first, that I stalked, fumbled around, tangled up on, enticed to eat my dry fly off the surface, and ultimately lost, has had me heartbroken yet determined to persevere.
Saturday I had an awesome opportunity to fish with Josh Hutchins and Eddie Savkovic for trout in the NSW Central West. Josh runs guided Fly Fishing tours for Trout in this area. This is Josh’s stomping ground, with water that holds good numbers of trout – both Rainbows and Browns.
The plan was to catch my first on dry fly, for Josh to have a rare fish himself on these waters, and to collaborate on a photo shoot. Armed with 7’6 3# outfits, Josh’s chock-a-block, fly boxes and enough camera gear between the 3 of us to scare the Paparazzi, we set off on our day trip adventure.
The thing that completely amazed me was the water we were fishing. Honestly I would have walked past most of it – writing it off as too small or too shallow or too densely covered with trees, vegetation and snags.
Yet, all of the fish we caught came from small, somewhat isolated bodies of water. The fishing was almost, well, leisurely. Nothing like the frantic, frenetic pace of fishing a bream tournament. We strolled between pools, where we watched intently for signs of life. Most times you’d see the fish quite quickly, then spend the next 20 or 30 minutes stalking them.
Often the pools were densely covered by overgrown and fallen vegetation. “How the hell do you cast a fly into that”? I learnt a new cast on Saturday. The “Bow and Arrow” cast is a fantastic short-range cast that I have now added to my arsenal. Not for every situation, but certainly effective in this very tight country.
Being the “newbie,” I got first shot at the first 2 pools. The first, blind casting the edges with a Royal Wulff and one of Josh’s Ginger Ninja beaded nymphs on a dropper, with no luck. The second pool had 2 fish cruising a beat that we stalked for what seemed like an eternity. Fishing in such talented company, I was obviously nervous. My casts were a bit wayward to start. Josh is a great guide, and obviously experienced in such situations, and with some encouragement and instruction, it wasn’t long that he had me more or less on target (read: close enough). As my confidence grew, my casts became more accurate, but the fish in this pool weren’t interested in my presentation.
Next pool Eddie landed a small rainbow from heavy cover, and after a few quick photos, it was released. To my surprise, Josh landed another from the same pool not 5m away. This was the bigger fish of the 2, and the mood was high.
Next pool I was up again and as I stalked the Rainbow, and cast, I had a sense of deja vu. The Rainbow circled around and as if in slow motion, I watched as it approached the fly…
…”Once more I hold my breath and clench my teeth. Time seems to stand still, for that split second as the fish breeches the surface and the fly disappears… Suddenly I react and strike, the line loads up and there’s a simultaneous “YEAHHHH” screamed by the three of us in unison.
I let out a sigh of relief, start to retrieve some line”…
…and this time, as I’m still holding my breath, I guide the fish into the net, and there are high fives all round! What an amazing feeling, to watch the fish rise and engulf the fly, not more than 2m from my feet. To say I was stoked is an understatement.
I learnt more in a day fishing with Josh and Eddie than I probably would have in a year on my own. The explanations and instruction were invaluable, and good testament to the value of fishing with a good guide. Add to that, I ticked another one off my Summer Bucket List!
Check out the full Picture Gallery.