Well whilst the saltwater fly-fishing is fun and still a challenge I find the freshwater fly fishing daunting to say the least. When you are confronted with shrubbery, trees and of course that good old blackberry bush all the while why you are trying to hide from trout being able to spot you it certainly tests the patience levels.
When the opportunity arose to enroll in “The Next Step” tuition with Aussie Fly Fisher, Joshua Hutchins, I had to enroll, it was exactly what I was after. It was to be with a small group made up of Aaron, Amber, Orion and myself. We had all learnt the basics of fly casting but when you put any of us next to a river and expected us to catch fish we were all novices. We would spend Friday night, all day Saturday and Sunday picking Josh’s brain on absolutely everything from casting techniques, knot tying, flies, insects, rigs and of course recipes. Ha, yes well his wife made this fantastic salad that we had accompanying dinner and well of course us ladies had to have the recipe.
We all shared our eagerness of putting some more notches in our belt of our fly fishing journey. Over some wine, dinner and of course fishing stories Josh then shared some of his fly tying skills and taught us all how to tie some nymphs in which we would then use over the weekend of fishing of course.
The first morning we headed to Lake Oberon, it was an absolutely gorgeous morning. We all spread out and took up some casting action with Josh working around us giving us tips and techniques. The bank was pretty barren but the roots at the edge of the bank did give us something to get tangled in. Orion and myself both had a small hit from a fish but no conversion. All winners though as we all found lures or tackle all over the banks. Amber even hooked herself a rod and reel combo – great capture, shame we didn’t get a photo.
After lunch we headed to a few different river locations. As you can understand it is hard to fish all four on a river system so we took it turn about and with two of us fishing at a time. It wasn’t a matter of going and plunking a line in, we were sighting trout and learning to cast to them in ponds of water where I didn’t think it was possible to cast a fly line. The whole stalking adventure got me roped in. I think any sight fishing for fish is addictive. It was also great to fish in pairs as while you were watching the other two fish a hole you could take everything in that they were being taught and kind of know not what to do. For example too many false casts is like waving a red flag at a bull. Do as few casts as possible to get your line out far enough so that you minimize the risk of spooking the fish.
Even though I didn’t catch a fish this weekend I certainly had my opportunity and with practice I know it will call come to fruition. The others had all caught fish and additionally Amber can share with you her story on the brown trout that she had hooked and in turn it buried her into a log and got away. After stalking a trout for a few hours and all failing to catch it, we then as a group decided that Josh should have a fish and show us how it is done and that he did, it was fantastic to watch.
The highlight for me over the weekend was being crouched low on a bank stalking this brown trout, he was slurping food off our side of the bank which was the undercut side so I didn’t have to cast very far but you had to try to predict the direction the fish was going to swim. I laid out a cast not too far in front of him but the fish cut up through a weed channel, didn’t even look at my fly and slurped something off an exposed branch right in front of my eyes. I could see the beautiful markings on the fish and to me even though I didn’t hook it, it was such a beautiful sight that will be imprinted in the memory banks forever.
It didn’t stop there, as we were all so inquisitive over lunch we asked to be shown the insect lifestyle so we knew why and how we were fishing the flies that we were using. We fished to dark both days, only because none of us wanted to give up.
It was such a fulfilling weekend, my casting improved at the end of the weekend tenfold; this didn’t mean I still didn’t get hung up in a tree on occasion. I met some fantastic friends to share our journeys together and I am inspired more than ever to succeed and pursue this journey into fly-fishing.
All four of us would certainly be happy to take part and do this weekend again.