It's all about the experience …

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It's all about the experience …

Post by Kiwioz » Fri May 10, 2019 6:28 pm

I have found that the two people I fish mostly with are better anglers than myself, but each has an almost completely opposite angling personality one to the other. Fly fishing as an addiction is, in my view a sport where you compete against yourself. The challenge is to improve your skills, casting, river craft, fly choice - all to place a fly that is irresistible to any fish who sees it and where the fish can exercise the minimum effort to engulf it. However, there are many lessons to be learnt when fishing with other anglers, not just about fishing, character, resilience, patience, endurance and a host of other things that make us who we are.
TC is a vata (pronounced varta) personality. This is a description from Indian philosophy where the person has fast metabolism, fast thinking, likely to engage robustly with life, tearing into it. BH is a more sedate personality. Quiet, calm, contemplative, content with his own company and a man of few words. Thus, I have a contrast in fishing experience with these two characters.
TC loves to fish hard all day, move quickly up the stream, covering vast amounts of water with casts in all the likely places. Clever casts, reach casts, curve casts, steeple casts, opposite shoulder. All delivered with precision, speed and accomplishment. BH is a more restrained soul. He prefers to watch the stream or pool, concealed where possible behind whatever cover is available, his keen eyes surveying the water. Then a movement invisible to anyone else will cause him to cast with pin-point accuracy and land a fly on a trout’s nose. It then rises slowly and engulfs the fly without hesitation. BH is the picture of efficiency. No wasted false casting, a smooth flawless cast accurate to the inch.
Of course, the most melodramatic adventures always happen when fishing with TC, with BH the experiences are more sublime. They each make for a different but rich experience.

After one of my first times fishing with TC I made a new rule for myself; never go with him without a head torch secreted in in your vest / backpack. There were three of us who set out that day, 4 wheel driving down to a remote river access in the hope of finding water untouched by other anglers, or a stretch rarely accessed so the trout would be innocent, unused to angler predation. The late summer day was warm, and the trout rose freely. We worked our way upstream casting to rising fish, luring others to rise from the depths to sip down our flies as they drifted past. We navigated several gorge sections of the river as we made our way upstream, riffles, glides and slow dark pools typical of a high-country stream. Sun dappling on the water, no footprints indicating the trout had few angler encounters, likely to be unaware of the hook in the buggy morsels that drifted into their food-lane window. Late afternoon the third in our party declared he was sated, (and stuffed), and decided to return downstream to the truck and a refreshing ale. TC was determined to press on, another bend in the river, another pool, another gorge to navigate - more fish ignorant of the anglers who would interrupt their late summer bid to pile on condition for spawning. As the sun began to slip below the ridgeline and the temperature dropped TC decided one more pool and then we would turn back, this became another and another as early evening caddis began to emerge. “Tom, we have head back, it will be dark soon!”
“Yeah, yeah – did you see that rise?” he replied as his line snaked out to land gently above the widening ripples of a splashy rise.
“Tom, I am heading back.”
“Ok, Ok I’ll just release this fish. Nice brown!”
The day was spent, and evening descending and we had many kilometres of river to walk back down. Much of the bank was steep-sided and covered in heavy bush so we were forced to wade downstream over the miles of river we had fished during the day. Striding back was hard work, the boulders and bedrock slippery, the failing light making it difficult to see the river bed. Soon we were navigating in the dark. TC took out his headlight and led the way, mine was back with my gear in the truck. I stumbled over boulders, waded on tip toes through gorges where the water lapped the very top of my waders. Pool after pool, brief sections along a grassy bank then another narrow gorge, struggling to keep up. It was about 10pm as we continued stumbling, tired and hungry led on by the feeble headlamp. We were pressing on through another riffle into a long pool when a voice called out of the darkness, “where are you blokes going?”
We stopped TC flashed his light about and we realised we were ploughing downstream below the truck parked at the end of access track. Our third friend laughed and said, “I should have let you bastards keep going”. After this trip I vowed never to fish with TC without a headlamp in my vest. A long days fishing and route march back down the Eglinton on a moonless night some time later confirmed I was right as TC had once again covered miles in his quest for the next fish, and the next, and the next…

Fishing with BH is altogether different. While TC likes to cover lots of water BH is the tortoise to TC the hare. It is all about stealth and cover. Always below the ridgeline, no sudden movement, a stalk waiting for the prey to show. A subtle sip under a bank over hung with sedges, a flicker of movement in a shadowed pool leads to the careful laying out of line, a smooth cast laying the fly on a long leader to drift into the window of the all but invisible trout, that is unaware anglers are present. A fly in the film, a nymph sinking to the depth of the unsuspecting trout. A wait as the fly enters the zone then a relaxed take and strike rousing the trout to life. It leaps, shakes and frantically runs as it realises it has been deceived.
BH demonstrated his canny stalking skills remarkably during a spell when the rivers were all in spate. We retreated to fish a lagoon where we discovered the flood event had spilled the estuary waters into the grasslands beyond the usual lagoon edge. “This could be fun,” BH said tying on a woolly bugger. Although I was always in awe of his tactical skills my assumption was that the floods had made fishing the lagoon difficult as the usual tactic of stalking the edges not an option. Once more we made our way slowly from our start point. BH pausing and surveying the flooded long grass. Suddenly a short smooth cast snaked out, a strip, then the shallow water boiled as a large trout was hooked and fought desperately to gain the refuge of deep water. The battle was brief, and the brown trout released, arrowing toward a gutter that ran into the lagoon. “Keep your eyes open,” BH advised as we slowly walked in knee deep water in the long grass that flanked the lagoon. “There,” he said and once more the woolly bugger dropped into the flooded grass a short distance away. A pause, then a tiny strip and the water boiled once more as a large cruising brown was fooled by the movement of the woolly bugger. I was amazed. “How do you see them?” I asked as the long grass made spotting the fish impossible. BH smiled a knowing smile. “you watch and look for the grass to move or twitch as they cruise through.” It was obvious, but subtle. The trout had moved into the flood-plain to feast on the drowned worms, beetles, spiders and insects caught in the flood water. We had a further 2 hours of exciting fishing, stalking through the flooded grasses until the turn of tide caused the backed-up water to subside with the outgoing tide. The low tide ending one of the most interesting periods of tactical fishing I had ever experienced.

Author: Transit of Fiordland

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Re: It's all about the experience …

Post by Steve » Fri May 10, 2019 9:06 pm

Thanks Frank, that's a nice read!

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Joined: Mon May 12, 2014 1:26 am

Re: It's all about the experience …

Post by canuck » Sat May 11, 2019 11:44 pm

Nice, thanks.


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