Jonah

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OneHairyArm
Posts: 126
Joined: Sat May 10, 2014 2:13 pm
Location: Wellington

Jonah

Post by OneHairyArm » Mon Feb 29, 2016 11:24 am

‘Jonah’
If you cast your minds back to before the legendary All Black. Back to when you were probably at school you may recall the old bible story of Jonah. It was said that apart from being swallowed by a massive fish. He very nearly caused a ship to sink. The winds picked up, the swell grew and it wasn’t until he was thrown overboard did it subside.

My Father and I are both avid fly fishermen. Individually we fish fairly well – we regularly catch fish that is. Together, however. Well that is another story.
Together we fish appallingly, more often than not we will both blank – in streams mind you that when we fish solo we do very well indeed. This inability to land fish together has us to guessing which one is the Jonah. You know the one when they come on a trip, the winds come up or the weather closes in, or the fish are uncatchable. I maintain it his Him but to be honest success rates probably point the finger squarely at me.

Well I am also a father, of a Ping-Pong Ball 4 year old. Who like his old man and his Grandfather before him, has been picking up a fly rod, and acting very much like he knows what to do with it. I had built him a 4’4” 4wt Split Cane rod based on a Thramer taper, made with a 4” grip it fits youngsters hands perfectly. Being Cane it can throw out 15ft of line by just wiggling it. To my enjoyment he loves every minute of river time. Whether or not this is the fishing, or just the fact he’s out with his dad – I am uncertain. What I am certain of is in my pursitic push for his first fish to be a trout on the fly. Rather than a spotty down at the local wharf. We have inadvertently carried on the Johan effect.

It was a Sunday Afternoon, full of expectation. I had arranged for my brother to come along, video and camera in tow. I had fished the stream the week before, and being such a skinny piece of water I knew exactly where every fish lay. My mind was set on a 3 /12lb brownie I knew would be lying in wait about 10minutes from setting off, He had to be because after his chosen run was a deep wade and bush to scramble through. Although there are many fish above it, pushing through with a 4yr old wasn’t really an option. Disappointment flushed over me like the chilling feeling when someone walks on your grave. The fish no matter how hard I looked was not in his run. After a discussion with the boy, we decided to fish on. I was truly grateful for my brother coming along. Not for the camera/videoing if a fish did come to the net. But for his build. He was a first 15 prop form an early age, and built the proverbial brick out house. He managed to carry the boy on his shoulders through the deep wade without too much effort. Stumbling along waste deep we found a feeding fish. Spooky as the Wellington fish can be he took first cast. Missing the take the fly was quickly rejected and changed for dry – as now he was rising. The strike was late and the first fish was put down. Fish 1 Jonah 0. We spooked 2 more fish that day, as we turned for the long walk of shame back to the car. I lamented simple errors, and not taking my time. Still the boy impressed me, it’s not every 4yr old that can last over 3 hours, wet cold and fishless. Fish 3 Jonah 0.

I week later, his persistent begging to fish paid off. We donned on our fishing gear and headed to another sure thing. A stretch of water I very rarely fish but whenever I have it has always produced the goods. I have said it before so excuses me as I say it again. It is a beautiful thing watching a youngster false cast out 15-20ft of line. It makes up for all the ‘Why’ questions while driving, the forgetting his sunglasses in the car, and having to turn back for them even though we have just reached the river after a 20minute walk. Even after taking 20minutes to walk the track that usually would take 5. The casts landing a hook less cicada pattern with a splash enticingly on the surface. I am half tempted to tie on a hooked version but for today I’ll leave it as is, he still needs that safety factor. After a brief wade we came up to the first fish of the day – the runs unbelievably barren. Something gave me the impression we were not the first ones through there today. A missed take again sent the brownie for the nearest blackberries. Fish 4 Jonah 0. We put another fish down that afternoon, and that was that. The boy had lost interest today, the Jonah effect was now in full swing. Fish 5 Jonah 0.

Time for a river change, we were holidaying at the beach house in Raumati, and had decided on the Sunday morning to try a local river. One that recently had featured in a well-known angler’s video, and to my dismay one he clearly names – even talking about it on open forums. This river is no secret but I many years fishing it I have only ever encounter 1 or 2 other anglers. This day we had arrived on the stroke of 9am to find no less than 5 other anglers all heading to different parts of the river. Unbelievably we pulled the pin and headed home. Not impressed I contemplated fishing for one of the local eels in the stream behind the house. Did I really want the first fish he catches to be a slimy old eel? The purist in me shuddered with the thought. We would try again tomorrow, making sure we left the house nice an early, ensuring we would be the first ones there. That we were in fact no other anglers were seen that day.

The river must have had a flogging the day before, fish that you knew inhabited pools and runs just weren’t to be seen. The only fish I did see came to take a cicada that I was using as an indicator and I wasn’t watching, again the fish went down. We spent the rest of our time riverside filming the boy casting my 8’6” 6wt. Fish 6 Jonah 0.
Several weeks would pass before I fished, with the boy anyway. I did manage 3 days in the Central North Island, having an absolute ball catching 3-4lb rainbows mostly on the cicadas – No Jonah effect here!

It is blackberry season here and one thing my significant other loves is to pick blackberries. My Children and here have an un-satiable appetite for them, and every chance she gets we are out filing old ice-cream containers with the worm filled treats. This Sunday afternoon we decided to head out, I had packed the fishing gear just in case, as the spot was close to the river. There was a fair southerly wind so realistically I didn’t think we would be fishing. I was dressed in jeans and a tee shirt not exactly fishing clothing. However the boy got bored or filled up with the blackberries and basically begged me to go see the river. Departing from his mother we would meet up with here in half an hour or so. Ample time for her to fill and empty a couple of containers. We reached the river, stoked to see no one was swimming in the pool above, the wind although nearly gusting, had long intermitted lolls. Carefully walking up stream I spotted the first fish of the day. Raising him to a cicada, he came up 3 or 4 times more every time rejecting the fly. My nerves frayed at this point I didn’t think we would ever get the boys first fish. I was ultimately aware that yes in fact my name is Jonah. The boy on the other hand was blissfully unware of the tension within. Tying on a size 16 brown nymph as a dropper one more cast was all that required. From the top of my lungs a yell of ‘Yes’ echoing around the riverbed. The rod was quickly thrust into the boys hands and advice started flowing thick and fast. The fish really didn’t have a chance though, he was well hooked and the boy did a splendid job of bringing him to the net. Photos and high fives ensured the memory would last a lifetime, I snipped off the nymph. I wish I had the fly from my first fish, I was going to frame it. Cleaning off the net we turn around to see if we could find another, and sure enough no more than 10 steps from the landing point another brownie was swinging close to the bank. This time the cicada landed just above it, the fish rose as if on rails and the second fish was on. Again the rod chucked to the boy, this time no advice was offered I was too busy clicking away with the camera. Soon a beautiful fish of over 3lb came to the net. Two fish in to casts in an area I really didn’t think we would see anything. To say I was stoked doesn’t cover the pride I had in my son. Finally after some many failed attempts he had his first and second fish. He even released them – making me even prouder if I could have even been. Both flies are waiting for the photos to be printed before being framed. This truly was a great day. The girls even capped it off with a couple of kilos of blackberries. Fish 6 Matt and Isaiah 2. Jonah took a day off that day.

In my pride I had made a big deal of it, photos flowed onto Facebook and The forum. My mistake and one I regret. The following Sunday we returned to pick what is becoming the last of the blackberries, confidently the boy and I strode down to the river, only to my displeasure to find not 1 but 3 other anglers all lined up. Coincidence we think not.

Fish 6, Matt and Isaiah 2, other anglers 1.


"If you want to catch beasts you don't see everyday.
You have to go places quite out of the way.
You have to go places others can't get to.
You have to get cold, and you have to get wet, too" Dr Seuss.

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Whio
Posts: 162
Joined: Sat May 10, 2014 10:00 pm
Location: Wanganui NZ

Re: Jonah

Post by Whio » Mon Feb 29, 2016 8:02 pm

An excellent read Matt. Thanks for sharing this experience with us. Perhaps the central NI trip broke the Jonah spell ;) :D


Some of my life I spend fly fishing, the rest I just waste!

icthusiast
Posts: 38
Joined: Sat May 10, 2014 11:41 pm
Location: Johannesburg

Re: Jonah

Post by icthusiast » Tue Mar 01, 2016 5:57 am

Nice work, Matt. An excellent read.

Shame about the Jonah effect between you and your old man! At least the pattern might now be broken! :-)


All the best
GarthS
<"}}}><\

Boisker
Posts: 227
Joined: Sat May 10, 2014 8:28 pm

Re: Jonah

Post by Boisker » Wed Mar 02, 2016 9:20 am

That's fantastic mate.... He'll spend the rest of his life as he gets older and bigger looking at his little 4' rod with huge pleasure.... Time spent with your dad when you're young is what it's all about, very special memories.
My dad was never a fisher, my uncle introduced me to that about 6 years old, but I had season tickets to Wigan rugby league with my dad from 4 and a half years old... Looking back those are some of my most amazing memories, I came across old match day programmes from 1974 at my dads last year.... Not all youngsters get such amazing times with their dads.... He's a lucky lad....



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OneHairyArm
Posts: 126
Joined: Sat May 10, 2014 2:13 pm
Location: Wellington

Re: Jonah

Post by OneHairyArm » Wed Mar 02, 2016 2:53 pm

Cheers Guys,

I am pretty privileged to have such an amazing son and daughters for that matter.
From an early age I have always made sure to spend as much time with them as I can - blink and it really is gone.
So I'm stoked to have him enjoying what I enjoy - for now anyway once video games and girls come along well that will be another story.

All the best


"If you want to catch beasts you don't see everyday.
You have to go places quite out of the way.
You have to go places others can't get to.
You have to get cold, and you have to get wet, too" Dr Seuss.

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