Reasons to return...

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

Reasons to return...

Post by icthusiast » Tue Jan 31, 2017 12:15 pm

I had last visited in mid-December. On that occasion, with a fishing buddy I now seldom get to fish with, we had stood at the run into a pool debating whether 'that shape' was a fish or not. I had just said, "Nah!", when it came off the bottom and drifted back a couple of metres, to intercept some morsel tumbling into the pool. It looked like a really good fish, but maybe it saw us as it returned from that foray, because even though it settled back into the same position, it disappeared after one cast from my mate.

I needed to get back there but, as we’re all sick of saying, the weather has been rubbish!

Yesterday, another grotty day dawned: low overcast and drizzle all morning. It was still pretty uninspiring around lunch time but looking like it might begin to clear. Fearing the overall weather pattern may not improve any time soon I decided to give it a go. I didn't hit the road until 2:00pm and was down the usual bush bash to the river, rigged up and ready to go by 3:00pm.

I saw nothing all the way up to, and a few pools passed, our usual exit point - about 1km. I had been casting an Irresistible Wulff on pools, runs and eyes using a fairly long leader so that I wasn't relying on my ability to spot fish. It got to the point where I would have regarded seeing a fleeing fish as a win! The weather did remain dry and there were even occasional glimpses of sun to make spotting a little easier, but still without result.

After about an hour I came to a spot in which, I'm pretty sure, I've never seen a fish before. I continued with the same tactics and made some prospecting casts up the bubble line coming down the rock wall defining the true right of the tail out of a wide corner pool. I'm not sure why I took my eye off the fly at one point, but when I looked back it was gone! Fortunately, my gaze hadn't wandered for long and when I lifted there was the usual solid resistance, accompanied by the head shake, that signalled "Fish on!" I was very pleased to land a beautifully conditioned 5lb brownie.


That was a bonus because my focus was at least partly on getting to the pool that beckoned with promise, from a month ago. It was around a few more unproductive corners.

As I cautiously approached, there was a fish sitting high in the water column, under the bubble line, in the tail out of the pool. Was it the same fish? Taking into account the usual one fish per pool quota evident here in recent visits, it probably was. My heart quickened, having just taken a fish, blind, from a similar lie.

Out went a single cast, placing the fly, in which I had confidence borne of recent success, just ahead of the fish and to its left. As my fly came down with the current, he turned towards it, angled up in slow motion, and gently sucked it in. A slight pause, a firm lift and, again the line tightened satisfyingly...

...and then immediately bust off!!! Aaarrggh!

I wandered on, heartbroken, with my absent friend’s voice heard clearly in my mind's ear, "Check your knots, Garth! Always check your knots!" I couldn't be absolutely sure, but I'm pretty sure there was more mirth than sympathy in the tone!

Apart from a couple of sizeable eels, I only saw two more fish. One I walked up on, deep in the head of a pool. It hadn’t come up for the dry but may have fallen to a nymph if I’d seen it soon enough. The final fish was, again, under the bubble line in the middle of a pool. This time my first cast landed a bit too close and it was gone.

Ah, well. It was still great to be out in the hills and to have landed one good fish. And besides, there’ll be another day…

…weather permitting!

All the best

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