How did I end up here?

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How did I end up here?

Post by Kiwioz » Tue Jun 26, 2018 1:09 pm

This is an extract from an account of walking the length of Fiordland in the 1970's. The previous section to this segment is not fly fishing related but I suspect many fishers might relate to these sentiments or have found themselves in similar predicaments.

I have had a couple of other times where I recall having the same thoughts of ‘how the hell did I end up here’?
Oddly they both involve swamps and fly fishing. One was when I was about fourteen or fifteen and not long into fly fishing. I was away camping at Lake Evelyn with a friend and his uncle who had taken us up to this high-country lake. I had walked round to the opposite side of the lake where I had caught and released, (in fact it self-released at the last moment), a four pound trout. I was beside myself with pride and excitement, as it was the largest trout I had caught on fly at that point and had to race back to camp to tell my tale of the one that had got away. I still recall the fly - a black gnat dry fly that I had artfully, (I thought), cast into the path of a cruising trout I had spotted sipping insects from the lake surface. It was one of those moments in young fly fisher’s life when you, unlike the trout are hooked for life. However, my elation shortly turned to frustration as the short cut I took through a flax swamp had me mired and struggling step after step to make my way. Once again I realised too late that retreat was a better option than pressing on as I did, despite each step having me sinking thigh deep in swamp sludge in the midst of the tangle of flax bushes. The short cut proved to be more of a barrier than the longer walk around the perimeter. It was a couple of hours later I made it back to the camp with my tale of the one that got away overtaken by the queries about the mud and sludge that covered me from the waist down and a lot from the waist up.
The second experience was also a short cut taken when fishing a Southland river with a mate. I indicated if we cut through the nearby patch of bush we would cut out a longer walk down-river avoiding a sweeping bend. We set off into the ‘bush’ which turned to be a back-water swamp, but convinced it was only a short way and a short cut we pressed on. This time I had the benefit of waders, but soon it was if we were in the midst of some endless Okefenokee swamp. The only navigational aid was the sun, all else was a mix of flat backwater swamp thigh deep, sucking down every step. After an hour of this boot-camp experience we still could see no end. I was thought to have ‘bushcraft’ and had been trusted with my call, but this was testing my mate’s patience. Once more that refrain was running through my head – what the fark are we doing here? The trudge reached a bizarre moment when in the midst of this backwater swamp we encountered a caravan. It was covered in mould and moss but looked over a smaller open part of the swamp – a pond and it was there as a maimai, (duck hunting hide). How it got where it was given the size of the trees – willows and others and in the swamp itself was a mystery. It seems likely to have been dropped in by helicopter. We realised that maybe we weren’t the only lunatics to make their way into this godforsaken swamp – but it still took what felt like another hour before we emerged from our short cut. Rob was good hearted about it and we still puzzle over the decaying caravan in the middle of the swamp.


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Re: How did I end up here?

Post by TIDDLER » Tue Jun 26, 2018 6:52 pm

(or hope thereof :P ) THAT KEEPS US GETTING OUT THERE .

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