Maybe I left it by a lake or a river somewhere – it’s been a year at least, and I’ve been looking everywhere for it, but can’t seem to get it back!
Last weekend was a classic example. I fished the Goulburn and a couple of smaller streams nearby. While everyone is talking about hopper feeders, and posting pics of speckled twigwater gold, I fished pretty solidly for three days – saw maybe two rises the whole time. Caught three fish – the largest was still in the small category.
I don’t think I’m a bad fisherman, I’ve had enough success over the years. I’m a pretty good spotter and most times if I see a fish, I’ll be able to get an eat. I’m just not seeing them. Where I am, they ain’t!
By the third morning, the rain, and plenty of self doubt had rolled in. I didn’t even plan to fish that morning, but you know how it is – just a quick look at this corner… well, it looked pretty good, so I fished!
Within a half hour I’d seen, and got an animated response from a decent brown. It failed to commit though, I suspect my nymph was a bit flashy in that clear water, but by the time I’d switched to a duller model, he’d moved on.
Another 20 minutes, and I was hooked up to another good brown. Not sure what happened there. He was off like a rocket, but maybe the hook didn’t set well, we were only connected for a few seconds. Still, things were looking up. A little while later, and I was tired. Nearly packed it in, but a bit of a breather and a drink, and I decided I’d give it another half hour.
Well, it was one of those moments. You realise that there’s a fish within a rod length, and you see it so clearly you can count the scales between its eyes. It was a long way between those eyes… this was a big rainbow, and it was looking right at me. Fortunately, I stayed still enough that it just turned around and continued on its beat. Now too deep to see, but I took a punt and flicked the nymph up about 5 metres to let it drift back. The indicator stopped.
A 4 weight glass rod doesn’t offer a lot of resistance, so this fish went straight down and buried itself under a log. I could still feel the powerful throbbing of the fish, but it wasn’t going anywhere. After about 15 seconds, it seemed to have had enough, because it tore through the surface, twisting and cartwheeling at what seemed like eye level – nearly reaching the overhanging trees – it spat the hook.
Was I upset? Not at all – I was a giggling wreck! I don’t know what the fish would have weighed, but the rod was never going to give me much control. I was just amazed and delighted to have made the acquaintance with this fish!
When I got my wits together and looked at the fly, it told the story. I was just totally undergunned.
Funny business, fishing. I’m not going to say I’ve got my mojo back, but maybe I know where I can find it!