We all have them. Whether we surf, rock climb, hike or fish. Those spots that are special to us. Often discovered by chance, the investigation of a rumour or on the word of a trusted fellow adventurer. They are often fragile and pristine and very often overlooked by the majority.
These places are the places we want to look after, guard from those who may exploit or expose too easily locations, conditions and nuances of them.
I got to fish one such stream this past weekend. It’s no secret that there are trout in it and its far enough off the beaten track to not attract attention. However it is a special place. A mate, Ryan Cotterell, happened to fish it the day before and his report made me excited.
There’d been some rain in the mountains and the river had a healthy flow. More importantly, he’d got good fish!
So Justin Fletcher and myself headed into the mountains early Saturday morning, slightly hungover after an evening of catching up with old friends. The lower section was looking slow and thin – typical below the extraction point for a local farmer – but we saw fish as low as the road bridge. This is always a good sign and means that fish numbers were up this season.
The nature of the stream and valley makes fishing it an extremely technical affair! Very bushed in with thin crystal clear water, fishing here will bring out best n your fishing self and expose every single one of your weaknesses. It can get emotional!
We fished slowly. It was my first outing since I broke my thumb almost 11 weeks ago. I felt like I was hacking and missed a few fish early on. Justin didn’t and was soon in the money with some small, butter bellied browns. What a treat.
We kept fishing up, playing hop scotch between tiny pools and shallow runs. Justin got a beautiful fish a little later but swam before any photos could be taken – sometimes we must just enjoy memory.
I slowly got my hand into rhythm again and eventually, just as the stomach started indicating a return to breakfast was imminent, managed to land a stunning brown. In a long shallow pool that required long cast almost around the corner, I eventually managed to get all the factors to line up. Soft presentation as the little #16 Black Gnat drifted down. Just enough slack in the tippet to prevent any drag. And time slowly as the shallow detached itself from the bank side shadow and drifted to the fly. A short inspection of the fly made wince but the telltale open mouth rise a few second later was followed by a short strip strike. Fish on and to hand.