It was July 2014 when I decided to try fly fishing for the very first time. I’d watched Robson Green on the tv catching Brown Trout from a New Zealand river with ease. That looks a nice way to spend an afternoon I though, so I got myself booked onto a day of instruction in fly fishing basics and casting at the local fishery.
It was a blisteringly hot summer day. Shorts, hat, t-shirt, and sun-cream was the uniform of the choice. However I was soon discover (and blame) that super hot days were not the best for catching fish … so I blanked. But nevertheless I had a great time, so much so that I went straight out and upgraded by rod & reel from Airflow beginners kit to a Wychwood Truefly SLA. 10ft 7wt. So next time out I though it was game on. I WILL BE THE FISH WISPERER!!
Next time … blanked, but I did get a take which being my first ever nearly gave me a heart attack.
Blanked again …
And so it went on for the next six trips out. Its got to be the weather I thought.
I’d been through the fly box, I’d tried different retrieves, different depths … nothing. But then it happened. A nice steady figure of eight retrieve with the fly about fifteen feet from the bank, suddenly the fly stopped. Not again I thought, my fly, an Olive Damsel, must have got snagged on another twig or root. But then as I tried to pull it free I saw the line zigzag off to the right turn around and shoot off the left. HOLY CRAP A FISH! The mixture was that of excitement, fear, and impending doom (as I was surely to lose the fish right?). But it stayed on the hook. Man vs. Fish, Fish vs. Man, Man vs. Fish vs. Net, we were all caught in an epic battle. But landed he was.
The relief in those few seconds was great, now I could look my fellow fly fishermen comrades in the eye. But hang on. Now I’ve got do something with this fish flapping in my net on the bank. Time to break out the Priest, or as it’s come to be known; the Noggin’ Bosher. SMACK on the head and he’s done. No wait it’s still flapping. SMACK, SMACK ….. one more for luck SMACK. That’s got him. Nope still flapping. Oh man now I have the guilts! A final hard smack and its all over. A tough learning curve in fish dispatching and one I happy to say I mastered fairly quickly.
But what of the fish? Well he wasn’t the greatest specimen in the world to be honest. In fact judging by the fist I’ve caught since then he was pretty poor, but he went well with new potatoes. I’ll save you the details on gutting a fish, look it up on YouTube if you’re desperate.